Today saw the launch of Glyndwr University’s brand new £5m Centre of Creative Industries. Wrexham.com reporter Liam Randall went along to the opening to get a taster of what the building has to offer for students and local people.
The list of attendees was like a who’s who of Wrexham figures including Council Leader Aled Roberts, Mayor Cllr Jim Kelly, Ian Lucas MP, Lesley Griffiths AM and even well known local photographer Les Evans. The opening ceremony was performed by First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones who was at the university as part of his tour of North Wales in the run up to the Welsh Assembly elections. Vice-Chancellor of Glyndwr University, Professor Michael Scott used his opening speech to urge the First Minister not to cut university spending in Wales.
Addressing the minister directly Mr. Scott said: “First Minister, the last time you visited the university you used the analogy of a university being like a toolbox. Well, I’m asking you not to throw the keys from the toolbox away.”
Carwyn Jones did not address Mr. Scott’s concerns directly in his speech however he did speak in praise of the university, he said.
“Glyndwr is a wonderful university, a great asset not just to Wrexham but to Wales.”
Despite the gloomy economic outlook for universities, which are currently facing heavy cuts from the Welsh Assembly Government, Mr. Scott claimed that Glyndwr is one of the only UK universities which does not have any loans or mortgages to pay off and is running profitably.
Politics aside the event was certainly an exciting one.
Amongst the new ventures revealed were Glyndwr University’s new online TV station GTV and student magazine G Mag. Potential TV shows mentioned were Wrexham Markets which follows the lives of local market traders, Digs, the student equivalent of Cribs and the humorously named allotment show Lettuce Entertain You. A film called Hawk was also premiered by Glyndwr graduates who are currently trying to sell the movie to Hollywood.
The building holds a lot of features which can be used by students and local residents alike including TV studios, computer suites and a 3D design studio. We also received a tour of the brand new BBC Cymru Wales studios which have relocated to the creative centre from their previous base at Wrexham Library. Two of the broadcasters big shows, The Roy Noble Show and The Science Cafe, presented by Adam Walton, were being recorded in the midst of the tour. TV, radio and online output for North East Wales will all be created in the studios.
The creative industries building is certainly distinctive in its design. It has a self watering grass topped roof, which also gathers rainwater to be used in the building’s toilets and holds panels which generate electricity for the building. However, in the middle of all the new features are several parts of Wrexham’s heritage such as a letter written by
Owain Glyndwr dating from 1406, in which he urges the Prince of France to support the creation of universities in Wales. There’s also an impressive mural which covers the walls of the foyer called “The Dance of Life” painted by the artist Mildred Eldridge in the 1950s. The mural was previously displayed over two walls at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic and District Hospital in Gobowen.
Overall it was an interesting day and signals the start of exciting developments for the creative industries in Wrexham.