Arts Council of Wales launch Ideas: People: Places.

Confluence partnership is formed with a view to making an application for a Stage 1 research and development project to explore the potential of running an arts and regeneration project in Haverfordwest.



March – July

Stage 1 application approved.

The consortium runs a Stage 1 research and development programme in Haverfordwest.

Download the research and development report here Confluence Stage 1 report

Application for Stage 2 submitted.


Presentation of the project plan to Arts Council of Wales

November – December

Announcement of the success of the Confluence Stage 2 application one of seven projects supported across Wales.

Work begins on developing the programme for the first year.



January – April 

Local creative company, A & E Adventures is commissioned to work with 5 primary schools to design and make a set of Festival Flags inspired by the river.

Renovation of the travel agents in the former Ocky White’s department store to create a temporary workshop, meeting and exhibition space.




The Launch of the Lab takes place during the Whitsun half term, preceded by a bite-sized commission with Artists Davis and Jones who work with the people of Haverfordwest to create Random Story Generator Haverfordwest (RSG).

Haverfordwest Mayor, Sue Murray launches the programme with a week of activity in the Lab. The week begins with the mayor unveiling the Story of the flags and then young and old alike are invited to take a fresh look at Haverfordwest in a creative workshop – Drawing on the River.

Tuesday and Wednesday showcase the work of local design duo Freshwest with the first in a planned series of artists talks followed by a participatory outdoor construction workshop.

The week continues with Make your spot – an outdoor pavement drawing with Colab a group of design students from Pembrokeshire College,  which runs alongside the first of a planned programme of workshops the Big Map. The day continues with an evening Show and tell session and the launch of the RSG Haverfordwest.

The launch week ends with an inspirational guided walk with Urban Planner Gordon Gibson

June – August 

Black Diamond our first Artist Commission with Serena Korda runs throughout July and August and includes a second artist talk followed by a series of three further talks exploring different aspects of the river and the Black Diamond commission.

The commission culminates in a rave boat delivering the artwork up river from Neyland to Haverfordwest on a high spring tide at the end of August.

Black diamond

August – December 

The autumn season begins with Open Lab a chance to find out more about Confluence whilst eating at the Pot Luck Pop Up Cafe an experiment by Confluence partner Transition Haverfordwest

Held over an eight-week period between August 16th and October 7th 2015, The Big Map engages more than 100 people in an experimental mapping of the town’s riverside, sharing their ideas, hopes and aspirations for the town. The process also provides a route into the Master planning process being undertaken by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners on behalf of Pembrokeshire County Council. See the Big Map report here the-big-map-report.pdf

Artists and the wider community are invited to work with Alan Williams from Swansea Print Workshop to make prints inspired by the river.


Throughout October, working in partnership with SPAN Arts Cheerful project and artist Toby Downing, hundreds of people from Haverfordwest and the rural hinterlands make and carry lanterns for the spectacular River of lights lantern procession, inspired by the story of the Skeleton woman and the fisherman.

In association with The Lab Haverfordwest, Kathryn Lambert commissioner, collaborator and curator of art and technology with  bloc introduces the idea of Wild Technology in the third in the series of artists talks, before bringing together an amazingly diverse group of 35 people from the fields of art, technology and the outdoors for a first ever Wild Hack on Saturday 24th October.

On Wednesday 18 November, artist and photographer John Kippin gives the fourth artist talk as a prelude to a keynote presentation at Making the connections a one day open space event attended by 25 participants with a wide variety of personal and professional interests. Download a report of the day here Making the connections report(1)

The first year of the project ends with an inspirational Go and see visit to Frome.




January – March

Ideas Lab is launched in February – a regular monthly drop in session on the first Wednesday of every month as a test bed for arts and regeneration in Haverfordwest.

A series of short consultation events Changing Places engage local people in the process of developing the capital commission being planned for the town.

The first of the ideas developed through the Ideas Lab gets off the ground with Make 4 a series of four Saturday family orientated creative workshops led by local artist Louise Bird.

Following on from the pivotal Vital Places seminar in the Research and Development stage, A place to be: Vital Places II takes place on March 23.

April – July

Karen Ingham delivers a talk about her commission Pembrokeshire Drover to launch a new season of talks in the Lab. On April 27, the second in the series, sees a lively discussion with arts consultant, and editor of CCQ magazine, Emma Geliot who gives a presentation on Artists Studios.


