Apr 5 2023 - Posted by Yvonne

The Talking Shop emerging themes summary March 2023

The Talking Shop Emerging Themes Summary

Cardiff, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil 2022-2023

By Jordan Forse on behalf of Omidaze Productions. With additions and editing by Yvonne Murphy – March 2023



There is nothing quite like it, and that is art”

Talking Shop Visitor Merthyr Tydfil




“I have just registered and voted. I love this shop, I think it is a really good place for everyone to communicate.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book


The Talking Shop© is a cultural and democratic information centre which aims to transform cultural and democratic participation both at and beyond the ballot box. The Talking Shop encourages and facilitates public engagement with creativity, arts and culture, and democratic systems and structures. Omidaze are researching and developing The Talking Shop model through trials across Wales and aim to have completed prototyping and blueprinting the model by autumn 2023. As part of this Omidaze are exploring creative approaches to democratic deliberation and participation and ways to increase democratic and cultural participation through facilitated conversation, information and creative participatory activity. More information on The Talking Shop trials and the ongoing research and development surrounding the prototyping of The Talking Shop model can be found here.

This paper is an interim summary of emerging themes identified to date from the data collection across three Talking Shop trial locations – Cardiff (3 months), Newport (1 month) and Merthyr Tydfil (5 months). The data available from Merthyr Tydfil is more extensive due to the extended time period and will therefore hold more weight in this analysis.

A full Talking Shop report and blueprint of the model will be published after the final trial in Blackwood in 2024. The Democracy Box Report – Beyond the Ballot Box was published in spring 2024 and details the research underpinning The Talking Shop and the model itself.

The key themes outlined have been identified from 1,542 data entries which have been collected and recorded to date by hosts (in host notebooks, handover books and via audio recordings) and provided directly by visitors via visitor books, the Tree of Thought, surveys, mind maps, postcards to the future, a comments box, video recordings, creative work (e.g. collages; bunting; drawings and poems) and strategically placed large sheets of paper with big open questions on.

Remaining data which has not yet been inputted and analysed are voice recordings from hosts in the Cardiff trial May – July 2023 and written feedback from freelance hosts and collaborator co-hosts.

Identification of key themes for each area has been undertaken by both Human and Artificial Intelligence methods resulting in two sets of data. It is clear to see that both methods have identified similar key themes. For ease of understanding each Human and AI Identification has been split into two.

The data has also been ranked with the top and bottom identified key themes – This has solely been completed by Human Identification, as AI struggled with the sheer amount of data input to correctly identify.


“Brilliant, Welcoming Space! Town, City and community must have! Talking, really listening and conversation is vital. Democracy was not a word or subject that was really taught to me at school. Voting was for those who were in upper classes. Language, attitudes must change. It is for us all. We all have a right but there are still barriers. Thank you for starting my learning journey and feeling I finally have access.” The Talking Shop Cardiff Visitor Book


Creating structured and programmed creative activities to increase democratic and cultural participation and then using these activities to explore creative approaches to deliberative democracy within The Talking Shop is a key priority for Omidaze and the future potential of The Talking Shop model. Funding levels only allowed for a minimum exploration of this in the Cardiff and Newport trials. This activity increased significantly in the Merthyr trials with significant results and impact.

Activities programmed by Omidaze also included sessions led created and managed by our partners and collaborators and by artists, creatives, individuals and organsiations who were supported in terms of publicity by Omidaze and included in our weekly calendar but were not contracted or paid by Omidaze. These included book and poetry readings, audition preparation, public music rehearsals and performances, workshops, poetry slams, spoken word and public information events,


Coloring and drawing materials were provided and the activity encouraged on daily basis in all locations. This proved to be a key engagement tool allowing all ages to participate and inter-generational conversations to occur and create time, space and reflection to consider the question(s) of the day and to take in the information around the shop.


Collective poetry writing; Portrait drawing; Illustration; Collaging and Bunting making were also trialed in all three locations and developed significantly by the third and longest trial in Merthyr Tydfil. By the end of this trial an ongoing collective large scale collage had been completed, several lines of bunting and many sketch books filled and poems written in answer to, and inspired by, questions in the shop. The bunting and collective collaging had specific related questions.


Bunting Questions:

How do we create the society we want for our future generations?

What matters to you about the way Wales is run?

Collage Question:

What kind of society do we want and how do we that a reality?


In Merthyr Tydfil the programmed participatory activities totalled over 200. All proved successful in helping to engage people in conversation, including visitors who may not otherwise have entered the shop and gave structure to the conversations.


A variety of sessions designed and facilitated by professional freelance creatives were programmed in the Merthyr shop including various arts and crafts; creative writing; journaling; poetry; zine-making; illustration, balloon portraits and the collaging and bunting. All proved extremely successful creative approaches to deliberative democracy.


How we structure these further and how we then funnel the outcomes of these creative deliberative discussions into channels within our democratic systems and structures and begin to bridge the divide between activism and our representative democratic system and policy and law making will be the next stage of The Talking Shop trials in summer 2023. The next trails will also enable us to progress early thinking and ideas around developing creative methods of recording voter registration and evidencing links between engagement with The Talking Shop and increased and sustained democratic and cultural engagement beyond the shop environment.


Music, dance and drama workshops proved successful in promoting and enticing and engaging more people into and with the shop in general.


Advance planning and promotion of creative activities and events was not always possible due to lack of funding lead in time (all locations); lack of advance notice of extension period (Merthyr); funding levels (Newport and Cardiff) and no budget line for marketing due to limited financial resources (all locations).


Some activities proved more popular than others with attendance peaking in Merthyr before Christmas and at the end of the trial in February. It should be noted that both of these ‘peaks’ were during the busiest creative participatory programming and each followed over a month of promotion. Because the Merthyr shop was due to close on January 7 and we only had notice of its continuation on January 4 it took at least a month for us to build back up to the pre-Christmas levels of engagement and communicate widely the extension period.


Footfall in Newport was consistently high throughout its month long trial in April.


Securing a suitable site in time in Cardiff proved extremely challenging given the funding timeline which meant the project had to be delivered before an election resulting in a lack of available project lead in time. The Cardiff site faced challenges due to the location of the shop (not on main street but within a ‘destination’ arcade) and the site itself – the shop unit was small and had a challenging narrow layout over two floors with the first floor only accessible by a staircase. Despite these difficulties the Cardiff shop had 100% positive feedback from over 1656 visitors (an average of over 550 visitors per month on par with the 2019 pilot) and allowed us to research and evidence the minimum requirements for a Talking Shop unit.


