Young people discover Cardiff's secrets
Everyday, people walk through areas of Cardiff without noticing those hidden, concealed, unobserved or forgotten aspects of the urban landscape. A new project aimed to change this, through an approach championed in the television programmes ‘coast’ and ‘greatest cities of the world’. Young people in Cardiff’s Grangetown went on ‘audio walks,’ where they discovered that everyday urban spaces hold within them fascinating secrets.
Grangetown is one of the more deprived neighbourhoods within the immediate vicinity of Cardiff city centre, and one of its defining features is its high number of young people. As a result, one of the challenges facing the community is how to engage this group in their local area. The leader of the project, Dr Kate Moles is a research associate at the Cardiff University. She worked in partnership with Voluntary Action Cardiff. She has worked with young people before to produce films, audio accounts and maps of their local communities, and so has demonstrable expertise in engaging them with ideas of place, and thinking about how this relates to the issues of identity, horizons and ambitions. She sees audio walking as a way of giving voice to those who are often marginalised within a community. She said:
‘Audio walks allow people to share their stories, memories, and knowledge of the area, empowering them as community stakeholders and authorities on their locality’.
‘Walking is an act of exploration; it enables us to access the secret, often marginalised, yet everyday textures of the city.’
According to Dr Moles, Audio walking also offers opportunities for intergenerational interactions, with young people working with older people in the exploration of their shared neighbourhood. This can empower the residents of communities, making them engage with and think about their areas in new and exciting ways. She said:
‘This project has at its core the idea of engaging young people in producing audio walks about their communities, about where they like to go. The work enrolled the young people not just as participants in producing these audio walks, but as active contributors, developers, researchers and producers. We wanted these to be their walks, something they can give to their communities. ‘
These walks worked towards breaking down real and imagined boundaries in the communities, between different age groups, between different peer groups and friendship networks. The project also allowed young people the chance to see their communities in new ways.
It is hoped that because of the success of this project, other communities in Cardiff will follow. For example Dr Moles hopes to reach other marginalised or deprived areas such as Riverside, Butetown and Splott. By creating a community resource of audio walks and associated maps, the outcomes of the project will be shared with others. For example the walks will be hosted on local community websites and will be available to all to use.
Voluntary Action Cardiff
Sounding The Way Website