All About Trans meets BBC

Trans* Media Interactions in Cardiff

All About Trans* media project visits Cardiff

All About Trans meets BBC
A proportion of my working life is dedicated to activism and human rights work promoting equality and diversity awareness, much of it related to Trans*, LGBT and disability – aspects which have personal relevance to me and important people in my life. Most of this work is behind the scenes, contributing to consultation processes and participating on working groups shaping and informing policy at organisational and governmental level but sometimes there’s an opportunity to do something a bit different to advance the cause – in this case of trans* awareness.

So, today saw me in Cardiff at Coffee #1 in Wood St (which is one of my favourite haunts) meeting with three senior figures from the BBC Governance and Accountability (Wales) Council. and two of the guys from the All About Trans media project.

Transgender Activist Alex Drummond

All About Trans* have been coordinating face to face interactions between trans* (transgender) individuals and media people to promote understanding in a series of informal meetings. Here we are in Coffee #1 in Wood Street Cardiff discussing programming governance issues and helping inform future policy on handling issues and character representation relating to Trans*.

Trans* Activist Alex Drummond meets BBC

Trans* identity & representation

Coffee #1 offered the perfect informal setting to enjoy coffee and flapjack which discussing the significance and impact of media representations of trans* lives on trans* people. There was a meeting of minds as we shared understanding of the ethical principles underpinning governance (and ultimately programming decisions) at the BBC, and the bigger social responsibility of a world respected broadcaster. A guiding principle in the representation of ideas is that trust in the BBC is maintained as a source of factually correct information, whilst respecting the identities and rights of a diverse audience.

Alex Drummond meets BBC

The time flew by as we explored the tensions between reflecting society as it is (accurate portrayal of culture) and social responsibility around the unwitting promotion of hurtful prejudice. I recalled how a television series like ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ in the 1970’s promoted racial prejudice in a way that some recent BBC output has equally promoted trans* prejudice – at what point does a broadcaster have responsibility to pull back from representing an aspect of society that causes injury to a vulnerable minority.

Our input helped the BBC team understand more about the complexity and diversity of ‘transition’ for trans* people and that felt useful. As a group we reflected on the idea that life itself is about endless transition – its just that the Trans* community are at the tangible edge of that.

The event was a great success and it was informative for all concerned: with thanks to All About Trans for co-ordinating the event and to the BBC team for sparing time.

Wales Hate Crime Initiative: Framework for Action

Hate Crime Initiative Launch

On Monday 10th May 2014 I was proud to attend the launch of the Wales Hate Crime Initiative: Framework for Action, having been very much involved in the consultation process that has informed its development. The Wales Hate Crime Initiative: framework for action has come about through a consultation process which recognised that there are still pockets of prejudiced attitudes and discrimination within our culture and that this doesn’t fit with the vision of a modern and prosperous Wales.

Hate Crime: Identity based hate

Living in fear of assault, or under constant threat because of your identity, harms peoples’ health and cannot be acceptable in a civilised society. Sadly, we do still see people assaulted and picked on because of their race; gender; sexual orientation; faith; ethnicity, age or for having a disability. The framework offers a series of strategies to address the causes of hate crime and empower victims to report and tackle hate based incidents and hate crimes more confidently in the future. The framework offers the potential to create a safer and better Wales for everyone, a place where ‘difference’ does not mean disadvantage or discrimination, where our ultimate aspiration would be that no one would live in fear.
Jeff Cuthbert Hate Crime Launch
Jeff Cuthbert AM – gave an impassioned speech where he called for “cultural changes so that future generations can live in a Wales that is equal, fair and welcoming to people from different background and cultures”. He made it clear that the intention and expected outcome of the hate crime initiative would be that people could become more confident that “action will be taken” when reporting hate incidents and hate crimes, adding that here in Wales, “A culture where victims feel that they have to suffer in silence will no longer be tolerated”

Setting out the Welsh Assembly’s position on hate based discrimination, he said,

“we want our young people and children to grow up in a Wales where people are accepted for who they are and not judged because of the colour of their skin, their religion their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their disability or their age”

A key part of the initiative has been designed to overcome current blocks to reporting hate incidents and hate crimes. It is recognised that if we are successful in this there will be a sharp increase in the number of recorded incidents initially as we know currently figures for hate incidents are badly underreported and represent only the tip of the iceberg.

A theatre company will be touring a play around schools in Wales to help encourage hate crime reporting.

An important aspect of the new initiative is the introduction of a ‘third party reporting system’ so that people who want to make anonymous reports can do so via Victim Support allowing the data to come forward where previously fear has held people back. Through an increased understanding of where hate incidents and hate crimes occur will come the potential to increase support and resources to address pockets of difficulty.

Victim Support will become a one-stop shop as both support and reporting hub.
Report Hate Crime Anonymously by clicking on the image.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller discrimination

The consultation process drew on representatives from a number of disadvantaged groups affected by hate crime: an often overlooked aspect of race based discrimination is that which the Gypsy, Roma and Irish traveller community experience. A short film was presented which gave young people from these communities a chance to talk about some of their experiences of hatred and prejudice. It has been argued that it is the one remaining racism that society tolerates and its time for that to change.

Hate Crime: Intersectionality of Disadvantage.

