Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee14/03/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies AS|
|Carolyn Thomas AS|
|Delyth Jewell AS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Hefin David AS|
|Heledd Fychan AS|
|Tom Giffard AS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Maggie Russell||Ymgeisydd a ffefrir ar gyfer swydd cadeirydd Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru|
|Preferred candidate for the post of chair of the Arts Council of Wales|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Rhea James||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Stephen Davies||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:31.
The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:31.
Bore da. Hoffwn i groesawu'r Aelodau i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan, plis? Gwnaf i fynd at Alun.
Good morning. I'd like to welcome Members to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee. Are there any declarations of interest? I'll go to Alun.
I'm a friend of Maggie's husband, Aled.
Diolch am hwnna, Alun. Oes gan unrhyw un arall fuddiannau i'w datgan?
Thank you for that, Alun. Does anyone else have declarations of interest?
I'd just like to refer to the declarations of interest that are in my paperwork.
Thank you, Maggie. Thank you for that.
Gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 2, sef gwrandawiad craffu cyn penodi gyda’r ymgeisydd sy'n cael ei ffafrio ar gyfer swydd cadeirydd Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru.
We'll move on to item 2, which is the pre-appointment scrutiny hearing with the preferred candidate for the post of chair of the Arts Council of Wales.
Now, Maggie, if it's okay, we'll go straight into questions with you. Welcome to the session this morning. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and also why you wanted to go for this role?
There are many versions of me. A lot of what I was thinking, as I was waiting, was about my connections to this geographical bit of Cardiff. I was born in Cardiff, in Llanrumney. I was a working-class girl, my dad worked in the steelworks. I never thought I'd end up in this sort of place, in this sort of way. I'm married, I've got some children and some stepchildren.
What changed the course of my life was finding a youth arts centre, called Llanover Hall, and then later Chapter, and I think those things literally meant that I could think in a different way and be ambitious and experimental. That led me to a degree at Warwick University and a whole life in the arts, really. You'll have seen my curriculum vitae and some of my detailed experience, so I won't rehearse that for you, but I think it's that combination of the lived experience that I've had and the professional experience, where I've seen that the arts really change lives, really open possibilities. I think a combination of that and where I am in my life—I'm semi-retired, I'm at a point where I feel I genuinely might have something to offer in this role, and I care passionately. So, I don't know if that answers your initial question—
No, certainly. Before I hand over to other Members, if I could just ask: with a role like this, with all of its challenges, what would be the thing that you would be most keen to get stuck into?
Obviously, initially, there's an investment review, so that's the pressing need. I recognise there will be many difficult conversations as part of that process. I think it's about ambition and engagement, and I think it's about the fact that all sectors, including the arts, have been through a really tough time, and I think it's how do we rebuild and re-energise. Also, I have absolute faith in the creativity of the sector to surprise and delight us all for the next part of the journey.
Lovely. We'll go on to Alun Davies.
Thank you. Thank you very much, Maggie. You said there are many different parts of you. The part, of course, I'm very interested in is the part that comes from the Rassau in Ebbw Vale.
And I agree very much with your fundamental analysis that the arts can change lives. But all too often, of course, the arts only change certain lives; they don't change everybody's lives.
And I would suggest that in places like the Rassau and Ebbw Vale, that there is an opportunity lost, if you like, or there isn't the same equality, if you like, of access as you'd have here, in either Llanrumney or the bay. How would you seek to address that?
I think I absolutely agree with you. One of my first roles in the arts was working very much at the grass roots in Coventry, in the areas of Coventry that had been very, very much cut off from arts provision. And if I look back at my cousins and family in the Rassau, some of them in fact have developed extraordinary careers in the arts, but I think that was actually easier then than it is now.
So, I think it's about all kinds of things. Sometimes it's about engagement on the ground, sometimes it's about role models, sometimes it's about offering opportunities and widening access in areas where people don't even think the arts exist. So, there are an awful lot of opportunities in the arts that aren't just being performers or a painter or the star; there are whole careers and economic opportunities, and I've done a lot of work over the years in things like the cultural enterprise service to develop those opportunities. So, I think it's also about putting the policy into action and doing that on the ground, and being accountable for that. Some of the difficulty in going through a process like the investment review is looking at not only art form and spend, but also geography of that spend, and how we can connect with communities, rather than always expect those communities to come to the arts.
