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Reducing obstacles to young people's access to culture
The Experiencing the Arts Fund publication in February 2020 discusses the importance of removing barriers to the arts:
We believe that our children and young people should have the chance to be inspired and excited by the best that the arts in Wales has to offer. So, as part of the Welsh Government/Arts Council of Wales joint-funded Creative learning through the arts programme, the Experiencing the Arts Fund aims to provide children and young people with opportunities to engage with arts and cultural activities as a routine part of their wider learning experience.
“Go and See” is part of the Experiencing the Arts Fund offering funding for straightforward visits to high quality arts events. Schools can apply for small, one-off grants of up to £1,000 to fund single visits to high-quality arts events in venues across Wales. Go and See experiences could include visits to performances and exhibitions, or visits to experience arts professionals developing and creating their work.
A number of publicly funded programmes and projects, outlined below, aim to counter obstacles to young people's access to culture. The focus of these programmes is largely on countering financial and geographical constraints, although the final example programme aims to reduce social obstacles to young people's participation.
- the All-Wales arts and education programme, which is funded by the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales, increases opportunities for artists and cultural organisations to work with teachers and learners in schools; the programme has two strands, which are the Regional Arts and Educational Networks, and Experiencing the Arts (see the subheading 'Cross-sectoral cooperation' in the article on 'Administration and governance' for more information)
- the Every Child a Library Member initiative, which was started in 2013 and is funded by the Welsh Government, allows children to borrow books, use computers and the internet and access homework help, all for free
- Go and See, which helps schools take young people out to experience arts and cultural activities; funding of up to £1000 is available to cover transport, entry costs and refreshments
- the People’s Collection Wales, which is a central online resource for digital collections of the main heritage institutions across Wales; it enables users to add local knowledge to the thousands of items already uploaded or upload stories and photos from their own communities (note that this initiative is not specific to young people)
- My digital library, which gives users free access to e-magazines, e-books and e-audiobooks (note that this project is not specific to young people)
- Kids in Museums, which works with museums to help them create more welcoming environments for children and organises the annual takeover day
Disseminating information on cultural opportunities
Initiatives aimed at informing young people of opportunities to access cultural environments include:
- Rawffest, an annual youth arts festival that is planned and programmed by young people, for young people; the festival gives participants the chance to develop skills in the arts and develop their entrepreneurial skills by encouraging them to lead, curate and staff the festival.
Knowledge of cultural heritage amongst young people
Programmes and initiatives aimed at supporting young people's discovery and appreciation of the cultural and artistic heritage of Wales include the following:
- Urdd, which gives children and young people the opportunity to socialise and learn in the Welsh language, and is funded by the Welsh Government through the Welsh Language Board.
- the Makers guild in Wales, which runs a schools and colleges programme involving practical art and craft workshops and guided tours of craft work exhibitions.
- the Youth Ambassadors Scheme, Blaenavon, which enables young people to discover the World Heritage Site, gives them a voice in its management, manage and participate in workshops and receive training and qualifications.
- the People’s Collection Wales, a central online resource for digital collections of the main heritage institutions across Wales; it enables users to add local knowledge to the thousands of items already uploaded or upload stories and photos from their own communities (note that this initiative is not specific to young people).
- Sain, which provides access to Welsh music of all kinds (note that this is not specific to young people).
- the Curriculum Cymreig, developed by Learning Wales, is a whole-school approach to promoting Welsh culture and heritage through the school curriculum, including extra-curricular activities.