It would be lovely if this place was made permanent” – The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book




Introduction  2

Recorded Footfall 9

Participatory Sessions  10

Visitor profiles  10

Collaborating organisation co-hosts  12

Overarching Key Themes  14

Themes – Human Identification  14

Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification  15

Overall Impact, Value and Identified Need  19

General Need for The Talking Shop Themes  19

Themes – Human Identification  19

Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification  22

Ranking  23

Creative Participatory Sessions and Creative Approaches to Deliberative Democracy  25

Themes – Human Identification  25

Themes – Artificial intelligence Identification  27

Further Commentary  28

Ranking  29

Politics and Deliberative Democracy  30

Themes – Human Identification  30

Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification  31

Ranking  33

Wellbeing Themes  34

Themes – Human Intelligence Identification  34

Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification  36

Ranking  37

Cardiff and Newport Hosts and Assistant Producers  38

Merthyr Tydfil Trial Hosts and Volunteers  38

Full list of Merthyr trial participatory programmed activity  39

Further information  43

Background  43

Talking Shop trailers and explainer videos  43

Media Coverage  44

The Democracy Box Public Information Campaign Prototype  44

Links to output from schools participating in The Democracy Box Creative Cascade programme for schools pilot in partnership with Central South Consortia  45

Appendix 1 The Talking Shop – preliminary analysis of data July 2022  46

Constitutional matters  47

General Politics matters  50


Recorded Footfall

Merthyr Tydfil Total Visitors
Original Period 3216
Ext. Period 2372
Full Total 5773
Monthly Breakdown
October 1068
November 1213
December 895
January 1028
February 1569
Average Visitors
Total Avg. 54.53773585
Original Avg. 53.21538462
Ext. Avg. 56.47619048
Cardiff Total Visitors
Full Total 1656
Newport Total Visitors      
Full Total 1005

Total recorded Visitors across all three trials = 8,434



Participatory Sessions

Participatory Programme
TTS / Omidaze 94
Other Orgs. 113
Full Total 207
Not programmed by us 60


A trend seems to be across all shops that footfall picks up and increases from 11am onwards and is often quiet on Saturdays and during school holidays however this is sometimes contradicted with a busy influx at these ‘quiet times’ occurring across all three sites and programmed and advertised creative activities definitely increase footfall and meaningful engagement.


“Thank you for being here. Intergenerational conversation and connection is key. You are fighting the good fight! We would love to have you back as the impact on the people in the shop alone is powerful.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor Book


Visitor profiles

Sample Visitor Button Poll


Under 16 50
16 – 18 63
19 – 26 14
27 – 40 15
41 – 60 43
61+ 43


A voluntary poll was conducted during the extension period of the Merthyr Tydfil trial. The age range using the Merthyr shop saw under 18’s being the highest recorded followed closely by those aged 41 and over with 19-40 year olds being the lowest categories. These stats are from a short poll that we did in the second phase of the shop in 2023.

This was reflected in the Newport trial with the Cardiff trial having a more equal spread across all age categories with possibly higher being in the19-40 bracket which would possibly reflect the demographics of a Capital City.


Collaborating organisation co-hosts


  • Electoral Commission
  • Youth Cymru
  • Office of the Future Generations Commissioner
  • Clwstwr
  • Senedd Engagement team
  • Anthem
  • Institute of Welsh Affairs
  • Wales Millennium Centre
  • National Theatre Wales



  • Electoral Commission
  • Youth Cymru
  • Office of the Future Generations Commissioner
  • National Theatre Wales
  • University of South Wales
  • Opera Sonic
  • Newport Council
  • Riverfront
  • Wales Millennium Centre


Merthyr Tydfil

  • Office of the Future Generations Commissioner
  • National Library of Wales/National Archive
  • Merthyr Tydfil Library
  • Wales Millennium Centre
  • Cwm Taf Public Service Board
  • Head4Arts


 “Life has slowed me down, but this place has sped me up It has put a heart in Newport. It has given me a sense of belonging. I has made me realise I want to do the same volunteer work. Maybe work for the Red Cross, helping homeless people out. It has made me eager to help people. It is people that keep you going in life. I think there should be more places like this. It gives people something that Newport has not for a long time. You have given me hope – all of you people are nice and polite. I have not felt judged, and I always felt welcomed back.” The Talking Shop Newport Visitor’s Book




Overarching Key Themes

“The Talking Shop is like a community centre – somewhere for people of all ages to mix and find out how others live their lives and be there for each other. There should absolutely be a The Talking Shop on every high street. It is such a friendly and safe place to be. Thank you for opening your doors.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book


Themes – Human Identification

  • Democratic Participation: Encouraging people to register to vote, understanding how to vote in elections, and sharing the Democracy Box story of our UK democracy in a mixture of formats. Discussing and debating democracy and politics. The question of the day proved to be vital in anchoring and focusing the conversations. The creative activities were key to engagement and trialing creative approaches to deliberative democracy and allowed people to engage in their own way, in their own time and in a relaxed manner. All aspects of democracy were discussed including the past, present and future constitutional and democratic realities and possibilities, democratic participation and a citizen’s journey, voting, elections, representatives and our representative democracy, trust, truth, information provision and lack thereof, mechanisms to be heard/make a difference and the media to name but a few.
  • Community Building: Creating safe spaces for people to come together, promoting open communication, and providing resources for learning and growth.
  • Social Justice: Advocating for fundamental human rights, equality, accessibility, and equity regardless of sex, race, background, disability, social class, and geography.
  • Mental Health and Self-care: Recognising the importance of self-care, mental health, and well-being.
  • Artistic Expression: Fostering creativity, self-expression, art classes, music, and liberation.
  • Infrastructure and Public Services: Improving public services such as healthcare, schools, transportation, and security.
  • Personal Empowerment: Encouraging individuals to work towards their aspirations, overcome their doubts and fears, and always put 100% into everything.
  • Language: Promoting Welsh language provision and learning and being inclusive of other languages, especially in way of accessibility – BSL. What is key to see is the encouragement of using first language demonstrated by the inclusion other languages in the visitor books.
  • Environmental Consciousness: Promoting sustainability and making a difference in the environment.
  • Safe Space: Enjoying socialising, hanging out with friends, and appreciating positive spaces such as The Talking Shop.


