Tag Archives: cardiff

City’s diversity through a lens

Gareth Philips’s photography projects have seen him fly all over the world investigating the effects of migration on children.  Jessica Shankleman discovers the roots behind his passion and how Cardiff’s next generation relates to its multicultural surroundings

A Penarth photographer and a multicultural school in Cardiff have teamed up to produce a film about how immigration affects children in Cardiff.

The film, called Open Cities, traces a five-day photography workshop run by Gareth Philips in St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Canton,  earlier this year.  Gareth gave disposable cameras to 30 children and set them homework to help trace their links back to their parents, who were first and second generation immigrants.

Joe Perrin, from Dinas Powys, filmed the documentary. He said: “The film is based around a photography project which Gareth took part in a year ago with the British Council. Eight European cities took part in it and it investigated the positive effects of migration.

“They took photographs of families in their cities who had recently migrated and asked them what it was like. After that, Gareth made it into a workshop in the school.

“The film documents the work ethic Gareth took in Cardiff and how it incorporated integration and multiculturalism, including families from Zambia, Poland, Lithuania, Pakistan and Indonesia, focusing particularly on Derek Ingualube and his daughter Mercy from Zambia.”

The film will be released next week by the British Council and Joe hopes it will inspire other photographers to make similar workshops.  He said: “Hopefully it will be put on the website too. People are more likely to watch the film than read a lot of information.

“So it will be a bit more information about what this project is about and hopefully it will help people look at immigration in more of a positive manner and the effects immigration has on children in schools and how positive it is.”

Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2006 showed Cardiff’s migrant population had rapidly increased over the past 10 years.  The study found the main migrant communities in Cardiff are in Riverside, Grangetown and Butetown. The British Council’s Open Cities initiative includes Cardiff as one of its 12 partner cities.

The scheme aims to identify links between migration and the increased competitiveness of cities in terms of social and economic factors. They aim to show migration has a positive affect on European cities, through an increased workforce and the positive effects of multiculturalism on the population of its member cities.

The British Council defines Cardiff as a city built on immigration and links the growth in the city’s public service industry with the increase in migration from areas such as China and Somalia.


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Stress Beaters

Cardiff’s Women-Only Drumming Circle Could Help You Unwind

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Drumming is an unusual remedy for stress, morning sickness or depression.

If the dark winter months are getting you down, you’re suffering from morning sickness or lacking confidence; don’t turn to pills, try drumming.

From 10am to midday on the first Saturday of every month, Arabic and African rhythms fill Cathays Methodist Church hall, on Crwys Road, Cardiff.

The beats come from Cardiff’s only women’s drumming class, which is run by Hannah Corr and attended by ladies of all ages and levels of skill.

A djembe

Hannah, 33, from Canton started up the classes last year.  She said: “It is taken it to a group who aren’t usually seen as drummers. It’s a very male thing to drum and is providing an opportunity for a group which doesn’t usually get it.

“I can think of one lady for whom it seems to have done a lot for her confidence. She feels she is limited when she drums and is quite down on herself, but with her it’s a confidence issue – it’s not technical.

“But every week it has just grown and grown and I think the reason is it’s a women’s group and the nature is about sharing and not competition. There’s no need to be perfect, which has given her the space to find her feet.”

During the lessons, Hannah teaches some beats then splits the group in two. One half play a basic rhythm to keep the pace and the other half play a more complex rhythm on top. Then, towards the end of the class, the students freestyle.

drum1Carol Woodford, 49, a customer service adviser, of Line Road, Riscal joined the class September last year. She said: “It’s like a comforting thing. I feel included in the rhythm and linked to nature and the world. We live in a rhythm and it makes me feel alive.”

Hannah, who also teaches belly dancing in Cardiff said she decided to start the classes because a lot of her fellow belly dancers loved the feel and sound of drums, but couldn’t find any classes to go to. But since then, its theraputic benfits have become clear.

She said: “My interest is to do with both dancing and therapy. It takes people out of their heads and into meditation and a state of stillness, which stops that negative chatter.”

In November, the group even tried its hand at the trance-inducing Zaar belly dance rhythm, in which the ladies repeated the same rhythm for a long stretch of time. In Arabic cultures, performing the Zaar is a way of exorcising negative energy.  It’s exhausting to play and can cause those involved to feel an array of (sometimes buried) emotions.

Hannah said: “It’s a feeling of being totally connected with the rhythm and a strong sense of unity. That we are tapping into something bigger than what we experience in the five sense reality. It’s a luxurious feeling you don’t get in every day life.”

Some people might dismiss drumming circles as a hippy attempt to stave off the “black dog“, but the drumming research centre, Health Rhythms has found drumming in groups improves peoples moods and reduces stress, which can lead to burnout.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pound away pregnancy pressure

Rachel Green, 34, a web developer, of Bertram Street, Cardiff joined the class to help combat pregnancy anxiety.

Rachel plays a frame drum
Rachel plays a frame drum

She said: “I find there is nothing better than drumming, particularly in a circle, to help with stress and anxiety. I have Asperger’s syndrome, which makes me prone to anxiety attacks.

“When I knew I was pregnant, I wanted to minimise these as much as possible for the sake of the baby.

“I try other things as well, such as meditation and yoga but nothing seems to have quite the same effect on me as drumming. I think concentrating on a regular rhythm helps to banish intrusive thoughts and feelings from my mind and this helps me to relax.

“Also, the physical act of hitting the drum with my hand helps to release aggression and tension.

“I benefit from the group being quite small and there being such a supportive and safe environment, but I don’t know whether allowing men into the group would change this or not.”

And since being interviewed, she still doesn’t. Rachel wasn’t at January’s class when a lady, who didn’t realise it was for women only, brought along her husband, because she was at home looking after her four-day-old baby boy.






Filed under Capturing Cardiff, Features

My Football Writer and Backchat

Rick Waghorn‘s My Football Writer is making and doing the digital revolution. He’s not only the owner and manager of My Football Writer – a domain, which delivers news and opinions on individual football clubs – he has also just signed a deal with Channel 4’s 4IP for his Backchat application.








Backchat is similar to an interactive forum and is hosted by Jaiku, which is like Twitter. With Backchat, communities can develop around an area of interest, such as their favourite television programme, celebrity or football team.

But unlike a traditional forum, people can communicate from mobile phones, which takes the conversation away from a computer and into the street.

As Jaiku also allows people to give their location, people chatting in the same town could find one another and meet up to talk, which makes me realise this revolution isn’t here to take us a million miles from what we already know. Just make it better.

The fact Waghorn is a seasoned journalist shows the digital revolution isn’t just young people coming up from behind and booting out the old schools. Good journalists like Waghorn have recognised their work needs a new display case, so they make one.


Skimming 4IP’s blog, I also came across the Complaints Choirs of the World. People in cities all over the world have joined together to sing their complaints in harmony and they sound great.

If anyone thinks Cardiff needs one, please let me know because after attending some local PACT meetings, I think it’s much needed.

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