South Wales Central
As one of the original 500 members of YesCymru I have demonstrated a long term commitment to the establishment of Cymru as an independent country. Only through independence will we have the opportunity to create a better country through managing our own affairs, and through allowing the people of Wales a democratic choice in the running of their country.
Having helped to organise YesCymru Caerdydd’s Indyfest in 2017 it is fantastic to see how the message of YesCymru, that Independence is both natural and possible, has caught the imagination of so many people in Wales in the past five years.
Not only have we seen the membership of Yes Cymru swell, but also the political and media normalisation of the concept, and the introduction of independence into everyday conversations. With such attention, differences of opinion regarding particular aims, objectives, priorities, strategies, interest groups, etc within an organisation are inevitable.
That is also the reality of the state of affairs in any real world nation. It is not a situation that can be walked away from in disappointment or despair, but one that must seek reformation and conciliation. I have not previously put myself forward for an official role in YesCymru, partly because I did feel that such roles were previously ill-defined, but now feel the time is right to step forward.
I welcome the new approach to harnessing the power of the passion and enthusiasms of the members of YesCymru through the new National Governing Body, and while I must honestly say that I don’t currently understand absolutely every nuance of terminology in the standing orders and byelaws, I have read them all and will educate myself, with the organisation’s and members’ assistance, to ensure my full compliance with the duties of a Director.
I would like to offer the following outline of my life experiences, and as evidence of my ability to fulfil the general duties of a Director, from following organisational constitutions, avoiding conflicts of interest, acting independently, self learning etc.
Born to Welsh parents who relocated to London for work in the 1960’s, and brought up in Essex in the 1960’s and 70’s, I became very aware of social, political and cultural differences between Wales and England at a very early age through very frequent trips ‘home’ to Cardiff during nearly every school holiday.
Swansea University beckoned in 1982, a university on a beach in Wales, who could resist? Initially studying Economics and Politics, I graduated in Philosophy and Psychology, before a Masters in Media Studies at Cardiff Centre for Journalism Studies at University College Cardiff, graduating in 1987 with a thesis on the mass media’s treatment of environmental issues.
As academic interest in this field was thin on the ground at that time I became something of an instant ‘expert’ when Margaret Thatcher started her greenwashing, then worked for a variety of environmental organisations helping with media and publicity. During this time, with both British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and latterly Friends of the Earth Cymru, `I became aware of the importance of the Welsh language in understanding place, history, community, communication etc, in ways that had previously been either minimised or suppressed in my personal experience.
I began to learn Welsh, but before utilising it much in the field of environmentalism, I almost literally ‘ran away with the circus’ after witnessing the work of Welsh theatre company Brith Gof and had the honour to work with them between 1990 and 1997. Their complex and intelligent approaches to language, history, culture, art and media, presenting a vibrant, confident and outwards facing version of Wales to both Welsh and international audiences excited me like nothing before. This was a time of re-imagining possible Wales’ for the future, in music, the performing arts, in literature and visual arts in the years leading up to devolution.
Unfortunately for the arts I believe the limited devolution settlement proved something of a letdown, with the aping of institutions and forms from elsewhere becoming something of the norm, rather than a championing of difference and the unique selling points of the arts in Wales. This was something I tried to address through becoming involved as a member of the Welsh National Committee of British Actors’ Equity, 1998-2000, and with the Arts Council of Wales, variously as a Drama Panel member, National Advisor and regional committee member between 2000 and 2011.
While continuing to make experimental art, both solo and with my own companies (since 1996 as good cop bad cop) both in Wales and Internationally, I have also used my skills to help educate future generations on the radical traditions of Wales, both within and outside the arts. I have been Research Fellow in Time-based Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design, Vocational Research Fellow in Bilingual Graphic Design through the medium of Welsh at Swansea Metropolitan University and Visiting Lecturer in the use of technology in Performance (in English and Welsh) at University of South Wales.
This interest in transferring knowledge, and specifically in relation to Welsh experiences is what led me to becoming a School governor and parent representative on Caerffili County Council’s Education and Life-long Learning scrutiny committee between 2012 and 2020.
In terms of wider public engagement, in 2011 I co-founded ‘Pitch’, a hour-long live radio programme on the community radio station Radio Cardiff, offering a weekly platform for conversation about the arts and culture in Cardiff and beyond. This continues to run to date (now as Pitch/Illustration/Radio).
Having previously lived in Swansea, Cardiff, Risca, Penarth, and Barry I moved to Treforrest in 2017 and in 2020 became a Committee member of Clwb y Bont in Pontypridd, and as their representative became a Director of YourPontypridd BID in 2021.
Political Affiliations: Member of Plaid Cymru