New approaches to using culture to improve lives will be trialled in six deprived communities over the coming year.

Photo of graffiti in Swansea
Graffiti in Swansea, one of six new ‘Pioneer Areas’.
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Adam Simmons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The power of the arts and culture to tackle the negative effects of poverty will be harnessed in some of Wales’ most deprived communities. The ‘Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture’ programme, established in response to Baroness Kay Andrews’ report on ‘Poverty and Culture’ and Professor Dai Smith’s report on the Arts in Education, will trail new approaches over a pilot year in six ‘Pioneer Areas’: Swansea, Wrexham, Gwynedd, Cardiff, Newport and Torfaen.

The programme will link cultural organisations with Communities First clusters and local community groups in the Pioneer Areas, providing a range of opportunities for people to engage with culture and supporting learning and skills development.

Launching the programme, Culture Minister Ken Skates said: “Participation in culture and the arts has far-reaching educational benefits – improving knowledge, literacy and skills. This is why we are forging a distinctive path in Wales and placing culture at the heart of our work in disadvantaged communities.”

The programme is being co-ordinated by the Museums Archives and Libraries Division of the Welsh Government, in collaboration with the cultural sector, other Welsh Government departments, local authorities, the National Lotteries and other organisations. During the pilot year, it aims to embed culture into the Communities First programme, while establishing methods for measuring, evaluating and sharing learning from its collaborative working model, and generating evidence around the impact of cultural participation on disadvantaged communities.

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A photo of Frances Richens