“The Talking shop is a creator of community and there is almost nothing else in the world which could be as important as that. A fabulous place.” The Talking Shop Cardiff Visitor Book



Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification

  • Community Support: The data talks about activities that offer support to people from the community. For instance, people were directed to mental health services and housing associations, disability groups, and trans-friendly organizations to get better support.
  • Challenging conversations: The shop provided an open space for challenging conversations, such as those around politics, democracy, race, gender and sexual identity, which were navigated with care and sensitivity by the hosts. Trained hosts reframed the conversations to promote inclusivity, equal rights, acceptance, respect and a safe space for everyone.
  • Signposting Support: Visitors were signposted to a wide range of services including and beyond local council services e.g. initial health support services, housing, employment, social services and counselling services, .
  • Inclusivity: The terms ‘safe space’ and ‘judgement free zone’ were recurring phrases across all feedback. The Talking Shop provides an open space where everyone can be who they are without fear of judgment. People of all ages and from all walks of life and backgrounds are welcome and all mix and converse.
  • Positive Impact: The police noted the positive impact the shop has had on the community. Participants had positive conversations about how the shop benefits the community. (PCSOs reported on the benefit and positive impact and the shopping centre security team reported on a noticeable positive impact on anti-social behavior)
  • Mental health support: There were several instances where people came in seeking support for mental health issues or those with relationship, housing, financial, security and health issues, veterans with PTSD, visitors who had been evicted, isolated and homeless. The hosts and young co-creators provided support, signposted them to mental health or relevant services, and encouraged them to talk and participate in activities at the shop.
  • Signposting and referrals: The hosts and volunteers frequently signposted people to various services and organizations that could help them, such as mental health services, disability support/advocacy groups, and council and government support programs. They also received referrals from other organizations such as the Credit Union, Communities to Work, and Hope Pantry, and collaborated with the British Red Cross and Voluntary Action Merthyr to support vulnerable individuals.
  • Community engagement: The shop was praised for its positive impact on the community, with many individuals expressing their appreciation and gratitude for the services provided. The creative sessions which began being trialed in Cardiff in May were developed in Merthyr and proved very successful at increasing engagement and footfall with the lantern workshops, wreath making and music events being particularly successful in the Merthyr shop. All shops provided a  safe space for all citizens and in Newport food was donated by a local charity for those visitors in need.
  • Personal struggles: Several individuals shared personal struggles and  experiences with the hosts. The hosts listened to their stories, provided support and signposting to relevant services and encouraged participation in creative activities at the shop.



“Great idea – We need a space for people to vent, debate, discuss, understand and engage. Our civic spaces are disappearing, our cultural institutions are becoming to be busy becoming global brands, Where is there a space – Here it is.” The Talking Shop Cardiff Visitor’s Book


Further Themes evident in this data include mental health, addiction, homelessness, support services, welfare, and healthcare, community, discussion, debate, literacy, democracy and politics.

The Talking Shop acted as a welcoming space where people could come for support and signposting to relevant professional services. The shop provided valuable resources for those seeking advice on benefits, housing, and healthcare, and connected visitors to healthcare professionals and other community resources.


“What an inspiring, creative and colorful space. It is a rare thing to find a place where intergenerational conversations can be sparked, when talking and meeting new people can lead to exciting projects. It is a powerful space. What has been created here has to continue. Am Myriad Ardderchog.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book






Overall Impact, Value and Identified Need

I think this shop is a great idea and should be continued for as long as possible – Getting people of all generations discussing politics is such an important issue” -The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor


Themes – Human Identification

  • Civic & Democratic Engagement: was reflected strongly in the feedback and engagement by visitors of all ages. The voting booth and ballot box donated by the Electoral Services in Newport and Merthyr Tydfil were identified as essential tools by younger visitors in demystifying the voting process. Tablets provided by Newport and Merthyr Councils (and later a Chromebook from Cwmpas Digital Inclusion in Merthyr) proved invaluable in helping people to understand how to register to vote as did having a Newport Council Engagement officer in the Newport Shop and free merchandise to incentivize people to register to vote on site.


The Talking Shop provides a platform for civic engagement, democratic debate and creative approaches to democratic deliberation. Visitors discuss various issues such as democracy, economics, and local, Welsh and UK politics using The Democracy Box materials, story, content and creative participatory sessions, the question of the day and questions on the walls and the design and content of the shop generally as stimulus, structure and framing for conversations. Visitors are all signposted to www.theyworkforyou.com www.whocanIvotefor.co.uk and lastly www.writetothem.com to find the names of all of their elected representatives who they could then search and email/contact direct. All elected representatives in Merthyr were invited to visit the shop. We facilitated visits by two Members of Senedd in Merthyr. Unfortunately this was not possible in Newport and Cardiff due to the timing of the trials during the pre-election period. The trial in Merthyr evidenced the importance and need for democratic information and engagement outside of the run up to elections.

  • Community Building: The Talking Shop appears to have built a strong sense of community among its visitors particularly in Merthyr where it ran the longest for five months. People come together to discuss various topics and participate in free creative activities. The shop was routinely described as a “safe space” and a “sanctuary” where people of different generations come together and feel welcome, heard, and engaged. All shops attracted the full spectrum of ages from newborn infants to 96 years old with many visitors commenting on how unusual it was for them to mix with people of different ages and from different backgrounds. Many visitors expressed gratitude for the space and the people who have created it. They praised the idea, the hosts, and the staff for providing a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment where people can talk and share their experiences.
  • Artistic Value: Visitors appreciated the creative and artistic aspects of The Talking Shop. They see it as a unique space that provides opportunities for exploration and expression. The shop is described as “art” and a “creative engagement with democracy story.”
  • Creative expression: The Talking Shop offers opportunities for creative expression through various activities, including crafting, music, and art. The data shows that visitors enjoy participating in these activities and find them helpful as context or to be active in whilst in conversation (creative approaches to democratic deliberation) and were regularly identified by visitors as positive approaches for coping with stress, anxiety, emotional issues, well-being, community cohesion and personal development
  • Social Impact: The Talking Shop seems to have had a positive social impact on its visitors. They feel supported, informed, and empowered by the various events and activities that take place there. The shop provides signposting for support services, and people have discussions on mental health, addiction, democracy, and other relevant topics.
  • Education: The Talking Shop is seen as a place for learning and education. Visitors engage in conversations on various topics and are given books and flyers related to democracy and other issues. Visitors are also given the opportunity to participate in workshops and classes.
  • Diverse needs: The Talking Shop serves a diverse range of people, from young people to the elderly people with a full range of intersectional identities. The data shows that visitors often come with different needs, including housing, financial support, gender identity, and emotional well-being. The hosts and staff are trained to provide information and support to help visitor’s access appropriate services.
  • Partnership working: The Talking Shop collaborates with other organisations and agencies to provide a holistic approach to supporting and welcoming the community it serves. This allows for the shop to become a safe haven, but also an information centre outside of its general objectives. Key partnerships have included Cwm Taf PSB, Head4Arts, Communities for Work and SWP.


