“In spite of globalisation – possibly because of it – we find ourselves living in an increasingly fractured society: a small-minded, meanspirited world that often appears to be ill at ease with itself. We mostly don’t know very much about why we’re here, who we really are and how we’re supposed to relate to one another … Creativity is the tool that can help us to explore these and many other difficult issues, because to be creative is to open hearts and minds to deeper levels of insight, intuition and understanding. In today’s troubled world this has never been more important.” (Nick Capaldi, Arts Council of Wales, 2015)
We work locally, nationally and internationally. We aim to create an innovative, accessible, responsive, relevant and challenging artistic programme that reflects the richness and diversity of the cultures and people of Wales and beyond.
We prioritise working with those people that are most disadvantaged or at risk, and bring the added value of an international and wider viewpoint to the issues that arise in our local communities. We aim to bring people together in our Cultural Connections programme, breaking down barriers creatively and making connections to increase understanding, promote awareness, and stimulate shared dialogue about important current global issues.
In 2014-15 this programme of work continued to thrive and develop, led by our International Development Worker Tracy Pallant, supported by Katja Stiller and our Person-Centred Creativity team, and a wide range of both long-standing new international partners.
A new ‘Girl Talk’ initiative, building skills, cultural connections and positive role models for girls – developed with a first exchange visit for Valley and Vale Community Arts and Gem TV to Maji Moto in Kenya. Together we aimed to research and learn about each others’ communities, and explore the possibilities of developing mutually beneficial projects.
Skilled Community Artists from Valley and Vale Community Arts and Gem TV in Ethiopia began workshops in digital storytelling and film production with girls and staff at Enkiteng Lepa School, to enable the Maasai girls and women to create stories to share with the Betws Community in Wales, and with Women’s Aid in Bridgend to develop their new link. This new exciting project aimed to contribute towards the UN Millennium development Goals.
Girl Talk - Enkiteng Lepa School
’I am a Woman’ – we supported this new integrated dance collaboration between Dance Development Workers Jessie Brett (UK) and Meseret Girga (Adugna, Ethiopia). A new contemporary dance show was performed by five female disabled and non-disabled dancers from the UK and Ethiopia who came together across cultures to create this dance piece about their experiences, with the hope of inspiring women to create and have confidence in society.
Following successful performances in Ethiopia, the group hoped to develop the project further and makes new links and connections for future work and performances.
We welcomed Anke, who came to us having just finished her studies as a Social Worker in Darmstadt, Germany, and she came to Valley and Vale Community Arts in September 2014 for an internship to develop her knowledge and skills in creativity and Community Arts practice. She had been awarded a scholarship from the Leonardo da Vinci fund to come to us, and, surprise, surprise, she is still working, learning and sharing with us! She even wrote a blog about her experiences.
Czech Us Out
Czech Us Out – This new film is a 5 minute documentary made by young people aged 14-16 years old from the Czech Roma community in Cardiff. This project took place at Eastmoors Community Education Centre, where the group worked with our Film Development Worker Tracy Pallant. The project was funded by Film Nation UK and was supported by The Arts Council of Wales. The film reflects the passions and interests of the young filmmakers at an important transition time in their lives. We enjoyed working with these young people. This group had previously found it hard to engage in formal education, but they found the Film Nation project an accessible and engaging activity, giving them the opportunity to tell and share their unique stories with a wide audience.
DESTINO Dance Company – this new dance Company that we support was founded by Junaid Jemal Sendi and Addisu Demissie in February 2014. When Junaid and Addisu were 11 years old, they were working on the streets of Addis Ababa when they were selected to participate in an extensive five-year dance training programme by Dance United London and the Ethiopian Gemini Trust. Valley and Vale Community Arts supported DESTINO’s visit to Wales and Addisu and Junaid taught many workshops across Cardiff and Bridgend. Valley and Vale also worked with Jessie Brett to organise a fundraising event to promote their important work at an Ethiopian Pop-up Restaurant at Penylan Pantry to celebrate the Ethiopian Culture and food.
DESTINO also performed and talked at People Dancing, a Foundation for Community Dance conference.
‘Make it Happen’ – is a Valley and Vale Community Arts, Wales Africa Community links project which took place at The Temple Of Peace in Cardiff on 4th March 2015. It was an incredibly inspiring event that bought together people from Kenya, Ethiopia, Wales and Bristol who are working to improve the rights of women in their communities.
The speakers discussed a range of issues affecting women in the UK and Africa including FGM (female genital mutilation), early marriage and sexual consent. There was a particular focus on the methods and approaches they have used to make a difference, such as alternative rites of passage, campaigning, film for social change and theatre in education.
Participants had the opportunity to connect with one another, share experiences, reflect on practice and plan for ongoing action. There was also the opportunity to take part in an aromatic Ethiopian coffee ceremony. By linking members of diverse communities ‘Make It Happen’ championed women’s voices, inspired change and encouraged solidarity.