Kings of the Underground

Kings of the Underground is a community based heritage project that captures oral histories and full 3D portraits of the Last Generation of Welsh Coal Miners. 

The project partners with Rhondda Heritage Park and National Waterfront Museum (Museum of Wales) and will have two exhibitions.  The project involves workshops with young learners and will create unique audio and visual heritage that will be shared with younger member of the community, then stored and managed by South Wales Miners Library  (Swansea University).

This project is vital at this juncture in Wales’ heritage, as numbers of surviving Welsh miners is diminishing, and their heritage and memories, are being lost fore-ever.  

The project uses some of the latest audio- visual techniques available with an emphasis on gaming tech.

 We have created high quality 3D portraits of Welsh miners and some relatives using a portable photogrammetry (3D) studio. 

Photogrammetry is the process of converting 2D images into 3D images.

The project has produced two exhibitions; “Last Voices of Rhondda” at The Rhondda Heritage Park  (Feb 2022 until July 2022) and “Kings of the Underground” at the The National Waterfront Museum (Oct 2022 – March 2023 ).

The project includes portraits  of miners from the across the South Wales Coalfield.

Below is the “Last Voices of the Rhondda audio-visual installation.

Last Voices of The Rhondda – immersive Installation

Primary schools in the Rhondda Fach and Rhondda Fawr (Hafod, Parc & Maerdy)  and  four schools from the Afan Valley Schools Federation , as well as youth group, ACE Cardiff, were involved in heritage-based workshops. The workshops introduced some of the techniques, including 3D model-making,  voice recordings and heritage-based arts.  

The young learners created one-meter square collages of the miners inspired by the stories that the miners told of their lives.

A portrait of ex miner Gerald Jenkins, 80. This portrait was created by Parc Primary School. Gerald Jenkins worked in several mines in the Rhondda valley. The portraits are part of a mixed-media audio-visual exhibition “The Last Voices of the Rhondda” where school children have created their own interpretation of the portraits after listening to the stories of the miners.. ©Vision Fountain
A portrait of ex miner John Evans, 70. John Evans father and grandfather died from coal dust. The portraits are part of a mixed-media audio-visual exhibition “The Last Voices of the Rhondda” where school children have created their own interpretation of the portraits after listening to the stories of the miners. ©Vision Fountain

Download more information PDF here

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Project Stakeholders

Vision Fountain cic – project lead 

National Lottery Heritage Fund  – primary funder

Rhondda Heritage Park – exhibition, workshop and portrait venue &  community contact

National Waterfront Museum – exhibition, workshop and portrait venue &  community contact

Rhondda Valley Primary Schools (Hafod, Cwm-parc,  Maerdy) – heritage workshops

Afan Valley Schools Federation (4 x primary schools) – heritage workshops

ACE Cardiff – heritage / 3d and arts workshops for young people & community contacts

Big Pit (Nat Museum) – community contacts and outreach

South Wales Miners Library (Swansea University) – project generated archive storage

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