Funding: I2S Impact Investment Scheme, Being Human Festival 2017 (funded by AHRC)
Principal Investigator: Prof. Paul Carr
Collaborators: Merthyr Tydfil Library, Merthyr Leisure Trust, The Young Promoters Network, Canolfan a Theatr Soar, Old Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust, Merthyr Tydfil College, The Red House and Historypin.
Thanks to initial funding from the Impact Investment Scheme, Professor Paul Carr is currently working on an initiative that focuses on the development of the history of popular in Merthyr Tydfil between 1955 to the mid 1970s. This multifaceted project investigates how memories of engagement with local, national and international popular music activity in the town, facilitates audiences and artists to negotiate their individual and shared nostalgic memories and identities, while also attempting to understand issues associated with articulating them.
The project is in collaboration with a number of stakeholders such as Merthyr Tydfil Library, Merthyr Leisure Trust, The Young Promoters Network, Canolfan a Theatr Soar (the Welsh language theatre based in the town), Old Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust, Merthyr Tydfil College, The Red House (Merthyr Town Hall) and Historypin, all of who have agreed to work strategically with the project.
The project is currently in the early stages, but is currently investigating and implementing a web-based archive of local popular music memorabilia, facilitated by a series of community based digital literacy workshops, through which local residents learn how to engage with their musical history and prepare their own digital stories and materials (such as music files, newspaper cuttings, visual footage and photos).
Most importantly, the project ultimately aims to transform the unwritten history of popular music in the region, which is currently a largely unwritten narrative, by encouraging local residents and those who have left the region to engage with their memories of music making in the town. This will not only safeguard popular music heritage for future generations by safeguarding existing data, but also generate a wealth of new material. At the time of writing, a month long exhibition has been organised for February 2018 at Merthyr Town Hall, in addition to a conference and series of public performances. Professor Carr has also given a number of public engagement lectures in the town for local community groups such as Merthyr Tydfil Historical Society and the Workers Education Association.