It has been two months since we brought together 60 people from Cardiff’s creative community to delve into the identity of the city – perceived, actual and desired.

We would like to share what we have done during this time, tell you about our planned next steps and how you can get involved.

For those who didn’t attend that session here is a quick recap:

A central aim of Creative Cardiff is for our city to be a capital of creativity. We're sure the way to do this is by working collaboratively and playing to our collective strengths. So, taking on our role of active broker, we started working in partnership with Cardiff City Council, Arts Council of Wales and in consultation with the creative community to re-imagine and trial new approaches to promote and develop Cardiff’s creative economy - starting with the city’s identity.

I found the identity workshop to be a hugely inspiring and encouraging first step, filled with generosity, openness and a real drive to make impactful change. You can read a full round-up of how the event progressed here.

Friend of the project Mathew Talfan also wrote a long read for our website about Cardiff’s identity. Read it here.

A number of additional city identity thought pieces have been commissioned and will be published on the Creative Cardiff website in the coming months. If you have a topic which you would like to tackle, please do get in touch.

The workshop enabled us to determine two areas of focus going forward:

  • Narrative – how to surface untold stories and raise profile of creative activity including a focus on Cardiff DIY, listings and maps.
  • Connectivity – identifying key groups and ways to connect with them including young people, business community and international environment.

We listened carefully to all of the ideas that were shared that day and in conversations since then; and are now developing ways to progress city narrative and connectivity.

The Creating Cardiff team (myself, Ruth Cayford of Cardiff City Council and Lisa Matthews of Arts Council of Wales) have had a number of initial meetings with key stakeholders in our organisations to further our understanding of what expertise and resources are already available to us. These conversations have revealed a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as an enthusiasm for the work that we’re trying to do, which has been both encouraging and reassuring.

We have met several times with the Visit Cardiff team including attending the recent Cardiff Tourism Summit and are discussing with them how the creative community can better share their work and events via the Visit Cardiff website. They are keen to work with us to make this the go-to place for publishing content about engaging with creative and cultural experiences and opportunities in the city. If we can manage to do this, it will address one of the most shared opinions at our Creative Cardiff workshop – that it is difficult to know where to get information about what is on/to do/see/engage with.

In addition to this, we are in the process of setting up a meeting with key content creators in the city – bloggers, writers, publishers. This group of individuals already do a good job of drawing attention to what is happening in the city and therefore it is vital that we find ways to further share the creative stories of the city with their audiences. If you would like to be on the guest list or know anyone who should, let us know.

One of our overarching aims is to develop a city-wide creative consortium - a new forum for collaborative leadership that is action-led and which will take over the work that we are starting now. We have started further research into similar structures/organisations in other cities in the UK and around the world. It is most important that whatever is created is both appropriately developed (with the creative community) and has authenticity and a sense of place. A consortium for Cardiff must reflect and represent the strengths, opportunities and heritage of the city; as well as foster an environment for creative economy to flourish.

There was a lot of interest at the city identity workshop in empty spaces, so we are planning to dedicate our next Creating Cardiff challenge to that area. We hope to develop a toolkit and case studies for anyone working across the breath of the creative economy keen to use empty spaces in the city. Ahead of that, Ruth Cayford at Cardiff Council is starting to compile a list of known empty spaces. If you know of any underused empty spaces or green spaces, please do email Ruth.

As always, we love to have your input so please do get in touch if you would like to contribute your opinions, expertise or time.

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