Jorge Lizalde

Why have you launched Culture lab?

As with so many other areas, publicly-funded arts and culture is facing enormous challenge. The coming years will see even greater pressure on resources as artists and the organisations that facilitate their work struggle to balance their creative mission against scarcity of funds. Change is inevitable. It will demand new capacities and require an ability to think differently.

Eighteen months ago, Simon Harris (Lucid) and Richard Hawkins (Public Interest Research Centre) came together to talk about whether there was anything that could be done to address this issue. Culture lab is the result.

Arts and culture do not exist in isolation. They are deeply affected by the social, economic, technological and environmental issues that are playing out on a global scale. The writer and thinker Graham Leicester has written, “This is not only an age of change but a change of age – a period of cultural transformation.”

We launched Culture lab to help build a generation of leaders in Wales ready and able to tackle these problems; learning from the brilliant work already being done and offering fresh thinking at a time of daunting transition.

What is the application deadline?

Applications close January 29th 2016 at midnight.

How much does it cost?

See the Programme page for an overview of expected course contributions.

Can I apply from outside of Wales?

Given the nature of the course, we’re only accepting applications from people in Wales. But, if you’re interested in starting a similar course in another country, we’d be very happy to help support you do it.

What level of seniority are you looking for?

Your level of ambition, the work you’re doing and willingness to collaborate is more important than your job title. If you’re in a larger organisation, it will help to have support from more senior colleagues, and we recommend that you choose someone to support you during the course as a mentor.

We’re hoping for a range of arts and culture practitioners and professionals, from venue managers to ventriloquists, from mixed media artists to marketing assistants – participants from different places and spaces, experiences and expectations!

How much work do I have to do between sessions?

The more you put in, the more you get out, but a minimum of one day per month will cover the reading, homework and action learning groups between sessions.

Where will the sessions be held?

Sessions will be held around Wales, with at least two in Cardiff and two retreats further afield. With the exception of the retreats, participants will be expected to make their own travel arrangements to the venues. If this poses a financial difficulty, please mention this in your application.

Do I have to attend all of the sessions?

Yes. As a participant, we expect you to make each of the sessions unless there is an exceptional reason that you have to miss one.

How is the course funded?

The course is funded primarily by the Arts Council Wales, plus contributions from participants and from the core funding of the host organisations – Lucid and the Public Interest Research Centre.

We’d love to speak to funders interested in building this programme further (in the future for example, we’d love to seed fund some of the organisations and projects that both apply and also develop out of Culture lab).

Are there other programmes similar to this?

Although there have occasionally been similar projects, there is currently nothing like this in Wales. Although Culture lab is for individuals from the cultural sector, it aims to be both local and global in its focus. It’s the first developmental programme for cultural leaders that aligns with Welsh Government priorities around sustainable development as outlined in the Well Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act of 2015. To give some context, sustainable development can be understood as:

The enhancement of the economic, social and environmental well-being of people and communities, both locally and globally, and achieving a better quality of life for our own and future generations

In ways which promote social justice and equality of opportunity; and

In ways which enhance the natural and cultural environment and respect its limits – using only our fair share of the earth’s resources and sustaining our cultural legacy.


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