And it's that geography that's on my mind. I agree with you about the issue around the careers, and you will have seen that in the BBC in your time there. I remember Welsh National Opera had a really good project next door in Merthyr some years ago, which involved a lot of different people who would never think of going to see an opera, and it was really a very impressive project. But continuity is always the issue, and I think there are two barriers that I see in terms of access in Blaenau Gwent—for 'Blaenau Gwent', you could read almost anywhere.
The first is the physical one—venues and facilities, which you don't have in the same way as you'd have in the cities. And secondly, of course, it's the barriers up here, in people's minds—cultural barriers, if you like, or structural barriers—and I'm interested in how you would see the arts council addressing all of those, because your previous answer I've got no issue with, in terms of opportunities and the rest of it.
But it's also the role of the arts council to create those opportunities.
Yes, I think it is. I also think it's the role of the arts council to champion the arts that are already there, and, in terms of this barrier, 'The arts aren't for me'; actually, there's quite a lot going on. People might not call it the arts. So, I think that's also interesting, that we have a notion of hierarchy about what are arts and what aren't arts. But I think there is no substitute for being in a community and continuing to be in a community, and that's tricky economically, because we're not in an ever-widening funding situation, but there will be ways to do it and we have to empower the artists to do it. So, things like the arts in schools programme and the arts in health programme, I think, are ways of beginning to get in on a day-to-day continuing level, and always being mindful to look for those opportunities where we can and build on them.
In terms of the budget, I don't expect you to understand the budget before you've actually formally been appointed, but I'd like to understand your approach, rather than the detail of what happens.
My analysis would always be that a budget spent equally across the whole of Wales is actually a very unequal budget, because there are greater needs in some particular communities. How would your approach be in terms of the allocation of resources—so, more than just a budget—in terms of addressing some of the issues of poverty around different parts of the country?
I think it's about fairness and equity, but I don't think that always means, as you say, an equality of money. I think, if we spread everything equally, that might not be the best way to do it.
Yes, I agree. I agree.
I do think it's about recognising where the intervention can make the most difference and how to do that in a targeted and appropriate way. And I also think it's about ensuring excellence, because one of the things I am passionate about is any arts provision, whether that's at a community level, an engagement level, a professional level, all needs to—you mentioned the WNO in Merthyr—offer the engagement opportunities at the highest level of excellence.
So, I would say my approach would be always to attempt to look not just as a one-off, but to look at how you can create opportunities that will build. And some of those conversations will be difficult, because resourcing will have to move. So, I think my approach is that I want everyone to have the opportunities I had. In fact, in the 1960s and the 1970s, I don't think Llanrumney was such a great accessible place for the arts. I think it's much better now. And when I went to Llanover Hall and Chapter, they weren't in nice middle-class parts of the city, they were very much—. It was kind of a very scrappy existence. So, I think that I know that story—I don't know it today, but I know a version of that story, and I think it's to inspire, engage, and take a kind of energetic and 'anything is possible' approach. And I think that's part of the funding envelope as well.
Yes, and I don't disagree, again, with that analysis but I would say there is no Llanover Hall or Chapter anywhere in Blaenau Gwent—
—in the same sort of sense. We have the local theatres and the rest of it, but we don't have that catalyst, if you like.
No, but there could be a youth theatre, there could be—. There's lots of provision—
Well, I was looking beyond theatres, actually. We've got some very good venues in Blaenau Gwent, as it happens, but I'm thinking of the architecture, if you like, that goes beyond simply the building. But, taking us forward, how would you see yourself—? You've had a career in different and very significant public bodies, so you're familiar with the country that is Wales in all its different meanings. How would you see yourself working with different stakeholders and with this place, with the Senedd rather than the Government?
