Splott Adventure Playground - Cardiff
Splott Adventure Playground was our local kids zone, funded by the local authority. While lots of activities were provided after school as well as during the holidays and weekends, many kids hated the place intensely. Generally, they had been banned for, smoking, or swearing, or fighting, or stealing. They perceived this place as an outpost of "Babylon", as defined in the Rastafarian culture. The majority of these 10 and 12 year olds smoked "Ganja" and identified strongly with ideas expressed in the lyrics of the songs of Bob Marley and other "prophets".
Anyways, a kind of solution was achieved by CrackpotsCAO building a kiln in the yard. This was constructed during several evening sessions and a Saturday using heat retaining fire bricks. These had been salvaged from heat storage radiators and were ideal for "live" firings with salvaged wood. Several attempts were necessary because the construction of the kiln got trashed overnight. The kiln was rebuilt a number of times before the banned kids came to enquire what we were doing, while we were doing it and eventually they began to join in with what we were doing. Later we got them in to the local scrap yards and demolition sites "officially" - to collect wood and fire bricks [a large number had been illegally fly tipped, so we went for these with Dennis and the councils permission !!!! sort of anyway.] and other materials like clay.
CrackpotsCAO worked here for about a year in a voluntary capacity, building up our experience and confidence. We also met and worked with other artists and musicians who lived locally, co-producing a Bonfire night performance. This required the kids to make and play percussion instruments for a procession as well as costumes, scrap art and fire sculptures for the performance. This was a very challenging environment where many kids regularly avoided school and got criminal records as soon as they were able. After a while, some of these kids became great helpers, often acting as protectors of their adventure playground and dissuading other, would be vandals. Later, one or two embarked on "Youth Worker/Leader" training schemes.
Images in this gallery were taken during two of these projects. The first project shown here involved building a wood fired kiln using scrapped materials. The other involved children and parents who made percussion instruments which they played in a torch lit procession. The procession led everyone to a musical performance with fire sculptures.
Photos Splott 1 Foundations for wood fired kiln in the compound. Splott 2 Mark Appleton with the wood fired kiln at a later stage in the construction. Splott 3 Splott kids collect wood in a local scrap yard. The wood is fuel for the kiln. Splott 4 Splott kids collect wood 2 Splott 5 Collecting wood 3 Splott 6 Collecting wood 4 Splott 7 Collecting wood 5 Splott 8 Poster for the evening performance by Christine Barker. Splott 9 Effigy of a judge. A prop for the performance. Splott 10 Musical performance with fire sculptures. Splott 11 Fire sculpture prop during the performance.