A speaker from the asylum seeker project talked about intersectionality – the way that sometimes several aspects of a persons identity lead them to be discriminated against – sometimes compounding the prejudice. This was particularly pertinent in the context of their work with asylum seekers, whose asylum seeker status often comes about through discrimination in their home country but where they find that media reporting of their narratives often seems to collude with the idea that it is acceptable to feel hatred towards them. A series of newspaper headlines were shown that illustrated just how harmful and destructive this can get. It’s not just UKIP that has the problem here.

Hate Crime: Give racism the red card


The final speaker was former professional football player, Christian Roberts, who spoke about some of his experiences of both being subject to and witnessing race based discrimination and homophobia in sport including explicit prejudice and bullying by his own team mates.

The Tackling Hate Crimes & Incidents: Framework for Action can be downloaded via this link

Iced Biscuits -Vintage style wedding

Iced Biscuits – Vintage style

Iced Biscuits -Vintage style wedding

Vintage inspired Iced Biscuits

Sunday 9th saw me doing some commercial photography. The shoot was organised up at the Vintage Tea room in Pontypool and featured the vintage china of Cherry Blossom Fancies – a Caerphilly based business offering vintage china for hire and the decorative cakes and iced biscuits of the Vintage Tea Room at Pontypool Museum.

Taking inspiration from the beautiful patterns and motifs of the vintage china, Mary Mahabir – the proprietor of the VIntage tea room has created a range of iced biscuits and miniature cakes and fancies.
Vintage themed iced biscuits: pink floral

Iced Biscuits: perfect for quirky wedding favours

For a vintage inspired wedding or other special occasion, having beautiful china is a must – but imagine how cool it would be to have iced biscuits and cakes that matched the decorative patterns of the china. I particularly liked the pattern on this Salisbury China tea set by Bradleys of England:

Bridal Tea: Vintage Tea Room Pontypool
These iced daffodil cakes were styled to compliment the pattern of a vintage tea set brought by Sue of Cherry Blossom Fancies. These cakes would of course be ideal for St Davids day celebration.
Daffodil cakes
Creating these iced biscuits really is a labour of love – each flower and detail is hand crafted and the attention to detail is most impressive
Blue floral pattern iced biscuit

A busy afternoon saw us shoot a selection of table settings and detail shots – it’s always great fun to work with other creative people. Here’s a brief image gallery from the day:

GrrlALex: Commercial Photography for local businesses based in South Wales

This shoot was commissioned by Vintage Tea Party Wales – a collaboration between Vintage Tea Room at Pontypool Museum and Cherry Blossom Fancies. Cherry Blossom Fancies can be contacted via facebook (see link above).


Enjoying a traditional afternoon tea is a great way to spend a couple of hours. The vintage tea room in Pontypool Museum not only offers a vintage setting to sit and enjoy your tea but also the opportunity to take a stroll around the museum. Pontypool museum presents a collection of artefacts reflecting the history of the area. Pontypool is particularly rich in industrial heritage and Pontypool museum particularly prides itself on its collection of Japanware.

Bridal Tea: Vintage Tea Room Pontypool

Bridal Tea Party – treat the girls!

Ornately decorated cakes and biscuits: perfect for a bridal tea

Yesterday’s food photography shoot was for the Vintage Tea Room in Pontypool. Mary has been working on some really beautiful design ideas for bridal tea party biscuits, cakes and fancies.
Wedding favours & bridal tea party ideas

Sadly I didn’t get to eat them as they were needed as samples for a meeting the following day. Usually I get to enjoy the spoils from my food photography shoots.

The tea room in Pontypool offers afternoon tea which would be a lovely way to thank the bridesmaids for their support either before the big day or after the honeymoon, when life is starting to return to normal. A bridal tea party in a vintage tea room with ornate china and lots of cake is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Food photography is a particular passion of mine – mostly because I love cooking and being creative and I love the challenge of show-casing food at it’s best and making it as tempting as possible. If you are a local business looking for a commercial and product photography service in south Wales please click this link

llechwen hall wedding venue

Llechwen Hall: Wedding venue in South Wales

Hilltop wedding venue offers stunning scenery

Views from Llechwen hall
Back in November the wedding fair at Llechwen Hall Hotel gave me a chance to meet the team and see their wedding venue facilities, while scouting good locations for a shoot.

llechwen hall hotel wedding venue


Llechwen Hall hotel is well suited as a wedding venue. The hotel is set on a scenic hilltop above Pontypridd and overlooking the South Wales valleys where the views and backdrops are stunning. The drive up the access road is beautiful, a winding climb that has a magical quality to it (particularly if you do it in a classic car).

The wedding fair was held in late November when short daylight hours and rainy weather put a limit to our shoot. I was a bit pushed for time as we’d arranged the shoot at short notice so I got a couple of shots of the dress for Caru Brides of Caerphilly (who I was shooting for); and a couple of the car and flowers (kindly loaned by The Cottage Garden Florist, Nelson.
wedding dress

bridal bouquet
The Cottage Garden Florist (which is based nearby in Nelson) kindly loaned two bouquets for our shoot: here is the second of the two, an attractive arrangement of purple orchids:

orchid bridal bouquet

With light drizzle making things a bit damp outside (and being November it was cold and getting dark by 3pm) we moved inside the hotel to get these shots:

bride at llechwen hall hotel

A roaring fire in the lounge gave the room a cosy feel so we took the opportunity to pose our model in the fireside chairs.
lounge bar at llechwen hall hotel

For more information about their facilities the link here will take you to their website:

Llechwen Hall Hotel – a 3 star country house hotel and wedding venue set among stunning scenery in the South Wales valleys in Llanfabon, above Pontypridd