Diverse Artists Network (DAN) is a development agency for diversity in the arts, promoting cultural competency and representation in the sector. DAN brings together artists/musicians across Bristol and the South West region, intending to build national and international networks encompassing the broadest spectrum of diversity & representation.

WVRF works regularly with DAN, bringing different groups and artists together in the Wye Valley for a variety of activities and events. Most recently, through Bridges for Communities, we brought a group of 100 Afghani asylum seekers, currently based in hotels in central Bristol, for a day out of relative freedom to Tintern on 31st May 2023.

The families ate food together, played in the playground, played football on the village field, visited Tintern Abbey and 40 of them took a walk up to the Devil’s Pulpit high above the valley, led by Ruth Pitter. Many of them commented how much like northern Afghanistan the Wye Valley looks. This is the second time we have hosted a picnic for Bridges, and are hoping to turn it into an annual event.

Mae Diverse Artists Network (DAN) yn asiantaeth datblygu amrywiaeth yn y celfyddydau, sy’n hyrwyddo cynrychiolaeth a chymhwysedd diwylliannol yn y sector. Mae DAN yn dwyn ynghyd artistiaid/cerddorion ledled Bryste a rhanbarth De-orllewin Lloegr gyda’r bwriad o feithrin rhwydweithiau cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol sy’n cynnwys y sbectrwm ehangaf posibl o ran amrywiaeth a chynrychiolaeth.

Mae Gŵyl Afon Dyffryn Gwy yn gweithio gyda DAN yn rheolaidd, gan ddwyn ynghyd grwpiau ac artistiaid gwahanol yn Nyffryn Gwy ar gyfer gweithgareddau a digwyddiadau amrywiol. Yn fwyaf diweddar, trwy’r prosiect Bridges for Communities, daethom â chant o geiswyr lloches o Afghanistan, sy’n byw mewn gwestai yng nghanol Bryste ar hyn o bryd, am ddiwrnod o ryddid cymharol yn Nhyndyrn ar 31 Mai 2023.

Bu’r teuluoedd yn bwyta gyda’i gilydd, yn chwarae yn y maes chwarae, chwarae pêl-droed ar gae’r pentref ac yn ymweld ag Abaty Tyndyrn. Hefyd, aeth 40 ohonynt am dro i fyny at Bulpud y Diafol sy’n edrych dros y dyffryn, wedi’u tywys gan Ruth Pitter. Soniodd llawer ohonynt bod Dyffryn Gwy yn edrych yn debyg iawn i ogledd Afghanistan. Dyma’r ail bicnic a gynhaliwyd gennym ar gyfer prosiect Bridges, ac rydym yn gobeithio ei droi’n ddigwyddiad blynyddol.

We have more plans afoot for 2023 and 2024, but here are some of our 2022 events with DAN, under the banner of Walk Out West:

Priscilla Andersohn & Cecelia Hdhlovu at Brockweir Village Hall on 24th April – Sing for the Earth celebration

Take a moment to be in the trees, to hear the song of the woods. My grandma used to say “everything has a song, everything”. Can we gift ourselves a moment to notice how much we too are a part of this incredible symphony? Improvisation frees the spirit to hear the song within and to merge it with the rejoying harmonies of our world. Come and make some harmonious collaborations in nature where we will together explore and unfold a journey into sound.

Priscilla had been using the wonders of improvisation, which shapes her relationship to her understanding of the world and others, in her creativity and song writing for all time. She feels she is most genuine in the moment with her senses where they can come alive, informing a potential moment of…something. The foundations of her music are developed this way and when in
collaboration with others, letting go together into trust and unfolding something unique is where she feels most at home.

Cecilia Ndlhovu was born in Bulawayo Zimbabwe and has made music her passion for over 20 years. Accompanied by delicate mbira melodies and hypnotic rhythms, Cecilia’s intimate vocals have the power to transport and transcend styles to take you on a unique and enriching cultural journey. She often performs with her band Bulawayo inspiring dance in all weathers. Her workshops are also a delight, often drawing tears of joy and opening our hearts in community .

Cleo Lake Dance workshop at Tintern Village Hall 28 May

Cleo Lake facilitates unique dance poetry workshops, often drawing upon the history, natural landscape, spoken word and our bodily connection to language to co create bespoke choreographies. Following the format of her established Moving Words dance workshops, Cleo took participants through an Afrikan Caribbean inspired movement vocabulary warm up before utilising a variety of local and international inspirations, history and spirit to set a new folk dance in the moment which all participants took a share in creating. The workshop included walking across the green to dance and sing outside Tintern Abbey, before returning to the Village Hall to finish the session.

Steppin Sistas walk and singing session in Redbrook 29 May

Steppin Sistas

Sophie Brown started Steppin Sistas because she was a passionate walker and tro

d paths other black women often felt uncomfortable going alone on. She started a walking group to support her friends and family. The idea took off and has become a part of the Bristol cultural scene with guided walks every month, often accompanied by singing and a lot of laughter and adventuring. Ruth Pitter, one of Walk Out West’s artists, a member of the Steppin Sistas, training to be a walk
leader as are many of the women, arranged for the Sistas to meet in Redbrook with Jenn Singleton, Wye Valley-based choir leader, and walk the Hidden Valley sharing songs along the way with Vanessa Melody, a wonderful Jamaican descent singer. They graced the valley with sounds it may not have heard for many centuries!

Bridges For Communities Tintern Visit 1st June

Bridges for Communities connects people of different cultures and faiths, enabling them to build friendships and grow in their understanding of one another. Through these connections and experiences, we seek to inspire and equip people to build a more cohesive society where people are better neighbours, newcomers feel more welcome and cities are more inclusive.
Walk Out West has joined with Bridges for Communities and we will be offering families fleeing war and disaster who are presently in temporary accommodation in Bristol, a day out, coming to Tintern, having a walk and picnic and taking a look into Redbrook and meeting up with locals there.

Algy Behrens Drumming the Trees workshop June 5th Symonds Yat

Based in Bristol, playing in many African and Latin flavoured bands as guitarist and percussionist Algy is an all round artist. He made a short film and recording of playing the trees and branches in the woods and it enchanted us so we have invited him to enchant you and lead us all into playing and hopefully recording some woodland rhythms.
The workshop will involve opening up our senses to the world around us. You will be invited to participate in a rhythm nature walk which will allow you to co create a walking, standing or sitting sound scape with the other people in the group. Certain branches on trees can be surprisingly tuneful, we may end of playing them, playing the forest floor like a drum creates sounds like a shaker if played in the right context, using our feet on different terrain also produces different sound and of course we can also use ourselves (our voices or simple claps). Before going on the walk I will teach some body percussion, helping people to attune to their own innate rhythmic and musical selves.