Museum of Cardiff - Museums Association

Museum of Cardiff

People of Butetown

The People of Butetown project was a collaboration between the Museum of Cardiff and a collective of community artists.

Taking the centenary of the 1919 Race Riots as a starting point, it shared stories of the prejudice and racism experienced by the community, and celebrated its resilience and creativity.

The project began with an event, including talks and displays from the museum, Butetown community, Glamorgan Archives, Cardiff Libraries, Race Equality First and the Heritage Cultural Exchange.

The event encouraged learning and reflection about the riots, challenged long-held misconceptions and encouraged attendees to share, discuss and debate the riots themselves and the impact they subsequently had on the community.

A boy smiling
Museum of Butetown portraits © Museum of Cardiff/Zaid

Recognising that the riots and their impacts have long been ignored by the city, and knowing that it had very little in its collection that could help it represent them in its displays (especially from the point of view of the communities of colour caught up in the violence), the museum commissioned artists from the community to work with the community to creatively respond.

The resulting documentary film (by Gavin Porter, with music by Anthony Ward), painting (by Kyle Legall), series of photographs (by Zaid Djerdi) and poem (by Ali Zay) have been taken into the collection and now form part of the museum’s permanent displays, schools resources and programming.

People of Butetown is an example of the museum’s commitment to supporting communities to tell their stories through their own voices and to ensure Cardiff’s untold, ignored or hidden histories are heard.