Well, I hope one of the things I'm modelling today, even though it's an unfamiliar environment to me—I'm very much in your territory—is that I am willing to be open, to listen, to respond. I won't always have the answers. I'm not afraid of saying I won't have the answers. So, I think my approach would be to be open. Obviously, I recognise that there are different pathways for scrutiny through the Government and through the culture committee, and that, in the role of prospective chair of the arts council, part of it is to work with the culture brief and the Deputy Minister who is responsible, and part of it is also to attempt to influence the agenda in other departments and as part of other areas of policy. So, I would hope—. I'll have a lot to learn in different ways of working with the Senedd, but I would hope I would always be open and professional and respectful.
I think Heledd wants to come at this point, and then we'll come back to you.
Thank you. Thanks for being with us today. I just wanted to ask, then—. Sometimes there's a need to challenge Government as well, not just influence, and I think some of your predecessors haven't been afraid to do so. Would you be comfortable, or are there elements that you feel passionately about that you want to see addressed by Government, as well?
Yes, I'm very passionate about this area; I've lived my whole life in it. And this morning, as I was preparing to come in, I was thinking, 'Why am I putting myself through this? I was having a very nice life,' and actually the reason is that I'm deeply passionate and I deeply believe and know this area can be transformational. In service of that, I have no problem challenging. I hope I would always do it respectfully and professionally, but I have often had to challenge in previous roles that I've had and fight for things that I really believe in. So, I think it's absolutely part of the job, but I would also hope that it would be part of the job, coming from a position of having conversations, of mutual understandings, of the arts council understanding where it can contribute to the agenda. And, obviously, there will always be a passionate engagement about resources.
Thank you. If I may, Chair, just follow up on that, clearly you're speaking to the culture committee of the Senedd today, and our viewpoint in terms of the transformative potential of arts and culture is there in our report, but what we're seeing increasingly across Wales is local authorities having to make very difficult decisions. We're seeing a number of consultations around budgets where, 'Do you want to keep a care home open or do you want a cultural option?' What role do you think you as chair or the Arts Council of Wales have in actually making the case for the arts and culture, even in these difficult times, rather than being seen as optional or nice to have?
Yes, I think it's a really important part of the next five to 10 years, because I think local authorities are in a really difficult position, and I think that's where the flexibility of the arts can also offer something to those local authorities. There may be all kinds of ways we haven't yet imagined that we can be part of provision, and I'm very aware that, to pick up on Alun's previous point, in many parts of Wales there aren't buildings and there isn't infrastructure. I would always like to ensure that, even if some of those things cannot be maintained, the creative work can be maintained, and to seek to demonstrate the value of the arts within those environments, because I think it's often something you lose and you don't realise its value until you've lost it. Luckily, I think there's now a lot more evidence in this area than there was when I began 35 or 40 years ago. So, I think we have an evidence base that we can argue from, but I think it's very much part of the role of the arts council to be part of that debate and not to shy away from those difficult conversations.
Thank you. Diolch.
Diolch. Fe wnawn ni fynd at Carolyn Thomas.
Thank you. We'll go to Carolyn Thomas.
Morning, Maggie. Can you hear me okay?
What are the three main outcomes you would like to achieve during your tenure?
I'd like us to put the policies into action. I think, in my preparation for this application, one of the things I've been impressed with is there has been a lot of policy work, but we've really got to deliver on that. I'd like the arts council to be ambitious, even within some of the restrictions that we've been talking about financially. And I'd like us to be surprised and inspired by the work of the creative artists in Wales.
Okay, thank you.
Diolch, Carolyn. Was there anything else, sorry, that you wanted to come in with?
Just really how would you—. Would you be able to work across, as well, in other areas, within education as well, regarding engaging a wider community and engaging people at a younger age? Also, I think the impact the arts can have in social and health care as well is something I actually see in the communities. So, I just wanted to ask a question about that, really—how you could engage across different service areas.
