‘We rise together’

Children celebrate Wrexham's City of Culture 2025 bid
04 May 2022

In the third of our series profiling the shortlisted candidates for City of Culture 2025, Ian Bancroft reveals Wrexham as “one of the last punk places in the UK”.

Welsh Government announces £750,000 for libraries and museums

18 May 2022

More than £750,000 of funding will be provided to help local libraries and museums develop their facilities and services, the Welsh Government has announced.

The funding, which will be delivered as part of the Transformation Capital Grant Scheme, will support Wales’ local libraries and museums to "develop and revitalise" their facilities.

There will be a particular focus on widening access, partnership working, decarbonisation, and developing sustainable services.

The fund will be used to refurbish and modernise six libraries: Penygroes Library, Dyffryn Ogwen Library in Gwynedd, Rhymney Library in Caerphilly, Pencoed Library in Bridgend, Port Talbot Library and Barry Library.

Funding will also be provided towards and Newport Museum and Art Gallery’s decarbonisation project, and to enable Monmouthshire County Council to ensure the preservation of, and future access to, their collections through work at the Shire Hall.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “The Welsh Government remains committed to supporting these important services that fulfil a valuable role at the heart of community life. 

"This fund will widen access for our communities, promote cultural engagement, provide learning opportunities and support community cohesion, sustainability and prosperity.

“I encourage everyone to see what their local museum, archive or library has to offer.”

Wales’ national music plan gets green light

group of schoolchildren play musical instruments
17 May 2022

Wales’ first National Plan for Music Education sees funding for music provision trebled, to ensure all children get the opportunity to learn.

Cardiff Council leader pledges music festival

21 Apr 2022

Cardiff Council Leader Huw Thomas says he will bring a new music festival to the city if he is reelected in May.

The Labour councillor says Cardiff's music strategy includes developing a music event to “do through music for Cardiff what drama has done for Edinburgh”.

Cardiff's live music scene has experienced mixed fortunes over the course of the pandemic. Several music venues close down, including Gwdihw, Buffalo and Dempseys, while Cardiff Castle was used as a live venue for the first time last summer. The city also recently hosted BBC’s Six Music Festival for the first time.

Thomas said: “It’s still in part under wraps for now but I think those gigs in the Castle and the Six Music Festival are exactly the foretaste of what [the festival] could be like."

Unsuccessful City of Culture teams 'not disappointed'

21 Mar 2022

The legacy of the competition goes beyond the title, those who missed out say.

Wales awards £4.2m in third CRF round

17 Mar 2022

Seventy-one organisations have been awarded a share of £4.2m in the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund in Wales.

It brings the total amount distributed in Wales via the flagship Covid emergency fund to more than £87m, a contribution the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) expects will save up to 1,800 sector jobs.

Awardees include Wales Millennium Centre, which won the largest grant of more than £496,000, several theatres in Cardiff, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

97% of applicants were successful in this latest round, ACW says.

Theatr Clwyd refurb gets Welsh Government backing

16 Mar 2022

The Welsh Government is putting £22m towards a green redevelopment of Theatr Clwyd.

The three year project for a more energy efficent building is expected to cost £42m, £9m more than first indicated.

Attracting more than 200,000 visitors annually, the North Welsh venue is the biggest producing theatre in the country.

Executive Director Liam Evans-Ford said the support makes a “significant statement about how the arts, and its social and economic impact, is viewed in Wales”.

“This funding will unlock further private investment and enable us to deliver something that our local communities, our theatre makers, our audiences, our region, and our nation can be proud of.”

Manifesto for museums in Wales

14 Mar 2022

Local museums in Wales need councils to invest in their culture strategies ahead of this year's election cycle, a manifesto says.

The Museums Association and the Federation for Museums and Art Galleries in Wales are calling for policies to develop museums' digital capacity, diversify the workforce and its skills, attract donors, and catalyse new economic initiatives, for example in tourism.

Local authority investment in museums has declined by nearly a third in the past decade, the manifesto says.

