Who I Am. I am an ethnographer, photographer, curator and an almost-serious musician. Originally from California, I am Reader in Cultural Studies & Creative Practice at the University of Glamorgan and Director of Butetown History & Arts Centre in Cardiff Bay. I studied at Stanford University from 1970 to 1976, where I was also President of the Student Union. I did doctoral studies in anthropology and cultural studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana. I have published widely on people’s history, visual culture, race and immigrants and minorities in Wales; and I have curated a number of exhibitions in Wales and Ireland.
Butetown History & Arts Centre. Founded in 1987 as an oral history and community education project by myself and half a dozen local residents, Butetown History & Arts Centre is a cultural-political intervention. The core of our work involves collecting, preserving and interpreting the social and cultural history of migrants, immigrants and minorities in Wales, especially in Cardiff docklands, from the Victorian period to the present. Our archive includes more than 7,000 photographic images of old Cardiff docklands and hundreds of portraits of people of ethnically-diverse backgrounds in Wales; some 600 paintings and drawings; more than 500 hours of audiotaped life stories from local residents, many of whom are from immigrant and ethnic minority groups; television programmes; and other resources.
Through our exhibitions, books (17 thus far), cultural events and other educational resources, we seek to promote public awareness and understanding of Cardiff as a culturally and racially diverse city and Wales as a diverse nation. We seek to combat ignorance and prejudice and to promote social cohesion; and we actively facilitate positive interaction between people of different racial, cultural and class backgrounds.
The Centre is the leading resource for materials – especially photographic and interview materials – on immigrants and minorities in Wales. We are also a venue (4,000 square feet) for use by other groups – with three gallery spaces, meeting rooms and other facilities. We are currently undergoing major renovations that will result in much better public access, improved galleries and more space for classes, workshops and cultural events.
BHAC has been involved with the GOT project since 2008 – because we believe in the work that this initiative is doing and recognise that it has proven value, as highlighted again today in the feedback from both schools. Indeed, I designed the pre-test and post-test administered to 300 students at three Cardiff high schools using visual material from our archive. Their use – in conjunction with a measure for recording students’ visceral responses, i.e., their often unconscious feelings of tolerance and intolerance – marks this approach out as being unique and offers huge potential to educators and other professionals if developed and used in conjunction with GOT.
We hope to use Challenging Extremism in educational workshops and activities for students of diverse ages – for example, in conjunction with our annual Black History Month exhibitions and throughout the year. We also invite GOT and other organisations in Wales to use our venue for workshops, classes and other educational activities that seek to combat intolerance and bring people together across barriers of race, culture and religion.
Butetown History & Arts Centre
4 Dock Chambers, Bute Street – Cardiff Bay CF10 5AG