Sure. Thank you, Carolyn. Obviously, the arts council has an arts and schools policy, and I think that could be rolled out to all kinds of provision. I noticed, in fact, yesterday, I saw something that was to do with music making that the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama were doing with toddlers under five at weekends, and I thought 'Oh, that's really interesting', I haven't thought of that before. Also, obviously, I'm aware of the arts and health agenda, and, as a former psychotherapist, with a particular interest in mental health, I think there's a huge area of opportunity there.
So, in answer to your question, yes, I think there's a wide range of possible avenues where the arts and the practitioners can make a real difference. This is a very skilled area of workforce, if we think of it that way, and I think that might be very valuable.
Okay. Thanks, Carolyn. I think Heledd wanted to come in on that point.
If I can just expand on that, perhaps. Obviously, arts and education—Professor Dai Smith was a huge driver of that, and has obviously managed to help shape the new curriculum for Wales as well. Arts and health still very much quite ad hoc in terms of some of the funding as well. Do you think, given the financial challenges in terms of the budget that's available for the arts, that there's a case to be made in terms of trying to ensure greater investment from health budgets, education, et cetera, for some of the work that's—?
Absolutely. I know there's a—. I don't know if it's begun, but I know it's in process, the review of the arts in health—arts council work. I think there's going to be a report or some research done on that this year. And it will be interesting to see the outcome of that. I think, when I've looked at arts and health provision outside of Wales, and read some reports on that, there's a very good case for the fact that the arts, as part of that provision, are incredibly cost-effective. So, I think there is a real opportunity there, and I'm sure that there are other areas.
I think, with the growing older population, it might be interesting to look at that area and social care and the arts, but I think there may be many things that I haven't imagined. And one of the things that is exciting about this area is, I think, often, the artists—and I use that word broadly—will come up with things that we have not yet imagined.
If I may expand on that, please, Chair. Just in terms of, you outlined three priority areas in your response to Carolyn Thomas, but thinking, now, in terms of potential legacy, is there something that, in applying for the role, you thought, 'This is what I definitely want to change', or 'This is going to be my focus', or is it just about that equity of access, opportunity that's driving you?
I think widening access. I think, when I use the words 'inspire' and 'surprise us' I think that may well be, 'How can the arts be part of the wider agenda within Wales?' So, I think, if we are having this conversation, if I am appointed, and we're having this conversation in three years' time, we're talking about four or five projects that none of us had imagined the arts would be involved in and have really been transformational. So, I think the transformational and inspiring part of my agenda isn't just about nice words, it's about putting that into action on the ground.
Ocê, diolch. Gwnawn ni fynd at Tom Giffard.
Thank you. We'll go to Tom Giffard.
Thank you very much. Apologies for my lateness this morning. How will you work with individuals and organisations to support and promote the work of the arts council?
I suppose for most of my working life, that's what I've done, so, it's quite hard to sort of sum it up, because I began life as a performer, as a director, as a critic, as a broadcaster. I've worked in a corporate environment and had to kind of be an advocate for that. I have written endless papers on the value of the cultural industries for Wales, and encouraging television and drama production in Wales. So, I think my approach is to engage, to ask questions. I'm always curious about why people don't come, or why they're not interested. I'm interested in a widening definition of what the arts are. Somebody said to me last week, 'Oh, I don't really do the arts, but the thing I like is that I belong to this choir', and I was really curious that they didn't think that that was the arts. So, I would say: be available, be open, be accessible, keep keeping on.
What do you think is your most important relationship that you'll have to nurture in the role?
I suspect that there isn't just one. I think, clearly, the relationship between the chief executive and the chair is really important. I would hope that the relationships with Deputy Ministers, Senedd Members, the culture committee, civil servants—I don't think there's one role that's the most important. I think it's about being open, professional and engaged with many stakeholders. It's a complex area. I also think it's the job of the arts council to not only lead and engage in a management and accountable way with its clients, but also to support those clients to deliver the policies and to deliver the work.
Okay? Diolch. Heledd, did you want to come back in on this point? No?
I just wanted to say that I still have questions if you were—
No, we'll go to Hefin and then we'll come back to you, if that's all right. Okay, Hefin David.
