- ‘There is an incredible offer in Wales, but it is too quiet – it needs to be clearer and bolder’.
- Wales’ arts and culture are described as ‘invisible’ overseas.
- There is a call for existing international events in Wales to be enhanced to provide more opportunities for showcasing.
- The country does not make the most of its bilingualism as a cultural asset.
A new report is calling for Welsh arts and culture to be better promoted to international markets.
The report, International Showcasing Strategy for the Arts of Wales, was commissioned by British Council Wales and is the result of research into how Welsh culture, including its artists, performers and writers, can best find new international audiences.
The focus of the report is showcasing, which gives artists and cultural organisations the chance to show their work to promoters from across the UK and around the world.
The report examines how showcasing can be improved for Welsh visual arts, crafts, music, theatre, literature, dance, film, TV and new media and the museum sector.
Representatives from the Welsh arts sector were invited to give their opinion on the current showcasing opportunities for Welsh arts. Forty seven international producers, promoters, curators and festival directors were also interviewed about their views on Welsh arts and how the country might better promote its offer.
The research recognised that Wales has many world class cultural assets including the Hay Festival, Artes Mundi and the Green Man Festival. However the main message from the report is that, while Wales does have a first class arts offer, ‘it is too quiet’ and ‘needs to be clearer and bolder’. One interviewee described Wales as ‘invisible’ in the international showcasing world, while others questioned why Wales does not capitalise on its bilingualism.
Five key points emerged from the research:
- More investment is needed to develop showcasing expertise and skills, including marketing skills, in Wales.
- Welsh organisations working internationally need to work together, to pool their resources and avoid overlap.
- More showcasing opportunities are needed in Wales.
- Wales needs to strengthen its presence at major international showcasing events.
- There is a need for a distinctive international Welsh arts voice.
The report found a definite interest in international showcasing among Welsh arts and cultural organisations with 64 per cent of survey respondents saying it is a very important or high priority, with 70 per cent saying they had attended up to ten UK based international showcases during the past five years.
Sixty one per cent would like to see existing international events in Wales enhanced to provide more opportunities for showcasing.
Rebecca Gould, head of arts at British Council Wales, said: “International showcasing is a competitive field and Wales needs to become more visible to compete on the global stage. We need a new bold and strategic approach. Culture can help promote Wales internationally, developing our reach and influence whilst increasing awareness and understanding of the country among new audiences. Better showcasing will lead to a stronger, louder Welsh cultural sector whilst also boosting trade and tourism. We consulted widely with the arts and cultural sectors in Wales and internationally to produce the report, as we recognise that the industry, with its knowledge, passion and skills, is best placed to lead the development of any new Welsh approach to international showcasing.”
The report was written and researched by Yvette Vaughan Jones of arts company Visiting Arts.