The city that I live, work play and form

Written by Julian Sykes

night time

Through our actions we influence others, or at the every least we affect them.

I wanted to think about this in a branding sense, and in particular the idea of branding a destination. Firstly lets think about a place as a person. As with a person a city has a personality both good and bad. It also has interests these might fade over time but there will always be an underlying nature or a core that runs throughout. Just like people a city will change and grow, I once remember reading that someone's personality changes approx every seven years. In time a city changes emphasise from housing, innovation, manufacturing, festivals all of these elements will seem to be more or less important at different times.

So I think for me what is really interesting is can we inspire a city? Can we make it change personality and can this be a genuine thing as opposed to a make over? As we are based in Cardiff I think it best to contextualise it through my experiences of the city. Cardiff is an interesting personality.

In it's modern guise (widely identified by many as being created through John Crichton-Stuart's work) it was a rich city, somewhere for trade and a port at the centre of the industrial revolution. It helped power the world economy through the black coal being pulled out of it's very heart further North in the valleys. Features that have since been formed from this and are now such an integral part of the city. Spaces such as the green spaces of the city and other iconic buildings such as the castle which due to it being in the centre of the city has to be a great personal attribute. But these are physical attributes what are the things underlying the city that make it ebb and flow. What are the things that excite the city and want the city to tell other cities about?

So through various work over the years our work with Cardiff Design Festival has tried to give the city a design interest a place that could potentially grow into a creative centre of excellence. The festival produced by Olwen and Angela with the support of Cardiff Met Uni, has indeed changed my experience of the design scene within Cardiff from one of a closed nature through to one that is opening up day by day. Only time will tell what impact in clients and projects these design companies get but the future has begun.

Secondly over the last two to three years I have been hugely involved in working with thinkARK , where we have produced a number of projects that have all commented on Cardiff in some way. Sometimes positive other times looking at what could be improved. But what I have come to realise recently is actually the work is an attempt to change and inspire the city to bring an ability and skill to it that it may not have had before. With this simple thought I felt that this might extend to all of the small 'events' being created in Cardiff. These are truly the unique parts of Cardiff. The independence, lack of funding and openness is what makes them unique. The small events when added together are huge part of events in Cardiff. Just as the smal businesses of the UK make up the majority of the UK economy so too does the small event.

So is it time to bring these to the fore? Make and give Cardiff it's heart through the genuine local events.