by Alex Bowen, Director
The Ogmore valley has a rich industrial and rural heritage. The sense of community still to be found there is as a result of hardship and struggle over the last few centuries. Many institutions were born out of this hardship and as a result local people (especially miners) contributed to make a better future for their families and communities. Some of the institutions that were created by the people for the people are no longer there and this is a source of great sadness for the valley. This inspired us to take our Art Bus to the valley to facilitate a new community project and to promote positive change.
Times have changed particularly in the last few years and we are leading very different lives to our forebearers and we face our own unique set of challenges. However, overcoming challenges is in fact the main strength of people in such areas having faced plenty of adversity in the past and I feel this working together serves to strengthen community bonds. As part of this project, we asked the people of Ogmore if they were proud of their community and it was wonderful to see that so many people still are.
The group that have come forward have shared their stories and experiences with us over the last few months – sharing their love of the valley, often telling us what they miss and imagining how it could be. We created a space for people to express their frustrations and grief for the changes that they have seen and hopefully this made way for the pride and care they feel to shine through in the digital stories they have made.
As much as we looked at the past we have witnessed the community work that people are doing currently. I have found it truly humbling to see what people do on a completely voluntary basis, giving of themselves for the good of the people around them and working together in a way that shows an ethic that has clearly been passed down through the generations. It is my belief that if this care and concern for others can be cherished and celebrated the community will continue to get stronger and stronger.
We hope to complete the digital stories soon and invite those who have taken part and their families to a showing of their films. Details of this will probably be available toward the end of the Summer 2013.