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No arts counsel.

SIR - I await with interest to see how effective the Welsh Assembly's Culture Board will be, but in the meantime I would like to disabuse Mario Basini of his misconception about the Arts Council of Wales and its models for appraisal and strategic development of the arts in Wales ('Is this how to make the arts catch fire?', Saturday Essay, Western Mail, December 4).

ACW emphatically does not have 'small committees of enthusiasts and practitioners' advising them on artistic policy and strategy. A number of years ago the Arts Council, in one of its many restructurings, jettisoned its specialist art form directorships and departments and subsequently the specialist committees that advised on dance, drama, visual arts, etc.

Not only does ACW not have independent collective scrutiny of specialist art form practice, but many of its staff are not arts trained professionals, and those that are lack any power and influence to exercise their artistic judgement in any strategic sense within the current management structure.

If the new Culture Board is genuinely interested in driving forward a progressive cultural agenda for Wales and not one that is politically self-serving, then it will need to address very seriously the issue of specialist art form knowledge and create mechanisms to ensure that this expertise is firmly embedded in the board's day to day deliberations.

CHRISTOPHER COPPOCK

Director, Ffotogallery, c/o Chapter, Market Road, Cardiff
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 9, 2004
Words:231
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