Building Bridges through Riddims: Youth worker’s Journey to the motherland of Reggae

In a harmonious fusion of culture and music, youth workers from Urban Circle Newport embarked on an unforgettable journey to Jamaica. This remarkable endeavour was made possible through funding from the Arts Council for Wales, with a significant academic research component in partnership with the University of South Wales. Their mission? To conduct pioneering research and development for their unique project, aptly named “Reggae & Riddim.”

The heart of this initiative was to explore the creation of sustainable and meaningful relationships between Wales and Jamaica, two lands with diverse yet interconnected cultural tapestries steeped in intangible culture and heritage. This project was not just about music; it was about forging connections, celebrating diversity, and fostering a sense of unity across borders.

Reciprocity and repair

Embodying the principles of youth work and fairer community practice. Reciprocity and restoration became the guiding reasons for the research phase of this adventure, which took Urban Circle Newport’s youth workers across Jamaica, immersing them in its vibrant culture. They engaged with partners from various facets of Jamaican society, including the Rastafari Indigenous Village and I Writes Alliance. These interactions enriched their understanding of Jamaican life and exemplified the essence of culture sharing.

Moreover, the team contacted multiple government agencies, recognizing the importance of official support in building bridges between nations, with an eye on sustainable practice and ecology. These connections opened doors for collaboration and cultural exchange, demonstrating the power of art and music diplomacy and paving the way for future generations to benefit from this cultural exchange.

The development work carried out during this project was transformative. Urban Circle Newport’s youth workers learned, shared, and co-created with Jamaican partners, blending Welsh and Jamaican elements to create something unique. Reggae & Riddim became a symbol of unity and a testament to the positive impact of cross-cultural collaboration on intangible culture and heritage.

As the Urban Circle Newport team returns home, they carry the melodies, rhythms, and relationships formed during their Jamaican odyssey. Reggae & Riddim is not just a project; it’s a living testament to the beautiful connections forged when music, culture, and goodwill come together to transcend boundaries. This journey is a reminder that, through the universal language of music, we can build bridges between nations, create a more harmonious world, and contribute positively to our shared global ecology.

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