"‘Tyfu’ The Next Steps for the Performing Arts in Wales. The Creu Cymru Conference aims to bring together professionals working across the performing arts in Wales. The Conference is an opportunity to network, connect and learn. This year’s Conference aims to be filled with energising conversations about opportunity and new models of success and inclusion; what it means to adjust from crisis and recovery to thrive mode – personally and professionally, from individuals to organisations, to the sector as a whole."
I was invited to give the opening provocation to the conference attendees; I focused on Fio's work to date, our ambitions for the future, and posed some questions for all present to consider, concerning race and representation in culture in Wales.
"This year’s Creu Cymru conference felt like a reunion of sorts, the first opportunity of it’s scale for in-person sharing and learning with the people behind the scenes of Wales’ culture sector in over 2 years.
Resoundingly it was welcomed as such – a sticker chart at the exit asking for input on future events showed an undivided preference for face-to-face get togethers over online events. Saying that, it’s worth questioning whether those who couldn’t make the journey to Cardiff for the conference would agree.
The day’s programme packed a punch, kicking off with thought-provoking content from Fio, the community focussed arts project collective in Riverside, Cardiff. Particularly interesting was a panel discussion on collaboration, featuring some of the most established contributor’s to Wales’ cultural landscape (Theatr n nOg, SOAR and Citrus Arts) alongside more recent additions including Children’s Laureate Wales Connor Allen and members of Grand Ambition, the team looking to revive my home-town theatre’s producing house ambitions – and so a conversation close to my heart. Alongside the topic of collaboration, themes of widening engagement and non-tokenistic representation lead the agenda, both on stage and in conversation during networking sessions.
My lasting thought was on my own emotional response to attending a conference in person, which brought to mind parallels with the experiences of our returning cultural audiences. A forgotten familiarity, sense of belonging and reconnection. Leaving inspired, buzzing with possibilities and looking forward to the next time."