Culture and the Welsh Language
Culture and Media
Wales is a land of rich cultural legacy and vibrant expression, with two languages, a long history in poetry and music, and a flair for performance, whether on the stage or in the sporting arena. We want to make the performative and the expressive – the things which give us joy and give us meaning - central to Wales’ identity, its international brand and its daily life. Creativity, innovation and a sense of place will be critical to the success of any economy in the 21st century, and also carry a huge social dividend in well-being and community cohesion.
We will maintain free entry to museums, create a National Digital Library for Wales, and work with National Museums Wales to create a dedicated National Gallery for Contemporary Art.
We recognise that Wales has fewer bank holidays than almost any nation in the EU. Plaid Cymru will make 1st March a national St David’s Day bank holiday in Wales.
Plaid Cymru is seeking the devolution of broadcasting so that we can create a level-playing field with every other UK nation and give Wales the power to decide its own media and broadcasting policy. In government, we will promote a Welsh media that represents the people of Wales and what matters to them.
We will also create an independent Welsh Media Commission to fund a syndicated digital news network in the English language, a national service linking local and hyper-local newspapers and radio stations producing open-source output and, subject to agreement, with access to BBC footage and archive material, to address the current democratic deficit arising from the historic weakness of print media in Wales and the changing pattern of consumption of traditional broadcast news.
We will continue to support our key national cultural institutions – the National Theatre, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the National Library, National Museums Wales, Literature Wales, National Dance Company, the Welsh Books Council, Welsh National Opera, and Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru – recognising the importance of these bodies to the cultural life of our nation.
We will protect the valuable work and independence of these bodies and seek to extend their role in taking the culture of Wales to an overseas audience. We will also prioritise investment in traditional Welsh music and dance, including investigation of a national company of performers linked to a training academy in this field. We recognise the success of the free entry policy for museums, and will maintain this for residents of Wales.
We will enable National Museums Wales to create a dedicated National Art Gallery, representing the history of visual culture within Wales, both in terms of creativity and collection. We will also invite proposals from across Wales for a new gallery of living art, to exhibit the best of national and international contemporary visual culture.
It is time to further democratise knowledge and create a National Digital Library. The Digital National Library will allow any citizen of Wales the right to download an electronic copy of any book in national or local public collection, including those in copyright, in exchange for a fee paid to the publisher and author, based on the number of times the digital version is read. A similar system will apply to music and film.
Promoting participation in sport
Plaid Cymru will develop the Inspire Wales programme to promote sports participation. As part of this, we will promote our international level athletes as role models for young people. We will work with sports governing bodies, schools, community groups, voluntary organisations and youth workers to promote physical activity amongst young people and the availability of both formal and informal activities. We will promote sporting participation at all levels and for all ages across Wales, recognising the impact of sport and activity upon lifelong well-being. We will particularly aim to encourage and increase participation amongst young and teenage girls by aiming to ensure that public broadcasters devote a greater percentage of broadcast time and funding to female sport.
Plaid Cymru wants to bring the best international sporting occasions to Wales. We will develop a Commonwealth Games bid with Wales as the host nation. We will also bid to bring the Tour de France to Wales, for both men and women, and work with sports associations and the tourist industry to identify other opportunities for Wales to act as hosts.
Celebrating Sporting Success
Celebrating and highlighting our many sporting successes is important for Wales. We supported efforts to establish a Welsh football museum in Wrexham, where the Football Association of Wales was founded, to showcase the development of football in Wales. We will also support proposals for a one-day Welsh international cricket team.
Sport in two Languages
As a bilingual nation, it is important that all of our governing bodies and major organisations reflect both of our national languages, and we will expect them to develop appropriate training courses and marketing information in both Welsh and English.
The Welsh Language
Plaid Cymru want a genuinely bilingual Wales where citizens can choose which language to use in their daily lives. There is wide support for the goal of reaching one million Welsh speakers by 2050. The education system has a key role to create the growth that is needed and to make fluency in both our national languages the norm.