It adds that museums have supported the Welsh Government's priorities over the past four years, crucially providing 'Cynefin', or a sense of place, throughout the pandemic in spite of their lengthy closures.

"In 2022, we are asking politicians to imagine what could be achieved with an ambitious new investment to secure the cultural and creative future of the nation."

ACW pursues strategy for Welsh language and arts

04 Mar 2022

The Arts Council of Wales (ACW) is seeking views on the role of Welsh in the arts to form a new strategy.

Stakeholders are being invited to join a bilingual discussion about language and art at 4pm, March 9. Two sessions have already taken place.

"We want to hear the voices of people who can speak or who are learning Welsh but we also want to hear the voices of people who do not currently speak the language. Everyone’s views and experiences are key to this strategy," ACW says.

The funder has recently mapped the use of Welsh in the arts and appointed a Welsh Language Enabler, Einir Siôn, who will lead the discussions.

"This will not be a platform to air complaints but an opportunity to discuss positive ways of creating change," Siôn said.

Welsh theatre 'can't afford' access for disabled actors

22 Feb 2022

Disabled actors are unable to perform at Theatre Colwyn because Conwy County Council cannot afford a wheelchair lift.

The council owned theatre underwent a £740,000 redevelopment in 2011 that included disabled access on all floors, but no disabled access to the stage.

During a committee meeting, Theatre Colwyn Manager Phil Batty said installing backstage disabled access would cost a £250,000.

He said: "It is the lift issue that is the cost. We did look into that, but it hasn’t moved any further. Obviously we’ve had Covid the last few years, but we will certainly pick it up again."

Conwy Counil’s Head of Economy and Culture Sarah Ecob said council is considering an installation, but it is complicated by the building's footprint.

Conwy disability champion Frank Bradfield called the issue an equal rights matter: “The cost of the lift doesn’t come into the rights or wrongs of it. You can’t discriminate against people on grounds of disability.”

End of restrictions for Welsh venues

21 Feb 2022

Venues in Wales no longer need to ask for Covid passes and legal requirements around the use of face coverings will expire February 28.

Deputy Arts Minister Dawn Bowden said Friday (February 18) that venues can continue to use the passes if they want: "We are confident that coronavirus rates are falling and we can look forward to brighter times ahead."

The change was welcomed by the Night Time Industries Association, which vehemently opposed the policy.

"The actions of the Welsh Government are still subject to a call by our members for evidence to substantiate the closure of nightclubs over and above other businesses," CEO Michael Kill said.

North Wales theatre set for £33m refurb

14 Feb 2022

Theatre Clwyd in Mold is set to undergo a £33m refurbishment.

Approved and funded by Flintshire County Council, Arts Council of Wales, and the Welsh Government, the 45-year-old building will be repaired and expanded into a more energy-efficent site.

The council is calling for contractors to carry out the redevelopment.

Theatre Clwyd’s website says the new building will safeguard the creation of theatre in Wales.

“The world-class facilities for making costume, sets and props will match the work created on our stages, ensuring a long, sustainable and successful future.”

ACW diversity overhaul to reshape portfolio and leadership

14 Feb 2022

Big changes are coming for Wales' arts funding body after critical reports highlighted gaps in its engagement with ethnic minority, D/deaf and disabled communities.

Wales to withdraw Covid pass from venues

14 Feb 2022

The Welsh Government is set to reduce its Covid restrictions further.

From Friday (February 18), a Covid pass will no longer be required to enter nightclubs, cinemas and theatres. Mandatory face mask wearing will be dropped 10 days later on February 28.

Night Time Industries Associations (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill welcomed the announcement, saying many businesses think restrictions have gone on for too long.

“The further relaxation of restrictions will see businesses finally able to plan for the future with some level of certainty."

Wales aims for zero carbon screen sector

02 Feb 2022

New targets for decarbonising Wales' screen sector are on their way.

Screen New Deal: Transformation Plan will see the BFI, BAFTA albert and Arup collaborate with Creative Wales, Fflim Cymru Wales and Clwstwr to create new sustainability recommendations for the industry.

