This year, Wales Arts Review has engaged in a new way of thinking when choosing our Person of the Year 2020; how could we single out a single individual in a year when so many have put so much on the line for the health and safety of others? The Wales Arts Review Person of the Year seeks to thank one person for an outstanding contribution to the art, culture, and society of Wales in the given year, someone who has moved to shape and drive the most important issues of our time.
Our choice for 2020 is Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960), the principle architect of the foundation of the National Health Service when he was Minister for Health between 1945 and 1951. In giving Bevan this accolade we hope to pay tribute not just to the entire NHS, but also to the entire culture Bevan represented, a proud sense of passionate working class intellectualism that although is not unique to Wales, is definitely Welsh. The invention of the National Health Service belongs to all of the United Kingdom, but it is a gift from Wales, inspired by the Tredegar Medical Aid Society in Bevan’s constituency. In 2020, it barely needs repeating that the service has worked above and beyond the call of duty to save lives in the face of the global pandemic; but it has also perhaps inadvertently worked to remind the Welsh nation, where needed, of the values embodied in its concept, those of compassion, inclusivity, and of socialism. So, Aneurin Bevan is the recipient of the Wales Arts Review Person of the Year 2020, but his memory is offered it as a representative of the NHS he ushered in, of all the people who have worked to save lives in 2020, and the values the NHS continues to embody.
Wales Arts Review Person of the Year 2020
Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960)
“For his role in founding the National Health Service, and as a representative for all the health professionals in 2020 who have dedicated their lives to the NHS in a time of global pandemic, which in turn stands for the traditional culture of the socialist compassion of Wales that inspired it.”