“The idea of TTS is brilliant. I would like to see more of this in Merthyr….I find the variety and workshops brilliant” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor Survey


Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification

  • Appreciation and gratitude for the Talking Shop, its organizers, and staff.
  • Positive feedback about the shop as a safe space for the community, including a mix of ages and regular and new attendees.
  • Conversations around accessing support services and signposting to relevant organizations.
  • Stories of vulnerable individuals and their mental health challenges and the efforts made by Talking Shop staff and the police to support them.
  • Interest in keeping the Talking Shop open for longer and finding ways to support it.
  • Events, workshops, and activities that engage the community, such as craft sessions, lantern workshops, and music events.
  • Community support and appreciation: Many individuals expressed gratitude for the Talking Shop and its impact on the community. There are numerous messages of thanks and well-wishes for the future, as well as expressions of how much people will miss the Talking Shop. Some individuals even shared how the Talking Shop helped them through difficult times, such as a person who was unlawfully evicted.
  • Diversity and inclusion: The Talking Shop appears to be a welcoming space for people of all ages and backgrounds, as noted by the variety of attendees mentioned in the data. There are also instances of the Talking Shop providing support and resources for individuals with disabilities or mental health concerns, such as signposting to relevant organizations and support available.
  • Positive impact on the community: The Talking Shop seems to have a positive effect on the community, as evidenced by numerous comments from visitors and the police. Many individuals  ask how they can help keep the Talking Shop open longer.
  • Engagement with community events: The Talking Shop appears to be involved in various community events, such as the Head4Arts music event or the lantern workshop, and these events are well-received by attendees.


It is clear to see that Civic & Democratic Engagement; Community building and Artistic Experience are highly valued by visitors and hosts at the shop.

There is an overwhelming number of responses in this data around the gratitude for TTS and the need for the space to continue. The top ranking area is around the support TTS has been able to provide any visitor, and the ability to inform and signpost the community and create a space for civic engagement, information, debate and discussion.

Other themes evident in general need for The Talking Shop are safe spaces, inclusivity, and mental health support. People who visited or used the space expressed gratitude for having a safe and welcoming place to talk, discuss, debate and share and hear experiences different from their own. There were many stories from visitors, creatives and hosts about perspectives, mindsets, attitudes, opinions and beliefs being positively challenged and changing due to their time inside The Talking Shop.

Many of The Talking Shop visitors (and members of our freelance team) reported and recorded that they had gone on a significant emotional or personal journey citing the shop as instrumental. This evidence ranged from increased knowledge, awareness, access, ability to participate in society/democracy, confidence, trust in others and democracy, self-esteem and improved mental and physical health as well as increased pride in one’s own achievements and that of their community.

Loneliness, isolation, depression, mental health and bereavement (the Covid pandemic was referenced frequently as a cause of all of the above) were all recurring themes and many visitors reported that The Talking Shop helped them in all of these areas.

The design of The Talking Shop was frequently referred to as being welcoming, warm, inviting, inspiring and unique. The trained hosts were frequently cited as key to a visitor’s positive experience and their reason for entering, engaging with and returning to the shop. Many visitors described the space as  safe and therefore felt able to openly discuss and seek help for personal issues such as mental health, homelessness, and loneliness and isolation. The hosts of The Talking Shop also provided support by offering resources, signposting to organisations that can help, and advice on coping mechanisms. The police noticed the positive impact of the shop on the community and encouraged its continuation. The Talking Shop provided a positive atmosphere for people of all ages, including those identifying as refugees and with disabilities. Overall, the themes suggest that The Talking Shop serves as an important resource for the community, providing much-needed support, information, and a sense of belonging.

Although ranking lower in this area, accessibility is a key theme. There is less conversation and comment in this area, but this could be matched with a lower percentage of engagement. Topics have included the inclusion of BSL materials and the Welsh Language. Access provision was researched and developed in the Cardiff site and will be developed further in Conwy and Blaenau Gwent trials. All materials inside all three trials were bilingual with more Welsh speaking hosts in all three locations. This number was consistently increased through recruitment across the three trials. Voice to text recognition applications were begun to be explored in the Merthyr trial as we explore how to make all conversations within The Talking Shop bilingual. This is a major area of research going forward in the remaining trials.


I think what you are doing is amazing! It needs to be extended into the school curriculum” – Talking Shop Newport Visitor comment on the Tree of Thought



Creative Participatory Sessions and Creative Approaches to Deliberative Democracy

“Unstructured solace – Ideas and dreams can bloom in open spaces.” Talking Shop Visitor Newport Tree of Thought



Themes – Human Identification


  • The role of creativity in deliberative democracy and social and political activism: Some visitors discuss social and political issues, such as the cost of living crisis and strikes, and suggest that creativity can play a role in activism and raising awareness. Others discuss the importance of creating space for diverse perspectives and experiences and the need for tools and methods to facilitate difficult conversations.
  • Community engagement: The shop is a hub for people to come together and engage in various creative activities like crafts, music, poetry, knitting, and more. Regulars visit the shop, and there are new visitors daily,
  • Artistic expression: The shop is a space that promotes artistic expression in various forms, including graffiti, art exhibitions, singing, playing musical instruments, visual art, writing, illustration, drama, dance arts and crafts. A full list can be found at the end of this report. The therapeutic and self-expressive benefits of creativity: Many visitors describe the role of creativity in their lives, highlighting its importance for self-expression, personal growth, and mental health. Poetry, in particular, is seen as a way to share personal stories and soothe the soul.
  • Safe space: There are instances where the shop serves as a safe haven for people who may be experiencing difficult emotions, like the 19-year-old ASD girl who shared her struggles with anger and the mother and pregnant daughter who are homeless. The shop provides an opportunity for people to express their emotions creatively, like making a DIY Christmas tree or listening to poetry about war and conflict.
  • Collaborations and networking: The shop attracts people who are interested in collaborating and networking with others. There are instances where people leave their details for future collaborations or express interest in booking the space for a performance or an event. The data evidences visitors sharing information about events happening in the community.
  • Creativity and creative learning: The shop is a space where people can learn new creative skills, like making wood decorations, knitting, crocheting. musical instruments and crafting and participate in events like the Cost of Living Event or the Traditional Celtic and Contemporary Folk Music event. Visitors also share information about creative writing support or art shows in the towns, indicating a desire to learn and expand their creative skills and knowledge. Professional creatives ran introductory classes from everything from dance to drama to creative writing and illustration and music which included professional pathways advice


“More spaces like this are desperately needed so we can have conversations from opposing beliefs. Less empty shops and offices, more art and creative spaces.” The Talking Shop Cardiff Visitor Book


Themes – Artificial intelligence Identification

  • Creativity and Self-expression: The data indicates that creative sessions are seen as a means of self-expression and a way of finding tools and methods to express oneself, as well as providing structure and giving meaning to one’s day.
  • Community Engagement: The Talking Shop seems to be a place where people come together to engage with each other and with the community. The visitors discuss the importance of community events, cultural conversations, and activities like singing, dancing, knitting, and art exhibitions.
  • Healing and Recovery: Several visitors talked about the therapeutic benefits of poetry, art, and craft sessions. Poetry, in particular, was seen as a means of self-care and coming to terms with past traumas.
  • Learning and Education: The visitors also talked about learning new skills, such as Welsh, drawing, and crocheting, and the importance of creative classes in fostering personal growth and development.
  • Positive Environment: The Talking Shop was described as a relaxed, friendly, safe, judgement free and welcoming environment, which encouraged visitors to participate and engage in the creative sessions.
  • Art and Culture: Visitors repeatedly expressed a desire for more art and cultural events in Merthyr Tydfil and suggested street art, murals, music, dance, and drama sessions as potential activities.
  • Closure of The Talking Shop: Many visitors expressed sadness at the closure of The Talking Shop and hoped that it would reopen in the future


“Had the time of my life. I drew and painted. Just had a fun time. People are really nice. And just let me be me. Love this place, please come back some time.”