Diolch. Just following on from that question, I'd like to think about how you'd work with Senedd Members and particularly with this committee. How would you approach working with this committee?
I think my approach would be to be curious, open and engaged. I don't know a huge amount about the work of this committee in detail. In preparation for today, I've looked at some old committee meetings. I think part of my learning will be to respond to what this committee requests, so I don't pretend I know how all of this is going to work all the time, but I'm really open and engaged. I suppose I think of the committee, as well as being part of the Senedd, as almost representing the audience—
So, with specific regard to the committee's remit, which aspect of the remit most coincides with your role?
I don't think I've really thought of it in that way. So, that's an interesting question for me to consider. I think that the whole notion of the place of culture within Wales, both promoting it and also being accountable for spend and the value of that spend within Wales I guess would feel like an area of important overlap, and also, being part of the advocacy work of this committee and the promotion of the arts within Wales. I don't know if that quite answers your question.
I suppose what I'm getting is that I don't think you see the committee's role as high on your agenda at this point in time. Do you think that would change?
I don't really agree with that perception that I don't think of the committee as important. I think the committee is vitally important as part of many stakeholders, but what I'm saying is that I don't know in detail how this committee works and what it would require of me as chair, but I'm open to learning about that and responding to that.
What about Senedd Members beyond the committee? Do you think there's a way of working with those that would be appropriate? How would you describe that?
Yes, I think that's an important part of the brief, and I think, obviously, one always has to be mindful of the appropriate nature of that and of any lobbying and other questions and maintain the Nolan principles. But I think, yes, I would want to be open to hearing what Senedd Members have to say, whether that's critical or supportive—all information is valuable.
And have you thought which Senedd Members have spoken up most on issues most connected to your role? Could you suggest that there are some who have raised issues in the Chamber, for example?
No, I would not be portraying my truthful research for this role if I said I’d looked at that in detail. I’m aware of some Members who, at arts events, I have seen more frequently than others, but no, I haven’t done that work.
And are there any other key stakeholders that you would identify as key to completing your role?
I think there are many. We’ve talked about local authorities. I think, obviously, there are key stakeholders in widening the arts agenda within the media in Wales, both S4C and BBC Wales. I think there are also wider international opportunities, so I think there are many stakeholders, and part of the learning for me will be to see how they interact with each other. It’s a very complex and dynamic sector.
Okay. So, just from what you've said, you don't seem to have much prior familiarity with the workings of the Senedd—as opposed to Government, the workings of the Senedd; you don't seem to have much familiarity with them.
I don't think that would be an accurate portrayal. I'm familiar with the work of the Senedd. I'm not quite sure how you're getting that impression. Can you say a little bit more about that?
I'm just asking questions, really.
Okay. Well, I think that that, for me, doesn't feel like an accurate portrayal of what I've offered. What I am saying is that whilst I may know things about the way the Senedd operates, the way this culture committee operates, I wouldn't claim that that is my area of expertise, and I am also open and willing to learn.
Ocê. Diolch. Dwi'n ymwybodol bod Heledd eisiau dod nôl. Cyn i Heledd ofyn, os oes gan unrhyw Aelodau eraill gwestiynau eraill, allech chi roi gwybod i fi, ac mi wnaf i ddod nôl atoch chi ar ôl Heledd?
Okay, thanks. I'm aware that Heledd wants to come back with questions. But before we go to Heledd, do any Members have any further questions? Can you let me know, and I'll come back to you after Heledd?
Diolch, Cadeirydd. In terms of some of the challenges that the Arts Council of Wales have faced, obviously, a lot of the headlines since this Senedd term started have been around the anti-racist work commissioned, and so on. Also, you'll be aware of the commitment in terms of the contribution to a million Welsh speakers.
So, can you outline your vision for a more inclusive way forward, perhaps, for the arts council, because the criticisms were quite stark in terms of both areas?
Yes. I think those criticisms were stark, and I think it is a really challenging period to move from where the arts council is to where it wants to be. One of the things that, in preparation for this role reading the various reports, I think what there is now is a very good framework for actions and accountabilities that came out as part of the widening engagement report. So, I think there are things we can measure and change.
