Theatre in Wales

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ACW Chairman defends his record     

IT did not come as much of a surprise when Geraint Talfan Davies was named the new chairman of the Arts Council of Wales.

After all, since leaving his job as controller of BBC Wales more than three years ago, he has been involved with arts organisations and his positions have included chairman of Welsh National Opera and a board member of Wales Millennium Centre.

But he denies that his new post is a case of "jobs for the boys". He says he has much to offer ACW after spending his career within the creative industries.

"I have done what I have done in my career and that's a matter of record and I hope people feel it's of value," said Talfan Davies, who will relinquish his other roles when he becomes ACW chairman on Tuesday.

"Apart from newspapers and broadcasting, I have been involved with Welsh National Opera, Cardiff Bay Arts Trust, Wales Millennium Centre and the Artes Mundi Prize. I think it's all relevant experience and gives me an understanding of what it's like working within different arts organisations." Talfan Davies takes over from Sybil Crouch who says she was "disappointed" after being told that she was being replaced after four years.

She took up the three-year ACW chairmanship in 1999 and last year she was reappointed for a second term.

But because there were plans to make it a salaried post from April 2003, Mrs Crouch says she agreed to take responsibility for just 12 months because she felt it was only fair that it was re-advertised once it became a paid position.

Although remuneration has not yet been agreed, Culture Minister Jenny Randerson decided to go ahead and advertise for a new chairman.

Mrs Crouch has since warned the quango that it must remain at "arm's length" from the National Assembly.

During one of her last speeches, she challenged the Arts Council to prevent the Assembly from controlling it.

Talfan Davies backs her calls to a degree.

"I think the notion of having an Arts Council retaining an `arm's length' principle in terms of distribution of money to the arts is important. But I also think it's important that there's a real partnership in a strategic sense between the Arts Council and whichever minister is in charge of culture at the National Assembly."

He wants to spend some time in his new role before unveiling his plans for ACW. "I believe passionately that the arts are absolutely crucial to a healthy society. There's a sense of realisation around that culture matters. There's a wider understanding of its importance and capacity to be of real value to Wales." "I can't think of a more interesting time to have lived in Wales than this particular one - the place is alive with the potential for change."
Western Mail arts pages  
web site
Karen Price
Wednesday, April 02, 2003back



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