A new youth project at the Royal Commission, ‘Unloved Heritage: Ceredigion Off-limits?’
The Ceredigion Heritage Youth Panel, the CHYPs, has started on a new project at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, exploring ‘off-limits’ heritage in Ceredigion.
‘Ceredigion Off-limits?’ is a three-year youth-led project that will use archaeology and creative activities to engage and empower young people and their communities to record, interpret, manage and protect nineteenth and twentieth century heritage sites in North Ceredigion. Funded by the Heritage Lottery and led by CADW, the ‘Ceredigion Off-limits?’ Project is part of ‘Unloved Heritage’, a youth programme taking place across Wales. The Royal Commission, the four Archaeological Trusts in Wales and CADW will work in partnership over the next three years to bring together seven regional projects, all focusing on different types of heritage:
- Twentieth century urban skateboarding in Swansea
- Rural Wales and the industrial combustion engine in Clwyd/Powys
- The heritage of Llanelli town and it’s industrial past in Dyfed
- The slate industry in Dyffryn Nantlle, Gwynedd
- Mining Heritage in Blaenrhondda, Rhondda Cynon Taf
- The heritage of Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire
During the first year the CHYPs (Ceredigion Heritage Youth Panel) will work in partnership to uncover nineteenth-century ghostly workers and workplaces in Ceredigion. Youth panel members hope to develop their knowledge and skills during the project, whilst their high aspirations and drive will certainly be key to the project’s success, as this comment from James Saunders, a member of the youth panel, illustrates,
“I want to get a sense of community engagement, the sense that I’ve helped bond a community together, and helped people understand the past whilst linking it to the present. I’d really like to develop my skills too; large-scale budgeting, community engagement skills, group decision-making, camera/photography work, outdoor pursuits training and experience, interviewing/ gathering oral history and learning how different organisations work as well as how their systems work.”
In developing ‘Ceredigion Off-limits?’, the Royal Commission has built on existing partnerships and relationships while also identifying new ones, specifically focusing on developing best practice when working with young people who might not otherwise be engaged with heritage. To facilitate the project the Royal Commission has appointed Anna Evans as a part-time Youth Project Officer, and she said that,
“It’s both exciting and refreshing to be part of a heritage focused youth project that is linked across Wales and I’m really looking forward to working as closely as possible with the other six project officers and their youth groups. I’m sure that working together will improve the way we work, it’s always good to share ideas that work well, both locally and nationally”
As well as drawing on the skills and expertise of national partners and its own staff, the Royal Commission and the CHYPs will also work closely with organisations and groups in Ceredigion. Anna and the youth panel have already made links with local partners, including youth services in the county, Ceredigion Museum, Ceredigion Archives, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth University and Penparcau Community Forum. As the theme for the first year is Ghosts, Graft and Grind: Uncovering the nineteenth century ghostly workers and workplaces of Ceredigion’s past, we will also be forging partnerships with the Cambrian Mines Trust and the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust.
The youth panel has already started planning their own programme, as well as enjoying a taster activity at Ceredigion Archives, alongside members of a youth group run by Ceredigion Council. Everyone got creative in response to ‘Making History’ at Ceredigion Archives and at Ceredigion Museum.
Other recent activities include low-light photography with Brian Swaddling from Aberystwyth Arts Centre and mapping the working landscape of Penparcau with Jon Dollery, the Royal Commission’s Mapping Officer.
Project members are currently busy with preparations for a Heritage Weekend at Llywernog Silver Lead Mine on 24 -25 March by helping with the restoration of the paddle wheel, painting fencing, and devising fun activities for the free event. The young people will be there to welcome visitors alongside site staff, members of the Cambrian Mines Trust and members of the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust.
If you are between 16 and 25 years old you can join the CHYPs, the project youth panel, or alternatively you can get involved as a volunteer, project mentor or as an organisation. If you would like to know more let us know by contacting Anna Evans.
Telephone: 01970 621241 or 621200