I find myself in a nomadic existence, traveling from place to place. This is quite the norm for a freelancer, but has become a stronger part of my week since beginning the residency at Parliament. There is something about the journey that enhances creativity and idea generation. Maybe it’s the ever changing landscapes through the panoramic view of my window, or maybe it’s the hum of the train itself that sends me into a state of relaxation where my mind can digest, deconstruct and translate research into a creative form. It also lends itself to reflection and contemplation, an important part of the creative process.
An animation teacher many years ago called this research period ‘Filling the Well’. Without it you are dry of ideas, but with a well full to the brim ideas flow with ease and great work can be achieved. So what have I been filling my well with? Not being local to Cardiff or an expert on its history I have collaborated with others to fill gaps in my knowledge and experience. The team consisting of the Grangetown Local History Society and archivists from Glamorgan Archives and Parliamentary Archives have been a great help in steering me through a sea of information, including documents, photographs, letters, maps etc. Some of the highlights have been photographic records from the Victorian period depicting everyday scenes on the docks. You get a sense of how busy the docks were and the rate in which the population of Cardiff expanded in such a short time frame. The inhabitants came from all over relocating to Cardiff to work as laborers or from distant shores working on the merchant ships. Cardiff was and still is a multicultural City.