If you were handed the keys to a cultural venue for a day to design, curate and create what would you do with that space?
This is the question British Council Wales is posing to over 200 young people from all over South Wales as they prepare to participate in the first ever Takeover Cardiff.
Launching on Saturday October 12th, as a one-day taster event, Takeover Cardiff will see key spaces in the cultural venues of the city handed over to young people (14-25) to curate, develop and participate in programmes to engage their peers. In essence Takeover is an artistic and cultural journey, weaving a trail around the Senedd, the Wales Millennium Centre, The Central Library, The National Museum and Chapter Arts Centre, showcasing international collaborative arts activity in some of Cardiff’s most iconic buildings. Outside the venues there will be street performances in dance and music; a pop up cinema in an area where an old picturehouse once stood and young filmmakers, photographers and bloggers documenting the performances as they unfold.
Our aims with Takeover are simple; to empower young people to seize control of their own event; to develop collaborations with international artists; and to demonstrate the creativity and talent of young people and artists alike. Crucially, we anticipate the launch will act as a springboard to developing a significant week-long international youth arts festival in 2014. The interest in Takeover Cardiff runs far beyond the borders of Wales.
Takeover events such as these are an increasing phenomenon, encouraging young people to take control of spaces or programming in their local venues and to participate in cultural activity. The key difference with Takeover Cardiff is the international aspect that the British Council brings; Artists from countries around the world (USA, Norway, South Africa, Ethiopia, The Netherlands) sharing their culture and expertise with young people from South Wales, many of whom have never ventured out of the towns and cities they live in. Together, and with the input of local and national arts organisations, they will develop collaborative performances, mashing up cultures, bringing the issues they want to express to the fore, and creating something that is quite unique and importantly created and developed by them.
An all-girl dance troupe from Cardiff will develop a street dance with an Ethiopian artist; secondary school pupils will hone slam poetry skills with a US beat poet and perform in the Senedd, the main centre for democracy and devolution in Wales; Young people from some of Cardiff’s most disadvantaged estates will create a spoken word/hip hop performance among the flora and fauna, the paintings of the Italian Renaissance, and assembled dinosaur skeletons of the National Museum. And out in the streets up and coming bands, chosen by their peers, will showcase their talent on the routes to and from each Takeover venue.
These venues, which some of our participants may have previously thought of as elitist or “arty”, suddenly become accessible to a new young audience. It’s about breaking down barriers and increasing participation. This, after all, is what the British Council is about, creating international opportunities for people of the UK and other countries and building trust between them worldwide.
The motto for Takeover Cardiff is thus: No agenda, just collaboration.
For more information on Takeover Cardiff, and a list of our partners, go to http://www.britishcouncil.org/wales-arts-takeover-cardiff-toc.htm
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