This blog article introduces a BSG-sponsored small event at Chapter Arts Centre on Monday 27 March to explore the lifecourse and stories of adjoining Cardiff neighbourhoods. The day combines research practice through a 90 minute facilitated walk in the morning with an afternoon that includes some presentations and a chance to debate.

Though the event day is just 10 day away, this blog explores how the preparations leading up to the day lay foundations for further research and collaboration. Also there are a couple of free places if anybody fancies coming to Cardiff… More details at http://www.britishgerontology.org/DB/general-events/imagining-the-neighbourhood-how-places-change-arou.html

Stimulating emotional response to place and space

The aim for the day is to sense what changes to place and space over time, focusing here on neighbourhoods, could mean for the experience of getting older. We will immerse ourselves in the intersections between Canton, Riverside and Pontcanna to re-imagine the living memory of roughly 50 years.

Wyndham St

By guiding people through the different spaces we invite you to explore ideas such as how the ghosts of the past exist in the present and whether connections between different social spaces are currently in phase of ‘thickening’ and developing or gradually ‘thinning’ and being lost. For example, we will see how community spaces such as pubs and cafes have closed or opened, how churches have changed to mosques and how connectivity has been altered. As with many parts of inner-city Britain there are some streets which existed in the 1960s but longer exist today. We will principally concentrate on two main spaces.

Firstly, artist Rabab Ghazoul will concentrate on the Wyndhams and the Riverside neighbourhood where she has lived for 20 years http://www.rababghazoul.com/about. She will tell us about the family dynasties and how the connections can start to be understood through art projects such as community choirs, film clubs and many other arts activities. There are insights into the community centres on Wyndham Street and the influence of faith within this part of Cardiff.

Secondly, event host Aled Singleton will lead us through a second space within the ‘Pontcanna’ area of Riverside. Here we will explore how the future is being shaped by laying down new associations with space; how craft and creative businesses are replacing the former sites of light industry. We will capture some of our own responses to these spaces on film and camera.

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The venue and the start of a co-research approach

The day is centred on Chapter Arts Centre not just as a venue geographically located near to these neighbourhoods, but also because Chapter itself is engaging with gerontology through its dementia-friendly film screenings and a wider dementia project https://www.chapter.org/season/dementia-friendly-screenings.

We invite you to arrive at the venue from 10.30am onwards to start the walk at 11am. Chapter is located in Canton – with good bus links from the centre of Cardiff – and parking nearby https://www.chapter.org/news-noise/news/parking-chapter.

As host I hope to offer my PhD http://www.walesdtc.ac.uk/profile/singleton-aled/ as a mechanism to work and collaborate with people from other disciplines. So far we have a great split across the 35 attendees: including academia (mostly PhD students) as well as people from organisations representing older people, health bodies, writers, arts organisations, theatre production and urban planning.

In terms of afternoon speaker, we will hear from Guy O’Donnell how Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre has worked closely will older people and what changes to Sherman’s work have resulted from this community research http://www.shermantheatre.co.uk/sherman5/. Kate Spiller from Swansea University’s Research Institute for Arts and Humanities will give perspective on the co-production of research between universities and communities http://www.swansea.ac.uk/riah/.

Sponsorship and support for the day

The event is being sponsored by a BSG small grant with further support from Swansea University and the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR). Charles Musselwhite will be representing the BSG and will give us all a taster ahead of the BSG2017 ‘Art of Ageing’ conference in Swansea this summer. We look forward to seeing you and sharing reflections on the day.

Email me aledsingleton@gmail.com or 878524@swansea.ac.uk if you are interested in attending