Last night was the first public meeting of the Parc Project in Ysgol Parc, Bala, Gwynedd. The community was introduced to the three artists (David Woodfall, Greg Byatt and myself) and after a brief introduction from David (where he showed some pictures from a Bangladesh village lost to floods from climate change) we all watched the 1949 film “Noson Lawen” shot and based in Parc. Amazing to see many of the current landmarks of the village, such as the bridge, school and chapel almost completely unchanged.
Here’s a still from the film:
Maybe a little idealistic and sentimental at times this is still a great film, with some interesting imagery. The real message of the film (presumably shot in fairly harsh post war times economically) comes up in the final frame with the logo of the film’s sponsors National Savings Bank! Also, even watching it in 2012, you get a real sense of the strength of the community that it documents; something that we are hoping to mirror in our project.
This was followed by a short ‘work in progress@ film made by Greg Byatt from material he has already gathered in Parc.This included the school Christmas concert, a traditional toffee making session and all superimposed over a stirring soundtrack from the collectibve carol at the end of the Plygain last december.
Again really interesting to see that many of the contemporary images from Greg’s film could also with a few subtle changes (such as fashion or vehicles) could be from the 1940’s or older. A great response from all present to both the Noson Lawen film and the new film….
I then talked a little about my interest in music and “place”, and played a couple of short pieces including playing to a slide show of some of David’s photographs….
All in all, we were made to feel so welcome here, it really is a special community. Not only was this a chance for us to try out a mini version of how the project might work in its finished version it was also an opprtunity to engage in a two way dialogue with the community inviting their contributions. Within a very short period of time we were soon aware that we will probably have too much information as opposed to not enough!
David also made it clear to all that all parts of the project (but especially photos and videos) will be available free to local people, as part of us also giving something back to the community that we are documenting.
More details in the next blog, but I was lucky enough to meet a man who had been a POW in the nearby camp in Frongoch and had never gone home. With a wicked sense of humour he told me that his reading and writing were so bad at first that they had only recently told him that the war had finished. Priceless.
I hope to not only document the process of the project here but also offer the blog as a forum and collecting point for contributions from anyone re Parc.
Please feel free to email me if you have any contributions firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a link on the BBC website…. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-16106958
I look forward to the next phase of this project!