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Let's Start from Here

Let’s Start From Here… is an opportunity to take stock, look around and respond with fresh thinking about what the future holds and our place, as an arts organization, in it.

How do we ensure our activities are enjoyed by the widest cross-section of society? What are our social aims and motivation? How can we make space for the creativity of others and champion the need for arts and culture in everybody’s everyday?  What does society need from its arts buildings at times of multiple crisis’s?

Working with six artists from diverse practices and with unique perspectives, we have begun a process of evolution. The conversations spanning the purpose and vision of our work, our core mission and influencing strategic decision making about our future priorities.

 

 

Sara Beer

Sara has been have been involved in disability arts for over 30 years, beginning with working with Graeae Theatre Company. As a performer I have worked with Theatr Iolo, Hijinx and more recently The Llanarth Group with Kaite O’Reilly and Phillip Zarrilli.

Since 2007 I have worked with Disability Arts Cymru in a number of roles, I am now National Officer for Performance Arts and Creative Word. I am passionate about creating opportunities for disabled people in the arts, either as performers, writers or audience members. There are still far few employment opportunities for disabled people within the arts in Wales and this is something we hope to change by working in partnership with arts and educational organisations; challenging perceptions, raising awareness and creating ground breaking projects.

I also work with theatre companies to explore ways of making their work more accessible for disabled audiences and am currently Chair of National Theatre Wales Access Forum.

Rhys Bugler

Rhys is a young, talented, emerging theatre producer based in Cardiff. Rhys’ practice is centered around what it means to be displaced, diaspora communities, and the importance of culture & heritage. This is informed by his own personal experiences of growing up mixed-race in predominantly white communities, Wales and Germany. Rhys has experienced a disconnect from his Caribbean heritage and has spent the past few years rediscovering these roots. Rhys strives for his work to celebrate and explore mixed-cultural nuances.

After graduating from the University of Reading with a degree in Film & Theatre, Rhys has worked across the sector. Rhys is primary role is Assistant Producer at Fio (A Cardiff based diverse ethnicity theatre company) but he is also a participant on the British Councils New Narratives programme, a participant on the National Lottery’s Young People in The Lead programme and more recently, he was involved in the setting up of the Wales, Culture, and Race taskforce.  

Jo Fong

Jo Fong is an award-winning, middle-aged, provincial, international multidisciplinary artist. 

Her career began in dance and led her to collaborations with National Theatre Wales, Welsh National Opera, DV8 Physical Theatre, Rosas, Rambert Dance Company, National Theatre (London), Battersea Arts Centre, National Dance Company Wales, Quarantine and many others. 

Jo’s independent practice considers the hyper-local, the global and the idea that the work can live inside and remain live in the spaces between people. She has presented performances at highly regarded art festivals and international village halls. The work puts diversity and ideas around belonging at the heart of events and is cultivated through face-to-face contact, bringing people together, touch, listening, connection and how we communicate or live together. In this digital weariness, Jo is researching ways to preserve intimacy without proximity and nurturing a “felt-sense” is a guide. The practice forms community. In this interim period Jo is talking and listening with Black and Brown artists, neighbours and foreigners. 

Current productions include Neither Here Nor There created and performed with artist Sonia Hughes, The Rest of Our Lives with George Orange and Ways of Being Together, a mass collaborative project created for Cardiff Dance Festival 17 at Chapter and reformed for Chinese Arts Now Festival 20 at Shoreditch Town Hall in London. 

Her work has represented Wales at numerous platforms including British Dance Edition and British Council Edinburgh Showcase. 

www.jofong.com

 

Owen Griffiths

Owen Griffiths is an artist, workshop leader and facilitator. Using participatory and collaborative processes, his socially engaged practice explores the possibilities of art to create new frameworks, resources and systems. This takes many forms, including consultancy, workshops, artworks, symposiums, exhibitions and feasts. At the center of this is a critical engagement with the creation of new forms of resistance. Griffiths explores climate, landscape, urbanism, social justice, food systems and pedagogy, creating projects and events that prepare for the work of the future.

Owen graduated from the School of Wales and Space, at The Royal Danish Academy of the Arts, Copenhagen. He is a member of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University. As a consultant he works with a range of clients including National Trust, HM Prisons and Natural Resources Wales.

Griffiths was a British Council Fellow in 2014, working with artists and community growing networks in California. In 2016 he was awarded a Creative Wales Ambassador role by Arts Council of Wales, researching land use, community and participation through placemaking, food systems and regeneration. Griffiths has developed projects with 14-18 NOW, National Museum Wales, Cultural Olympiad, Natural Resources Wales, HM Prison Services as well as local authorities, schools and housing associations. In 2017-2019 he was co-director of Gentle/Radical, a community arts and social justice project in Cardiff. During this time he was also artist in residence at St Fagans, National Museum of Wales. He is leading long-term projects including GRAFT: A Soil Based Syllabus with National Waterfront Museum, and The Trebanog Project with Artes Mundi. Griffiths is currently developing Land Dialogues, a community exhibition between the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and the National Waterfront Museum which will culminate in a new community designed civic space. 

 

Elan Isaac

Elan is an experienced Producer of arts and cultural learning programmes,  community engagement projects and interactive family activities. I have worked  with children and young people for many years and I am passionate about giving agency and helping people realise their potential. I also work across industries, applying my skills to television and radio.

Recent projects include; Your Art Here, an interactive art installation for families at Wales Millennium Centre; Music Futures (National Youth Arts Wales) a pioneering, young artist development programme working with National Youth Arts Wales and schools across South Wales; and Confidence in Care, working with The Fostering Network Wales and delivered in partnership with Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The British Association for Adoption and Fostering Cymru and The Adolescent and Children’s Trust.

 

Anthony Matsena

Anthony was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and raised in Swansea, Wales. He began dancing from a young age, training in hip hop and street dance. He then started contemporary and ballet training aged 19 at Gower College Swansea, where he joined County Youth Dance Company and Turning Pointe Dance Academy Swansea. Anthony has been a company member of National Youth Dance Wales (NYDW), creating and touring works by Kerry Nicholls, Odette Hughes (Studio Wayne McGregor), Theo Clinkard, and Eleesha Drennan. His break-out moment came as a Young Sadler’s Wells Associate in 2019, and he has since performed works by Ohad Naharin, Hofesh Shechter, Richard Alston, Joseph Toonga for Just Us Dance Theatre, and most recently a new play ‘Tree’ by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah at Young Vic Theatre and Manchester International Festival. Anthony is also the co- founder of Matsena Performance Theatre alongside brother Kel.