I think as part of the anti-racism action plan, one of the things that was really powerful for me, and that I took away from that, is that the motor has to be in a different place, so this isn't about the arts doing good work to or for those communities, it's about engaging with those areas as central and driving forward agendas. There's a phrase that, in fact, was in the LGBTQ action plan that, for me, has really resonated across all those areas of widening engagement, which is 'nothing about us without us', and that's really lodged for me. So, that feels like a powerful drive forward, but I think there's a lot of work to do in that area.
And in terms of the Cymraeg 2050 agenda, I'm really aware that I'm not a Welsh speaker. I live in a bilingual home, and I've often worked in Welsh and with Welsh-speaking companies, but I suppose I'm even more acutely aware of that because I'm not a Welsh speaker. I think it's crucial and foundational and, for me, a part of our woven cultures. So, yes, I think it's really great that that has been reflected in the five key principles that the arts council has for underpinning the investment review. It's one of our great unique selling points.
Diolch. Do I have time for another question?
Briefly, and then I'll go to Carolyn. If you could be as brief as possible, but yes, you do have time. We've got 10 minutes left.
Diolch. One of the representations that was made to us by the Arts Council of Wales was that budgetary challenges were going to be great and, actually, just to sustain the level of service needed greater investment, but that's not in the budget. What role do you think we as a Senedd have? Do you think that arts and culture are given enough priority, and how are you going to overcome the challenges faced, given that we know the budget settlement isn't enough, according to what the arts council have told us?
I think in answer to your question of whether I think the arts should have more funding, absolutely. Would I want to argue for that? Absolutely. Do I want that conversation to overshadow the creativity and what the arts can deliver? No. Do we have to be realistic about that? Yes. I think there are inevitably going to be difficult conversations around arts provision. We only have to look at what's happening in Arts Council England and see some of the conversations there. In terms of culture, just in the last week, there's been the BBC and their singers provision, and I noted yesterday that there were 100 composers who have written a joint letter. So, I think the kinds of issues that are coming down the track are happening universally in arts provision.
I think it's a bit better in terms of the schools agenda here than in other parts of the UK, but I think it's a fight to ensure that we don't lose quite a valuable cultural bank, if you like, that we have. And that's going to be very tricky, because for many companies, as for many people, just the cost of the electricity, the transport or all those things that we don't necessarily just associate with the arts—. Keeping the lights on in a gallery is costing more now than it did a year ago. So, I think it's a tricky time, and I recognise that. I don't relish all of it, but I recognise that we have to move forward and try to create a sustainable ecology for the arts in Wales.
Diolch. We have seven minutes remaining. I've got requests for final supplementaries from Carolyn and Alun; we'll try to squeeze them both in. We'll go to Carolyn first and then we'll go to Alun.
Diolch. My question is in a similar vein. A lot of the community arts initiatives were delivered with European funding over a number of years, and really made a significant difference. Now we haven't got the European funding coming through the Welsh Government into Wales, the replacement funds are being delivered very differently. Councils and communities have to bid for these funds. How will you be working with councils, communities and even the UK Government to ensure that these bids are going in for community arts initiatives? It does seem to be so needed. I'd just like to hear about how you would ensure that happens, really, working with the UK Government and local authorities. Thank you.
Sure. I think both those points link across the piece, really, and one of the challenges is going to be where the Arts Council of Wales can find new funding streams. That will be something very much for the officers to look at. I think, yet again, it goes back to an earlier question about how can we influence local authorities. In that situation, I would ask how can the arts council be of value to supporting local authorities. We have a lot of research material available in that area, and there will be previous practice. So, I think it's also about the arts council being a resource to help local authorities and other agencies bid for that funding.
Diolch. And finally to Alun Davies.
