Friday, 19 August 2011

We are moving??

Well its been great writing on the blog. But we have decided to try and bring our projects and blog into one place. We are also looking to build a small community there so people can be a bit more hands on in cyberspace as well as getting physically involved.

The new blog and site is based at, and you can find the blog here We still have a few tweaks on it and we are aiming to bring all the other social media platforms we use into it once we have a few minutes of free time.

I hope we see you on there and hopefully we might get you to join in.

Thanks again

thinkARK team

Friday, 15 July 2011

We are looking for actors for Everwake

If you fancy getting involved check out more information here

Monday, 20 June 2011

It's hard work this R&D work

play ARK

So this weekend as well as the Paper Girl event we managed to get a bit of planning for the playARK event. While I say bit I kind of mean that we went to a toy shop to have a look at toys. There is a really amazing feeling of just playing around.

weird going on's

It was only a matter of time but this weekend confirmed it thinkARK people are by far spending too much time together. In one day alone we had these two clashes. Allie and Laura confirming when working together all those years ago in CHAPTER that they were actually secretly wishing that one day they could come together and be a superhero duo.

On the very same night Laura and Angharad were caught mirroring each other in actions and clothing. We feel this is very serious and needs to be looked at. Everyone is going to the doctors to see if there are any issues with crossed brain functions :-) Enjoy the shots.



Tuesday, 31 May 2011

playARK - Games festival and talks - 30 September - 1 October


Over the next few months we are going to eb talking alot about a new project we are working on which will be taking place at the end of September beginning of October. The event will run at the same time as Cardiff Design Festival and has been kindly supported by CHAPTER Arts Centre. You can read a bit more about it below:

playARK - Games festival and talks
playARK is Cardiff's very own games festival. At the end of September we will be bringing together a mix of games, from Street games to computer games through to board games. (with everything in between). Split between two days the festival will also hold the first series of talks of it's kind in Cardiff, see below for further details:

DAY ONE - TALKS - Friday 30 September - 9:30am-3pm
A ticketed event. Ever thought there are ways of making work and systems more fun and engaging? In this series of talks from world renowned play and gaming experts we will look at how games and play has been used to increase creativity and improve services.
Full details TBC.

DAY TWO - GAMES - Saturday 1 October - 10am-5pm
A fun day for all the family. Join us at CHAPTER to play street games, board games, and computer games. Your chance to relive your childhood and turn your environment into a new playground. Whether it's by using the latest technology or no technology at all. From games that challenge your grey matter to those that are just indulgently fun.
Full details TBC.

GAME PREMIERE - WHITESTALKER - Saturday 1 October - 6-8pm
A Ghostly happening, everyone has a story don't they? Will you free them? You will have to play to find out...

This event would not be possible without the kind support of CHAPTER Arts Centre, and is part of the 2011 Cardiff Design festival.

Monday, 30 May 2011

igfest 2011 - Games season begins

igfest 2011
ARCADE ANARCHY - the results

After last years fine weather and once in a lifetime opportunities. This year's street game season has begun in earnest with Bristol based igfest taking place May Bank Holiday. This is the second we have been to but in reality the first proper one (last years being a smaller affair due to them moving and setting up some new ventures), So how was it?

In sheer scale igfest has to be the largest games festival in the UK (of it's type). This is particularly the case with the news that Hide & Seek weekender will not be taking place this year. So we managed to visit on Saturday for a full day of gaming and then we tried our luck at their big headline games 2.8 hours later.

I think for me the issue with every event I have been to within the games festival arena is booking. Due to the very nature of the games which quite often slip time wise it becomes hard to make sure you are able to play a game and not miss your next. This year they had an interesting way of booking up games. You could only book two games at a time, and only 50% of tickets could be booked. The other 50% of the tickets would be allocated within 30 minutes of the game starting.