“The Talking Shop makes me feel safe and it is fun to do creative stuff here”


The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book



Further Commentary

The data evidences that the community values support, respect, mental health, environmental concerns, and bringing the community together. They also express frustration with the political system, the high cost of living, the lack of affordable housing, prejudice against the disabled and lack of free creative public spaces for debate and information.

There is a recurring theme around trust and and that the political system is not responsive to the needs of the people. The community values the Talking Shop, a place where people can come together and have conversations about various topics.

There is concern about the environment, with a call to prioritise the Climate Emergency & Climate Justice and start thinking in terms of sustainability. There is also a need for greater awareness of waste reduction, and the benefits of being environmentally aware.

The community is also concerned about mental health issues, with a recognition that 1 in 4 people may experience mental health issues. They value support for mental health, as well as addressing the root causes of mental health problems such as deprivation and overcrowding.

Finally, there is a sense that people are not being heard, and that the system is not right. There is a need for greater democracy and accountability, as well as more meaningful engagement with the community.



It is very clear to see the top ranking areas in this area is firstly the engagement with the community, and opening up creative sessions, but also the opportunity to artistically express themselves both individually and as a community. It should be noted that Music is one of the most popular forms.

There does not seem to be a bottom-ranking area, but there is a clear need for more ongoing sessions around education and learning about specific political areas such as Climate Change, Democracy, and how to use your voice.



Politics and Deliberative Democracy


“This place is amazing, I have learnt a lot, the people have provided a lot of information and are very nice and welcoming. This is a good idea as voting is very important and having education around it is helpful” Talking Shop Newport Comment on Tree of Thought


Themes – Human Identification

  • Civic engagement and democratic participation: There is a strong emphasis on inspiring and empowering individuals to take part in democracy, register to vote, and engage with their representatives. The data highlights conversations about the powerlessness people feel about politics and the need to ensure the next generation are informed, engaged and empowered citizens.
  • Creativity and democracy: There is an interest in exploring the intersection between creativity and democracy. Participants have discussed whether it is possible to have a creative democracy, and how creativity can be used to promote democratic values.
  • Historical and social context: The data shows that many people are interested in discussing the history of democracy in the UK, how society and culture in the past have impacted current society, and the need to address issues related to inequality. The democratic historical timeline on the wall provoked a lot of conversation and debate in all three shops with visitors adding to it in all three locations.
  • Technology and AI: There is a belief that technology, particularly AI, will play a significant role in shaping the future of democracy.
  • NHS and Health care: There is an overwhelming response to the thoughts about how the NHS should be governed and the differences between England and Wales. Many state that the NHS needs to be given much more funding, and further thought around prioritising support for it.
  • Social Justice, marginalized groups and inequality: Many participants have expressed concern about the treatment of marginalized groups, including trans people, disabled people and those impacted by racism or their gender. They have advocated for change and discussed the importance of protests, activism, and letter-writing to bring about social justice.

These themes touch on various aspects of politics and deliberative democracy, such as participation, representation, accessibility, government efficiency, social justice, human rights, and civic engagement.



Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification

  • Empowering and motivating others to participate in democracy: There is a consistent emphasis on encouraging others to take part in democracy, whether it’s through open conversations, brainstorming sessions, or providing information on how to register to vote.
  • The importance of education: Discussions around engaging the next generation, promoting informed citizenship, and harnessing individual talent and skills from a young age suggest a belief in the importance of education in shaping democracy.
  • Calls for change and progress: There are numerous references to social justice issues, including transgender rights, racism, and gender inequality. There is also a call for creative approaches to engaging people with democracy, with an emphasis on finding new solutions and making progress.
  • Engagement with the political process: There is a general interest in engaging with the political process, whether it’s through voting, contacting elected representatives, or learning about political parties and their policies. There is also a desire for greater transparency and accountability from elected officials.
  • The role of technology: There are references to the potential impact of AI on democracy, as well as discussions around online resources for finding out more about local representatives and their work.
  • Historical and cultural context: Conversations around the Welsh language, the impact of history on society, and the role of the monarchy suggest an interest in exploring the cultural and historical context of democracy.

Overall, there is a sense of optimism and a desire for progress, with a focus on engaging and empowering others to participate in democracy and work towards a more just society.

The themes that can be identified about deliberative democracy and politics in this text include the importance of voting and being an informed citizen, the need to empower and engage young people and minorities, the impact of history and society on current politics, and the role of technology in shaping democracy. There is also a focus on creative approaches to democratic deliberation and finding new ways to engage with political issues, as well as the importance of having open and respectful conversations about democracy. Additionally, there is a concern about the powerlessness that people feel about politics and the need for more opportunities to be available to promote hope and positivity. Finally, there are discussions around social equality, including gender and race, and the need for politicians to be more accountable to their constituents.



It is clearly evident in this area that political and democratic engagement is highly sought after. There is a significant response around feeling disempowered and not being heard, and the need for this to be changed.

The role of technology does not appear as much as most, but it is recognised as a key theme, and should not be looked at as any less of a theme.




Wellbeing Themes

The Talking Shop has been a sanctuary for my friends and I who are homeless and in temporary accommodation. Staff here have shown us warmth, generosity and a safe space for us to be ourselves, to release our mental health concerns, ASC and ADHD and so much more. Every town needs The Talking Shop”- Talking Shop Visitor Comment Newport Tree of Thought


Themes – Human Intelligence Identification

  • Discussion around mental health and well-being: There are several instances where individuals come in seeking support for their mental health and wellbeing, including signposting to mental health services, coping mechanisms, and therapy.
  • Safe space and atmosphere: Many individuals comment on the safe space and positive atmosphere provided by The Talking Shop. They express gratitude for the space and the work put into creating it.
  • Support for vulnerable individuals: The Talking Shop is clearly a resource for many vulnerable individuals, including those experiencing homelessness, those with disabilities, and refugees. The hosts work to signpost these individuals to the appropriate resources and support.
  • Challenging conversations: The Talking Shop provides a space for challenging conversations, including discussions around gender and sexual identity. While these conversations can be difficult to navigate, the hosts work to create a respectful and open-minded environment.
  • Community engagement: The Talking Shop appears to be well-integrated into the community, with events and workshops that engage individuals of all ages and backgrounds. The shop is seen as a positive resource for the community, with several individuals commenting on how it has helped them.




