Creative Minds preview

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This time last year, I was on an assignment to find and report on a speech being given in Cardiff. It was very hard to find anything newsworthy that was also interesting.

While Lord Hannay did end up giving a riveting talk on European integration, I’d rather have been reporting on one of the events that are happening at Cardiff University’s first ever Creative Minds festival.

The festival, which showcases the best of creative talent in Wales, launches on Saturday 29 October but there are also events throughout the whole of November and December.

Kicking off with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window on Friday 28 October, festival goers will be able to watch some uncanny cinema before discussing it in a conversation group. Perfect opportunity to air your inner intellectual.

Although the Saturday of the festival is filled with interesting and engaging lectures by some incredible people, there are obviously a few events not to be missed if you can’t commit to the whole day.

Notably, Ned Thomas who has lived a life unparalleled by any in strange experiences will speak to Dr Katie Gramich, doctor of philosophy, about his memoir Bydoedd. According to his biography, Thomas has been interviewed by a Pope, escaped the KGB, chilled out with ETA members in the Basque Country and has also been instrumental in creating a Welsh language media.

Listening to someone like Ned Thomas talk is a far better use of time than watching kids TV on a Saturday morning.

Later in the day, you can hear from Richard Gwyn. Gwyn, a novelist and poet, has also lived a fairly remarkable life. Like the majority of great poets, Gwyn has had a tumultuous life of addiction and loss. At Creative Minds, he’ll be talking about his memoir Vagabond’s Breakfast but more specifically about the blurred lines between fiction and memoir.

Don’t miss Richard Gwyn, who was given a year to live… in 2006, as he recounts his life and the things he’s learned from it.

Another literary event of note in the launch weekend is a lecture from John Harrison, winner of Welsh Book of the Year for his account of going in search of the lost Andean nation.

As well as the lectures and conversations about books that form the majority of the opening weekend of Creative Minds, there are also events based around the changing of the media.

For example, Tamara Witschge will give a seminar on the changing face of journalism. This one will be especially interesting given that 2011 has been both a disastrous and triumphant year for journalism and the media. Between the brilliant coverage of the Arab Spring, the debauchery of the phone hacking scandal and the role of the public in covering the England riots earlier this year, there’s certainly a lot to chat about.

That’s followed by a lecture from Duncan Bloy, who was my media law lecturer at Cardiff University. I can personally recommend a lecture from Duncan Bloy who is both a charming speaker and an engaging expert in the media’s intrusion into the public life.

The festival schedule as well as admission information is available on the festival website. http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/creativeminds/

Most events are free and open to the public but you may need to book our place at some of them so to avoid disappointment, make sure you check.