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National Assembly Committee calls for action plan to increase participation in the arts in Wales

29 January 2013

A National Assembly for Wales Committee has called on the Welsh Government to devise an action plan to increase people’s participation in the arts in Wales.

The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee found that with a substantial decrease in funding, many local authorities and arts organisations across the country had been unable to maintain both the number and breadth of projects of previous years.

Many local authorities are unable to afford to pay professional artists for performances and services and are instead relying on volunteers to assist where possible.

The Committee noted that the Welsh Government had made some headway towards increasing the accessibility of arts initiatives, but concluded this was not the same as increasing people’s participation in the arts.

The Committee also acknowledged the difficult decisions faced by the Arts Council of Wales in the wake of funding cuts. It recommended the Arts Council work with organisations to access other sources of funding, including those that might be available from the private sector.

Linked in part to funding cuts was a belief by many who contributed to the inquiry that participation in the arts was a particular problem in rural areas due to lack of opportunities and poor accessibility through transport links.

“The arts sector in Wales is vibrant and varied and holds a vital place in our history and culture,” said Ann Jones AM, Chair of the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee.

“We have heard the important part arts programmes and opportunities play in the lives of people around the country and how many of those opportunities have disappeared in the current economic climate.

“We believe the Welsh Government can, and should, do more to ensure that people from rural communities are not at a disadvantage in terms of being able to participate in cultural endeavours.

“The Committee has also concluded that the Arts Council for Wales could provide more support and guidance to organisations in identifying and accessing other sources of funding.”

The Committee makes eight recommendations in its report including:

  • The Welsh Government should put in place a participation action plan, to sit alongside its accessibility action plan, with the purpose of increasing participation levels across Wales;

  • The action plan should include measures to monitor participation levels across the arts, and actions to identify inequality of provision (e.g. due to geographic, economic or social reasons);

  • The Arts Council of Wales should keep under review its funding policies, to ensure that they are delivering excellence, while increasing participation levels; and,

The Arts Council of Wales should ensure that organisations are able to access information on alternative sources of funding. This should be in the form of training, if necessary.

Link to more information on the participation in arts inquiry

Link to more information on the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee

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