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S2 Ep 2: Who holds the power?


This episode explores the power dynamics that underpin cultural participation and research. We discuss how where you live can impact on how you engage with culture and how authentic participatory research can help bring to the fore the voices of people who have previously gone unheard.

Guests

  • Avant Cymru on the challenges of telling stories from the Welsh Valleys and the power dynamics at play in funding decision-making. [01:31 – 10:39]
  • Dr Sylvan Baker (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) on what it means to do authentic co-research with care experienced young people. [11:16 – 21:17]
  • Dr Helen Graham (University of Leeds) on opening up ‘glass cases’ in museums to enable communities to interact more closely with material culture [22:09 – 31:40]

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Resources

Resources referenced in this episode



Guest biographies

Sylvan Baker
 

Sylvan Baker

Dr Sylvan Baker, FRSA, is a care leaver, and Senior Lecturer, Community Performance Applied Theatre, at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. An Associate Artist of the award-winning project, Performing Medicine and former Associate Director of Arts and Social Justice research centre, People’s Palace Projects. His research explores innovative methods to stimulate co creation and agency amongst marginalised communities. As Deputy-Principal Investigator of the MRC funded Re-star project, he supports Neuro-diverse young people in the creation of resources to combat depression; as Co-Founder/Investigator of the award winning, AHRC funded, The Verbatim Formula, he uses performance with care-experienced young people to stimulate improvements to their care.

Christopher
 

Christopher

Christopher is an actor from the Cynon Valley, South Wales. Originally training as a historian and teacher, he became an actor in 2016. His theatrical career has encompassed Shakespearean roles, contemporary theatre, UK tours, and television appearances.

Gabby
 

Gabby

My name is Gabrielle, and my truest love (other than books) has always been for the performing arts. I work predominantly as an actor, but also like to dabble in writing and production from time to time, and I’m currently working with Avant Cymru to bring artistic opportunities to the Valleys. I’ve performed in local theatre productions from childhood, being a part of a variety of productions over the years, such as Billy Elliot, Starlight Express, Grease, The Addams Family, Guys and Dolls, Barnum, Les Miserables, Singin’ In The Rain, 13 The Musical, and Beauty and the Beast, and have been lucky enough to have performed in Blackout at the National Theatre in London in 2016. More recently, I’ve been privileged enough to have performed as Juliet in Avant Cymru’s Romeo and Juliet, Maria in Twelfth Night, and Alice in Henry V.

As a performer from a small town, working class background, I understand how difficult it can be to come by opportunities in this industry, particularly coming from a poorer area; I hope that going forward, we can begin to create more equal means and opportunities across the board, allowing everyone a seat at the table, as I believe that art and creativity is a birthright that we are all meant to enjoy.

Helen Graham
 

Helen Graham

Helen’s research lies at the intersection of political theory and participative and action-led forms of research. With museums, heritage and place as a focus, she investigates political dynamics of property, rights and claims; of democracy; of agency and affinity. Helen does this through participative and action-led research methods, experimenting with how small-scale participatory work can be combined with large scale whole system action. Recent projects include My Castle Gateway with Phil Bixby and in partnership with the City of York Council and Bradford’s National Museum project with the National Science and Media Museum.

Rachel Pedley
 

Rachel Pedley

Rachel Pedley is a disabled working class creative producer. Her work focuses on working with collaboration with community and freelancers. Many of the collaborators have faced barriers to the arts because of access, finance and discrimination.

Rachel trained at London Studio Centre and has performed on stage and screen. She is the founding director of Avant Cymru, starting the company to create a space for unheard voices, initially tackling her own journey of recurrent miscarriages.


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