“My dad introduced me to The Talking Shop, as a safe space to come and relax. Everyone is welcoming and friendly. This place has given me a safe space while dealing with a chronic illness. It’s made me feel less lonely though my journey to recovery. It has made the world of difference to me.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book


Key issue points include:

  • Housing – Fear of homelessness, homelessness and eviction.
  • Cost of Living and Financial well-being – Food insecurity, unable to pay bills and debt.
  • Eco Wellbeing – Climate Anxiety, and Fear for Future
  • Physical Health – Mobility
  • Substance Misuse – Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking Cessation and Vaping.
  • Social Support – Social Anxiety, Loneliness and isolation.
  • Employment and Education – Exam Stress, General Work Stress, Not in Education, Employment or Training.



Mind medicine” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil


Themes – Artificial Intelligence Identification

The themes of wellbeing in this data include mental health, support, coping mechanisms, hope, safety, homelessness, discrimination, and gender and sexual identity.


“Finding this place has helped me build my confidence. Covid made me nervous, The Talking Shop made me ME again.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book


Some specific examples of these themes include:

  • Mental health: Many of the entries involve people seeking support for their mental health or disclosing mental health challenges. There are also references to signposting people to mental health services and creating coping mechanisms to help manage difficult emotions.
  • Support: Several entries describe people accessing support services such as housing associations and organizations that support vulnerable or lonely people. The shop itself is also described as a safe space and a positive resource for the community.
  • Hope: Several entries encourage people to stay hopeful and optimistic about the future, despite difficult circumstances. For example, someone tells a young person that “it will all be ok,” while another entry says “times will get better.”
  • Safety: There are several references to safety, including providing a safe space for people to gather and creating a homely feel for someone who has been displaced from their home. Homelessness: There are a few entries about people who are homeless or have been unlawfully evicted, and hosts provide them with resources such as helplines and information about housing associations.


“Keep this shop open, because it helps for people who have anxiety or learning disabilities like myself. I feel safe here.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil


Overall, these themes suggest that the shop is a resource for people seeking support and community, and that hosts work to create a safe and inclusive environment. Mental health and coping mechanisms are a recurring concern, as are issues related to discrimination and homelessness.


“This keeps me off the streets. I was kicked out of school, so have nowhere to go. This helps me more than I thought.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil



Unsurprisingly, the top-ranked area within well-being is the ability, opportunity and safe space to talk about mental health. This is closely followed by gender identity, Trans awareness and conversations about LGBTQ+ Issues.

There are a high number of comments and concerns regarding Substance Misuse – Specifically drugs and alcohol abuse.

At the bottom of the ranking is Physical Health, there is less talk about being active, keeping fit, and supporting physical activity.


Cardiff and Newport Hosts and Assistant Producers

Total Talking Shop Assistant Producers: 1 (Saskia)

Total Democracy Box Assistant producers: 3 (Amber, Kat, Josh)

Total Trained Freelance Hosts: 13


Merthyr Tydfil Trial Hosts and Volunteers


Total Asst. Producers: 5 (Saskia, Paul, Rhodri, Jordan, Eleanor)

Total Valley Based: 3


Total Trained Freelance Hosts: 26

Total Valley Based Hosts: 11


Total Volunteers – 5

Total Valley Based Volunteer Hosts – 5


Total Democracy Box Assistant producers: 3


Total Democracy Box young co-creators recruited – 7

Total Valley based Democracy Box young co-creators recruited – 5


Full list of Merthyr trial participatory programmed activity

Programmed and scheduled by Omidaze and including those facilitated by or on behalf of Omidaze and by or on behalf of Wales Millennium Centre.


Big and Little Crafts

Breakin’ Workshop

Bunting Making

Call to Action on Climate Change

Cathy May Viva La May Exhibition

Chris Glynn Illustration

Chris’ Cracking Craft Session

Christmas Crafts – chris

Collage Club


Dance Q&A

Delyth Jewell Visit

Democracy Heroes Crafts

Democracy Workshops

Drama Workshop

Electoral Comm & TDB Filming

Gerhard Arts Exhibition

Gerhard Violin

Guitar Jam

Journaling Workshop

Kelly Writing Session

Knit and Natter

Live Music – Blank Face

Live Music – Rhodri

Live Music – Steve and Gerhard

Live Music – Steve

Live Music Kat

Merthyr College Democracy Talk

Music Creation Workshop

Mymuna Spoken Word

Peter Exhibition

Poetry and Violin

Poetry Reading – Gwyn Thomas

Rocking Parrots

Sound Bite Recording

Tommy Dance Rehearsal

Ukelule Session

Welsh Wednesdays

Wreath Making Head4Arts

Zine Workshop

WMC Half Term Crafts

WMC Volunteering Drop In

BBC – Visit

BBC Recording Soundbites

Creative Think In

Cyfarthfa Exhibition

Dawn Bowden Drop In

Head4Arts – Exhibition

Head4Arts – Musician

Head4Arts Crafts

Interim Report Launch

ITV Wales Filming

Knit and Natter

Lantern Making

Meet The Producers Day

Merthyr College Exhibition

Omidaze – Rehearsed Reading Rehearsal

Omidaze – Rehearsed Reading Showcase

Primary School Visit – Cyfarthfa Exhibition

Queerway Devising

Queerway Performance

Queerway Workshop

Queerway Zine Making

Rebecca Meredith Exhibition

Reconnect 50+

Self Help Show

Tommy Dance CV Course

Welcome to Your Vote Week Take Over

Welsh Wednesdays

Communities for Work Drop In

Grow Social Capital

Gus Painting

Communities for Work Drop In

Merthyr Tydfil Credit Union

Cuppa with a Copper

Communities for Work Drop In

College Poetry Live Reading

College Poetry Writing

Communities for Work Drop In

Merthyr Tydfil Credit Union

Gus Painting

Communities for Work Drop In

Senedd College Engagement

Nation Youth Theatre Wales

Nation Youth Theatre Wales

Communities for Work – Cost of Living Event

Communities for Work Drop In

Communities for Work Drop In

Merthyr Tydfil Credit Union

Welsh Language Consultation

Communities for Work Drop In

Guitar lesson

Communities for Work Drop In

Guitar lesson

Script Rehearsal Jamie Berry

Communities for Work Drop In

Guitar lesson

Agile Working Rebecca Goodhand

Communities for Work Drop In

Cwm Taf Health Board – Working

Cuppa with a Copper

Communities for Work Drop In

Guitar lesson

Communities for Work Drop In

Guitar lesson

Vampyrica Poetry Readings

Music Rehearsal

Nation Cymru Writing Workshop

Communities for Work Drop In

VATM Mental Health Survey

Nation Cymru Drop In

Cuppa with a Copper

Nation Cymru Writing Workshop

Poetry Slam

Communities for Work Drop In

Guitar lesson

Enterprise Surgery

Urdd Youth Meeting

VATM Mental Health Survey


“FANTASTIC! There should be The Talking Shop in every town, every village in the UK, Europe and the world. Thank you for this. An amazing consciousness raising resource” The Talking Shop Visitor’s Book Cardiff


The Talking Shop Cardiff, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil trials 2022/23 were made possible with funding from:

The Cares Family Multiplier Programme/UnLtd

The Office of the Future Generations Commissioner

Local Government Elections Division (Wales)

Wales Millennium Centre

Creu Cyffro

With additional funding for creative sessions in the Cardiff Talking Shop from Aberystwyth University

With thanks to all our funders and our partners – the Future Generations Commissioner, The Riverfront, Newport, Youth Cymru and Wales Millennium Centre and our many collaborators who made these three trials possible including providing the shop units for all three trials..