Haverfordwest festival week, 23-30 July, provides a fantastic opportunity for the Lab to create a programme of arts and regeneration activity engaging many hundreds of local people and visitors to the town.

Karen Ingham’s film Pembrokeshire Drover is installed in an empty shop on the old Bridge and shows throughout the festival week before moving to Oriel y Parc.

Working with the artists based in the Riverside Shopping Centre studios, Artsheds pop up along the river, inhabited by Pauline Le Britton, Ruth Sargeant and Gina Hughes and penny d jones and associates.

A series of artworks by local artists appear around the town as part of Breaking out of the Gallery, one of two initiatives supported by Confluence partner, transition Haverfordwest, the other being an epic storytelling and barbecue event at Orchard Mawr’s flagship site.

The Big Model gets out of the Lab and onto the riverside for three days of participatory planning and play led by iDeA architects.

August – October

Following its premiere during Haverfordwest Festival week, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority hosts Karen Ingham’s Pembrokeshire Drovers at Oriel y Parc, in St. Davids, throughout August 2016.

The inaugural meeting of the Empty Property Owners Club Haverfordwest (EPOCH) brings together interested parties with a panel of invited speakers to explore different approaches to working with stalled spaces.

Draw on Nature, the first in a series of Reaching the river walks takes place in September with artist Elisabeth Stonhold and is followed in October by Re-wild an excursion with Tom Moses and How did we get here a geocaching and mapping game led by Town Councillor John Collier.

During the last few days of the October half term PLATFORM presents Haverfordwest as a stage for a programme of new commissions and existing artworks by artists living in and around Pembrokeshire. The programme reflects the diversity and depth of contemporary arts practice in the region, and includes artists’ film, installation and performance that together create a body of work that is in turn exciting, thought-provoking and inspiring.


To mark the end of the second year of the project, on October 29, River of Lights re-unites the creative partnership of SPAN arts, Confluence and Toby Downing, to celebrate death and rebirth in the county town with a widely acclaimed lantern parade involving more than 1200 participants.


November – December

Janetka Platun, who, following an open call, in August 2016 was appointed to work on  Searching for the Centre, continues an intensive period of research and development in preparation for a performance event in January 2017.

With support from creative arts consultancy, ADDO, the award winning arts and architecture practice, Studio Weave is appointed to work on a Capital Commission to engage the community in the process of designing and making a permanent artwork for the riverside corridor in Haverfordwest.


January – March

Ideas Lab returns with a new season of four drop-in sessions on the first Wednesday of the month, aimed at working together to encourage small scale arts and regeneration projects. Transition Haverfordwest, in partnership with Confluence, presents Film$4Change, a series of 6 documentary eco/art films in diverse locations around the town.

Saturday 21st January sees a unique event unfold in Haverfordwest. The art performance Where’s the Centre please? devised by artist Janetka Platun, involves four women, wearing authentic 19th century Llangwm fisherwomen’s clothes, walking into the town from four starting locations in the north, south, east and west, each route symbolising how the town centre and the routes to it have changed over time.

Studioweave are progressing work on developing the narrative and emerging concept for the Capital Commission, which will be sited along the river corridor later in the year.

April – June

Supported through the Ideas Lab and conceived by local creative practitioners, a programme of participatory workshops takes place including: Letters to Haverfordwest – with graphic designer Heidi Baker, Drawn from the past – with illustrator Fran Evans, Light and Alchemy – with Community film maker Sharron Harris and artist Pauline LeBritton, and Shadow Puppetry with Small World Theatre – a prelude to the performance of their new family puppet show The Lightning Path.

In the last week of May, artist Janetka Platun returns to Haverfordwest for a week long visit to launch the artist booklet Searching for the Centre, created during her commission earlier in the year. The launch provides an opportunity for Janetka to facilitate a programme of targeted workshop sessions Doing things differently aiming to increase understanding and awareness of the role and benefits of working with an artist.

On Thursday 15 June, an invited audience of artists and representatives of local arts organisations attend Stepping Up – a one day seminar to review the Feasibility Study being undertaken by Arts Management Consultant Mari Beynon Owen, draw inspiration from Peak/Copa – an innovative contemporary arts programme in rural Wales and build support for a future arts development programme in Haverfordwest.

