Travel theme: Autumn

A very seasonal travel theme from Ailsa this week (click here to see other entries). As well as the usual falling leaves, autumnal colours and longer, colder nights, autumn in our neighbourhood also means it’s time for our annual local arts festival. I didn’t have time to take any photos of Made in Roath this year because I was too busy being a part of the festival, but here are some photos of last year’s activities.

Made in Roath: Part 5


This week, I have been sharing with you my favourite bits of the 2013 Made in Roath festival. Here’s all the stuff that didn’t quite fit in anywhere else.

I came across these guys outside the community centre at the end of my street. I have no idea what their performance piece was all about, but they were certainly attracting a crowd.


This little critter was hiding in a tree next to the community garden.


When the festival is on, it’s not always easy to tell what is art and therefore part of the festival and what isn’t. I remember one year when a toilet appeared on the street outside my house. I was too embarrassed to phone the council and ask them to remove it incase it was an installation piece!

Down at Om Yoga Studio, Kalavathi showed us how to make Kolam art, an Indian technique using coloured rice powder.

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The whole festival finished on Thursday evening with a cycle-in screening of E.T. We are very environmentally conscious in our neighbourhood, and residents were given free popcorn if they arrived by bike.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my view of the festival. If you’re ever in Cardiff in October, come check out our cool community.

Made in Roath: Part 4

If you’ve ever read my blog before, you’ll know that I love street art. During the Made in Roath festival, there was lots of new street art that popped up around the neighbourhood. What made it more exciting was that we weren’t told exactly where the new pieces were going to be or what they would depict. You’d here a rumour from someone who’d spotted one, and then everyone would dash off to see it for themselves. Here’s the ones that I managed to find:

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Made in Roath: Part 3


As part of Made in Roath, The Closed Road provided an eclectic mix of activites in a relatively small space.

There was music…

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arts and crafts…


yet more artwork…

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(they provide educational workshops on where chickens and eggs come from. The owners of the chickens that is, not the actual chickens themselves)


And my personal favourite, the Milkwood caravan. Milkwood is a gallery a short walk from my home. They use the caravan as a mobile venue. For the festival, they asked people to tell them their story, and in return you got a free book. I chose a Lonely Planet guide to Germany. It’s a few years out of date, but I’m sure some of it is still relevant 🙂

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Made in Roath: Part 2

One of the great things about the Made in Roath festival is that it brings the community together. You find yourself talking to strangers that you have probably walked past hundreds of times and sharing stories with them. Some of the conversations are triggered naturally whilst admiring the same piece of artwork or asking others for directions to your next stop. Some, on the other hand, are slightly more engineered by exhibits that are designed to get people talking.

‘Shelternet’ by Francesc Serra Vila was installed in the community garden to encourage people to come together and get involved. Various activites took place there, including a skills swap. I really like standing in the structure, it felt secure and it reminded me of being in a tent.

Francesc's model for Shelternet
Francesc’s model for Shelternet

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‘The World in Roath’ was a simple, yet brilliant, idea from Johan Hilditch and Linda Hilditch. They put a giant map of the world on a board in the street, and invited everyone to pin their connections to different parts of the planet onto it.


Clive Ward asked people to contribute to his piece ‘Interacting with our Natural Environment’ by coming along to the conservatory and adding some plastic to it, highlighting the effects of our interaction with the environment.

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Made in Roath: Part 1


There are many reasons I love my neighbourhood. There’s always something to do here, exciting projects to get involved in and new friends to meet. It’s hard to define exactly where ‘Roath’ is. Officially, Roath doesn’t exist. Cardiff Council will tell you that the area known as Roath is an amalgamation of Plasnewydd, Pen-y-lan and Cathays. Locally, however, I think it will always be known as Roath.

Five years ago, a small group of local artists set up some exhibitions that enouraged new artists to show their work alongside established ones. Flyers were dropped through the doors of neighbourhood houses, inviting people to open up their homes as mini galleries.

One of the Made in Roath numbers that are given out to guide people around the exhibits
One of the Made in Roath numbers that are given out to guide people around the exhibits

Today, the Made in Roath arts festival takes over the entire neighbourhood for a whole week and includes film, music, performance, demonstrations and some things that just can’t be categorised. There’s an amazing buzz around Roath when the festival is on, and the great atmosphere makes it impossible not to leave the house and join the hundreds of people wandering around with festival programmes in their hands.

And the best thing about Made in Roath? It’s free! Oh, and wherever you go, there’s always lots and lots of cake.

It’s impossible to visit all of the events during the festival. There are over sixty inlcuded in the art maps given out to visitors to help them find their way around, and that’s not including the people who just decide to randomly set up on their own. I tried my best to get around as much as I could, though, even when the weather turned against us and it poured down with rain. I’d like to share with you what I experienced during the festival, but even with the limited time I had free I managed to cram in a lot, so I’ve decided to split it up into different posts over the week.

I thought I’d start at the beginning, the reason the festival exists – art.

A record number of people decided to hold open houses this year, and the work ranged from traditional paintings and sculpture to canvases made from melted wax crayons, weaving and textiles, poetry displayed in windows and robots. There was more than enough to fill a day just on my street.


Jacob Whittaker covered the path to his front door with records to show how the recording format has virtually disappeared in recent years. He also placed pieces of broken record around Roath with QR codes that led to various videos including the first published birdsong recording on a 1920s grampohone.


‘Facing the Park’ by Betina Skovbro showed a series of individual portraits, placed in the front windows of a row of houses, revealing the people who live there.

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There was also a bigger diversity of locations this year, including pubs, shops, restaurants and even the local laundarette.

Unfortunately, some of the venues were not up to defending themselves against the British weather. New artists having a go at painting as part of ‘Paint the Park’ found their canvases got more than a bit wet.

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My friend Paddy, a professional photographer, included some of his work. My favourite is the first photo 🙂


All the photos from the 2013 Cardiff Photomarathon were displayed outside one of the community centres. And, as I entered the Photomarathon, I can technically say that I was a contributing artist to Made in Roath. OK, it’s a tenuous link I know, but let me have my moment.

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And, just in case you lost your map or couldn’t decide what you wanted to see, Gerogina Fineman helpfully doodled recommendations of the best things to do every day on the window of my favourite restaurant, Milgi.