Leading experts celebrate Wales' year of the sea and shape a new vision for Cardiff Bay at two day conference 30th-31st

Volvo Ocean Race has arrived in Cardiff, and to celebrate this prestigious occasion, industry experts from Europe and the UK will meet to explore the importance of Cardiff's maritime heritage and its role in shaping the future of economic and cultural development. 

Over 300 delegates are expected to attend the two day conference which takes place on 30th- 31stMay at The Exchange Hotel and Wales Millennium Centre. The program- ‘Giving the past a future, giving the future a past'- aims to inspire planners, investors, property developments and community representatives to maximise the potential of our great maritime connections, past, present and future. 

Over 20 different speakers will share their knowledge of maritime heritage, highlight examples of best practice in developing successful projects and give specialist insight into how the new vision for Cardiff Bay can be realised. 

Participants will be formally welcomed by Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council, Welsh Atlantic Rower, Elin Haf Davies who is the Welsh Government's Ambassador for ‘Year of the Sea' and representatives from Volvo Ocean Race. Proceedings open with a conference organised by The Maritime Heritage Trust that will showcase sustainable projects based on all aspects of maritime heritage and, especially, the challenge of raising finance to make these projects happen.

 Cllr Huw Thomas said: "Cardiff was once the world's biggest coal exporting port and played a significant role the world's economy. Deindustrialisation however meant Cardiff Bay sought regeneration, with a new focus on attracting people and visitors. We recognise that in order for Cardiff to continue as a leading waterfront destination, we need to set a refreshed vision for Cardiff Bay as a leisure destination in order to sustain the momentum of the last 20 years. 

"The Volvo Ocean Race not only affirms our ability to host major international events, specifically showcasing Cardiff Bay to a whole new audience, but also presents the opportunity to bring experts in waterfront regeneration to Cardiff to reflect on its past and consider its future." 

Highlights from Wednesday 30thinclude: 

-         Matthew Tanner, Chief Exec of SS Great Britain & Brunel Institute in Bristol;Finding Inspiration in a changing world of heritage

-         Sara Crofts, Head of Historic Environment, Heritage Lottery Fund;A Sustainable Future?

-         Piran Harte and Victoria Wallworth, National Historic Ships;Tackling the skills challenge and engaging young people in conservation and operation 

Thursday 31stis devoted to Cardiff Council's new vision for the next development phase of Cardiff Bay as a destination within the city. Hosted by The Cardiff Harbour Authority and Cardiff Council's Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, Cllr Russell Goodway, it will set out the vision for the Bay and invite feedback from the public. 

Leading representatives from Cardiff's business community will share their views on the development of the Bay over the past 20 years and suggest what lessons can be learned in planning for the future. An international panel of specialists, who will have spent time assessing the current situation, will then be asked to give their views on what the future opportunities should be. 

Highlights from Thursday 31stinclude: 

-        Mike Lawley, Chair, Cooke & Arkwright; From Mudflats to Thriving Economy: A Property Perspective

-        Callum Couper, Port Manager South Wales Ports, Associated British Ports;The Future for Cardiff Port

-        Gordon Young, International Award-winning Sculptor and Artist;Disrupting the Way We Think about Waterfronts 

On both days delegates will be able to explore the Bay area by selecting one of three different tours by foot, boat or by bus and throughout the both days the Pierhead building will remain open to allow delegates to experience this iconic venue and its exhibitions and view a film of the heritage of the Cardiff docks. 

Professor Terry Stevens, co-ordinator for evening events and the day two conference said: "The idea of taking time to look to the past to help inform the future resonates with everyone with an interest in the future of our post-industrial ports and harbours. It Is highly appropriate, therefore that Cardiff, this one-time pre-eminent global port should be hosting the Volvo Ocean race and using this international gathering to, not only celebrate Wales' Year of the Sea, but to harness the coming together of specialists from around the world to influence our thinking about the exciting future of Cardiff and its Bay."