Our main goal is to better represent the diversity of Wales in its literature. We will continue to focus our work for people who are under-represented and who have experienced historical and structural inequalities, racism, ableism, and discrimination.
We will further increase the number of opportunities available and seek out emerging literary talents to be supported and platformed. Wherever possible, we will work closely with people who have lived experience of these backgrounds to design opportunities and activity.
We will continue to focus on those who have experienced historical structural inequalities and discrimination. Within Wales’ literary communities, to focus our work where it will have the most impact, we will prioritise working with:
What will we do?
We will support opportunity:
Working in partnership with grassroots organisations, communities, activists, and charities, we will develop and deliver projects that have measurable positive impacts. We will also offer our support and backing to those who are leading the way on pioneering initiatives for under-represented groups.
We will research:
We will focus on better evidence-gathering to identify where the biggest barriers remain to engagement in creative writing and other literary activities, and where we can champion individuals and organisations striving to bring about change.
We will nurture an inclusive literary ecosystem:
Achieving a better ecosystem of under-represented voices inspiring others is a long-term goal and we’re committed to driving systemic change. People who currently don’t see themselves in the literature they read and hear should be able to see writers with similar lived experiences in published books, in performed work, as community champions, as workshops leaders, creative writing tutors, and laureates.
Why prioritise Representation and Equality?
We know that the sector still presents a range of barriers which prevent writers, readers and audiences accessing literature. Research has highlighted a strong socio-economic gradient across arts participation in the UK to evidence that disadvantaged individuals are less likely to engage with cultural activities, more than double of the proportion of individuals from higher socio-economic groups took part in creative writing compared to those living in a low income household. The groups that we prioritise within our activity are most likely to face multiple barriers of social mobility, educational success and good mental and physical health. In 2020, Wales presented the UK’s highest figure for those living in relative income poverty (23%). Statistics also highlight significant disparities in unemployment rates for people of colour and. people who identify as disabled or who have a long-term health condition’
100% of Literature Wales’ Platforming Under-represented Writers 2019 cohort indicated that they saw challenges in pursuing a career as writer/artist in Wales.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on these groups within the sector. A survey delivered as part of the #WeShallNotBeRemoved survey found that 83% of respondents expressed concern about the provision of access for disabled audiences and participants through the reopening of the sector. We fully endorse the vision outlined by Disability Arts Cymru, and strive for a literature that is inclusive of disabled and D/deaf people. The pandemic has also further revealed inequalities within the workforce of the cultural sectors, with those on low-incomes and/or from a lower socio-economic backgrounds face barriers to accessing employment opportunities within the sector, and people of colour or people with disabilities often face levels of over-representation in constituencies of socio-economic disadvantage.
Participation: Piece by Piece
Through a long-term partnership project with Newport Mind and Community Youth, 15 artists and poets will deliver creative projects to support families and young people with mental health issues in Newport. By sharing experiences of trauma through creative activities, the project aims to increase the well-being of the participants whilst lobbying for changes to legislation and policy to improve services.
Writer Development: Representing Wales
This flagship project actively targets our prioritised groups through a year-long professional development programme. It supports writers in developing their work through financial assistance and mentoring and aims to demystify the writing profession and provides networking opportunities and masterclasses to diversify the workforce in the literature sector.