Emma Evans

Tell us about what you doEE head pic

I think I’m a Producer. I’ve been working in the arts and cultural sector for over 10 years, generally I support artists to make work and audiences to see it. I’m also strident, passionate and an aspiring professional troublemaker.

Pick a show, book, film, exhibition, album, etc has changed your life and tell us about it

Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy, is an amazing book that I read as a teenager. It had an overwhelming power and effect on me at that time in my life.

What’s your ambition for the arts and culture? And how do you think WN? is going to help achieve that?

I think I have always been drawn to arts and culture because of the power it has to shine a light on the human condition. To make us think about the type of world we want to live in. For me empathy is hugely undervalued in society and the strength of the arts is that it can tell stories, express emotions and communicate ideas in new and powerful ways. My ambition is that we as a society, local, national and global recognise the importance and value of this so that future generations can experience a world as rich and vibrant as the one we have.

What Next? Is one of many movements that aims to articulate and strengthen the role of art and culture in society. I think the real strength of What Next? is in it’s focus on engagement with people and the desire to broaden the conversation.

How would you describe a WN? meeting to someone to encourage them to attend? 

What’s Next? Is a great collection of interesting and diverse people who all want to make a difference. What more could you want?

Steve Blandford

Our next member to share a bit about what they do and why they’re part of What Next? Cardiff is Steve Blandford.Steve Blandford

Tell us about what you do.

I am Emeritus Professor of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of South Wales. I am also a Visiting Professor at Cardiff Metropolitan University and I teach part-time at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. I am a founding trustee of National Theatre Wales and a Board member at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.

Pick a show, book, film, exhibition, album, etc has changed your life and tell us about it

Its hard to pick one – the complete works of Ken Loach, that, contrary to popular belief, are funny, moving and gripping as well as politically engaged. They continue to make the strongest case for the close relationship between art and the way that we live our lives.

Even further back in time, John Dos Passos’ epic novel, USA is reminder of the variety, promise and inspiration that was once at the heart of that part of the world and maybe could be again, though it’s hard to imagine sometimes.

What’s your ambition for the arts and culture? And how do you think WN? is going to help achieve that?

I have loved What Next’s engagement with making the argument that arts and culture should be an entitlement, not a luxury. It costs so little compared to so much other spending in our name. However those of us who have made a living in this sphere do have to make the case, to be innovative in the ways that we demonstrate how the arts make life more worth living and how the arts can be an element in creating a better future. I think What’s Next?, in bringing organisations together to think through how to do this could be a really valuable way of reaching people.

How would you describe a WN? meeting to someone to encourage them to attend? 

Despite being at 8.30am I almost never come away regretting attending. They are friendly, informal and full of lively minds that inevitably make me think and question my own views. And it is trying to get valuable things done!

Yvonne Murphy

Next under the member spotlight – Yvonne Murphy!yvonne

I am Yvonne Murphy. I am a freelance Theatre Director/Producer and run Omidaze Productions.

I read Drama at Manchester University before going on to train as an actor at RWCMD and afterwards also train as a teacher of English & Drama at UCL.

I have worked in theatre, the arts and education for over 23 years working with such companies as The National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, the Sherman, The English Shakespeare Company and The Shakespeare Schools Festival. I returned to South Wales from London nine years ago where I now live with my actor/writer husband and three children.

I believe passionately that access to the Arts & Culture is a fundamental right of every citizen and that the Arts must form a central and pivotal role within British Society and specifically within Education.

I  became involved in What Next? last year when I was awarded the Arts Council of Wales Clore Leadership Fellowship 2013/14 www.cloreleadership.org. For my secondment I was asked to cover the maternity leave for the Strategic Lead for What Next?

I would like What Next? to help the people in this country to take back the ownership of art and culture. I would like them to demand it as a public good for themselves their children and their grandchildren. I would like them to moan about art and culture the way people moan about the NHS. I would like every citizen to demand, debate and celebrate art and culture since I believe access to art and culture creates privileged, engaged, healthy, prosperous, responsible and happy citizens.

Michelle Carwardine-Palmer

MichelleCPNext up in our member profile series is Michelle Carwardine-Palmer, Managing Director at National Theatre Wales.

Pick a show, book, film, exhibition, album, etc has changed your life and tell us about it

The Color Purple and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings had profound effects on me – that despite adversity the human spirit can prevail, overcome and conquer

What’s your ambition for the arts and culture? And how do you think WN? is going to help achieve that?

To be a statutory requirement – we have Health for Body; Education for Mind and should have Arts/Culture for Spirit/Soul to provide perfect balance for the society in which we live

The WN? movement unites us and creates a compelling, dynamic and powerful voice

How would you describe a WN? meeting to someone to encourage them to attend?

It is a room of cultural practitioners with various skills, expertise and experience but who all care and know the infinite value of the arts – driven to ensure they are not sidelined or undervalued

Laura Drane

Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing a few of our members.  Hopefully this will give you an idea of who we are, what we do, what we like and most importantly, why we’ve decided to take part in What Next? Cardiff.  First up, one of our founder members – Laura Drane.

Tell us a bit about what you do.

laura drane photoI’m an independent creative producer, consultant and facilitator, mainly working in the performing arts and festivals. I am a Fellow of the RSA, and a board member for Theatr Iolo and for Agencia, a Manchester-based international charity that harnesses creativity to make change. With others, I chair and convene the WN? chapter in Cardiff.

Pick a show, book, film, exhibition, album, etc has changed your life and tell us about it.

I think I’m impacted by almost all “great art” be that popular music or an amazing novel or an entrancing exhibition or mind-blowing show. Most recently, I’d say Colum McCann’s novel Let The Great World Spin which is an intimate and epic tale of intertwined lives of eight strangers in 1970s New York.

What’s your ambition for the arts and culture? And how do you think WN? is going to help achieve that? 

Arts and culture are the thing that help me understand how to be more fully human. And understanding more about ourselves means we can make a leap to understanding more about others. Simple maybe, easy definitely not, but worth striving for. WN? helps me connect with people and ideas to form actions which make small steps toward that possible.

How would you describe a WN? meeting to someone to encourage them to attend? 

A very friendly informal group of people who meet because they are committed to seeing a change in the way the arts and culture are valued in our country. It’s about ideas and action, and I never fail to leave inspired and energised!