Alun Pugh, Minister for Culture today (6 December) told Assembly Members that he had already started to implement the main thrust of the Stephens Report: A Dual Key Approach to the Arts in Wales”.
In welcoming the panel’s conclusion that the arts in Wales needed to become ‘even more ambitious, innovative, strategy-driven and inclusive’, Alun Pugh said:
“There is a momentum for progress, and for the arts to flourish in a period of stability, innovation and ambition.”
“The Report espouses change and does not defend the status quo. Change is inevitable in a post devolution world.”
“The Assembly has been hugely beneficial to culture. £210m invested in the arts, plus £150m of lottery money. The investment continues, with recent major funding announcements about English Language Theatre, support for a Kyffin Williams gallery and a Cultural Enterprise Centre at Merthyr”.
In line with recommendations in the report the Minister is also looking at areas needing further work.
The Culture Minister also praised the panel, chaired by Professor Elan Closs Stephens, for their dedication, expertise and hard work.
In his speech the Minister:
welcomed the report’s conclusion that the arts in Wales needed strategic and transparent direction and that in post devolution Wales it should be clearer who sets strategic policy for the arts in Wales;
“ The Assembly Government wants to create a more transparent and accountable framework for developing the arts in Wales. The Arts Council is important, but it is not the only player. Local authorities have a prominent role, as do the private sector and Arts & Business Wales.”;
said that he was sure the Arts Council for Wales would seize the challenge issued to them by the report;
“The Report recognises that post devolution it should be clearer who sets strategic policy for the arts in Wales. We said that the Arts Council needs to be more developmental, and that its relationship with the Assembly Government should be re-defined.”;
said that while direct funding had become “a hotly controversial issue”, this was not the key issue. The key issue was developing the best environment for Wales’ national companies to develop, be ambitious and flourish;
“This issue has become hotly controversial, and I want to make my position clear. We welcome the fact that the Review accepts our concept of national companies.”
said that he was working on establishing an Arts Strategy Board. He confirmed that he had already met the Culture Board to discuss the report and would be meeting ACW and the WLGA in the New Year to discuss the report and setting up an arts strategy board;
said that he understood the call for extra cash for culture and that this was an area that needed further work. £3.25 million would be an increase of more than 10% of the current arts budget;
said that work should be done also on the proposed regional model and cultural entitlements;
said he was prepare to consider enshrining the concept of artistic freedom in Welsh law, subject to the Assembly’s new powers under the Government of Wales Act
| Wales Assembly Government
|Wednesday, December 06, 2006|