British Council Wales commissioned Visiting Arts to lead research into international showcasing to help inform Wales’ overall strategy, working with and consulting with the local arts sector. Mae'r Cyngor Prydeinig wedi comisiynu ymchwil ar yr opsiynau ar gyfer arddangos celfyddydau Cymru yn rhyngwladol ac ar effaith hynny.
The debate on the optimum international showcasing is always a vexed question in small nations. It is very timely that this opportunity arises to look at fresh ideas and options. These range from creating a large scale cross sectoral festival, to single sector international showcasing, to strategies to engage individual artists and organisations in international work. The solutions depend on resources, context, current place in the international sector and, crucially, the desires and ambitions of the Welsh sector itself. This research draws together these strands, examines existing impact studies and makes key recommendations.
The report, International Showcasing Strategy for the Arts of Wales, is calling for Welsh arts and culture to be better promoted to international markets.
Practitioners and organisations working in the arts in Wales were invited to help shape the international showcasing opportunities for their work by participating in an online survey and attending focus groups in Llandudno, Aberystwyth, Swansea, and Cardiff in May 2018. Interviews with key local and international contacts were conducted.
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’.
Five key points emerged from the showcasing 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% of survey respondents saying international showcasing is a very important or high priority.
- 70% of survey respondents saying they had attended up to ten UK based international showcases during the past five years.
- 61% of survey respondents would like to see existing international events in Wales enhanced to provide more opportunities for showcasing.
Rebecca Gould shares the results of new research with the Institute of Welsh Affairs.
Visiting Arts works across the UK and internationally on research, training, networking and residencies. It was the EU Cultural Contact Point for the UK and runs the annual event for producers focused on international work at the Edinburgh International Festival. Visiting Arts has a strong relationship with Wales, and most recently delivered Kick Start: Cardiff, inviting 13 international creative entrepreneurs to the Wales.
Visiting Arts' research work includes the UK Mapping of International working for ACE, the UK and China; needs analysis for the British Council. Leading on the project, Yvette Vaughan Jones has worked in Wales since 1994, authored many international policy documents, and set up Wales Arts International in response to the question of international showcasing which has long been a keen issue in Wales. She was also brought in to write the Cardiff bid for European Capital of Culture 2008 which had at its heart, the desire to showcase internationally the best of culture in Cardiff and Wales.