I'm grateful to you for your time this morning, Maggie. I think you've given us a very compelling vision for how you want to see the arts council going forward. Some of the evidence we've received from the arts council since the election of the current Senedd in the last two years has been dominated by the recovery from COVID. If I think back to that evidence, both from people who are running companies and facilities, and then from the arts council itself, they have described a very fragile sector, and a sector that hasn't fully recovered, where audiences have not returned and where participation levels are still not where we would want them to be. You're taking over during something of a storm. We've got the financial issues that Heledd has described, so you can't throw money to solve problems. We're recovering from a pandemic, and we've got a very uncertain economic situation. All of those things combined don't make for a happy life, in many ways. I'm interested how you would approach that recovery from COVID, how you would seek to strengthen the fundamentals of the sector.
I think you're right. I think it has felt fragile out there, and I think many practitioners—well, many people; practitioners are no different to all of us—had their fundamentals shaken during that COVID period. I think the recovery isn't something that just because there's a vaccine and we're not all engaged in hand sanitising—. I think the recovery is much longer in our psyches and in our lives than we imagine. I think particularly behavioural change—going out, going to things—is going to be a slow recovery, and we know it is a slow recovery, even in the commercial areas like the west end, which would usually recover faster. So, I think we have to recognise that.
I also think it's a moment of opportunity, because we can't just roll over in that. We have to say, 'Okay, what are the things that can come out of this that can be transformational?' I also think it's an opportunity to be realistic about how we build a sustainable base within the arts. I think that's going to be tough, but I think there will be opportunities for greater partnership working. It's interesting; people are wanting to travel less far to arts events, but that also is an opportunity that they may well be willing to engage much more within their community for arts events. So, I think there will be ways that we can come out of this, but it's a difficult time economically. It's a difficult time in terms of the arts feeling confident to do big, grand, bold things. But I would also say that in my experience of working in the sector for the last 35 to 40 years, artists are incredibly creative and resilient, and they may well lead the way for some of us out of this. In terms of the sense of connectivity the arts can bring in people's lives, we've never needed that more. We just have to help people re-engage with that.
That's an excellent point on which to end, actually, that in the midst of crises, the arts have never been more important.
Maggie, diolch yn fawr iawn am y dystiolaeth y bore yma. Bydd transgript o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud yn cael ei anfon atoch chi ichi wirio ei fod e'n gofnod teg o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud. Dŷn ni'n ddiolchgar iawn i chi am fod gyda ni y bore yma. Bydd yr Aelodau yn symud yn syth ymlaen at rywbeth arall, ond diolch yn fawr iawn am eich amser y bore yma.
Maggie, thank you very much for the evidence that you've given this morning. You will be sent a transcript of what's been said to check for accuracy, but we are very grateful to you for joining us this morning. Members will move straight on now to another item of business, but thank you very much for your time this morning.
Thank you so much.
Aelodau, fe wnawn ni symud yn syth at eitem 3, sef papurau i'w nodi. Mae gennym ni nifer o bapurau sydd wedi dod ymlaen. Mae'r eitemau wedi cael eu grwpio o dan rai isbenawdau. So, 3.1, craffu ar gyllideb ddrafft Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer 2023-24; 3.2, cydsyniad deddfwriaethol ar y Bil Diogelwch Ar-lein; 3.3, craffu ar oblygiadau ariannol Biliau; 3.4, cysylltiadau rhyngwladol Llywodraeth Cymru; 3.5, ymchwiliad i effaith costau cynyddol; 3.6, dyfodol Neuadd Dewi Sant; a 3.7, ymchwiliad i wasanaethau llyfrgell a hamdden awdurdodau lleol gan un o'r pwyllgorau eraill yn y Senedd. Byddwn i'n gofyn am unrhyw bwynt y mae unrhyw un eisiau ei wneud yn gyflym. Mi wnaf fynd atoch chi mewn eiliad, Heledd.
