About us

Swansea MAD was founded in 2009, with a mission to share skills, knowledge and resources and support people to be creative. We are passionate about Swansea and our communities and also work with partners locally, nationally and internationally. We are a youth and community charity driven by digital inclusion, the arts, social justice, heritage and the environment. We create a wide range of digital content and media with people who share our values. We have a flexible, co-productive relationship with young people, the community and partners. Please contact us- we’d love to hear from you.

Our history

Swansea has always been a hub of creativity, whether this be in the arts, science or technology. Swansea MAD was founded in 2009, driven by a mission to help the creative community in Swansea, by providing access to resources and support. We have partnered with many organisations since then and worked on a wide range of projects. These include:

2013 – 2016 I Am News was a 3-year Community Journalism Project, funded by the Big Lottery. The project worked with over 100 volunteers and provided self-development and accredited training in Journalism, Photography and Video Production. The project acted as a springboard for people, with few or no qualifications, who wanted to enter the media industry.

2014 Our second open access community studio was built, providing low-cost recording and rehearsal facilities for hundreds of musicians.

2015 We provided mentoring in musical performance to 14 participants referred from the Police, Probation and Prison Services, as part of the IOIS (Integrated Offender Interventions Service).

2017 – 2018 Young Welsh Filmmakers, an after school club for aspiring young filmmakers aged 11-18. The project taught children the basics of filmmaking including videography, special and visual effects, editing and scriptwriting.

2018 – 2019 GenU. Funded by the European Social Fund, the project supported young people aged 18-24 in Swansea who were unemployed. Participants took part in skill-building, mentoring and volunteering in Theatre Management, Event Coordination, Theatrical Lighting, Video production / Visual FX, Web Design, Sound Engineering, Music Production and App Development.

2018 – 2019 The Curiosity Project. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and BBC Children in Need, the project introduced children to the science of growing using technology.

2018 – 2019 Swansea Scenes. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project documented the oral history of Swansea’s former bands, singers and venues from the 1970’s to the mid 1990’s. We created an archive with over 100 hours of oral history footage, as well as a documentary, exploring the life and times of Swansea’s local live music scene.

2019 – 2021 Clicking Good. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the project provides free tech for good support for local third sector organisations, as well as providing free blended learning training sessions in technology based subjects.

Meet the team

Stuart Sumner-Smith [he/him]

Stuart Sumner-Smith [he/him]

Founder / CTO

I founded Swansea MAD 2009 because of a desire to help the creative community in Swansea. I’m the person liaising with our board and small team of talented specialists. I know how to work with and manage coders/developers and have direct experience in that area, coding in Python, Swift and using data analysis platforms. I am also a qualified Adult Learning Tutor.

My passion is to help create more diversity in the technological economy, while at the same time helping communities and individuals overcome challenges, using tech to provide sustainable solutions.

Music / Buddhism / Art / AI / Coding / Philosophy / Cooking in Nature / Rugby Coaching / Community / Digital Inclusion

Charlotte Davies [she/her]

Charlotte Davies [she/her]

Chief Executive Officer

I have 25 years experience working with children, young people and communities, including being a Youth Worker, Lecturer, Foster Carer, Counsellor and Youth and Community Manager.

Ever since I was a child, social justice and fighting for equality has been my driving mission. My early experiences of marching for the miners in Wales as a child has helped shape me as a person and my commitment to fighting for human rights. I have lived and worked in Swansea, South Wales for most of my life and am passionate about both the city and the people.

As CEO, my role allows me to work with a talented team, the board and our communities on Strategic Management- including Strategic analysis, Strategy formulation and Strategy implementation and integration, in line with Swansea MAD’s vision and passions- Youth and Community, the environment, the arts, social justice and digital innovation and inclusion.

Passions: People/ Community/ The Swans / Sport / Travel / Nature / Music / Art / Politics / Writing / Yoga / Meditation / Reading / People / Community / Environment / Activism

Please get in touch if you would like a chat! 

charlotte@swanseamad.com

Geraint Turner [he/him]

Geraint Turner [he/him]

Finance and Programmes Director

I entered youth work at the age of 15, having been engaged in activities for years with Swansea Youth Service. At 16, I left school and set up my own youth club with a small grant of £10,000. This led to me getting my first youth work job running 3 youth clubs over 5 nights in 3 different areas. I was fortunate enough to work at the London 2012 Olympics managing a team of 200 people. While completing my Youth Work qualifications, working at Liberty Stadium and completing Business Studies at College, I was offered a maternity cover role as Activities Coordinator with Crossroads Young Carers Service which then became a permanent role and eventually became Service Manager. Through the last 5 years I have developed my skills and training to complete an ILM Level 5, AET Level 3 and Young Worker of the Year (2018).

I joined Swansea MAD so that I could use my skills working with the community in new and innovative approaches, utilising digital technology to improve opportunities. The future of employment is going to be utilising Digital skills and I feel I can help people improve their skills for their future employment.

