Language; Tourism and Leisure; Culture, Art and Heritage
As a general principle it is necessary to recognise that:
- These topics do not exist in isolation, neither from each other, nor from thriving local communities.
- Strategies based upon the topics listed above need to be developed alongside economic regeneration plans within the nation. Suggested policies have of necessity been categorised, but many suggestions with equal relevance could also have been categorised.
- This requires deliberate and measureable commitment to cross-sector partnerships to encourage strategic and holistic approaches that both encapsulate and coordinate local regeneration projects. All of these impinge upon and have effects upon language, tourism & leisure, and culture, the arts and our national heritage: our responses locally and nationally will be shaped in turn by our own understanding of our unique language, heritage and culture.
- The Welsh Assembly Government has repeatedly recognised this requirement as specified in past reports such as its own: 'Making the Connections-Delivering better services for Wales' (2004) which recommended the need to share best practice between organisations.
- To utilise local knowledge and expertise in order to develop the local economy and launch community-based products and services (similar to Fair Trade or local-based small community cooperatives). There is a need to enable community bodies to develop their capital and become less reliant on grant-funding. This could include training and capacity-building to enhance their skills and ability to apply for, prepare and win tenders.
- The Welsh Assembly Government has recognised the importance and achievements of the 'Spiritual Capital' within communities as described in the 'Spiritual Capital Working Group’ (2008) report.
These recommendations would seek to build upon past insights as well as contemporary requirements.
Language, Culture and Heritage
Welsh national identity is intrinsically linked to its heritage, culture and language. All these need to be handled sensitively for they have the potential to be used, both positively and negatively, either as means of exclusion or as the means of creating an inclusive society. In view of the most recent Census reports, issues surrounding the decline in the use of Welsh as a living communal language in its traditional heartlands require immediate attention. Without a vital appreciation of the place of the living Welsh language within the nation its historic culture and unique heritage will be misunderstood.
There is a necessity to:
Priority A - Ensure Cooperation between Welsh-Language Teaching Programmes
Ensure further co-operation between Welsh-language teaching programmes across Wales.
Priority B - Protect First Language Welsh-Speaking Communities
Implement policies to protect first language Welsh-speaking communities and to encourage confidence in Welsh as a living language of community. This will include taking the impact of planning, housing and other pertinent issues on the Welsh language and small communities in to account.
Priority C - Increase Number of Welsh-Language Schools
Ensure increased provision of Welsh-language schools. There was, not unexpectedly, a significant minority not in favour of this priority.
Priority D - Recognise the Historical Importance of Faith Communities in Wales
Recognise and record (orally, digitally or through spoken word) both local history (e.g. People’s Collection through Cymal) and the role of faith communities in shaping the character and identity of Wales e.g. geographically through place names (Llan) and architecturally through buildings and their effects on the natural, rural and urban landscapes and environments (monasteries, churches and chapels).
The Arts are increasingly recognised as a key aspect of a well-balanced society. The potential of the Arts to educate, inspire and encourage people to realise their potential is well documented. The Arts have the potential to boost confidence, encourage positive community relationships, develop new skills, and inspire people to work together to create something they can be proud of.
Therefore we need to ensure:
Priority E - Arts should be Accessible to whole of Wales
That access to quality and affordable arts should be widened and increasingly accessible to all across the whole of Wales
Priority F - Commitment to Arts Projects to Benefit the Socially Deprived Areas
The benefit of, and on-going commitment to Arts-based projects within socially deprived areas.
Priority G - Commitment to Performing Arts to Improve Community and 'Well-being'
A recognition that in an age of austerity and financial cutbacks, music-teaching in schools provides long-term cultural benefits to communities, as well as benefits to physical and mental health; participation in cultural activities such as music, drama etc. has been shown to improve community and “well-being”. Participation in cultural activities should not be the prerogative of more affluent areas or families. For these reasons peripatetic music teaching should be protected and supported through cultural and educational policy.
Tourism and Leisure
Tourism remains vital to a thriving Welsh economy. International tourism brings revenue from outside and helps promote Wales; tourism from within Wales helps to develop an understanding of our national identity and sense of belonging.
We recognise the need to:
Priority H - Continue to Improve Accessibility of our Tourist Attractions
Improve travel infrastructure within Wales.
Priority I - Continue to Improve to Achieve a Clean and High-Quality Environment
Continue to address environmental concerns- e.g. cleaning up of post-industrial waste sites and the elimination of excessive, embarrassing and image-damaging fly tipping. All these create negative impressions of Wales for both locals and visitors alike.
Priority J - Promote Internal TourismDevelop a strategy to promote internal tourism
e.g. twinning schools from North and South Wales to work together on local projects; encourage twinning between villages and towns within Wales.
Priority K - Develop More Sustainable Policies
Promote and develop sustainable industrial and environmental policies.
Priority L - Formulate New Policies to Capitalize on our Worldwide Christian Heritage
Develop policies to capitalize on Wales’ historical Christian heritage
Priority M - Market Wales Better Abroad
Improve resources and coverage of Wales abroad.
Priority N - Promote Existing and Develop New All-Year-Round Attractions
- Develop facilities for attractions that can be used all-year-round.
- Protect and develop Leisure Centres– also for holistic wellbeing, and ongoing health.
This submission is based upon the distinctive language, history and heritage of Wales and endeavours to promote a vibrant national culture within this land.
The document urges the adoption of the policies outlined in stimulating such a thriving culture and in reversing the decline in Welsh-speaking recorded in the 2011 Census.
Contemporary social sciences devote considerable attention and interest to the subjects of tourism & leisure, arts & heritage, language and culture.
Likewise, God created humankind in His own image, giving them a “Cultural Mandate” to be fruitful and to govern society and nature in the same manner as He: that is, in creativity, love, wisdom, righteousness, skill, and in deep concern for the well-being of all.
This fruitfulness and emulating creativity is a reflection of the Creator Himself.
In God’s dispensation variety and abundance are the norm, whilst singularity of language and concomitant culture are understood as deviations from God’s blueprint for thriving civilizations.
In biblical passages such as Acts 2:8, languages, cultures and national identities are not only preserved but become expressions of worship and creativity. (cf. Revelation 5:9; 6:9-10)
Heritage; knowing our story, retelling our story, defining ourselves by that story and recognising the hand of God in that account is also celebrated.
Psalm 87:7. Leisure, a cycle of rest and refreshment, according to the Bible is inbuilt into creation rhythms. Thus all these aspects of human life which are necessary for a flourishing community are central to the Bible’s vision of an abundant life.