How should the creative industries prepare for Brexit?

(Title Image: Wales Arts International)

Culture Committee
Brexit and the arts, creative industries, heritage & Welsh language (pdf)
Published: 4th December 2018

1. The Welsh Government should lobby the UK Government to remain part of several pan-European programmes

The Committee said it was hard to pin down precisely how much EU funding the creative sector received, but based on some of the figures quoted by witnesses it’s at least £150million since 2007. That ends next year.

Particular pan-European programmes of note include Creative Europe (visual & audio), Erasmus+ (student exchange), Literature across Frontiers and Horizon 2020 (university research).

EU funding is due to be replaced by a UK “Shared Prosperity Fund”, though details on that are scarce. If any funding for the arts is transferred to Wales via the prosperity fund, it’ll be administered by Creative Wales – a Cadw-style body set to be established by the Welsh Government.

If continued membership/access to EU programmes isn’t possible after Brexit, then the Committee recommended Wales uses the precedent set by Quebec’s participation in Horizon 2020.

2. The Welsh Government should ensure that ending free movement doesn’t place additional burdens on smaller creative companies

50% of dancers in the National Dance Company are from the EU, while 20% of musicians working with Sinfonia Cymru were also said to be from the EU. When freedom of movement ends and a visa system is in place, it could add costs to smaller creative sector companies – though there were suggestions performing artists may be eligible for “fast-track” visas after Brexit.

This could also cause an impact in the other direction. Touring opportunities within the EU for Welsh-based artists may be curbed. The National Dance Company said any restrictions of movement of people may affect their profits and international reputation, while NoFitState Circus was said to generate 40% of its income from touring.

The Committee called on the Welsh Government to set up a “one-stop shop”/point of contact for touring companies to access information on EU visas etc.

3. A risk assessment into Brexit’s impact on the Welsh language is required

The Welsh language was said to benefit directly and indirectly through EU membership, with many EU programmes funding projects to support the economy in Welsh-speaking areas (in addition to the likes of the Common Agricultural Policy) and the rights of Welsh-speakers being enshrined in the Human Rights Act which is itself partly derived from the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

EU funding via Erasmus+ has enabled 129 Welsh teachers to study another language abroad in a partner country over a three-year period. One witness, Prof. Clare Gorarra, cited an increase in “linguaphobia” and negative attitudes towards modern foreign languages amongst parents and students since the Brexit vote.

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