Compared to our previous experience at Hide & Seek 2010 this seemed to be a slight improvement, but I think there is something that could make it a bit better. The issue is that this in comparison to Hide & Seek is a paid for event and with that comes different expectations. There were a few things firstly why only two games at a time? also why the 50% rule? and if there is a 50% rule you have to enforce it. I was there bang on 30 minutes before one game we wanted to book and the spaces had all gone?? I doubt 6 people had popped up in front of me.

However this did lead to some great unexpected finds. We did manage to go and play a few games that we would not have done otherwise. You can see a list of games we played below. Safe to say for me my favourites for playing were Wiffle Hurling and then for watching it has to be Arcade Anarchy.

All in all we managed to play:
Great game based on all the arcade classics.

A great fun game, full of humour and nice to get out play sport but one that you have no previous skill of.

It got better as it went on. I think it has the possibility of being great with a few tweaks (the leader of the team has to be good).

Played for a bit
Seemed really fun wish we had time to play it all.

Very fun, will never think of honey in the same way.

Would have liked to watch more of it.

igfest 2011 - 2.8 hours later
Some people dressed up for 2.8 hours, maybe next year.

In the evening we played 2.8 hours as the night drew in and the darkness came. It has to be as I have said many times one of the best games out there. It has a scale and immersiveness that is truly breathtaking and I truly do feel that the both Simon's at Slingshot/igfest have created something EPIC. While it is a basic chase game with a bit of time trial bolted on. It instantly brings you into thinking about the game being real and you are totally set on keeping safe.

Unfortunately our team didn't do to well with four out of the six getting caught and infected. I was one of them as you can see by the picture below.

igfest 2011 - 2.8 hours later

Papergirl Cardiff Update

A quick update on what's happening with PapergirlCDF...the submissions deadline has been extended to next Saturday the 4th of June. This was a bit of a relief for anyone who was struggling to meet the 27th of May deadline, especially since this is a busy time of year for a lot of people.

Next Thursday the 2nd of June there will be 2 print workshops for children running in The Printhaus, Llandaff Road for young people and their parents to learn how to screen print and make some art for Papergirl . The workshop times are 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm. Spaces are limited, so anyone interested will need to register. For more details, check out the PapergirlCDF blog here.

We are also looking for people to take part in the art distribution bike ride on the 18th of June. If you are interested in taking part you need to fill in an online form on the PapergirlCDF blog. We also need volunteers to help package the art, put up the exhibition and help with other stuff. If you're interested in helping out please get in touch!

Finally, if you're still wondering what Papergirl is all about, here is a link to a lovely video from Papergirl Capetown which sums up what's great about Papergirl

Thursday, 14 April 2011


We are really pleased to be able to tell you about PapergirlCDF, a rather unusual art and cycling event thinkARK are organising in collaboration with Cycle Training Wales and Cardiff Cycle Workshop as part of Cardiff Cycling Festival.

Cardiff Cycling Festival is happening from the 18th-25th of June and coincides with national Bike Week. To celebrate the start of the festival Papergirl Cardiff will be randomly distributing original artworks by bicycle to the citizens of Cardiff.

We are looking for people to submit original artwork for distribution. It must be no larger than A2 and it must be able to be rolled up.

All artwork will be exhibited before it is distributed.

We are also looking for volunteers to package and distribute the art and generally help out. If you are interested in getting involved check out the blog here , follow us on twitter @PapergirlCDF or look for us on Facebook.

On Wednesday May 4th thinkARK will be hosting a PapergirlCDF evening. Come along and make some art for submission, share ideas about the project, find out about other Papergirl and thinkARK projects and get involved!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Keeping you up to date

If you want to know what we're up to have a little sneaky peek at our calendar of events (the little square thingy on the right hand side of the page....scroll down and you'll find it)

This will tell you about what we have planned week by week during our thinkARK Wednesday clubs at Cardiff Arts Institute (we're there from 7pm). Lots of things have happened so far from skills swaps and screenings of interesting talks to discussing ideas of potential projects and collaborations and also not forgetting.......the occasional chat and a drink! We will also post details of our upcoming projects and other interesting events that thinkARK are involved in.

