Cardiff pays homage to Roald Amundsen

  1. The “Cold Recall: Reflections of a polar explorer” exhibition gives an insight on the Norwegian explorer’s journey to the South Pole. The exhibition is on display from the 28th of November and was secured as a load from the Fram Museum in Oslo.
  2. The exhibition is hosted by the Dahl Gallery within the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff Bay.
  3. The main goal of the exhibition is to show visitors an insight on Roald Amundsen’s journey to the South Pole. Lantern slides illustrate the challenges and the daily life of the 20th century’s arctic explorers. Amundsen used the coloured slides during his lecture about his life and how he reached the South Pole, held at Park Hall in Cardiff.
  4. The bits of text and images displayed in the Dahl Gallery represent only one third of the original exhibition containing 64 panels. The 20 selected panels tell the story of Roald Amundsen himself, how he gained experience and how he worked with the inuits.

  5. The panels are divided in sections and each section illustrates one aspect of Amundsen’s life as an explorer. They explain why he wanted to put the expedition together, how the crew was selected, the journey to the South Pole and their arrival at the destination.
  6. Tony Burnell is the Norwegian Church Officer for the Arts Centre. According to him, the final section is the most interesting in the exhibition. The section is made up from four panels show the feelings of the pioneers on the evening before reaching the final destination.
  7. “The final section which has four panels which I find the most touching really. It explains how they felt on the evening of December 13th knowing that the following morning they would arrive at the South Pole,” the Arts Centre representative said.
  8. “It even includes a copy of a letter sent to the King of Norway on December 15th informing that they had arrived at the South Pole and the Norwegian flag was placed,” Burnell added.
  9. Since opening, the exhibition attracted a great number of visitors, with 200 people being present on the opening day alone. The inauguration day coincided with Christmas tree lights ceremony held at church.
  10. “This year the special point is the fact that the tree has been dedicated to the students who were killed in the shootings and attacks in Oslo in July this year,” Tony Burnell said. 
  11. “We had lots of really good reports, lots of interest and it’s a fascinating, really interesting exhibition going on display here until the 18th of December.”
  12. The exhibition will then be collected on the 20th of December by Swansea Museum and placed on display in January.
  13. The exhibition is open every day of the week from 9 AM to 6 PM. Visitors coming to see the exhibition can do so free of charge.
  14. Tags: Cardiff, bay, Norwegian, exhibition, Amundsen, recall.

Wales Millennium Centre brings Christmas taste to Cardiff

  1. The event was the first Christmas Market to be launched by the Wales Millennium Centre this year. It brought together food and drink producers from all the corners of Wales. Craft makers also had the opportunity to show their creative skills within open workshop demonstrations.
  2. The event started on Saturday the 26th of November and continued on the 27th of November and the weekend after on the 3rd and the 4th of December. Interest in the Christmas Market was high, as people came in numbers, bringing their families along.
  3. Visitors could choose from a variety of stall holders participating in the event. They had the opportunity of leaving with a special gift including jewellery and stained glass craft. Additionally, people could taste different types of cheese and wines brought by award-winning producers.
  4. Lewis Phillips is the Sales Manager of Clam’s Handmade Cakes. He said it was at the market for the first time but will probably come back in the future years.

  5. “Today’s been excellent, really good sales, lots of people visiting shows are also spending on Christmas products. As you can see, we’ve nearly sold out, it’s been very good,” Phillips said.
  6. The Angorfa area proved to be popular among families with children. Children aged under 10 had the chance to meet Father Christmas and get a gift.
  7. Martin Worboys from London was visiting Cardiff and brought his family to the “Taste of Christmas” event. He enjoyed the event and said he would definitely be back next year.

  8. “I am with my family, my wife, my daughter and the grandparents. There’s lots of nice things, talented people, very christmassy, liked it,” the 40 year-old said.
  9. The event ended on Sunday the 4th of December night with a series of traditional Christmas songs performed by professional classical singers. People gathered to listen bands like Barry Ladies Choir after serving a three-course dinner.
  10. Taste of Christmas Carols – Wales Millennium Centre
  11. Tags: Cardiff, Millennium Centre, Christmas, market, taste

Finding data via Freedom of Information requests

Dealing with information plays a major role in the job of the journalist. Data is what articles are based upon and the way it is collected and processed influences a lot the quality of the work delivered by the journalist as well as his reputation.

The 2000 Freedom of Information Act grants every citizen the right to access information on various topics via a FOI request. The request can be addressed to public institutions, local councils and any other type of organisation.

As Martin Turner recommends on his website, when searching for information, it is a good idea to try and contact the public institution before sending the FOI request. Spokespersons or PRs may already have the information at their disposal and provided it right away. This saves precious time which can prove vital especially when working under a deadline.

One useful method I have discovered while trying to get hold of information consists of first sending an e-mail to the targeted organisation which might store the data. The e-mail should clearly state the nature and the information the journalist is after as well as what are his purposes in using it. The e-mail should then be followed by a confirmation phone call, asking the contact person to confirm that they have received the e-mail and will look into the matter.

If this strategy fails, the only remaining option is to formulate and send an official FOI request. But doing this does not always prove to be an easy task. There are certain features which such a request should contain in order to be successful.

Every request should be formulated in a direct but at the same time polite style. From my experience with working with FOI request I learned that it is all about helping the institution representatives of the institution with finding the exact information.

Although they might have the data stored, unclear formulated request can confuse the staff and leave you with no response or rejected requests. The best way to avoid this is to pin down as exactly as possible what are you after. I tried to avoid broad topics as they can put a burden on the staff. Including a time period is always a good idea as all the data is organised around certain dates.

Journalists can also use another strategy in their permanent search for useful bits of information. As I have experienced, it is sometimes easier to find information from requests that have already been sent by other people. When trying to back up your work, existing FOI requests can be used as a source if they fit the subject of the article.

The best place to start is the website run by mySociety called Whatdotheyknow.com. This online resource provides excellent support for finding FOI requests as the information is publicly available. The search engine works great and the interface is very user-friendly.

In my view, one of the most quick and effective ways of tracking FOI requests is to set up your own searches. According to an article on journalism.co.uk, simple alerts for FOI requests can be created using Google Alert which delivers them to the provided e-mail account.