#senedd2011 – democracy in our networked age

It’s not often that I talk about my actual, paid, 9-5 everyday job on here, as this is usually reserved for my extra-curricular activities. However, today at work months of preparation finally paid off in an event called ‘#senedd2011 – democracy in our networked age’

My bread and butter, as it were, are earned by working for the National Assembly for Wales as the web editor there (that’s right, all the books and the community art are done in my spare time. No, I don’t sleep much). A few months ago, with a view to improving the Assembly’s engagement with digital communities, I approached a couple of acquaintances of mine who run a consultancy called NativeHQ.

Here’s what they say about themselves: “Based in Cardiff, providing web presence and social media strategy, open networked websites, web tools and training. Your bridge to the new web.”

The Assembly started talks with Native last summer, with a view to running some kind of online engagement – initially we thought about an outreach project to try and educate people in Wales about the impact of the referendum, but it soon became much bigger than that – a behemoth of an event, inviting bloggers and those who are active online to come and talk to a selection of panellists who also gave talks.

The speakers did a wonderful job – you can watch Dr Andy Williamson from Hansard kick ass talking about things like how governments should do away with copyright completely (which got my friend Carl very excited indeed) below

#senedd2011: Dr Andy Williamson, Hansard – Part One / Rhan Un from Assembly Wales / Cynulliad Cymru on Vimeo.

#senedd2011: Dr Andy Williamson, Hansard – Part Two / Rhan Dau from Assembly Wales / Cynulliad Cymru on Vimeo.

Other speakers were Alison Preston from Ofcom, freelance journalist Marc Webber, and Iwan Williams from the National Assembly. You can see all sorts of other stuff that happened at the event on the Vote2011 wordpress.

It was pretty stressful putting the whole thing together – hence my radio silence on this blog for such a long time. But ultimately it was a really worthwhile experience. I just hope that after the Assembly election on the 5 May, the new Assembly Members pay attention to the direction that their representatives want democracy to move into.



It’s been over a month since my last post. Very slack. Lots of boring and sad personal stuff going on at the moment so excuse irregular updates….

In news of what the haps, the We Are Cardiff storytelling project that I set up with my friend Adam has been a real success – we have had 10K views so far and have linked up with some similar digital portrait sites in San Francisco, Melbourne, and beyond. For news of that, check the hack flash blog, and to read some of the stories, visit the We Are Cardiff site.

I’ve been working on a novel since November 2010 (got part of my dirty draft down thanks to NaNoWriMo, which I didn’t finish, but was useful nonetheless) and last weekend my mum helped me put down the structure for it – the structure was the thing I was having the most difficulty with. I’m no good at things like that – thinking logically and analytically and putting things into a sensible arrangement. My mother, on the other hand, is a dab hand, and helped me shape my bizarre plotline into a logical shape (still bizarre, of course).

For updates on how that’s going, best get me on my Tumblr.

Other stuff

I did an iPod playlist in Journal of Plastik (Mark Thomas featured as one of We Are Cardiff’s earliest stories, so I guess this was returning the favour)

One of my photographs (see below) for the Guardian’s last Project:Document was used in this article about the new theme (Streetlife and Survival)


My friend Adam Corner has recently moved to Kampala in Africa for the next six months, doing some research on climate change. You can follow him on Twitter @AJCorner and check out the Hidden Heat blog he’s updating while he’s over there.

Neil Cocker (our very first We Are Cardiff story!) is putting together the second TEDxCardiff conference which will be held on Saturday 9 April at the Millennium Centre when I, annoyingly, won’t be here to attend (don’t cry about it though as I’ll be road tripping down the west coast of the States with my good friend Hannah. Things could be worse, hey?). Some pretty impressive speakers have already been announced. Keep updated with the TedxCardiff blog or Twitter. Neil is one of the busiest and most productive people I have ever met. He and I have been attempting to arrange having a cup of tea together for about three months. Let’s hope it happens soon!

Adam Chard – my co-hackflash conspirator – has been tinkering with his website and it is looking nice nice. Adam is a Cardiff based photography and design bod and is responsible for some of the nicer posters and CD covers you might have been seeing around Cardiff recently.

And, um, that’s it for the timebeing. I’m back to the novel structure grindstone that I’m cunningly avoiding by updating this. Laters!

Feed Cardiff, Saturday 9th October

Some of my good friends are putting on an event this Saturday in Cardiff city centre. I’m going along to volunteer my time serving meals between 12-2pm, so if you fancy some free grub – and a laugh at me in my pinny – make sure you come along.

On Saturday 9th October, shoppers in Cardiff City Centre will get more than they bargained for – a free, freshly cooked meal and some food for thought about making farming more sustainable. The event – ‘Feed Cardiff’ – is being organised by the Cardiff Food Alliance, a partnership between the Cardiff Transition Project and Cardiff Friends of the Earth.

Using fresh fruit and vegetables sourced from local farms and food outlets, 500 passers-by will be fed a nutritious meal made from ‘surplus’ food – items that are perfectly good to eat, but that are wasted because they do not have the right appearance to be sold in supermarkets.

Each year in the UK we throw away 8.3 million tonnes of edible food – if that food wasn’t wasted the carbon emissions saved would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road. By putting the food to good use, ‘Feed Cardiff’ aims to raise awareness of the amount of edible food that is wasted every day, and to encourage people to waste less food themselves.

As well as providing a hot meal, Feed Cardiff will be promoting the Friends of the Earth campaign for a Sustainable Livestock Bill. This is a new law that will reduce the environmental impact of meat and dairy production, and move government subsidies away from intensive, factory farms and on to supporting more sustainable ways of farming.

This is a great event to help out with for anyone that wants to turn moaning about supermarkets and the food system in the UK into positive action. We need support from people that can cook and are prepared to go “food shopping” contacting food suppliers of all shapes and sizes and getting our hands on some surplus grub to cook.

Email cardiffeasttransition@hotmail.co.uk if you can help make this event happen

RIP Kruger Magazine

Yes, it is true. Sad, but true. The last issue of Kruger Magazine was the very last one we’ll ever do. I’m meant to be bashing out the last chapter of the Lady Gaga paperback that’s coming out in October, but it’s hard to concentrate. I feel a big fat blog post coming about this soon – but for now, I’ll leave you with words from the three chaps who I first met at the opening party of Sugar nightclub in Cardiff back in 2003, where I was DJing and they were on the blag for free drinks. It was the start of a beautiful relationship, and, I like to think, one of the things I’ve done in my life that was the making of me.

Kruger is dead.


It’s with heavy hearts and empty pockets that we announce that Kruger Magazine is dead, and will no longer be produced. The magazine may have been brilliant, but our business model was rubbish, so without any sign of long- or short-term financial improvement, we are unable to continue bearing the burden.

It’s been six and a half years since we first launched the magazine, and in that time it’s changed beyond recognition into one of the best written, most beautifully designed and lovingly crafted magazines in the UK, and that’s all down to the people who have helped us by giving up their time and lending their talent as much as they could along the way.

We’d like to thank everyone who supported us at the beginning, helped us struggle on to the end, and especially the people who saw the whole thing through with us. It was awesome fun.

Kruger as a business is not dead, so keep in touch to find out about our new ideas and projects. In the meantime we’ll be re-launching our website as an archive and tribute to everything we achieved with Kruger magazine, so come and say hello.

Thanks again to everyone who made it all possible. The fact we kept on going for so long is a testament to what you can do when enough people believe in the same thing.

And that’s it. What The Martini Henry Rifles said in four words, we said in 259. Typical.

See you soon,

Mike Williams, Joe Howden & Michaeljohn Day

Kruger Magazine