Ar 3.1, o ran y wybodaeth dŷn ni wedi ei dderbyn gan y Llywodraeth yn sgil y gyllideb, o ran un o'r pwyntiau roedden nhw'n ei wneud, roedd y Llywodraeth wedi dweud eu bod nhw yn derbyn ein hargymhelliad am chwaraeon, ac y dylai mwy o wybodaeth fod ar gael ynglŷn â lle mae arian yn cael ei—. Beth ydy spent yn Gymraeg? 'Gwario', diolch—lle mae arian yn cael ei wario tu fas i'r portffolio chwaraeon. Maen nhw wedi dweud eu bod nhw'n derbyn. Ond, wedyn, yn y bumph o dan hwnna, mae'n nhw'n dweud dyw e ddim yn bosibl. Felly, byddwn ni'n mynd yn ôl a dweud, 'Wel, pam ydych chi'n dweud eich bod chi wedi derbyn hyn, os ydych chi'n dweud bod e ddim yn bosibl?' Heledd, roeddech chi eisiau dweud rhywbeth hefyd.
Members, we will move on straight away to item 3, which is papers to note. We have a number of papers that have been submitted. The items are grouped under sub-groups. So, 3.1, scrutiny of the Welsh Government's draft budget for 2023-24; 3.2, legislative consent for the Online Safety Bill; 3.3, scrutiny of the financial implications of Bills; 3.4, Welsh Government international relations; 3.5, inquiry into the impacts of increasing costs; 3.6, the future of St David's Hall; and 3.7, a local authority library and leisure services inquiry by one of the other Senedd committees. I would ask for any points that Members may wish to make. I'll come to you in a moment, Heledd.
On 3.1, in terms of the information that we've received from the Government with regard to the budget, one of the points that they made was that the Government had said that they accept our recommendation with regard to sport, and that more information should be available with regard to where funding—. What's 'spent' in Welsh? Yes, thank you—where funding is being spent outside of the sports portfolio. They said that they accept the recommendation, but, then, in the bumph underneath that, they say it's not possible. So, we will go back to ask, 'Well, why are you saying that you accept this if it's not possible?' Heledd, you wanted to come in.
Rôn i jest eisiau tynnu sylw at yr ymateb rydyn ni wedi ei dderbyn gan Amgueddfa Cymru ynglŷn â'r casgliadau cenedlaethol. Jest i nodi fy mhryder o ran yr ymateb hwnnw, oherwydd, yn amlwg, mae'n cyd-fynd efo'r hyn glywson ni gan y llyfrgell genedlaethol hefyd. Dwi yn meddwl bod yna gwestiynau pellach i'w gofyn o ran y Dirprwy Weinidog ac ati, o ran cael y sicrwydd yna o ran dyfodol y casgliadau cenedlaethol yn ein llyfrgell ni ac yn Amgueddfa Cymru.
I just wanted to draw attention to the response we've had from Amgueddfa Cymru on the national collections. Just to note my concern regarding that response, because it corresponds with what we heard from the national library as well. I do think there are further questions to be asked in terms of the Deputy Minister and so on, in terms of getting that assurance about the future of the national collections in our library and Amgueddfa Cymru.
Diolch, Heledd. Oes unrhyw un arall eisiau dweud unrhyw beth ar hynna? Ydyn ni efallai eisiau ysgrifennu at y Dirprwy Weinidog am hyn? A fyddai Aelodau yn hapus i ni wneud hynna? Dwi'n cymryd eich bod chi. Iawn. Ocê. Oes unrhyw bwyntiau eraill mae unrhyw Aelodau eisiau'u gwneud yn gyhoeddus? Na. Dŷch chi'n hapus i nodi'r papurau? Ie. Ocê.
Thank you very much, Heledd. Does anybody else want to come in on that? We might want to write back to the Deputy Minister about this issue. Would Members be content with that? I take it that you are, yes. Are there any other points that Members wish to make in public? No. Are you content to note all of those papers? I see that you are.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Rwy'n cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 ein bod ni'n penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. Ydy'r Aelodau'n fodlon derbyn hynny? Ocê. Gwnawn ni barhau yn breifat, ac fe wnawn ni aros i glywed ein bod ni'n breifat.
I propose in accordance with Standing Order 17.42 that we resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting. Are Members content to agree that motion? I see that they are. We'll continue in private. We'll wait to hear that we are in private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:17.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:17.