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Background | chartistnewport.org  [April 2008]

  

chartistnewport.org has evolved  in the context of a new energy in Chartist commemoration activities over the period 2007-08.




   
The past twelvemonth has seen a resurgence of interest in the Chartist heritage of South Wales:

  • The growth of Chartist Ancestors activity throughout Britain reflects the new information environment of the Internet, and this has in turn stimulated local historical groups and activities.
  • Moreover, friends of Chartism in Newport were galvanized by the controversies surrounding the proposed removal of the Newport Chartist Mural to make way for a city centre regeneration project (-we should remember that the mural was itself a part of the post-60's phase of city centre modernisation in Newport).
  • The convergence of these interests led to an unprecedented programme of Chartist Anniversary celebrations in November 2007. This was followed by the setting up of a Democracy Day petition to Parliament, and this will remain open until December 2009.

The popular success of these events has led to the resolve to engage an ongoing programme of Chartist activities. Accordingly the South Wales Chartist Network has been established as a forum for bringing together the activities of local Chartist groups, through the facilitation of HERIAN ( Heritage in Action).


Chartist Newport has evolved as an online project within this wider context of renewed Chartist activity:

  • chartistnewport.org was initially set up as an online archive for the Newport Chartist Mural Documentation Project, which was commissioned by Modus in association with Newport Museum and Art Gallery in September 2007.
  • chartistnewport.org recorded the programme of activities for the Chartist Anniversary events of November 2007,
  • and consequently realized an ongoing role from January 2008 as an archive for Chartist commemoration activities in Newport and South Wales; 
  • From January 2008 chartistnewport.org has worked in close collaboration with Les James (SWCHIR South Wales Centre for Historical and Interdisciplinary Research, University of Wales, Newport);
  • and further networking led to chartistnewport.org  playing a catalyst role in the formation of the South Wales Chartist Network.  

chartistnewport.org was administered at the outset in September 2007 by John Wilson (Guest Curator) and Roger Cucksey (Keeper of Art, Newport Museum and Art Gallery). Since January 2008 chartistnewport.org has been administered voluntarily by John Wilson as an independent advocacy project.