Literature Wales Strategic Plan (2019-2022)
Literature Wales launched its new Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 in the Writers at Work tent at Hay Festival on Wednesday 29 May. The National Company’s vision is a Wales where literature empowers, improves and brightens lives.
Chair of Literature Wales Kate North, and CEO Lleucu Siencyn, introduced the new plan, which has been created following a wide consultation process and with support from the Arts Council of Wales’ Resilience Programme. Literature Wales’ commitment to tackling under-representation within the sector and its ongoing support for early career writers is at the forefront of the strategy for the next three years.
The plan also introduces a more refined model of working with a focus on investment at the right time, in order to maximise impact. Literature Wales has identified three main areas of work (Our Pillars) and three Tactical Priorities, where it will focus its energy and activity during the period of the Strategic Plan (2019-2022). All of the pillars are inter-linked and projects will not be developed in isolation, but will complement and enhance each other, with clear progression and development during the three years.
Our three Activity Pillars are:
- Participation – inspiring some of our most marginalised individuals and communities through active participation in literature.
- Writer Development – developing the creative and professional potential of early career writers.
- Wales’ Literary Culture – celebrating our contemporary writers and the literary heritage of Wales.
The Tactical Priorities are: Representation & Equality; Health & Well-being; and Children & Young People.
Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales, said:
“We all have stories to tell, and we all share the basic human need to listen and learn from each other. Writers help to hold a mirror to society, and we should always look at what’s reflected there. Who knows what the future holds, but Literature Wales will be there to empower, improve and brighten our lives.”
Writers are central to the work of Literature Wales; they are our service-users, project deliverers, and stakeholders. We aim to have a more long-term developmental approach to the support and interventions we offer, focusing on investment at the right time to maximise artistic and professional development.
Established projects, such as the invaluable Writers’ Bursaries and Mentoring Scheme, will continue to be run by Literature Wales, alongside new Writer Development offers. These include a more cohesive Writer Training programme; regular Shadowing Opportunities for writers looking to work in participatory settings; programmes to address under-representation within the literature sector; a funding scheme offering financial support and training for writers to deliver projects which encourage wider engagement and inclusion; and Nant, a historical Grade II* listed cottage located at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre which has been newly renovated specifically for writing retreats.
Representing the Under-represented
Working with partners such as the Welsh Books Council, we will do more to foster representative diversity within the literature sector. Wales’ writers should comprise a range of ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, regions and languages and not be typified by certain limited demographic profiles. This isn’t about excluding anyone. It is about creating equal and fair access to artistic innovation and professional development.
We have identified three target client characteristics which will receive additional support throughout our activity. These are: Individuals from BAME backgrounds; Individuals on low incomes; and Individuals with disabilities or illnesses (mental and physical).
We will continue to advocate a broad definition of literature, to enable opportunities for creative participants and writers of all abilities and from all backgrounds to enjoy and experiment with different forms.
Dr Kate North, Chair of Literature Wales, referred to the need for the organisation to “continue to learn and reflect, be agile and embrace change” whilst also embracing the opportunities which lay ahead. She also announced a number of new projects, key dates for forthcoming opportunities, and significant investment in some existing projects.
- Extra investment of £15k in the long-running Writers on Tour Funding Scheme for 2019-2020 – a portion of which will be ring-fenced for events aimed at children and young people, with a specific focus on Roald Dahl Day, Diwrnod T.Llew Jones, National Poetry Day and World Book Day activity;
- Extension of Ifor ap Glyn’s term as National Poet of Wales for another three years;
- Poet Gruffudd Owen announced as new Bardd Plant Cymru at this week’s Urdd Eisteddfod;
- Nant Writer’s Retreat – a historical Grade II* listed cottage located at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre has been newly renovated for writing retreats. Book now for stays from 1 July onwards;
- The Writers Bursaries and Mentoring Scheme 2020 will open for applications on Wednesday 10 July 2019, with a closing date of Tuesday 10 September 2019;
- Literature Wales will have a stand at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llanrwst this summer. Pop by and say hello;
- Plus, Literature Wales will be recruiting for new Directors and Bursary Panel Members in the coming months – details will be on the website soon.
Two notable opportunities for writers were also announced:
- Children’s Laureate for Wales – There will be an open call for applications for this newly created post in early June. The Children’s Laureate for Wales is an ambassadorial role, and the post holder will work alongside the Bardd Plant Cymru to ensure that children across Wales have the opportunity to experiment with Welsh literature.
- The Literature for Well-being Funding Scheme which proved to be hugely successful in 2018, will return this year with an open call-out for writers and arts practitioners. The scheme offers financial support and training for writers and other arts practitioners to create and deliver original creative writing projects which encourage wider engagement and inclusion.
Full details of all of the above projects will be available on the Literature Wales website in due course.
Explore our website, follow us on social media, or get in touch directly to find out more about Literature Wales and our work.
Phone: 029 2047 2266 (Cardiff) / 01766 522811 (Tŷ Newydd)