“Personally, I think TTS is a great space to talk, chill and discuss things. I have learned so much about politics and who I can go to if I have anything to suggest, which is great for me as I was clueless but now I have more understanding. They offer free hot drinks and make you feel welcomed. The Talking Shop is somewhere I know I can go if I do not have anywhere else.” Talking Shop Visitor Survey Merthyr Tydfil


Further information




The Democracy Box Story of our UK Democracy that Every Citizen Should Know

The Democracy Box Website

Omidaze Productions Website

Information on The Talking Shop

Information on The Democracy Box

The Democracy Box first stage R&D report and proof of concept 2020

The Talking Shop 2019 pilot report




Talking Shop trailers and explainer videos

Merthyr trailer

Merthyr full length

Talking Shop pilot 2019

The Talking Shop explainer film 2022

Video of The Newport Talking Shop made by Newport Youth Council 

Cares Family/Multiplier The Talking Shop 2022 Cardiff Film

Talking Shop generic trailer

Cardiff & Newport Talking Shops 2022 Full length

Cardiff & Newport Talking Shops 2022 short


Media Coverage


The Democracy Box Public Information Campaign Prototype



Links to output from schools participating in The Democracy Box Creative Cascade programme for schools pilot in partnership with Central South Consortia


“I have just registered and voted. I love this shop, I think it is a really good place for everyone to communicate.” The Talking Shop Merthyr Tydfil Visitor’s Book




The Talking Shop© and The Democracy Box© and all associated content is copyright Omidaze Productions/Yvonne Murphy 2020.

For further information please visit www.omidaze.co.uk and email y.murphy1@ntlworld.com




Appendix 1 The Talking Shop – preliminary analysis of data July 2022

Initial data analysis of data gathered from the Cardiff and Newport Talking Shop trials was conducted by a research assistant on behalf of Dr Anwen Elias Reader of Politics at Aberytswyth University. Subsequent data analysis was carried out with data from all three trials by Jordan Forse (Talking Shop Omidaze assistant producer) and Omidaze Lead Partner and Artistic Director/Executive Producer Yvonne Murphy, For access to this data collection please contact Yvonne Murphy at y.murphy1@ntlworld.com

The following summary was drafted by Dr Anwen Elias’s research assistant.

In total, 426 data points have been analysed from The Talking Shop, consisting of:

  • 69 pages from host workbooks
  • 109 Wall leaves by participants
  • 40 surveys (some only partially completed)
  • 126 pages of contributions from the Guestbooks from Cardiff and Newport
  • 35 Contributions from the brainstorming ‘scroll’ exercises.
  • Misc other datapoints.

The following data points emerged from materials collected on a visit to the Cardiff Talking Shop on 23 May 2022, and additional voice recordings forwarded after that date (up until 10 June 2022). Most of this material was produced during the first half of 2022 (from Talking Shops in Cardiff and pilot in Newport), with some material from the first Talking Shop pilot in Cardiff (2019). These data points – 46 data points in total (10.8% of all data points) – have been selected given their focus on i) constitutional matters, and ii) matters relating to politics more generally. Where data points included specific names of individuals, these have been anonymised.




Constitutional matters


  1. Ciara Notebook p. 4 – Unnamed participant noted that they ‘Feel Less and Less British w/every election – Always been more Welsh than British, but now more disbelief after ever election.’
  2. Ciara Notebook p.5 – Participant talked about the importance of Welsh Gov. funding for the arts and Arts Council Wales. Another participant said ‘if it wasn’t for the arts Council theres no way my arts career could be getting going how it is’
  3. Ciara Notebook p. 9 – Participant argued that there should be more self regulating independent bodies with no vested interests and that ‘not enough public bodies look at services’ – argued that ‘people now feel like they have no voice. There is no voice… it really needs to change’. Also that ‘we are being pushed so far from the democratic process that we’re not in it.’ Finally said ‘Going to MP like going to GP – they’re not well equipped enough’.
  4. Ciara Notebook p. 10 – Participant commented on the problems of Black visibility in Wales and how this led to a lack of engagement with voting and ‘the system’ – suggested more Black people needed to be present in culture and the arts.
  5. Clare Notebook p. 1 – With the question ‘what determines if and how you vote’ a participant said ‘people rally around the idea of democracy (e.g. Ukraine) but how much understanding of what it is actually and how it works?’ Asked about the legitimacy of a system where the choice for a national leader ‘is one of 2 men’.
  6. Clare Notebook p. 3 – short chat with participant outside who said they had not voted until they were in their late 20s and still did not have a ‘great understanding of [political] structures’.

Another woman said she felt she had ‘no platform’ to make her views known.

Woman said she was ‘not sure about devolution’ as it ‘added layers’ and ‘had a negative impact on NHS’ Suggested it might be better to get rid of Welsh government.

