When I first moved to Cardiff in 2005, I was super excited to discover Cathays and Central Youth and Community Centre. I got involved in the music youth club, quickly progressing to work in the open access club as well as the inclusive youth provision and a project for young people not attending school.

This background in youth work has instilled a strong belief that young people are vital to the health and wellbeing of our community. Too often the views, actions and abilities of our young people are not taken seriously, and they are unable to contribute in a meaningful way, to shaping the world in which they live.

LCS Creative Collaboration Project with Radyr High School.

I have been a Creative Agent and Practitioner for the Arts Council Lead Creative Schools programme, working with schools to develop creative projects with young people at their heart. I have also worked with youth organisations including Voices From Care, Autism Puzzles, Newport City Council Youth Service and Cardiff Youth Offending Service.

For a long time community groups and organisations including the police, probation, schools etc. have seen the potential for utilising spray-paint and ‘graffiti’ art for engaging communities. Very often though an artist will be employed for a very short space of time, and will drop in, and drop right back out again at the end of the project. If graffiti is to be useful in providing an alternative path there needs to be sufficient thought about the bigger picture.

Whenever I’m asked to do a workshop, I begin questioning… Why? What will happen when I’m gone? Who else is involved? And most importantly, what is the context – what’s the local graffiti scene like?

Writing graffiti gives a voice. It adds colour and character where there was none before. It makes people ask difficult questions – Who did that? Why?

When working in a community it’s important to involve local people as an integral part of the process, so that they can carry on once I’ve left. And I’ll ALWAYS push for a legal wall, to provide an alternative to illegal graffiti. Legal walls allow development of skills and techniques, a place to learn and grow, and a place to meet and connect with the wider community.


Cardiff’s Millenium Walkway Graffiti Hall of Fame