Experience the world on your doorstep

By Elen Roberts

I’m a freelancer working part time on Marketing and Communications for next year’s Festival of Voice. I joined the team in October, and have been busy getting up to speed with all the fantastic events and experiences we’ve got coming up for you next year.

So here’s a little bit about me…

Music has always been a part of my life, from starting to learn to play the piano at 6 years old, to then trying out the clarinet, getting bored with it and picking up a saxophone instead. I took to singing too, and particularly loved singing in and conducting choirs. The Eisteddfod was an annual feature in my school calendar – definitely more on the music side than reciting and acting, and always a part of an ensemble or choir rather than solos.  There’s something about being a part of that collective voice to create music that just feels like nothing else in the world, and I’m glad I managed to continue it through university too.

I’ve always had an interest in other cultures, and travelling has been a huge part of what I’ve been doing over the past 10+ years! My love for travel and the arts grew through my university days, which were dotted with trips to Europe, Central America and the Caribbean (for research as well as for the joy of travel). After a six month epic trip through South America after finishing an MA, I came back to Cardiff to work at Artes Mundi. It was here I had the first opportunity to work on a large-scale biennial event and learnt about the many different aspects of making it happen. It was also here I had the opportunity to take a sabbatical and went to Berlin for three months to take part in the Leonardo Programme, an EU funded mobility scheme, where I worked at an art gallery. I then returned to Cardiff and spent four years working as a Development Officer at Wales Arts International, which was a great opportunity to combine my love of travel, learning about other cultures, and celebrating and promoting the best arts Wales has to offer.

I strongly believe that international experiences can have a significant impact on people’s outlook, and it can transform the way someone sees the world and how they fit into it. But having an international experience doesn’t have to mean getting out of Wales, or the UK, to experience something - it can happen right on your doorstep. Over the summer, I undertook a course to become a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, and being immersed in this truly international environment reminded me that people from all over the world come to Cardiff – to visit and to live - and we have a lot to share and shout about our fantastic city!

That’s why I think experiences you can have through international events like Festival of Voice are so important. They can bring some of the world’s best artists and most extraordinary experiences to you, and it’s an opportunity to showcase our great city and the creative talent we have here – all on the same, international platform.

I’ve been working freelance for nearly 5 months, and it’s been a huge learning curve, but a very satisfying one too. I spend my time between working on international arts projects, teaching English, and exploring new places. I’m really excited to see how the festival comes together and sharing that with the diverse people of Cardiff and beyond.

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