A sustainable future

06 March 2015

Ellie Byrne, Chair of Adamsdown Arts Association, talks about the legacy and sustainability of the project now that People's Health Trust funding has ended.

"It’s been over a year since our PARADE! (Participatory ARts in Adamsdown for Everyone!) project, funded generously by People’s Health Trust, came to a close with our finale at Oasis Cardiff, a centre for refugees and asylum seekers. We filled in our completion report and got some feedback from participants, sent it all back to People’s Health Trust and the project was closed down. But that did not mean the impact of the project stopped there; not at all.

The drama group established with refugees and asylum seekers has led to new projects and partnerships that took place over the course of 2014 and the earlier part of 2015.

It has diversified to become a mixed group of men and women, and has travelled to other arts venues in our area such as Sherman Cymru.

Last year, funding from Cardiff Council enabled the drama group to take part in a project based on the themes of Romeo and Juliet, performed to the public in October 2014. The group also formed a choir and performed at several venues in Cardiff during 2014.

This year, Oasis was successful in their bid to host an event as part of National Theatre Wales’ Big Democracy, a performance-based debate of issues facing communities across Wales.

The drama group has clearly been successful in terms of legacy and sustainability, but what is it that has enabled it to continue to flourish?

In part, it is the willingness of their tutor, Angharad Evans, to volunteer her time to carry on working with the group, and of Oasis Cardiff to scrape together small amounts of funding to assist with this.

The creative climate in South East Wales is also another important factor; arts venues and theatre companies want to work increasingly in community settings, and funding is available for arts projects which address social issues such as health inequalities, social exclusion or poverty.

This is being bolstered at the policy level; Baroness Kay Andrews OBE published her report into the links between the arts, culture and poverty in March 2014, which followed from Professor Dai Smith’s report into the impact of the arts on education in Wales. We are lucky in Wales to have this spotlight on the arts and creative industries; let’s hope it trickles down to the grass-roots organisations such as ours that really want to make a difference to their local community.

But without a doubt, the legacy and sustainability of the project is down to the passion and commitment of local residents who have been at the heart of this project since the beginning.  Being part of the project has given them a real sense of pride in their neighbourhood and has shown that they can collectively change things for the better. They don’t want to let go of that and have been determined to continue what they started.”

Dr Ellie Byrne - Adamsdown Arts Association


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