Making a difference to people that need it / Providing opportunities that people may find themselves unlikely to be able to do / Challenging what is considered ‘the norm’ and ensuring people have their stories told from their own perspective / Ensuring nobody is left out or left behind.

David Berry [he/him]

David Berry [he/him]

Technical Director & Digital Vision

During my childhood, so that I could realise my obsession with music production, I built my first computer which would be the heart of my studio. After leaving school, I continued into education and studied law, information technology, music, music technology and design technology. While studying, I found myself teaching classes in music technology and various adobe web applications which boosted my confidence and passion for teaching. Around this time I began selling music services online and recording and producing music for hundreds of artists. I also started up a computer repair company which had me learning web technologies,  databases and e-commerce. Discovering Cisco network technologies, I decided to return to academia to study Computer Networks where I become a Cisco network engineer covering routing, switching, security, VoIP and network design.

I joined Swansea MAD so that I could make use of the broad range of technologies I’ve learnt over the years and to give a helping hand to those that struggle with technology and develop those already on their journey.

Music production / 3D Technology / Interactive media / Electronics / Video effects / Physics / Cisco / Teaching / Animals and their rights / Triathlon / Cycling / Swimming / Skiing / Rowing / The outdoors / Eating out / Cooking

Rachel Benson [she/her]

Rachel Benson [she/her]

Sustainability + Innovation Director

I have 10 years’ experience in the voluntary sector in Wales, primarily in Youth and Community Work. I am passionate about social justice, inclusion and young people having access to safe spaces where they can belong and thrive.
I have created and led projects in the areas of inclusion, young people’s rights, well-being and democracy and have extensive experience of working with trans and non-binary young people.
I originally studied English Literature at university and am passionate about arts being accessible and inclusive for everyone. During my career, I have been lucky to work in partnership with artists and creatives, supporting young people to create theatre, film and poetry to develop confidence, share their stories and aspirations and advocate for change.

I recently completed my MA in Education and, alongside my work at Swansea MAD, also work as a University Tutor in Youth and Community Work.

Social justice / Education / Collaboration / History / Politics / Reading.

Taylor Roberts [he/him]

Taylor Roberts [he/him]

Trustee

I joined Swansea MAD because I was looking for a passionate organisation that deeply cared for the community that it worked with. Then I found MAD, with all the skills and expertise that the team of staff and volunteers have. I joined MAD because I am passionate about bringing a change to the community and industry. And I know that, as a team, we can do it.

I am a recent business graduate, focusing on leadership, change, CSR and sustainability, having a Bachelors degree from Swansea University. My main experience is in the third sector, having been a Trustee and Non-Executive Director for over four years. My academic experience is focused on change management, quality standards and corporate responsibility. A particular interest of mine is non-anglophonic approaches to leadership and CSR.

Change / Sustainability / Community Engagement / Equality and Diversity / Equal opportunities / Fighting Ageism

Robyn Griffiths MBA [he/him]

Robyn Griffiths MBA [he/him]

Trustee

Living in a city so rich and diverse in culture and the arts, it seemed as though there was a real opportunity to help the people of Swansea and surrounding areas embrace this, by establishing a ‘hub’ where the community could come together to develop skills and be helped toward a goal of either improving in their chosen field or in some cases, being able to seriously consider a future doing something they loved.

Being a musician for many years, as it is famously difficult to generate a healthy income from this, I started my first management role at the age of 18; looking after a team of 15 in a well-known mobile network provider. From here I gained an interest in effective people management, moving between multiple disciplines and environments including running a local bar whereby MAD were able to work in conjunction with this and facilitate events (using borrowed equipment) to raise enough money to purchase our own equipment and then subsequently to be able to hold events to raise money for local charities as well. Moving on from this to be able to get the rubber stamp for my experiential learning and to gain further yet experience, I complete a Master’s in Business and Administration with UWTSD and am currently a Manager at a ‘Grass Roots’, independently run, Swansea based Research Organisation.

Critical Leadership / Project Management / Recruitment Liaison / Consultancy / Human Resources / Budget Forecasting / Active Listening (“Holding the Silence”)

Rachel Newton-John [she/her]

Rachel Newton-John [she/her]

Trustee

I studied Music Technology in college from 2008-2011, and then began volunteering with Swansea MAD in September 2011. Since that time, I’ve designed, overseen the construction of and built the acoustic treatment for our recording facilities, I’ve managed the day to day workings of these facilities, and through our recording, rehearsal and engineering services developed working relationships with both local and international artists. I also designed and built a previous iteration of the company website and provided audio editing and mixing services internally where needed for other parts of the company, including the video editing staff and a podcast produced internally. I also provided external location recording services when needed.

The world is scary. There are huge, systemic, seemingly unfathomable problems that hurt the people I love and make me feel utterly powerless. I don’t know how to tackle them. I don’t know how to help with them. So I try to do the only way I can think of, help people one at a time on an individual basis however I can, try to pay forward everything anyone’s done for me over the years.

