New ‘Creative Nature’ partnership set to cement bond between Welsh arts and environment

Man dressed as a tree - image from Egin International climate change residency.

A new agreement between Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Arts Council of Wales will help to cultivate the relationship between the arts and the natural environment, as part of a shared commitment to improve the environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.

The Creative Nature partnership aims to bring communities across Wales together, to help build a more sustainable future by encouraging people to value nature and Wales’ outdoor spaces through creative activity.

It aims to deliver projects that will increase economic activity in key parts of Wales where benefits are most needed, as well as helping people to access the natural environment and arts in new ways to benefit their health and wellbeing.

The partnership will align NRW’s and the Arts Council of Wales objectives, helping to deliver the aims outlined within the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which establishes a duty on public bodies to improve the environmental, cultural, economic, social, physical and mental well-being of the people of Wales.

The memorandum of understanding was announced today (25 September) by NRW’s Chief Executive Clare Pillman and Chair of the Arts Council of Wales Phil George as they took to the virtual stage of the ‘Creative Landscape’ event.

Part of the Wye Valley River Festival (21 – 25 September), the event will include a series of online celebrating creative collaboration between artists, producers and land managers in Wales and across borders.

Clare Pillman Chief Executive Natural Resources Wales said:

From our earliest poets to the most contemporary sculptures, nature has been an inspiration for artists everywhere.
Wales’ landscapes and the culture shaped by them have inspired artists for generations. Yet with theatres and galleries shut, visitors isolating at home and festivals cancelled, we have in recent months all had to find creative ways to keep people connected both to the natural environment and the art it inspires.
Now more than ever, the future of our natural environment and our creative sector feel closely aligned. That is why the Creative Nature partnership with
the Arts Council of Wales, is such an exciting prospect, leading to what we hope will be a variety of environmental, culture and social benefits for the people of Wales as we seek to emerge from this most challenging of periods.
Wales has a long tradition of using its landscapes as performance spaces, and as the creative sector seeks new and innovative ways of bringing art to communities, the environment sector can provide real inspiration and support.
Equally, the vital importance of tackling the causes and impacts of the climate and environment emergency are rich areas of exploration and inspiration for artists across the world. Bringing together those who are expert in environmental science with artists who can communicate the urgency and importance of the challenges facing us.
This partnership between NRW and Arts Council of Wales will help us to support the creation of high-quality artwork that highlights these concerns and supports artists to work in a way that reduces our carbon footprint.

Phil George, Chair of Arts Council Wales said:

This is such an important partnership between Natural Resources Wales and the Arts Council of Wales. From Celtic times to the contemporary climate crisis, from the rural ‘cefn gwlad’ to the mountains of the industrial valleys and the coastal strips of steel works, the drama and spirit of the landscape have been central to the communities and the imaginations of Welsh people.
The Well-being of Future Generations vision is powerful in Welsh life and this is a great example of a collaboration which has huge potential for the common good. The arts belong in the mainstream of our society, building the creative economy, forging community cohesion and supporting the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Wales. And crucially they belong in the landscapes of our nation – in places where artists can create work which has the distinctive accessibility, resonance and challenge that comes from a located dialogue with natural and built environments and with the lives of local people.
Creative Nature has huge potential to enrich all our lives and I welcome it with excitement and hopefulness.

As well as supporting the cultural sector to adopt sustainable practices and mitigate environmental impacts, NRW is also promising to make the public land that it manages available to the cultural sector as a venue, or resource for research and development wherever possible.

You can find out more information on the Creative Landscapes event on the Articulture Wales website.

Image credit : Egin, Vikram Iyengar @ Steve Peake


Related document downloads

Creative Nature PDF [1.9 MB]