Mycelium Storytelling Hub announces its second year Contemporary Cyfarwyddion and producer

The Mycelium Storytelling Hub has appointed two more storytellers as Contemporary Cyfarwydd and a producer as part of the Wales wide collaboration programme between freelancers and organisations, supported by Arts Council Wales’ Connect and Flourish fund.

The Mycelium Storytelling Hub is a network of organisational and freelancer partners, committed to sharing practice & nurturing less frequently heard stories from across Wales’ diverse communities. The model is inspired by nature’s mycelium networks and includes support for producers and a new role of contemporary Cyfarwyddion.

Contemporary Cyfarwyddion are helping to uncover and share the stories of communities in which they are based for a twelve month residency. The role of the Cyfarwydd is directly inspired by older traditions of the Welsh Cyfarwydd; storytellers who captured and reflected what was happening in their communities, offering subtle guidance though the stories they told.

Each Cyfarwydd had an apprenticeship and went on to become a highly respected member of society, travelling and bringing back news to the courts, reflecting the society of their time.

The Mycelium storytelling Hub also includes producers, who are working in partnership across communities, and developing other programmes or projects, based on areas of priority or potential.

Beyond the Border, National Eisteddfod, People Speak Up, Menter Iaith and Citrus Arts, Head4Arts and Theatre Soar, along with individual storytellers and community members are helping to develop this exciting project and continue to expand to different parts of Wales. In 2022, with support from the Postcode Lottery Trust, a grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Ceri Phillips was also appointed as a Cyfarwydd for the festival’s hometown, Llandeilo.

“This exciting collaboration to support freelance producers and creatives to develop a network of activities of storytelling across Wales and been a fruitful 12 months. We’ve seen so many great projects and events developed and supported. Now in year 2 of the Mycelium Storytelling Hub we have appointed two new Cyfarwydd and a Producer to allow us to continue to reach more communities across Wales. Kamalagita Hughes, Gillian Brownson and Claire Mace will be responsive, exciting, will take risks, and most importantly will explore what it means to tell stories in contemporary communities.” Naomi Wilds, Artistic Director for Beyond the Border

Storyteller, writer-poet, theatre-maker, Gillian Brownson will be the Mycelium Hub’s Cyfarwydd based in Anglesey, where she grew up amidst the tales associated with Barclodiad Y Gawres, Bedd Branwen, Ynys Llanddwyn & Llandonna among many others.

Gillian said, “I want to collect some of these stories, or other Môn stories which live in the minds of older members of the community, in order for younger tellers to connect with their home and retell the tales from their own perspective. I am also looking forward to creating a new storytelling performance based on these discoveries.”

Cyfarwydd Kamalagita Hughes will be working in her home area, Upper Rhondda Fawr. and my family have lived there for generations. Kamalagita is a storyteller and is also a mindfulness trainer working mainly in schools.

I believe mindfulness skills of calm and focus are essential to healthy and creative states of mind for school leaders, staff, pupils. I see storytelling as the outer dimension of this work: a way to express thoughts and feelings, needs and values and in a way that connects with the world. The storytelling will be in the context of the school’s commitment to being an empathy cluster.

Schools are in the heart of a community – so I am keen to ensure parents, grandparents and carers are involved and to weave a coherent sense of cynefin, belonging.” Kamalagita Hughes.

Singer, storyteller, producer, and Welsh language learner Claire Mace will be the Mycelium Hub producer in Gwynedd. She’s fascinated by old songs and stories and their power to help us find our way in the present time.

Claire said, “I will be working with communities in and around Bethesda to empower and encourage people to tell stories, both their own family stories, and stories that touch into the recent and ancient historical landscape, through a combination of recording, training, mentoring and story walks.”

The Contemporary Cyfarwydd and producers will be working alongside Phil Okwedy who is based in West Wales and is an Associate Cyfarwydd through People Speak Up.

For further information about The Mycelium Storytelling Hub, please visit Mycelium Storytelling Hub

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