Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Barn Centre - Canolfan Yr Ysgubor 1984 by Lynda Waterhouse

I bought this postcard two days ago after a series of meetings which had left me feeling gloomy and depressed about the future of primary education and literacy. You can always count on Oscar Wilde to find le bon mot.  It made me smile. The older I become the less certain I am of anything. There are no easy answers anymore.
Then I thought about my own breathtaking arrogance when I was younger. The assumptions that I made that I knew better and that there were different ways of doing things. Shrinking violets do not change the world!
As if on cue and during a rare bout of dusting I uncovered this document created in 1984. (Those heady days before the advent of the computer)
In 1982, during the last Tory government and during a period of unemployment, recession and social unrest I was living in Aberystwyth. I had just finished a Drama and English degree and was considering my future. The old Drama and Education Department in the town centre had become empty and I became part of a group of local people to form The Aberystwyth Community Association. For a while in 1984 I think I became the Chair! I have a vague memory of making a speech.
The building was filled with artists, film makers, theatre groups, photographers. Thanks to a Manpower Services Grant I had a part time job with Theatre West. I helped run Aber Youth Theatre and started a group for local unemployed people called Supplementary Theatre. Nothing seemed impossible. 
We ran classes in photography, drawing, clay modelling, screen printing. Open studios were created and classes provided for people with mental heath problems. An art gallery was created. There was a mother and baby drop in room.
The experiment didn’t last. The buildings were returned to the council. I left for London. Some parts of the Community Association survived.
Perhaps there are some easy answers.


Penny Dolan said...

No answers here, Lynda, but what a heady time you describe. I can recall a wonderfully rambling old house that was a artist's community in Welwyn Garden City and where there were lots of similar groups and classes.

I'm sure it's harder now to find the spaces where one can set up such groups and classes, especially for activities where no "measured individual learning outcome" (or similar limitation)is expected & required.

Elen C said...

Take heart, Penny! It isn't hard at all. In Bristol, we have scores of people who are involved in setting up artists' spaces, community learning hubs, weird and wonderful club nights. The recession has been a dream for anyone wanting to set up a pop-up. Here are some of them:





But then, Bristol is ace.

Anonymous said...


catdownunder said...

And one group here had to stop a couple of years ago because the "public liability insurance" bill was well almost $2000 - all sorts of things get in the way but those groups can do so much good.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Was attracted to the saying on your postcard, Lynda, my counsellor friend uses this as her signature and it has always fascinated me. Looks like Elen has offered you some help.

ahmed mamdouh said...

دودى ميكس
تحميل برامج التعديل على الصور Edit Photos Programes
تحميل جميع برامج الحماية و مكافحة الفيروسات Free AntiVirus Programs