At the end of the month the Confluence partnership hosts the  biannual meeting of the Ideas People Place network. Around 60 participants, drawn from: the 7 IPP partnerships across Wales; a team from Arts Council Wales, headed by Nick Capaldi; and an inspirational group of Artists, educators and researchers who have been supporting the network, spend two days together, sharing practice and exploring how the learning arising from it can be more widely disseminated.


In advance of festival week and with support from the Ideas Lab, Breaking Out of the Gallery returns for a second season, showcasing the work of 27 local artists in outdoor locations throughout the county town.

At the end of the month, Haverfordwest festival week co-ordinates the delivery of a second eclectic programme of activity for all the family. The Lab contributes a week-long place-making season.

Local writer, Kerry Steed, takes to the streets of Haverfordwest to ask people their thoughts, memories, descriptions and impressions of the town, and from these encounters creates  The Poetry of Haverfordwest.

Theatre Designer Di Ford supported by illustrator Fran Evans delivers a series of workshops engaging more than 150 people in the creation of a hundred unique characters that make up the Little People of Haverfordwest.

Around 40 people gather at the Old Quay near the Bristol Trader to witness the launch of Clive Anderson’s prototype boat – Seren Sailcraft,  built by volunteers the previous year.

Throughout festival week PLANED provides opportunities to reflect on the assets, ideas and opportunities that make Haverfordwest a Great Place, working alongside Studio Weave who are introducing some of the materials and processes that will be used in the fabrication of a series of sculptures along the river.

Film$4change returns with a screening of the French film, Demain (Tomorrow) followed by discussion about local community and environmental initiatives. The Lab programme for Festival week comes to end with Something fishy, mosaic artist, Maddie Janes’ invitation to the community to get involved in decorating the riverside planters with a shoal of mosaic fish.

September – December

In the weeks and months running up to River of Lights 2017, hundreds of children and their families, as well as schools and community groups, work with SPAN arts Cheerful project staff and lead artist Toby Downing to make lanterns inspired by the buildings and characters from Haverfordwest’s past.

On the evening of 31 October 2017, people gather in the town square in their thousands to create a river of light and celebrate ordinary people from the past who have made extraordinary contributions to the town. Haverhub, a newly established community led project in the former post office hosts the after event party.

Work progresses with studioweave on submitting a planning application for the series of scuptural markers that will be sited along the river in the centre of town.

The series of poems created by Kerry Stead during festival week are published as a book and distributed free through three local businesses.

A legacy project takes shape and, in December, is submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Great Place scheme. If successful the project will involve additional heritage and culture partners working with the existing Confluence partners to deliver a three year follow-on programme.


January – June

Studio Weave prepare the documentation and submit a planning application for ‘Cleddau Reaches’ the first permanent public artwork in Haverfordwest for 60 years.

Planning is approved in March and contracts are issued for the work to be fabricated locally by Martin Bellwood Fine Art Foundry in Clynderwen and local willow artist Michelle Cain.

Heritage Lottery announces the outcome of the Great Place application – the proposed follow-on project is not supported and partners begin exploring other means of continuing the work.

An online questionnaire to evaluate the impact of the three year project is undertaken with the support and expertise of analytical volunteers from the Office for National Statistics. The results feed in to an evaluation report.

A local contractor is commissioned to install the sculptures and the sites are prepared. A celebration event on 30 June marks the completion of Cleddau Reaches, the first permanent public artwork in Haverfordwest for 60 years. It also marks the end of the project and the publication of the project’s final report, available to download here


Featured images: Inside the old Sorting Office, Historical map of Haverfordwest, Festival Flags outside the Lab, Freshwest construction workshop, Serena Korda Black Diamond Rave Boat, Toby Downing’s Skeleton by Jenny Blackmore, A Place to be: graphic, Impressions of Haverfordwest, PLATFORM branding, River of lights 2016:image by Jennie Caldwell, Llangwm Fisherwomen: Searching for the Centre, Drawn from the past-Fran Evans, Little People of Haverfordwest – Di Ford, Toby Downing’s dog puppet from River of Lights 2017, Sketch of Cleddau Reaches- Studio Weave, Celebrating the river sculptures event – Sharron Harris.