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Engage Cymru


Engage Cymru projects work across four strands:

Projects with Young People
Professional Development for Artists
Older People  
Arts and Health

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Projects with young people
Engage Cymru has been working in partnership with galleries, local authorities and community organisations to realise projects with at-risk young people and with young adult carers.

Letting in the Light
In April 2017 Engage Cymru delivered a 12-week intensive animation project in partnership with Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Gallery, Pen y Dre High School and artist animator Gerald Conn to mark the Contemporary Art Society for Wales’ 80th anniversary.

Pupils brought a number of paintings acquired from CASW to life through animation and created innovative interpretation resources for the gallery which will sit alongside the original paintings. Works included that of artists Cedric Morris, John Uzzell Edwards, Steve Young, Brenda Chamberlain and Otto Grutfreund. 

This project was inspired by the ‘Animating Art History’ programme initiated by the Courtauld Institute. The screening premier took place at the Red House, Merthyr on 8 July.
Click here to learn more about this project and to watch the animations.

Summer Arts Colleges
In August 2016, Engage Cymru worked in partnership with Unitas supporting 14 children and young people from Parc Prison Youth Offending Institute and Hillside Secure Unit to achieve Bronze Level Arts Award. These pilot interventions were generously funded by the Foyle Foundation.

Wales-based artists Tom Goddard, Anna Barratt, Pip Lewis and Simone Bizzell-Browning devised innovative, intensive visual arts interventions using the young peoples’ interests as the starting point encouraging them to engage in a wide range of creative activities aimed at raising motivation levels, increasing self-esteem, developing research, numeracy, digital and literacy skills.

The learning for the young people, the artists, the Unit staff and others is extensive, and Engage Cymru has published an evaluation report on the project (scroll to end). This work builds on the successful Engage Cymru Reach the Heights and Momentum projects. Click here to learn more about Summer Arts Colleges, and to view documentation from the follow-up training event, Unlocking Potential.

Reach the Heights
In 2011 Engage Cymru ran Reach the Heights, a pilot programme and Welsh Government initiative aimed at reducing the number of young people in Wales aged 11-19 years who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), or at risk of becoming so. Reach the Heights grew from two partner galleries in 2011, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Oriel Myrddin, to five partners in phase two of the project in 2013 - Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Oriel Myrddin, Oriel Mostyn, Oriel Ynys Môn and Denbighshire Arts Service. An extension of the project took place in 2014, which saw the involvement of Oriel Davies, Oriel Wrecsam, Oriel Mostyn, Oriel Ynys Môn and Denbishshire City Council. Click here to learn more about Reach the Heights

Engage Cymru was pleased to be awarded £40,000 to run Momentum – the Arts Council of Wales funded successor programme to Reach the Heights, in partnership with Communities First. Click here to learn more about Momentum.

Engaging with the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification
70,000 students in Wales are studying for this qualification, and with the WBQ set to become a permanent feature of the Welsh education system, Engage Cymru is working with the Welsh Joint Education Committee to promote opportunities for galleries to engage with Welsh Baccalaureate centres. Read more here.

Young Adult Carers
During 2012 Engage Cymru piloted two approaches to working with young adult carers with the National Museum Cardiff and Oriel Davies, Newtown, as part of a wider focus on increasing opportunities for young people to engage with galleries and the visual arts. This is a new area of practice aimed at a community of young people who are often ignored and who do not always have access to the same opportunities of others in their age group. Read more here.

Engage in the Foundation Phase
A research programme took place in Wales from 2005-2009 exploring the contribution that galleries and artists can make to the new Foundation Phase curriculum in Wales. Galleries, artists and early years settings in local authorities teamed up to develop projects. Read more about the programme, and get the toolkit here.

Opt for Art
Engage Cymru's flagship project was Opt for Art, initiated in and for Wales. This successful five-year project brought nearly 20,000 young people into contact with art and artists in the gallery context and in school, with the aim of inspiring them to consider art as a GCSE option. Projects involved at least 18 different galleries and arts organisations, and over 100 different schools across the breadth of Wales. The Opt for Art publication was launched by Jenny Randerson, ex-Minister for Culture, Sport and the Welsh Language at the National Museum, Cardiff in November 2002. Read more here.

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Professional Development for Artists in Wales
In the summer of 2013 Engage Cymru sought applications for a new professional development programme, Artists as Learners, a pilot programme which was scheduled to run in November and December 2013. It was developed as a direct response to recent Engage Cymru programmes which highlighted a shortage of visual artists and makers with the skills and experience required to work with hard to reach or vulnerable young people in a gallery setting.

Artists as Learners
Artists as Learners has been developed as a direct response to recent Engage Cymru programmes which highlighted a shortage of visual artists and makers in Wales with the skills and experience required to work with hard to reach or vulnerable young people in a gallery setting. Participants are mentored by an experienced lead-artist and the programme is run in partnership with a number of galleries in Wales. Read more about Artists as Learners here.

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Older People 
For several years Engage Cymru has been working in partnership with local authorities across Wales on a number of action research projects focusing on engaging older people and investigating how art and artists have an impact on participants' health and wellbeing. A mapping report carried out by Engage Cymru in 2009 revealed that only 3% of galleries in Wales were proactively working with older people.

Engaging with Older People
In response to this, and the Wales Strategy for Older People, Engage Cymru delivered a series of professional development events focusing on older people engaging with galleries, and far-reaching action research projects in partnership with local authorities. Read more about the projects here.

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Arts & Health
In 2012-2013 Engage Cymru ran two visual arts and wellbeing projects aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of the target groups, combating perceptions of mental health and ability, and helping galleries and artists to increase their capacity and expertise to work with new audiences.

An Oriel Myrddin, Arts Care and Engage Cymru project aimed at challenging perceptions of mental health. Click here to learn more.

Penparcau Progressive Action Group
Aberystywth Arts Centre led this project with a group of adults recovering from stroke and living with a variety disabilities. Click here to learn more.

Letting in the Light, 2017

Summer Arts Colleges, 2016

Reach the Heights project, Oriel Ynys 2012

Reach the Heights project, Oriel Ynys Mon 2012

Momentum, 2014

Gif created by Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Momentum 2014 

Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification Pilot, 2014

Young Adult Carers, 2012

Early years project, 2008

Early Years project, 2008

Artists as Learners, 2013

Pembrokeshire intergenerational project, 2010

Pembrokeshire intergenerational project, 2010

Engage Cymru
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