Hen Wlad Ein Plant / Land of Our Children

About the project

In Wales, we often refer to ‘ein milltir sgwâr’ (our square mile) as a way of referencing the area that we physically and emotionally inhabit, our cynefin. We are a nation defined by our communities, each a voice in the choir of our culture. As the world turns its eyes towards 2050, and the hope of imagining a more sustainable way of living, it is in our communities that we need to dream of change.

Our individual relationship with our own ‘milltir sgwâr’ is as important as our actions as a nation. The stories we tell about our own place in the world shape the way we think and the way we act. It is local action that starts a journey towards a more caring, just and self-sustaining society.

Hen Wlad Ein Plant / Land of Our Children was a collaboration between NTW, Gentle/Radical and Natural Resources Wales made possible by Arts Council of Wales’s Connect and Flourish Fund. We selected 8 remarkable artists to undertake a series of ‘hyper-local’ residencies. They each spent time in their ‘milltir sgwâr’ uncovering, unearthing and untangling. Asking questions of themselves and the people around them. Looking at the micro to help us understand the macro.

Each artist brought a unique view of the world around them. They were matched with mentors and interacted with specialists and scientists to help them explore this lens. Questioning what it brings to the way we see and talk about the future of our communities, and the future of our natural environment.

Hen Wlad Ein Plant / Land of Our Children took place between June - November 2021. Ahead of the project, we asked our first cohort of artists to share more about themselves and their residencies….

Rebecca Smith Williams: Taffs Well

Rebecca is an actress, writer and gardener. She studied acting at Rada and Horticulture with the RHS at Bristol Botanic Gardens. She is a co-founder of theatre company Triongl, artistic associates at Chapter, and together they write and perform new work for the stage that tours Wales. As a gardener, Rebecca tends and designs gardens across Cardiff, and in her own garden she loves growing vegetables, flowers and lots of other plants that have decided to make her garden their home. Rebecca lives in Taffs Well where she will be undertaking her residency.

Lisa Heledd Jones: Glyndyfrdwy

Based on her family farm in North Wales, artist Lisa Heledd Jones works with sound, story and landscape, often producing audio, film and performance work. For this residency Lisa will focus on the small village where she was born and lives – Glyndyfrdwy. Like many small rural villages, shared spaces are disappearing – the shops, school and chapels are all closed. Lisa plans to explore what still exists and what may have been overlooked and how this might inform how we reframe and reimagine our home.

Justin Teddy Cliffe: Newport

“My name is Justin. I’m a Theatre Maker and Artist based in Newport. Through my personal practice I create absurdist, comedic and raucous work that explores human experience, mental health and pop-philosophy through a contemporary kind of low-brow clowning.

My residency is taking place in a small parkland close to where I live. I wanted to explore this place because it sort of feels like it belongs to me and that I share it with a load of other people. That communality interests me a lot and through acknowledging it I want to explore power, value, ownership and trust.”

Lal Davies: Gellifor

Lal Davies is a film-maker, photographer and poet. Her film genres are first-person narrative and short documentary, in social justice, education arts and heritage contexts. She’s worked with individuals and communities, in Wales and beyond since 2001 with people whose stories may be under-represented, misheard or marginalised in some way. In her own practice, Lal pursues film photography and poetry, as distinct disciplines and at the blurred edges of where they meet. This work explores her relationship with nature and post-colonial narratives. Lal’s for Land of Our Children hyper-local residency will be in Gellifor.

Catriona James: Pengam Permanent Allotments, Cardiff

“I’m a multi-disciplinary theatre-maker based in Adamsdown, Cardiff. I write, I act, I dance and I direct. I like to move people. Sometimes through actual physical movement, but also by moving them to laughter, to feeling and thinking – perhaps towards a deeper understanding of themselves and the experiences of others. I’m going to spend my residency at Pengam Permanent Allotments, where I’ve had an allotment with two friends since May 2021. I hope to get to know the community there better. Visitors to our plot are welcome if you fancy a spot of weeding or a cup of tea?”

Manon Steffan Ros: Tywyn

Manon Steffan Ros is a writer, columnist and screenwriter who primarily works through the medium of Welsh. She was born and raised in Rhiwlas, Dyffryn Ogwen, but now lives in Tywyn, Meirionnydd. She will be creatively exploring the waterways within walking distance of her home- the sea, and the Dysynni river.

Georgina Biggs: Cardiff Bay

SheWolf is a disabled – led performance company bringing landscape alive through performance. For this residency its Artistic Director, Gina Biggs, explores the view from her window; across Cardiff Bay towards Flat Holm island. Collaborating with Natural Resources Wales and the Reducing Industrial Carbon Emission project Gina will interview the stewards of land and sea, engaging with the biodiversity of marine ecosystems and climate change science to ask: How can lived disabled experience help model a progressive society? What does it have in common with unstable environmental contexts? And how can these common threads help locate power and change how power works?

Cerian Wilshere-Davies: Swansea

Cerian Wilshere-Davies is a comedian, theatre maker and facilitator based in Swansea. Their work focuses queer Welsh history and forging connections between LGBTQ+ people living Wales and Welsh landscape, heritage and community. Cerian is the founder of Queer Clown Cabaret and is passionate about platforming and celebrating queer voices. Their residency will be an investigation into queer ecology and looking at how the queer experience can shape our understanding of the environment and community around us. The location they’ve chosen to do the residency is in Swansea and the Gower coastal paths.