Culture – at the nation’s heart

Culture is at the heart of our nation’s way of life. It defines us. It is integral to every community. It is the umbilical cord between generations and localities. It is essential to our well-being and cohesion as a society. It is also the means by which our diverse identities engage with each other, and by which we engage with the world. The extent to which we recognise all this in a practical way is a measure of a mature and civilised society.

In the last year people at all levels have been acutely conscious of the cultural deficit in their lives – whether that be estrangement from the football pitch or terrace, the club or concert hall, theatre, gallery or festival. These are the collective experiences without which many have been left with feelings of loneliness, isolation and emptiness.

On the other hand, it has also been a time when, falling back on their own resources, or taking advantage of the increased online output from cultural organisations, many people have found new cultural interests.

It is for all these reasons that culture and sport – all vital expressions of our history and social traditions, as well as of our future aspirations – at the heart of the full span of public policy and government action in central and local government, in economic development, in health and education, and in our regard for our environment, whether urban or rural. Every department of government will be required to make a positive and material response.

This is what we mean by the fully inclusive cultural strategy that we intend to build and sustain, so as to re-establish the myriad connections and shared experiences that have been threatened by the pandemic, but which, together, make a society.

In the process we will foster the very creativity and innovation that will be critical to the future success of our economy, enabling us to enrich the sense of place in every community, and fulfilling the explicit and implicit aspirations of Wales’s pioneering Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

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