When we started this project we explained very clearly the two-faced nature of our work, in this case with the study itself taking on a human life:
As a project, I was born 1st July 2014 with the specific aim of exploring the role the arts can play in improving health and wellbeing. My passion is rooted in exploring agency, resilience, cultural wealth, and community representations, and I have known my destiny since birth: To explore, to observe and to find ways to capture understandings, experiences and representations of Butetown.
From the start I have been two-faced. It’s not a bad thing, but something borne out of necessity – it’s in my blood, my DNA so to speak.
Yes, I know it’s been done before, it’s been done to death and it’s been done mostly by others, outsiders – projects like me! I like to think I am different. And so I have sought to move slowly, watching, observing and taking the lead of others so much better placed than I. I am not going in ‘all guns blazing’ but rather I want to capture what’s been done already, I want to tap into the creative energy that has fuelled the people and that place for centuries. I want to find ways to (re) present… so I will be present first and foremost. Then I will ask to engage and then take it from there.
Ok, so why does that make me two-faced? Well, because one key focus will be on links that can be made between Butetown and the Caribbean. Out of a multitude of possible perspectives, this is one that most appeals. It’s not the only one, but a key one. Of course in Butetown this could mean little; if you looked up the word diversity you would see a road sign pointing to Butetown. It would be a very old, old road sign, but you get my point.
I already bear the scars of people stating clearly, truthfully and with varying levels of exasperation that Caribbean folk have always lived all over Cardiff and SE Wales. I know, I say quietly (and then a little louder) and I will also be exploring this.
Having spent a lot of time in Butetown, in Cardiff, we feel the need to make connections with the wider social context. The event is an opportunity for people to come together and reflect on issues of ethnic diversity, belonging and nationhood. The event is an opportunity for us to reflect on our work within the broader Welsh context.