  1. Lil Anna Notebook p. 5 – Participant argued that we needed to change our electoral system to be more like New Zealand
  2. Nancy Workbook p. 1 – Participant wanted to know ‘why Welsh Gov during Pandemic were allowed to pass laws so quickly’.
  3. Nancy workbook p. 5 – participant was glad for devolved government as they had ‘done well’ during ‘lockdown’ but they also felt that people had ‘lost confidence’ in local councillors.
  4. Nancy Workbook p. 6 – Participant said that because some policy was being run by ‘England’, ‘Welsh Identity was being lost’ and ‘Welsh [was] suffocated by England’
  5. Nancy Workbook 11 – Participant said they were ‘closest to not voting [they’d] ever been’, but they believed people ‘benefitted in Wales from having a gov that believed in NHS (during Covid)’.
  6. Scroll 18 – In response to the question ‘Are there any problems with the current [constitutional] system’, one participant wrote that they wanted to see the Senedd ‘scrapped’ as it was ‘a waste of money’ and that Wales would only be ‘meaningful as a part of UK’.
  7. Survey 33 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said they wanted ‘devolution when we can afford it – London controls the purse’. They went on to say that devolution should have gone further in 1979 ‘when [Wales] had the means to support itself esp Coal and Steel.’
  8. Survey 49 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said the process of democracy was ‘an illusion’ and they did not believe democracy works – they went on to say that their experience in the Talking shop revealed that people’s understanding of democracy was ‘much more’ ‘lacking’ than they had previously realised.
  9. Survey 24 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said they were ‘pleased to have at least some protection from Boris and co. by having a layer of devolved government in Wales’.
  10. Survey 46 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said ‘I don’t feel there is democracy in the UK anymore – I think we will always be under Tory rule’.
  11. Survey 21 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said ‘UK democracy is broken as a whole. First past the post is an outdated electoral system and the constant redrawing of constituency boundaries make it bias[ed] to one political party. There’s not enough representation for young people’.
  12. Survey 31 – responding to the question ‘Have your thoughts on our democracy changed in any way as a result of your visit and what else would you like to know about our democracy?’ One respondent replied ‘We are given limited external access to authorities at upper levels of control… so rarely are efforts made to make clear the relationships between these reservoirs of power’.
  13. Survey 32 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said ‘[Politics is] full of people with no life experience – rich educated – not real people’.
  14. Survey 22 – – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said ‘The devolution of powers to a local parliament is a massive step in the right direction. It would be even better to implement an even more direct system of politics (federations of local municipalities with recallable delegates instead of elected representatives) contrary to the current UK government’s policy of centralisation’.
  15. Guestbook 2 p. 37 – One visitor wrote that they favoured more direct democratic methods such as ‘local and national referendums’ to change bad or unwanted laws if this was the will of the people of Wales in a similar way to Switzerland.
  16. Pilot guestbook p. 16 – One visitor commented ‘Society has changed so much since our parliamentary democracy emerged – surely its time for significant electoral reform?’
  17. Newport Guestbook p. 1 – One visitor wrote ‘Where is the accountability and the collective voice? Too many people want change just for them or to be given power to represent without being called into account for how they represent. More than the right to vote, we need to see the change our votes bring and where politicians engage with us to listen.
  18. Newport Guestbook p. 23 – One visitor wrote ‘Not so much pro-independence as ant-Westminster – we have ceased to be a democracy… only a matter of time [unclear] we have independence and a second unification in Ireland but it feels less probable here… Not sure the people in their 20s have the fight in them to push for independence… they rarely go beyond their bubble… there are less places for people to connect and realise they are going through similar things’.
  19. Wall Leaf 1 – Responding to the question ‘What sort of Wales do you want to see?’ one respondent wrote ‘The kind of Wales that isn’t viewed as impoverished by the EU – Newport feels worse than it did 30 years ago’.
  20. Voice clip 1 – Host reported they had had a discussion with a guest over a long period comparing Welsh politics and NZ politics inc. electoral system. Guest and host read through the Wellbeing and future generations act together. Said that the act didn’t facilitate public engagement well and was not concerned enough about the environment.

General Politics matters


  1. Ciara Notebook p. 1 – Participant showed caution over project worrying it was a right wing think tank exercise, but opened up to talk about political upbringing
  2. Ciara Notebook p. 4 – Participant argued we need to tackle the ‘culture of cynicism around politics’ and change ideas like ‘they’re all the same’

Also said MPs second jobs should be ‘scrapped’

Internet should moved out of corporate hands

  1. Ciara Notebook p. 5 – Participant talked about politics of Brexit, student loans
  2. Ciara Notebook 12 – Participant showed some disillusionment with national politics and said of Labour ‘they’re all becoming one party’.
  3. Clare Notebook – With the question ‘what determines if and how you vote’ a participant said ‘people rally around the idea of democracy (e.g. Ukraine) but how much understanding of what it is actually and how it works?’
  4. Clare Notebook p. 5 – Participant said it was hard for young people to find out fact rather than just opinions about politics
  5. Lil Anna Notebook p. 3 – Participant felt that there was ‘no community feel’ and that technology had made it easier to ‘stick to your bubble’ they argued that people should have more of a voice and there should be less emphasis on being ‘independently proactive’
  6. Lil Anna Notebook p. 5 – Two girls argued that there should be ‘more interactions with people that think differently than us to learn how to speak to people’.
  7. Nancy Workbook p. 1 – Participant found it very hard to get in touch with MP.
  8. Nancy Workbook p. 4 – Participant thought it important that there should be more education about democracy ‘especially now the voting age is 16’ but ‘democracy not something I really talk about’.
  9. Nancy Workbook p. 12 – Participant said that younger generations did not know how to chat and implied that the loss of pubs as a communal space was in part responsible for this.
  10. Scroll 27 – In response to the question ‘what does Democracy mean to you?’ – One respondent noted that to them, it was about receptivity to respond to their problems such as creating opportunities for education, reducing the impact of the cost of living crisis. Another participant was less positive writing ‘government starts at the middle class and goes up – never down’. A third participant wrote that ‘I believed Democracy would help but it didn’t’ but went onto say ‘Democracy works now if the people talk to the government and tell them what they need’.
  11. Scroll 19 – Responding to the question ‘What sort of society do you want?’ a participant wrote that they wanted to ‘find leaders who put people at the centre rather than ideologues’. Another participant wrote that ‘Covid has shown that we need a back up localised infrastructure’.
  12. Survey 56 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said ‘I see it as deeply important but I do feel disillusioned’.
  13. Survey 13 – Responding to the question ‘what are your thoughts on Welsh and UK democracy?’ one respondent said ‘I feel uniformed and distanced’.
  14. Guestbook 1 p. 13 – One visitor said it was ‘urgent’ that the UK adopt MMP for elections as FPTP was ‘not a democratic method’.
  15. Guestbook 2, p. 8 – A visitor wrote that -to achieve ‘cultural and political democracy’ there was a need to tackle the ‘culture of cynicism’ ban second jobs for MPs, introduce stricter corruption laws, and to radically decentralise the internet to prevent it becoming even more of a ‘corporate hellscape’.
  16. Guestbook 2, p. 20 – One visitor wrote that in their visit to the talking shop they had ‘learnt so much more about the deeper meaning of democracy, beyond the polling station’.
  17. Guestbook 2, p. 36 – One visitor drew a picture of the talking shop with a speech bubble saying ‘it’s weird how the government institutions aren’t having these conversations with the people’. (Dated 24/4/22)
  18. Pilot guestbook p.3 – One visitor asked why there was not better access to political announcements for the deaf community compared to other countries.


Copyright © 2022 OMIDAZE PRODUCTIONS all rights reserved.

The Democracy Box© & The Talking Shop© and all associated content is copyright Yvonne Murphy/Omidaze Productions.
For more information click here
Contact Yvonne Murphy y.murphy1@ntlworld.com 07949626538

Website www.omidaze.co.uk