Research, realisation and internationalism are selected words that would describe our 2017 succinctly.
We’ve done a lot in the last year, not all succeeded, but everything has better prepared us for the future. We began 2017 with a dream of turning an old industrial warehouse into a creative hub and artist space; we got so attached to an idea that we failed to see our wax wings and the nearby sun. From that one project, we learned a core concept of entrepreneurship: businesses are not great ideas but great solutions, and they have to be sustainable. That moment of self-realisation was the true start to our research and development stage. In the business world they call it pivot when you take a business and direct it in a different direction – learn that lesson early on has been invaluable. Since then, Ffangaí has joined the European Creative Hub Network and through them visited Madrid, Glasgow and Edinburgh on a program that has shown us the variety of possibilities in creative entrepreneurship out there. On a similar note, Visiting Arts’ KickStart: Cardiff event allowed us to see the breadth of collaboration, both at local and international levels, as a tool to not just facilitate fascinating work but commercially sustainable work that can better distribute the benefits of the creative industries throughout the strata of our societies. The past year we worked hard on our self-development: We give many thanks to Cardiff Metropolitan University; the Inc. Space and Centre for Entrepreneurship teams for guiding us in the minutia of business and pointing us to the wealth of resources out there. A shout out to Business Wales is in order too, for keeping us on track and for wonderful advice. And many thanks to our friend and mentor, Richie Turner, for being there, supporting us in our crazy ideas while nudging us towards more sensible activities. We’ve made friends, we’ve thought projects up, we’ve fallen, stood up, cleaned our knees and will keep going.
For 2018, we’re looking to put our education, expertise, experience and contacts to good use and finally launch Ffangaí, not just as a group of creatives doing one thing here and one thing there, but as a platform for collaboration, production, support and community engagement. This doesn’t mean that we suddenly know exactly what we want to do, of course not, like mushrooms we’ll continue to grow, spread, and finally thrive in our niche; but at least we now know what our road should look like.
Starting the year strong, Ffangaí will be participating in the European Creative Hubs Network Campus forum in Brussels from the 24th to 28th of January. Ian Cooke-Tapia, founder and director, will be present there to investigate the possibilities of creating international links for small scale digital projects with the goal of nurturing relationships that might one day lead to international exchange programs of some type. In the mean time, Ffangaí’s commitment to provide a grassroots platform for freelance artists and the public to converse, share and fight off isolation over a tea or a pint will continue. Our twice-monthly Art Crits will be starting again soon, taking place every second Wednesday, at Cardiff MADE (1-2pm) and The Andrew Buchan Pub (7:30-9:00pm). More projects and events will be starting soon, so keep an eye out on our temporary Blog, Facebook Page and Twitter for updates.
We humbly thank those who have supported us and those we will in turn support.
Onwards we fly, with wings (not of wax) aloft, to lands unknown!
– Ian Cooke-Tapia
Head Mushroom, Creative Director
P.S. Images above illustrate one of our first public events, an art walk around Cathays Cemetery in Central Cardiff.