To achieve that, we need to substantially increase the number of Welsh speakers across the country and ensure that speakers have opportunities to use the language wherever they choose to do so. We want to encourage a greater use of Welsh in the workplace in the public, private and third sectors, and in government. We will use procurement contracts and apprenticeships to promote the use of Welsh.
The Welsh language belongs to everybody in Wales and it is important that everyone has the opportunity to become bilingual. We will increase the availability of Welsh language education from nursery, to further and higher education, right through to adult learning. We will achieve a world-class education system that is truly bilingual, giving everyone the opportunity to learn through the medium of Welsh.
Plaid Cymru will retain the post of Welsh Language Commissioner, ensuring that the Commissioner focuses chiefly on activities relating to setting and regulating Welsh Language Standards. New robust standards would also be introduced in the NHS which would secure the right to receive face-to-face services through the medium of Welsh.
The Welsh Language and the Economy
We want to encourage a greater use of Welsh in the workplace. We will set up a Workforce Training Programme that will provide structured Welsh-language training and immersion courses, including financial support to release employees to learn Welsh and improve their language skills.
We will also support the economy of traditional Welsh speaking areas by developing Carmarthen, Aberystwyth and the Menai conurbation as economic hubs, building upon their urban status and relatively high Welsh speaking populations to create a critical mass for further economic growth.
As part of our decentralisation strategy, we will locate new and existing national institutions and regional centres within Welsh speaking areas. Entrepreneurs and businesses who operate through the Welsh language will be given additional support to develop their bilingual business model. We will work with small and medium sized businesses across Wales to develop apprenticeship places in the Welsh language. We will also expand the use of the Welsh Language as the language of administration within local government and the wider public sector.
We will create an Economic Agency responsible for developing the economy of the western and northwest counties of Wales. As one of Europe’s poorest regions, improving its prosperity is essential for underpinning the Welsh language and culture.
Welsh Medium Education
A Welsh Education Act would ensure that everyone in Wales has the right to receive Welsh-medium education. Through this new law, Plaid Cymru will ensure that our citizens have the opportunity to develop skills in the Welsh language at every level as well as ensure the right to receive Welsh-medium education whatever a person’s age or background.
We will improve Foundation Phase teaching and the provision of Welsh so that all pupils are able to speak Welsh to an acceptable standard by the age of seven. We will provide support so that teachers of all age groups are able to improve their Welsh language standards. We will implement improvements to second language Welsh learning, including a Welsh teaching continuum and, over time, Welsh medium education for all.
We will continue to support the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to provide higher education through Welsh and for academics to conduct research in Welsh. We will follow this model to improve Further Education pathways through Welsh. The provision of Welsh-medium halls of residence will become a condition of Welsh Government financial support to higher education.
Caring through the medium of Welsh
We will work to increase the number of Welsh speakers working in healthcare in Wales so that Welsh speaking patients have the right to a Welsh language service throughout the NHS. This will include making Welsh as an essential skill in recruitment where service areas are not meeting their Welsh language requirements.
The promotion of the Welsh language
A Plaid Cymru government will create a National Language Agency as an independent organisation responsible for the promotion of the Welsh language, increasing the budget in this area to include an innovation fund which will aim to increase the use of the Welsh language. We will set up a network of Welsh language centres in all parts of Wales to be the hub for a variety of community activity in Welsh, to include Mentrau Iaith, Welsh for Adults and cultural and language-based business activity.
The status of the Welsh language
Plaid Cymru will push for improved Welsh language status at the UK level, including allowing its use in meetings of the Welsh Grand Committee and Welsh Affairs Select Committee at Westminster. We will strengthen the standards expected from the public sector and large private sector organisations in dealing with the public, including in the banking sector and supermarkets, and organisations outside Wales who serve the Welsh public. We believe the Welsh language should enjoy greater visibility in areas of linguistic significance, and will take steps to protect historic Welsh language place names.