Cultural Ambition


Keir Griffiths is one of the first cohort of trainees across Wales who has been accepted for the Cultural Ambition project – a project which supports young people to develop workplace skills in the heritage sector. At the moment the 23 year old trainee has a placement at the National Library of Wales which contributes to the programme led by Creative & Cultural Skills and Welsh Government through the HLF Skills for the Future grant.

Recently, Keir has been contributing to the People’s Collection Wales website, by adding content which celebrates the rich history of Wales and its people. ‘I have always dabbled with photography and been able to connect with items which are visually appealing,’ explained Keir, 23, who took some time out after leaving school. ‘I was suffering from depression, and I felt that I needed some space to decide which direction to go next. I was really lucky to have been accepted as a trainee for the project and I felt that I could give this a go.’

The Cultural Ambition Trainee Course provides 12 months training placements for 33 young people who are currently not in education, employment or training, giving them the opportunity to work remotely towards a qualification as a registered student at Cardiff and Vale College. Keir is the second student who has been given a work placement at the National Library; he has also had a placement with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

‘I was introduced to People’s Collection Wales and the website, and as I was browsing through the gallery I actually saw a photograph of my Dad’s friend; he was quite excited when he found out! There are all kinds of material on the website. I was keen to add some content relating to Welsh History and castles in particular. I think that my interest in castles is due to the fact that I was brought up here in Aberystwyth, and that the castle grounds was an important part of my childhood. I find that I am also drawn to images of castles because of where they’re situated on the Welsh landscape – they always have great views and a great sense of purpose. Searching for castles in different locations was one of the things I immediately turned to in order to select images from FlickrCymru for PCW which had some solid metadata and no copyright issues.

‘The PCW website provides a great opportunity to explore and to discover through photographs – which is exactly what you want if you’re interested in history and local history. What I particularly like is that we can learn so much about changes in our society and it’s fantastic when you have visual records that capture those changes. There are so many stories to be told.

‘One of my favourite items from the PCW website is this photograph of Aberystwyth beach. Although the view is so familiar, the differences when compared to today’s view are obvious. Notably, the lifeboat slipway that no longer exists, the missing bandstand, the lack of the Camera Obscura and a view you just don’t get these days of rowing boats and horses on the beach!’

As well as being a trainee on the Cultural Ambition project Keir is currently a member of the Unloved Heritage youth group in Ceredigion, a programme of community archaeology activities designed to engage, enthuse and inspire young people to get involved with their local heritage. He has also been involved in mentoring a younger group within Unloved Heritage – something he feels particularly particularly proud of. ‘It’s really important for young people to be able to feel a connection with their heritage – and for them to realise that it’s something for them, not just the older generation.’

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