So if there is something that tickles your fancy, come along and join in.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Design Process tools for community projects

Useful resource for community design project:

Monday, 14 March 2011

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wednesday Club - Minutes and any other business

Apologies: With half the gang in Cornwall at the Intersect it was a pretty quiet Wednesday in ARK. However its sometimes weeks like this that I prefer the most, as I get to speak to a small group in more detail about what we want to do or how we need to improve what we do. So what did I learn this week?

We need Minutes, or rather we need to record what we discussed each week in a informal manner. This can be a written, recorded, photographed or sketched. This is for those who didn't make it as well as all you people out there who are still deciding whether to come along or not. Don't worry we know its a scary thing, but take the plunge, say hello and get involved...we are actually quite nice people.....honest!

So what else happened this week? We discussed the best use of the meeting room and bar in the Cardiff Arts Institute for our meetings and this is what we concluded:

Upstairs meeting room works best:
For more formal Wednesday clubs - workshops/ projects discussions etc where the room is facilitated or lead. One of the conversations tonight was around the fact that although ARK has an informal structure, sometimes you need you need a chair or leader to keep things in check.

Downstairs bar works best for:For informal chats and catch ups, welcoming new people in a relaxed environment, like a personal warm welcome. It turns out although 'upstairs' is a great open space it can be a little intimidating for new people to walk into so maybe we need to take it in turns to meet and greet new people, tell them what we do first before introducing them to the bigger ARK picture. What do you think?

We want to develop the Skill Swap Barter Market. Firstly by interviewing everyone who has swapped so far to find out how it went. Secondly by deciding how we develop this idea further. So if you have recently swapped your skills we want to hear how it would be good too!

Can we organise a ARK school trip? We're thinking a weekend away to learn or develop new skills. Maybe we hook up with a similar group in the UK and where we run a 24hr project? What do you think?

Well that was it for this week, hope to see everyone back next Wednesday.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Create Cardiff quiz

Back in January we arranged an evening of ‘anti-quiz’ at Cardiff Arts Institute as part of their Future/Cardiff project. The quiz took form in several rounds of first a warm up round to get people engaged with things they might know about Cardiff, moving to rounds that encouraged the participants to think hard about what they really knew about their city, and the people they engage with – from their neighbours to Cardiff heroes (a round contributed by Dan Green from Big Little City). Other questions ranged from examining empty properties and landmarks around Cardiff and what they could be used for, and mapping great things like where they thought a difference to their community could be made, and the three best places in Cardiff they had kissed someone! (A nice time to do that, on St Dwynwen’s Day!).

The prize for the evening was ‘knowledge’ and the sharing and learning from it – all who came loved Cardiff and had many views of it and ideas for its future, whether it was based in the realms of planning, sustainable development, community building and engagement, or the Arts.

The night was attended by about 25 people, from many different backgrounds, and all were absorbed during the evening with debating the ‘answers’ amongst their teams – many of the discussions were full of memories and heart-felt love for Cardiff and how it could be improved, and how to preserve the best parts for the future – answers were not necessarily right or wrong, and the event provoked discussion, lateral thinking and laughter among the participants.

Groups came up with words to describe Cardiff ranging from beautiful, creative, friendly and vibrant to the less complimentary - decaying, unfulfilled and soulless. Ideas for unused spaces and empty buildings in the picture round (Callaghan Square and SPIN building (formerly The Gaiety) on City Road) included calls for a skateboard park, outdoor pool, work pods or food market; and for the building, a Chapter East, community centre, theatre, circus school, or mosque.

See more photos on our Flickr page – the evening’s discussions and ideas were recorded by Jordan Harrison from the University of Glamorgan, and is available now at

Thanks to Geraldine Nichols for most the write up.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Where are all the Women?

