Cardiff- a Creative City

This year Cardiff has witnessed the celebration of 100 years of our favourite children’s author, Roald Dahl. The city has been transformed into a fantastical world full of giant peaches and exciting exhibitions for all. Some of these have included the “Quentin Blake: Inside Stories” exhibition in the National Museum, which features until the 20th November, Cardiff’s “City of the Unexpected” in September and “The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl” at the Wales Millennium Centre, ongoing till the 14th January.

Being absolutely gutted that I was away from Cardiff for City of the Unexpected, I decided to go and explore the interactive exhibit at the Millennium Centre in the Bay, and felt like I had stepped back into the familiar pages of my childhood. Perhaps a more family-friendly exhibition, “The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl” tour lasted for an hour and we were taken through in a group. I will try not to give too much away if you’re planning on making a visit (which I would highly recommend), but elements of the exhibit included a spooky night time forest with pheasants and a giant peach, the upside down corridor featured in “The Twits,” Matilda’s library and the inventing room coupled with the glass elevator found in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” For a reader that has grown up entertained by Dahl’s magical world this exhibit allowed me to delve back into those pages and relive the moments I remember best. The celebration of the fantastic author’s work is just one of the ways in which Cardiff is proving itself as a vibrant city of culture.

The Millennium Centre itself is a hub of creativity with exhibitions, theatre shows and workshops all taking place there. Over the months of June and July I was involved in a research project with Creative Cardiff, a network based within the university that aims to connect the creative community across the city. One part of Creative Cardiff’s work is their involvement and support of creative spaces. A week’s trial of a creative hub was held inside the Millennium Centre. A creative hub is a place for creative individuals and professionals to work in and to grow as a community. This was quite possibly the busiest week of my life as creatives from across the city and farther afield utilised the space to form a community to work in. We had various speakers, including creative producers from the Watershed in Bristol and activities taking place, all alongside people trying to actually get their work done for the week!

This work is all highly relevant as an abundance of creative spaces have been popping up over recent months. In Cardiff Bay we have the Indycube located in Mount Stuart Square and the more recent and sophistically decorated Rabble Studio on Bute Street. Spaces are of course not limited to the bay as there are also Indycubes in various locations in Cardiff city centre. Spaces are designed differently depending on the type of creatives that wish to work there. For more hands on, maker-based work, The Sustainable Studio on Curran Road is a fantastic place to get creative. A space orientated towards digital and technological creatives is the recently opened Tramshed Tech at the Tramshed on Clare Road behind the Principality Stadium. This features state of the art technology to accommodate new developments within this creative sector. Some creative hubs further afield include Hub Hwyl in Merthyr Tydfil and Welsh ICE in Caerphilly, both fantastic locations.

Cardiff is a culturally expanding city that has the potential to connect the forever expanding creative network. This may be one of the reasons why leading figures have called for Cardiff to bid for “European Capital of Culture” in 2023; who knows what the city will have achieved in 7 years time?

by Ellie Roberts