Cardiff and the contentious landscapes of postindustrial, urban, and transnational memory work
Since Cardiff became the Welsh capital in 1955 and the subsequent referendum placed the new Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff Bay, the city’s grasp on a Welsh national narrative has only intensified. This paper approaches the various agents of memory work around the city through a landscape analysis to better understand the processes of Welsh memory at work in Cardiff. Furthermore, it focuses on Butetown, the historically multicultural docklands community of Cardiff, and its relationship with the old urban and civic core of the city and the new developments of Cardiff Bay. Butetown fuelled the coal industry which propelled Cardiff towards the wealthy capital and colonial enclave it is today yet continues to be excluded from Welsh national narratives. Redevelopment and gentrification further squeeze Butetown into an ever-smaller core of what it once was. This research indicates that while this resilient cosmopolitan culture continues in many forms, the context of (the) capital continues to complicate Cardiff and its shifting relationship with the history and culture of Welsh identity. By employing a flexible landscape analysis towards historical and ongoing urban development, the memory at work in cultural and political urban landscapes emerges amongst broader considerations of national identity.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Mark Rhodes
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