Audio engineering, including recording and acoustic design / Music production / Film and digital technology

Leon Berry [he/him]

Leon Berry [he/him]

Trustee

Swansea MAD are a dynamic organisation in an innovative sector, who are making and having a significant and positive impact on the local and wider community and on people’s lives. Volunteering as a board member is a privilege that allows me to not only support a thriving organisation and sector but also allows me to support the vibrant and inspirational team of staff at Swansea MAD. The whole ethos behind Swansea MAD is to help the community, to fight for social injustice, to support those who need it and to allow underrepresented individuals and groups a voice and a safe space. The small part I play in this hopefully helps the incredible team at Swansea MAD be in a position to provide this community support. My support of Swansea MAD is a small way that I can help to give back to the community I have 17 years’ experience is the Health and Well-being sector, 9 years’ experience in Senior Facilities Management and 3 years’ experience in the Training and Education sector, as well as being a multiple business owner.  

I am passionate about my local community and want to help fight social injustice.

Health and Well-being (physical and mental health) / Facilities Management (hard and soft services, total facilities management) / Operations Management / Training and Education / Business

 

Leigh Rowland [he/him]

Leigh Rowland [he/him]

Trustee

The majority of my career has been in Youth Work. I started as Youth Worker in 1998, doing over 40 hours of face-to-face Youth Work per week. I worked as a Project Leader for Sport, before managing a European Funded Project called SAVY (Skills Apprenticeships for Vulnerable Young People) which was award winning. I was then the Project Manager involved in developing Randomz, an award-winning Social Enterprise Academy which was recognised throughout Europe as a pioneer project. I also progressed through the London School of Social Entrepreneurs. I was then appointed Chief Executive Officer at the Cwmbran Centre for Young People and we were the first organisation throughout Wales to achieve the Gold Standard Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales. At present I run my own business; I am involved in Property, Mortgages, Lettings and Insurances. Luckily, I still get job satisfaction from helping young people find their first homes.

I just want young people to be happy – whatever it takes to make them happy, we as adults and professionals should do all we can to make this possible.

Management / Funding / Finance / Social Enterprise / Training / Youth Work

Mymuna Soleman [she/her]

Mymuna Soleman [she/her]

Trustee

I’m of Somali origin and was born and bred in Cardiff, Wales. I have a huge passion for equality and diversity but most importantly equal representation for Muslim women of colour like myself. I studied Health and Social Care at the undergraduate level and my Master’s in Public Health; both obtained from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

During the Covid-19 lockdown,  I set up The Privilege Café as I was frustrated with the lack of diversity and couldn’t express myself as a woman of colour in spaces filled with privilege. I’ve facilitated weekly sessions on Zoom covering various themes including mental health, ‘unconscious’ bias and privilege in the recruitment process. The level of engagement has been incredible and the speaker’s insight knowledge and expertise have brought nothing but positivity to all those who have attended the sessions.

The Café is an open to all, it’s a safe space for all to engage, learn and to use their privilege for good: https://www.patreon.com/PrivilegeCafe

Sophie Picton [she/her]

Sophie Picton [she/her]

Trustee

I became a trustee for Swansea Music Art Digital because I felt a strong connection with its founding principles and a deep admiration for the day-to-day work of its energetic and hardworking staff.

I live in sunny Swansea with my young daughter and partner. I am an English Coordinator at a local college and I also hold a teaching post at Swansea University’s Centre for Academic Success. I began my working life with brief stints in fashion and sales before gaining a PGCE from Greenwich University in 2004. I had the privilege of starting my lecturing career at New City College, Tower Hamlets, where I witnessed inclusion policies successfully put into practice, creating a learning environment where young people felt safe, listened to, and able to meet their full potential. This has inspired me throughout my career.

I like to meet a challenge and I enjoy working with people. I have had the opportunity to work with individuals from all over the world through my work which has been a great source of joy and inspiration to me.

I have almost two decades of experience teaching English in FE and HE sectors, including the successful coordination of large programs of study including GCSE English Language. I am also an SpLD specialist.

Andrew Griffiths [he/him]

Andrew Griffiths [he/him]

Trustee

We started MAD because Swansea was a cultural desert and we want MAD to be the oasis! I was born in Swansea and involved in local music the majority of my life since the early 1970s, helping to form the seminal Swansea punk band The Autonomes. Since then I have been involved in countless local bands in different styles and genres, writing and arranging songs, playing guitar and drums (not at the same time). I have written hit songs for bands such as the Poo Sticks and mentored countless bands along the way. Since the 1970s I have seen a lot of ideas and styles come and go but it always comes down to are people interested in what you are doing.

What gets me up in the morning is knowing the wealth of talent that exists in Swansea and wanting to share that with the world.
Public speaking / Organising Gigs / Song Arrangement and Writing / Mentoring Bands

Stevie Thomas

Stevie Thomas

Trustee

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