Agenda Item No. 4

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee: 14th November 2016


Report of the Interim Director of Learning and Skills


Arts Development - Museums Heritage, Arts Venues, Libraries, Creative Industries and Accessible Art


Purpose of the Report

  1. To provide information regarding a number of enquiries relating to arts development arts activity and heritage across the Vale of Glamorgan.


  1. That Members note the information provided on the Arts Development Programme, the range of activities on offer and the development of heritage facilities.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. Members are aware of the breadth of arts related services provided or facilitated by the Council and of the intention to develop heritage facilities in the future.


  1. A request was submitted by Councillor Chris Franks to provide information regarding a number of enquiries relating to the arts, arts development and heritage across the Vale of Glamorgan. The points raised included:
  • The provision of accessible art across the Vale.
  • The potential for the creation of a heritage centre in the Vale.
  • The use of libraries including the soon to be created community libraries in Dinas Powys Rhoose, Wenvoe, Sully and St. Athan as venues for art exhibitions and displays.
  • Further co-operation between the Vale Council and Barry Memorial Hall/Theatre, Turner House, Penarth and the National Museum.

Relevant Issues and Options

Provision of Accessible Art across the Vale

  1. In the Vale of Glamorgan, there are a significant number of arts venues that provide accessible arts opportunities for residents and visitors to the area. There are opportunities to attend and participate in free and fee paying arts activity in theatres, galleries, at outdoor and indoor events and festivals, in community centres school halls, private lessons, adult learning, libraries, and in the environment around us. The Arts Development Officer supports this programme of accessible art opportunities and creates the annual arts exhibition programme at Art Central Gallery.
  2. There are many arts disciplines and workshop opportunities available for all ages and abilities including visual, performing, literature and digital arts opportunities and cultural events. The Vale of Glamorgan website provides information about all these opportunities as well as leaflets, programmes and other copies of information that are distributed to schools and venues across the Vale.
  3. The arts service has developed many projects that are part of local, national and international arts events working with the Welsh Government the Arts Council of Wales and with arts organisations and artists from the Vale, Wales, the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada. An example of this is the work done with Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, London in relation to 'Holocaust Memorial Day'. The Vale through the arts development service was the first Local Authority to commemorate this event in Wales outside of Cardiff's national event. The exhibition like the gallery is now approaching its tenth year.

The potential for the creation of a heritage centre in the Vale

  1. A heritage centre for the Vale of Glamorgan would be generally welcomed as there are a number of local historical groups who have been requesting a display resource in the area for some years. There are interesting historical markers that have taken place in the Vale and many stories to tell, that can have a positive impact on residents and visitors alike.
  2. The Arts Development Officer (ADO) is experienced in programming, handling, curating and setting up exhibitions mainly in Art Central Gallery situated in Barry Town Hall's County Library and Mayor's Parlour complex. The ADO advises that the creation of a heritage centre containing information boards providing historic content or stories about the Vale, with a small mutable collection would avoid the legal requirements that surround the storing, handling, insurance and security of museum collections. This type of facility would also allow local historical groups to set up varied exhibitions on an agreed schedule.
  3. Consideration would need to be given to the potential costs and resources required to facilitate setting up a heritage centre. A business plan will be developed which will explore different delivery models. This could help to attract external partners interested in helping to progress such a facility and would open up funding opportunities e.g. Heritage Lottery funding.

The use of Libraries as venues for art exhibitions and displays

  1. The Vale of Glamorgan has 9 libraries across the area, some of which have recently become community run venues. Some research has been carried out to explore the existing facilities and early possibilities for these venues to house art exhibitions.
  2. Most of the venues have some sort of display facility with the exception of some of the very small facilities such as Sully Community Library that has limited space. None of the venues with the exception of Barry County Library have large spaces for the display of art works. Those able to do so show art works usually by local individual artists or art groups. Librarians with an interest and the artists themselves place the work on show.
  3. Further research and discussion is required to map the varied knowledge within libraries to support the provision of art exhibitions by providing relevant training. Library Managers would need to ensure that there is the required staff capacity to implement and curate art exhibitions and that there are adequate resources and facilities for each exhibition.
  4. There are opportunities to develop a gallery venue in Dinas Powys Library as part of proposed refurbishment plans. This would need to be considered carefully as a dedicated area would need to be identified in order to avoid damage to art work during parties, gatherings and other community events. Trustees would also need training in commission of sales, organisation and marketing of exhibitions. There is the potential for Section 106 funding to be secured for the development of public art in the Dinas Powys area that could be utilised for match funding to assist the development of a public art gallery.

Further co-operation between the Vale of Glamorgan and other Arts organisations

  1. The Arts Development Service works in partnership with the Memorial Hall which generates 64% of its turnover from income made from a wide variety of arts activities - theatre, music, dance and film; and its private, community social and business hire activities. A charitable Trust operates the Memo Arts Centre for the benefit of the people from all ages and backgrounds in Barry and beyond to experience and enjoy, ensuring it remains an intrinsic part of the cultural landscape. The Vale's Summer Dance School for young people was based at the Memo. Professional Dance practitioners were engaged to deliver workshops to young people over a two week period that culminated in performances as part of local events on the Waterfront, Vale of Glamorgan Show and at other venues and events.
  2. For the participants at this event there was an opportunity to develop a wealth of skills; performing in a professional venue, confidence, meeting new people, working with others, choreographic and technical dance skills, physical fitness, co-ordination strength, flexibility musicality and memory movement, excitement and fun, whilst leaning about dance and different cultures. The Memorial Hall and theatre now operate the schools dance event as 'Best Foot Forward'.
  3. One of the successes has been to work in partnership with professional artists and companies as an 'incubator venue' to help support them to develop new work. One of the summer schools was delivered by Sean Tuan John, a Welsh choreographer and performance artist and dancer.
  4. Turner House Gallery has been home to Ffotogallery, since 2003. Ffotogallery is the national development agency for photography and lens-based media in Wales and a registered charity. Established in 1978, Ffotogallery operates with a small team of staff. They show a regularly changing programme of photography and digital arts, film and multi-arts based media by national and international photographic artists. In discussions with the National Museum, they have confirmed that they are currently supportive of Ffotogallery residing at Turner House and feel they are an ideal Arts Council of Wales revenue supported organisation to have in residence. Ffotogallery have a planned programme until the end of the year. For more information about Ffotogallery at Turner House visit:

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The Arts Development Service currently has a small budget and one member of staff who is working to capacity in managing the considerable amount of arts administration, projects and development programmes being undertaken. Plans for further development of the service would need to give consideration to the requirement of additional resources. If required, these would be found from within the Culture and Community Services budget.
  2. Options for developing a heritage facility will be identified and appraised. A business plan will be developed which will identify financial implications and funding options. Given the limited funding available within the service, there will be a focus on developing the facility in partnership with others and on maximising the opportunity to secure grant funding.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. None at this stage.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None at this stage.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. To ensure access to arts opportunities and facilities for all.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The provisional of a comprehensive arts programme contributes to the achievement of the Council's corporate wellbeing outcome: an Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale, and specifically, the objective of valuing culture and diversity.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Learning and Culture.

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Phil Southard, Culture and Community Learning Manager

Officers Consulted

Chris Edwards, Chief Librarian

Tracey Harding, Arts Development Officer

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Interim Director of Learning and Skills