I was asked a while back if I could think of some ‘inspirational women’ I know to speak at a local Cardiff event. To my dismay, I was stumped. So was the questioner, hence the question. We both sat there, humming and hawing. But as neither of us are Cardiff locals – we used this as an excuse, a poor one but an excuse nonetheless.

This year, it is the global centenary of the celebration of International Women’s Day, As the topic entered our conversation at last weeks ARK meeting we decided it would be a perfect opportunity to celebrate ‘inspirational women of Cardiff’. For further information on local Welsh events go to and

The date is Tuesday 8th of March, but ARK will be doing our celebrating on Saturday March 5th.

The intention is to celebrate local inspirational women that enhance our lives everyday, be they a sister, a mother, a daughter, a friend? Has your grandmother done something outstanding? Is she outstanding? Is your friend the only female on the senior management board of a company? Have you worked ceaselessly for the betterment of your community? Does your mother still bake homemade sourdough bread that is a unique family flavour? Did your sister walk the breadth of the Australian desert alone, with one pair of shoes?

Or maybe it’s just their sheer existence that makes your world better. We would like to know. If you would like to ‘nominate’ someone as one of our most inspirational woman then get in touch.

More details will follow.

Posted by Laura on behalf of Sharon

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Responding - Attracting people and the lessons we are learning.

ARK in the PARK

Well this year started with a bang we had an event that we had to get organised (still not to late to come along with your friends to it. Tuesday 25th January from 6pm at Cardiff Arts Institute). Coupled with the really good news that a number of people who were looking for work have now got new jobs and some have been redeployed to different areas of their business. So for 2011 this brings a whole different feel to thinkARK as most of the projects have relied on people using some of their spare time to help out creating projects and events. So this year is going to be even busier.

Anyway back to the real reason for the blog post. We have for many months now averaged about 10 -12 people coming and chatting about projects. And we have got to know each other very well which is great but is also an issue when new people come as we have groups of people that are talking about things that have happened or about to happen. So for potential new people coming into a close group it can always be a bit intimidating.

Firstly as we have been starting to get involved in a lot of projects we have started to let our planning of these control our Wednesday evenings, which were always envisaged as more of a social event and experimentation space rather than physically working. In balance to this we have been struggling to all meet up at one time so Wednesday is perfect for talking about projects. The layout of the room at Cardiff Arts Institute is also a bit to do with the issue as for the last few months it has made us talk in a large circle where people have become disengaged and it is really not as fun as it has been.


- in 2011 we are going to divide the wednesday meeting up, so there is either a space or time to discuss projects. Then another time or space for just having fun and socialising.

- in 2011 we are also going to try and stop mass talks and break into smaller groups. We hope this will create a more creative and personal experience for everyone.

- in 2011 we are also going to develop new ways of introducing new people to the group. So we are aiming to pick one person who says hi and looks after a new person gets them introduced and is made to feel welcome.

We hope these new small changes will help in the development of an even better community, and come together with better projects. Would love to hear your thoughts

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

CHANGE OF DATE!!! Creating a new Cardiff... Have your say

thinkARK – Future Cardiff Response
Create Cardiff

On Tuesday the 25th January thinkARK are going to be creating an experience that reassesses your thoughts about our fair city, Cardiff. Bring friends to explore, make, design and quiz about what you think you know about the micro and macro. So if you are interested in pushing new thoughts and concepts about the future of Cardiff come along from 6pm.



Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Resilient City Project

The lovely Geraldine kindly sent me this link

It's a blog post about an idea for a tool that helps local communities share resources and reduce expenses using geolocation, interactive mapping and visualisation.

It also mentions other interesting sites like: Superfluid makes collaboration in social networks fair by enabling members to trade favors using a virtual currency Ushahidi is a non-profit tech company that develops free and open source software for information collection, visualisation and interactive mapping

and discusses the possibility of using this software for organising community based initiatives.

It's worth a look - I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts.