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Tackling Poverty through culture - landmark report released at National Waterfront Museum

Amgueddfa Cymru’s response to the Welsh Government’s ‘Tackling Poverty through culture’ report

“Wales is now taking cultural policy seriously,” said David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, in response to the launch of a new report that examines boosting attainment, skills, regeneration and social inclusion through the arts, culture and historic environment.

Commissioned by the Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths and produced by Baroness Kay Andrews OBE Tackling Poverty through culture, launched today (Thursday, 13 March) at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, examines how organisations can work closer together in order to help tackle poverty.

It also outlines how bodies can develop stronger links with anti-poverty schemes such as the Welsh Government’s Communities First programme.

The recommendations build on what is already working well and include measures which will:

  • widen access and break down social exclusion, by addressing physical and psychological barriers to our institutions, such as transport costs;
  • increase engagement at community level, to anchor culture within communities and increase the impact of outreach programmes;
  • focus resources and training to support cultural organisations in helping close the attainment gap in our schools;
  • establish key all-Wales strategies to focus and drive greater engagement around poverty by cultural organisations.

The National Waterfront Museum - one of Amgueddfa Cymru’s seven national museums - is already making excellent progress tackling aspects of anti-poverty with a number of successful community-led projects. Examples include working with Flying Start, Bookstart and the City and County of Swansea’s Early Language and Play Team on delivering both structured educational sessions as well as informal drop in activities out in the community.    

Speaking about the launch of the new report, Head of the National Waterfront Museum, Steph Mastoris, said:

“Our work in this area has been developing continually over the past couple of years. Our relationships with community groups has gone from strength to strength, which has made it possible for families and children from some of our most disadvantaged communities to get the opportunity to engage in history, heritage and culture at their local national museum. The results have been fantastic, with lots of positive feedback that has encouraged us to repeat many of these initiatives.

“Amgueddfa Cymru also hosted a UK wide seminar discussing how culture plays a role in transforming the lives of children and young people that was held in October 2013. The summary report of this seminar, titled Cultural Participation for Children and Young People Experiencing Poverty, will launch on 2 April. The report makes recommendations for cultural institutions on how they can broaden engagement with children and young people, for example by directly involving them on decision making panels and the need for cultural and heritage institutions to develop their listening skills so they are better able to recognise and respond to the voices and views of children and young people.”

David Anderson concluded:

“The cultural sector cannot eradicate poverty on its own. What it can do is raise the aspirations of young people, and even transform their lives. Every citizen has rights and by taking a strategic approach and working collaboratively, we can give everyone in Wales the chance to enjoy their own culture and heritage.”