The 18-month programme will begin with 12 months' data collection, followed by zero carbon, zero waste plan of action.

The initiative responds to the Screen New Deal report in 2020, which explored the film sector's carbon impact.

“Taking this work across a screen cluster’will develop practical and sustainable outcomes that can work for all productions and help reduce the sector's carbon footprint,” BFI Deputy CEO Harriet Finney said.

New entrants eligible in latest Wales CRF

01 Feb 2022

The third round of Wales' Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) is open, with organisations that have not previously received support eligible to apply.

£15.4m is available in total, though £2.2m has already been awarded to over 88 applicants.

Businesses must prove their turnover fell by at least 50% during the past three months compared to the same period pre-pandemic.  

The Welsh Government's Cultural Recovery Fund is open to all cultural organisations and is separate to Arts Council of Wales' Cultural Recovery Fund, which is available to only arts organisations. 

The previous two rounds provided £93m to organisations and individuals across Wales' cultural sector.

“We are fully aware that these impacted sectors continue to face new pressures,” Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden said.

Applications close February 11.

Work on Welsh language arts strategy begins

26 Jan 2022

Arts Council of Wales is set to begin work on a new strategy for Welsh and the arts.

The funder says it will draw up the strategy in collaboration with the arts and Welsh language sectors.

Individuals and organisations interested in contributing are invited to attend fortnightly Zoom discussions starting February 9, hosted by Einir Siôn, recently appointed as the council’s first Welsh Language Enabler.

Siôn says the strategy will be formed in an open and participatory way, with public discussions focused on actions the Arts Council can take in the arts: “This will not be a platform to air complaints but an opportunity to discuss positive ways of creating change."

Wales loosens restrictions on events

14 Jan 2022

A plan to remove Covid restrictions in Wales has been mapped out by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Capacity limits on outdoor events in Wales will rise from 50 to 500 tomorrow (January 15) and be removed completely in a week’s time (January 21).

Nightclubs are scheduled to reopen from January 28, to coincide with the removal of social distancing requirements – a wait Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan called “disappointing”.

Covid passports will still be required for entry into nightclubs, events, cinemas, concert halls and theatres.

The Welsh Government says plans are in line with the latest public health data but depend on continued improvements.

Creu Cymru is pleased to see the roadmap in place, after estimating Welsh theatres lost up to £10m during the latest round of restrictions.

“Alongside the news of a further Culture Recovery Fund, this will go a long way to help a sector hugely affected by restrictions.”

Wales adds £10m in emergency funding

12 Jan 2022

The Welsh Government has made another £10.1m of Culture Recovery Fund money available to organisations affected by recent restrictions.

The £15.4m scheme, which includes £5.25m in winter stability funding, is open for applications via the Arts Council of Wales today (January 12).

Events are currently capped at 30 people indoors and 50 outdoors, two metres' social distancing is required in public and where possible at work, and the rule of six applies to any group visiting a theatre, gallery, museum or cinema.

Eligibility for the fund hinges on demonstrating a financial loss since December. The arts council's Chair Phil George acknowledged arts organisations "are facing a period of serious financial challenge".

"We are determined to ensure that arts and cultural organisations who play a key role in the wellbeing of communities across Wales will be able to bring solace, delight and vision as we struggle with the pandemic and as we recover and rebuild. The need for this support has obviously become even more urgent as a result of the impact of the Omicron variant.”

Wales establishes £5.25m winter stability fund

22 Dec 2021

The Welsh Government is making £5.25m available to assist Welsh arts organisations, museums, libraries and independent cinemas through the winter.

Aimed at organisations at risk of closure or job losses due to Covid-19, the fund will cover activity from 1 October to 31 March. Applications will open on 12 January until 26 January.

The Welsh Government says the money is separate from a £120m package announced to assist businesses affected by the tightening of Covid restrictions.

Welsh Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden has asked organisations to think carefully if they need to make an application.

"It’s important funds are given to those in the most urgent need. This fund is about survival, it is not about compensating for temporarily reduced profits."

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