The Welsh Government elected at the 2021 Senedd election will have the power to make laws that affect the daily lives of artists, performers and creators the length and breadth of Wales. From the sectors’ recovery post-pandemic to funding for arts organisations and creative community projects, we gave the leaders of the main political parties a chance to share their vision for arts and culture in our election spotlight series. Today, Adam Price of Plaid Cymru outlines his party’s vision.
If culture is the beating heart of Wales – what happens when it stops?
Culture is at the heart of our nation’s way of life. With its connection to the past, it helps define us and our nation’s place in the world. In the way that it enables our diverse identities to engage with each other, it becomes integral to every community. And I cannot overstate how essential it is to our well-being and cohesion as a society.
In the last year, we’ve never been more aware of the gaping hole left by the lack of the cultural and sporting sectors – whether that’s in the absence from the football pitch or terrace, the club or concert hall, theatre, gallery or festival.
At the same time, it has led many people to find new interests – who remembers the bread making craze at the start of the first lockdown? Many of us logged in to see concerts streamed live, just to feel connected with others at a live event. Maybe you even took part in an online concert? This last year has helped us recognise the true value that different forms of culture hold in our everyday lives and at times when we need comfort.
When the arts, culture and sport is such a key part of our lives, we need a government who will put it at the heart of everything it does. A Plaid Cymru government will set into motion a new Arts and Culture Strategy, and our national cultural institutions will be key to its delivery.
Institutions such as the national museum, library and multiple music and arts organisations. We want to include them across all aspects of government – in economic development, in health and education, and in our regard for our environment. In turn, we will protect their valuable contribution, their independence, and their financial viability.
Our plan is also to ensure that our national cultural institutions represent the diversity of Wales – our history, heritage and culture must represent and be open to everyone that lives in Wales, and we’ll seek to extend their role in promoting the culture of Wales to international audiences, both at home and abroad. This diversity must extend to sport – and a Plaid Cymru government will encourage public broadcasters to give more time to women’s sport.
We want the shared experiences arts and culture gives us, the same ones that have been threatened by the pandemic, not only to live on, but to be strengthened and bolstered. We owe it to our children and grandchildren, and we need to stay true to Wales’ pioneering Well-being of Future Generations Act.
A crucial move in protecting our arts and culture is protecting artists and freelancers. These are our writers, artists, musicians, set designers, technicians working in theatres, at festival venues or for touring companies. Whether working alone or for companies they have all been affected by this year of closure.
When freelancers represent over 70% of all theatre and performance workers, Wales needs a plan that specifically benefits them. This is why a Plaid Cymru government would introduce a Welsh Freelancers Fund, a cultural basic income, that will assist 1,000 freelance workers to work at the community level and within schools, and offers an income of £1,000 a month for two years. These freelancer workers will be able to provide innovative ways to help our young people recover from the negative impacts of the pandemic, combatting mental health problems and enhancing their lives and skills.
Institutions for art, culture and heritage will also be developed, including a dedicated National Gallery of Contemporary Art at a location other than Cardiff, representing the visual culture of Wales, and a national centre for industrial heritage at Cyfarthfa Castle and Park.
Having brought back the beating heart of Wales, we need to celebrate it on a grand stage. For that reason, we will organise a year-long nationwide Festival of Wales in 2023, as well as preparing a bid for Wales to take part as a nation in its own right in the internationally renowned Eurovision song contest. We’ll also support proposals to establish a Wales Cricket Board and we’ll prepare a bid for Wales to host the Commonwealth Games in either 2030 or 2034. We will boost culture and sports whilst boosting our economy and putting Welsh sports and culture on the world stage.
Wales’ cultural scene is rich, vibrant and bursting with potential – we just need a government that believes in it, nurtures it and supports it. My Plaid Cymru government will make sure it remains the beating heart of Wales.
2021 Senedd Elections
You can read the Plaid Cymru manifesto here.
2021 Senedd Elections