This week on Radio Cardiff, as part of the Cardiff at One show, I spoke to Helen Giles and Kat Keeble-Buckle who are both lecturers at Cardiff and Vale College on Dumballs Road. Helen works with Music Students and Kat works with Fine Art students. Both are running Humans of Cardiff themed projects with their years, and, as I’ve already had some involvement with both projects, I thought I should get them on the show to talk about the work they’ve been doing, and also the events which they’ve organised with the students.
Here’s the transcript from that part of the show:
Dan: Welcome to Cardiff at One, how are you today?
Kat and Helen: Great, how are you?
Dan: I’m very well. So Kat, you’re a fine art lecturer at CAVC, Cardiff and Vale College, tell us a bit more about the project you’ve been running with your year two students, if you would.
Kat: So, I’m extremely fortunate. I have an amazing collection of fine artists in my second year art group, and I heard, and I’d seen online, all about the Humans of Cardiff, which is run by fabulous you…
Kat: And I really wanted my students to be able to create some portraits including the community within Cardiff, and I wanted them to go out and take some photographs of people that the city centre reminded them of. Hence why I called on your fabulous mentoring.
Dan: I’m just getting flashbacks now just remembering what we actually did!
Kat: I know, yes. But it was a really incredible experience.My students are now in this fantastic place where they have all selected their human of Cardiff, and created these really beautiful portraits which are actually go on display at our end of year show on the 8th June, at Cardiff and Vale College on Dumballs Road. And after that, they are actually going up at The Sustainable Studios also, so they are very fortunate to be working with Humans of Cardiff directly, the college, and Sustainable.
Dan: We’ve got Helen here as well, Helen Giles, you’re a music lecturer at Cardiff and Vale.
Dan: You’re also running a Humans of Cardiff themed project?!
Helen: Yes, well again, I got the idea from speaking with Kat and seeing the fabulous portraits that all the students put together, and we sort of thought, “Oh, we need to put on an event! You know, just to showcase their work and maybe showcase obviously, the music students work as well.”
Helen: So, one of the modules that they do with me, as part of their popular music course, is events management. So what we’ve done, we held a promotional gig on the 4th May (Bae Coffi) where the students made their own set list, worked with different organisations to promote it, and then we have a final performance then on the 16th May, in our recital room at Cardiff and Vale College:
Kat: Come! Everybody, come!
Dan: I’m super excited myself. I can’t wait!
Kat: It’s gonna be immense, it’s gonna be awesome!
Helen: That will be, as well as obviously our year one pop music students performing, our year two students will be performing, and doing some african drumming for you as well, and the art and design students work will be up for everyone to see.
Dan: That’s brilliant! So what was it that prompted you to use the Humans of Cardiff idea as a basis for these projects then?
Kat: My passion lies with portraits, I’m fascinated by people’s faces. So when I look at all the masters and their paintings I thought it would be a great way to connect the students with the community that they’re in. Through own personal research I just think where we live is such an exciting city and so much is happening, and I think everyone always seems in such a rush. People kind of rush by and they don’t even really say, “Hello”, and I thought it could be a really great communication task for the students to be able to kind of stop, and speak to people and get to know them, and to kind of collect that moment and to recreate it through their paintings.
Dan: Sure. So obviously I’ve been popping in whenever I can…
Kat: Yeah, well you’ve popped in pretty much every single Tuesday and the students loved having you there.
Dan: Well I don’t think it’s been every Tuesday, but I do try to get up there.
Kat: You have been in quite a few times, but no, it was a really great inspiration for them, you being there, and it’s really great to have an outsider’s point of view. Because you know, sometimes our voices aren’t always what they want to hear, so it’s great to have an outside influence.
Helen: I think that’s been really good for the event side of it as well because it’s made it feel more like a live brief, like a professional project. They’ve been so professional throughout this whole process of putting on their own event, it’s getting them prepared to possibly work in events outside of college as well. They’ve been really, really inspired and enthused by working with different people to put on an event, so it’s worked really well.
Dan: Just to be clear, this isn’t really something that you guys have directly organised all by yourselves. This is a more student-led sort of thing?
Helen: We’ve obviously been there to offer guidance if they’ve come and asked for help, but essentially the gig on May the 4th, and on the 16th May has all be organised by them.
Dan: Wow! And I understand Kat, that some of your students, or all of your students, were shortlisted for the Saatchi gallery with these works as well?!
Kat: Yes, we’re awaiting for those results now, but you can see all of their artwork up at the Saatchi website at the moment so they were just beyond excitement. I’m so proud of them, they totally deserve it, they’ve worked so hard.
Dan: I’m literally blown away everytime I come in. I don’t see what value I add to it really, I literally walk in the room and I’m just like, “Wow, look at that!” It’s literally jaw-dropping, the work that they’re doing, and I came to the gig on Thursday and I was blown away by the voices and by the talent. There was a guy playing a classical guitar and I was sure it was a pre-recording, I know it wasn’t but I was like wow, you know.
Helen: Again, the music students this year have worked so hard. We went down to Haverfordwest for the WorldSkills Competition where the group that played on Thursday performed there. They did a Stevie Wonder medley.
Kat: No way!
Helen: They sang CeeLo Green and they did Rocky Robin as well. Again, they received such great feedback from that as well. As well as the performance, it’s seeing how they’ve been developing their event skills, and to watch that, and how they set it all up themselves…you couldn’t ask for anything more. I said to them afterwards, “You should be proud of what you’ve managed to do this year.”
Dan: It’s mad to think back a year or so ago we were battling to try and save the arts in Cardiff, now this year it just seems like everywhere you look there’s new art things popping up left, right and centre.
Helen: So encouraging.
Dan: So the gig is on the 16th May, at Cardiff and Vale College in the Recital Room. It’s called the Recital Room Gig?
Helen: Yes, it’s called The Recital Room. There’ll be people by reception as part of the event so they’ll be able to guide people to where they need to go.
Dan: It’s free entry, no cost to get in?
Helen: No, but we are raising money for a charity called, “Nineteen”. It’s a charity that’s about raising awareness around mental health issues within young adults. We were collecting for that on the 4th May and we’re also going to be collecting again on the 16th, so donations are gratefully welcomed.
Dan: What other events have you got coming up over the road there at Cardiff and Vale College?
Kat: We are in the process of blowing Cardiff’s mind on the 8th of June with our end of year show which is going to be in the atrium area of the college. We’ve got every single creative department. We’re going to have music, performing arts, photography, media, film, fine art, we’ve got a catwalk show. We’re literally blowing it out of the water! That’s also a free event and it starts at 5pm.
Dan: Where’s the best place to keep up to date with all of these things?
Kat: On our college website and on facebook and instagram.
Dan: Just type into google, “Cardiff and Vale College”, and that’s it. You won’t be able to avoid it because it’s totally in your face.
Kat: Basically, yep. That’s our aim!
Dan: Brilliant! Well I personally can’t wait to see what coming of this. I’m really looking forward to the show, really looking forward to the end of year exhibition and looking forward to seeing if Saatchi decide that Humans of Cardiff is the best thing that they’ve had submitted and that they’ve got to display it in their exhibition space. They’ve got to, they’ve got to!
If you’d like to listen to the whole show then follow this link to the Radio Cardiff mix cloud and remember to subscribe so you never miss another show. To find out more about the gig and to add your attendance visit the event on facebook. That’s all from me for now! – Dan
Cardiff and Vale College – http://www.cavc.ac.uk/
Humans of Cardiff – http://www.facebook.com/HumansofCardiff
Radio Cardiff – http://www.radiocardiff.org
World Skills – http://worldskillswales.org/