Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. ‘We all try and rally round. We’re like one big family’ says Gurnos community to OU project

‘We all try and rally round. We’re like one big family’ says Gurnos community to OU project

A community event during the autumn has helped celebrate one of Wales’ best known communities – the Gurnos in Merthyr Tydfil. 

Celebrating Our Gurnos brought residents together to talk about their area, commemorate what makes it special, and discuss how they would like it to look in the future. Among some of the common issues they shared were graffiti, litter, neglect of green spaces – as well as their pride in the Gurnos. 

The event included over 500 participants taking part in over 45 workshops and activities. Seventeen local partner organisations and professionals also supported the day. 


The event was planned following a collaboration between, The Open University in Wales, the OU’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) faculty, and local organisations like Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council, Merthyr Valleys Homes and Natural Resources Wales’ Healthy Hillsides project.

Through a process known as cross-pollination led by the faculty, the partner organisations decided to use creative methods such as collage, storytelling and painting to hear from residents.

This blog post by Katerina Alexiou (STEM senior lecturer) explains more about the cross pollination project.

Staff using VR headsets
Professionals at VR training sessions as part of Creu Cyffro

‘Our Gurnos was a true celebration of the area and the people,’ said Sarah Roberts, partnerships coordinator at the OU in Wales. ‘Following a really positive co-design process with Merthyr based organisations, it was fantastic to see so many people engage with the creative activities and share their experiences.’

‘We've learnt a lot from this process and are excited to see how it can shape work we do with other places in Wales.’

Creu Cyffro

Celebrating Our Gurnos was part of a strand of work linked to the Creu Cyffro project – a creative industries training programme in Merthyr Tydfil funded by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund. 

Alongside the event, the OU in Wales also delivered three other strands of work, including workshops in virtual reality, music, and creative writing across Merthyr Tydfil.

Here’s more information on OU in Wales work through Creu Cyffro:

  • The team delivered eight virtual reality (VR) workshops to E-sports students at The College, Merthyr. One Fine Art student took part and is working on a VR gallery of her photography. The College is exploring the same software to create a showcase of their courses to send to local schools. 
  • Associate lecturers at the OU delivered 21 public workshops in Creative Writing and Music in the Redhouse arts and creative industries centre, located in Merthyr Town Centre. 
  • Seven professionals including college staff, library staff and youth leaders also attended VR training.

Creu Cyffro is led by Wellbeing Merthyr. The OU is one of 10 delivery partners.

To find out more about the programme, have a listen to the Creu Cyffro podcast.

Request your prospectus

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus


Louise Casella giving a speech

Outgoing OU in Wales director calls for university funding system to be revolutionised

On Monday 22 May, outgoing Open University (OU) in Wales director Louise Casella delivered a keynote speech at a special event to discuss the future of higher education in Wales. 

24th May 2023
Bethany smiling outside of a building

Bethany gets position at children’s charity with the help of employability programme

Graduate Bethany Turner has talked about securing a position, after taking part in an employability programme.

5th May 2023
See all

Open University in Wales media enquiries:

Rhodri Davies 
Communications Manager,
Telephone: 029 2167 4532

For general OU media enquiries please contact the press office -
Telephone: 01908 654316 /
Out of office hours: 07901 515891