3 speakers took to the stage for the launch of Creative Cardiff and the first in the series of Show & Tell events, each speaker having 10 minutes to present an object close to their work and describe what they’re working on or how they work. Matthew and Patrick were there to be inspired and absorb the intentions of the Cardiff University-led initiative. Here’s what they learnt from the evening.
1. Cardiff has some big names in creativity – but let’s not forget the ‘small guys’ can be world renowned names too
This is admittedly focussed on the fascinating opening talk from Hilary Wagstaff, who has made a big name in the doll collecting world with her intricate and splendid fashion-wear for Blythe dolls. Hilary took us through her work – no – her ‘world’ of doll dress making and the success she has had. The audience also seemed particularly interested in her digital presence, utilising social media to promote her Moshi Moshi brand and telling tales of her Penarth studio through one of her dolls – quite inspired!
Given Hilary’s peers on stage came from larger set-ups, more personnel and huge commercial appeal, it isn’t too surprising that Hilary justifiably stands with them given her international success in her industry. It shouldn’t matter anyway of course and there’s nothing that should be taken away from the other speakers achievements. But it’s a great reminder that Cardiff doesn’t need to just celebrate the successes of the larger institutions, but our smaller creative names too and the industries the city can support. Hilary of course is just one example, but with this sort of diversity in the community, collaboration has never looked more tempting in Cardiff.
2. Exuberance and Wisdom is a great mix
A quick observation, but we couldn’t help notice the breadth of age in the audience. That’s only a good thing isn’t it? Let’s hope collaborations and network opportunities are capitalised on here.
3. Events are a huge part on the creative culture of Cardiff and Wales
Sarah Cole – our 3rd speaker – demonstrated much of the amazing event production work she has had a hand in through her own company SC Productions (liked the penguin by the way!). But a critical point Sarah made that stuck with us was around the wider involvement of communities surrounding events. From the people of Port Talbot following Michel Sheen’s Passion of Christ, to the thousands of children who processed to the opening of the Welsh Millennium Centre, participation of a more general public in creative-led events will reverberate as support for those names involved with a project and the wider creative community as a whole.
4. Q&A’s as a group are good
Whilst time was a bit of an issue for the Q&A session due to venue commitments, it was great to hear multiple answers and perspectives to questions from the audience. It allowed the focus of the session to become about the community and Cardiff as a city, although questions asked to specific speakers were welcome too.
5. Animation and VFX is bubbling away nicely
With neighbouring Bristol channeling itself as a hub of British animation through the likes of Aardman, it was encouraging to listen to Peter Rogers of Bait Studios and how successful they have been supporting TV, music and film from across Wales and further afield. It was also great to hear that they have been able to support the local freelance and micro-biz brigades with opportunities to work on some top-level productions. We also met a few animators in the crowd! Cool.
Have one with you at all times.
7. Nobody likes working and living in London
It’s true! Ok, so it’s not everyone, but it the issue did come up quite a few times during the evening, immediately followed by the benefits of living and working in Cardiff. In essence, some people found the need to work and live in London a little hard to process, as you could get to the city on the train in the same time a Londoner can get to work and Cardiff provides easy passage to rural nature and the sea for downtime – not to mention the relaxed vibe our little capital has. It seems a little scathing, but there is validity to this point – surely this benefits the creative community enormously?
8. Creative Cardiff could be the start of something
With backing from the Welsh Millennium Centre, Cardiff Council and BBC Wales, this organisation could prove to be an extra boost of momentum to the city and country’s creative economy. It’s important to stress the diversity point again. It’s great to have industry specific economies supported in such a way, but it’s also vital for all industries to see what’s happening across the wider field and Cardiff Creative can offer this. Let’s hope the events and initiatives keep coming and are supported well.