Arts Council of Wales | Government Agenda

Government Agenda

If we want to make our case effectively to local and national politicians, it is important to understand how the arts promote their broader objectives.

Welsh Government sees the arts sector playing an important role in

  • building communities
  • driving economic growth
  • showcasing the best of Wales on the international stage
  • boosting tourism
  • supporting education and creating employment

In turn, these are also reasons often cited by local authorities for investing in the arts. Your influencing work will be most effective if it demonstrates how your organisation is contributing in these key areas.


Building resilient communities

Arts Council of Wales has always prided itself on its commitment to high quality, distinctive design believing that the people of Wales deserve the very best facilities in which to enjoy and take part in the arts.

The arts matter. 80% of those asked to take part in the Arts in Wales Survey 2010 said that they believe arts and culture make Wales a better place to live, and that it was right that they should be supported through public funding. 92% agreed that taking part in arts and cultural activities helps to build confidence.

Arts Council of Wales believes the arts make a difference, and that they should be accessible to everybody in Wales and everybody should have the opportunity to take part in and enjoy them. The arts can be at the core of a Welsh resurgence, even in a recession.

Can you demonstrate the social benefits of the work that you do?

For example, Head for Arts deliver a programme of arts activities that empower individuals and provide a pathway for the transformation of people's lives.


Driving economic growth

In Wales, the creative industries have been identified as a key driver of business and growth, as is the role of culture. The arts and creative industries are important to civic life. As well as adding to our general quality of life, they make our towns and cities better places to live, and bind together our rural communities. They develop the creative skills of our young people and make them better learners.

The arts and creative industries matter to people. 8 out of 10 adults attend the arts in Wales, 9 out of 10 younger people (16-24).

The arts are also important to the economic well-being of Wales. Research completed recently by Creative and Cultural Skills in Wales concludes that over 24,000 people are employed in the arts and creative industries, in a sector that contributed around £465m to the Welsh economy.

Can you demonstrate the ways in which your organisation has contributed to the local or national economy?

For example, WOMEX 13 had a total direct economic impact of £2,896,232.


Showcasing the best of Wales on the international stage


In an increasingly competitive world, arts and culture have a crucial role to play in showcasing the best of Wales on the world stage. WOMEX 13 Cardiff - the leading World Music Expo attracted 2,250 delegates, 1260 companies from 90 countries, 800 concert and festival bookers, tour promoters and venues, 560 labels, publishers and distributors, 680 booking agents, 560 managers and 270 producers.

It was reported that creativity, heritage and culture were the only indicators to show a unanimously positive impact on perceptions of Wales overseas as a result of the event.

Can you demonstrate how your work has showcased Welsh creative industries internationally?

For example, since its first performance in Cardiff back in 2010, Dafydd James's powerful play, Llwyth, has travelled around Wales three times, entertained audiences in London and Edinburgh and in August 2012 went to the Taipei Arts Festival in Taiwan.


Boosting tourism

Tourism plays a major role in the Welsh economy. With its mix of heritage, culture and countryside, Wales remains an important destination for overseas visitors. Culture is an intrinsic part of the visitor experience. Most visitors will come into contact with Wales’ culture during their trip - either through generic encounters (sense of place, language, local food and drink, crafts, and music), or through specific visits to heritage and cultural attractions. The culture and heritage offer is a significant contributor to the Welsh visitor economy. In 2011, £146 million was spent on holidays where culture was the main activity for the holiday, and £590 million was spent on holidays where a cultural activity was undertaken as part of the holiday.

Can you demonstrate how your work contributes to local or national tourism?

For example, Wales Millennium Centre is Wales’ No 1 visitor attraction, attracting more than one million visitors every year, and 12th in the UK’s league table of cultural attractions.


Supporting education

Welsh Government recently published an independent review – Arts in Education showing how the arts can be used to drive up overall standards of education in schools.

The report is the first in-depth survey of the relationship between the arts and education sectors in the nation.

The report found that arts organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to persuade schools to take their work because of costs, lack of time and the fact that many schools saw arts as "a low priority, non-essential, or a luxury".

The report states: "The current, and very necessary, emphasis on literacy and numeracy is narrowing the focus of schools and limiting the opportunities for young people to engage in creative practice that can – ironically - lead to improved standards in these areas."

The document reviewed current arts provision in schools across Wales and found that services varied widely from area to area. It also revealed significantly different levels of engagement within school system itself, with Arts Council of Wales’ revenue funded arts organisations providing 73% of their activities to primary schools and just 23% to secondary schools.

The report has put forward a number of recommendations for the Welsh Government based on its findings.

These include formally stating the central role for arts education in schools and highlighting creativity as a core skill; using the arts to improve numeracy and literacy and close attainment gaps; and supporting "arts champions" in schools as part of a national plan for creative learning.

The Arts in Education Review full report is available to be downloaded here.

Can you show how your organisation benefits children and young people?

For example, a new generation of literary talent has been encouraged and supported through Literature Wales’ Young People’s Writing Squads. These have been developed in partnership with local authorities and give opportunities for young talented writers to work with our poets, authors and playwrights.


Incubating talent for the creative industries


The arts are also important to the economic well-being of Wales. Research completed recently by Creative and Cultural Skills in Wales concludes that over 24,000 people are employed in the arts and creative industries, in a sector that contributed around £465m to the Welsh economy.

In Wales, the sector provides employment for more than 30,000 people in over 4,200 enterprises and generates over £1.8bn annual turnover.

Please see more information here: www.nesta.org.uk/project/digital-rd-fund-arts-wales.

Can you demonstrate how your work helps foster the talent which makes Wales' creative industries world class?

For example, award winning Aberystwyth Arts Centre is Wales’ largest arts centre and recognised as a flagship for the arts.

It has a wide-ranging artistic programme, both producing and presenting, across all art forms including drama, dance, music, visual arts, applied arts, film, new media, and community arts.

In 2000 the Arts Centre completed a major £4.3 million redevelopment, followed by an additional £1.75 million development recently. This added an artists and creative industries studios complex, and acts as the base for a major artists in residence programme. This gives Aberystwyth Arts Centre a range of facilities unrivalled throughout much of the UK.

The residences are intended to give artists 'time out' to develop their work. They are an opportunity for the artists to step away from the everyday constraints of life and experience time in which to develop individual artistic practice, and to exchange skills and ideas in a creative atmosphere with people from other disciplines.


Creating employment

In Wales the Creative Industries have been identified as a key driver of business growth, as is culture.

We support, working with a range of other partners, the creative and cultural industries sector by investing in organisations, and by developing and supporting their individuals.

We contribute towards the regeneration of communities, particularly those with high levels of social deprivation, by investing in infrastructure as part of our capital development programme, and arts projects and activities through our other annual investment programmes.

We are working with the Welsh Government, local authorities and Creative & Cultural Skills to develop workforce training, and business support services for those working in the creative and cultural industries.

Can you demonstrate how your organisation has contributed towards creating employment?

For example, Galeri directly and indirectly supports over 50 full time equivalent jobs in the economy of Gwynedd and Ynys Môn as well as over 40 employees in tenant businesses. As a direct employer of 36 full time equivalent staff, Galeri is among just 6% of firms in Gwynedd that have more than 25 employees.

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