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Park life

12 August 2011

Young people from south Wales have designed and laid out a piece of eco-artwork in a Cardiff park as part of a project to help them build their skills and self confidence.

Co-ordinated by Dr Dave Wyatt from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion the project gave disadvantaged young people the chance to learn about the history of Bute Park and to use their creativity to produce biodegradable art themed on Palaeolithic cave paintings.

Run in conjunction with Bute Park Restoration Project, National Museum Wales, artist Paul Evans and the youth charity Fairbridge, the two-day project involved experimental archaeology workshops in which the young people learnt about the stone-age and our prehistoric ancestors.

stoneage graffiti

As well as finding out how stone-age tools were manufactured the group also had the chance to handle authentic tools from the period at the National Museum, Cardiff. Inspired by their experiences they were then tasked with creating a piece of art using only items such as stones and trees they had foraged for in the park.

Dr Dave Wyatt, School of History, Archaeology and Religion said: "What we wanted to do was to get the young people to think about aspects of Bute Park’s long heritage and to give them some investment in the park as a positive social space for all. Fairbridge do amazing work and I was really inspired by the young people’s imagination, creativity and commitment over the two days.

"We are really hoping that this project can be rolled out next year to create a much larger heritage trail in Bute Park encompassing all periods of history, with many more opportunities for other young people working with Fairbridge and getting them further involved with great the great work being done by the Bute Park Restoration Project."

Paul Evans, the artist involved in the project said: "The story of man's occupation of the Bute Park site - which goes back many thousands of years - is very inspiring and it made a good starting point for making a work of art. It was fantastic to see the young people engaging with the subject so fully - they had some great ideas and showed real enthusiasm for both the archaeology and the creative task. What we managed to achieve in just a few short hours by the banks of the river Taff was pretty amazing I thought."

John Dyer, operations manager at Fairbridge Cymru added: "The collaboration between Fairbridge, Cardiff University, Bute Park, and the National Museum has offered these young people a unique chance to learn about their heritage in an interactive and inspiring way."

Related links

School of History, Archaeology and Religion