The Big Democracy

The Big DemocracyI was at a meeting recently where we were briefed on the priority issues for Powys Youth Forum. Two stood out for me - the lack of a democratic voice or platform for young people and their concerns and the difficulties in accessing the opportunity to take part arts & culture. At Powys Dance we grapple on a daily basis with being able to provide equitable access to opportunities to dance across a large, sparsely populated county.  We've also been wondering, at what point would public bodies be in breach of Article 31 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child? Where is that line in the sand?

Article 31 states:

  1. Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
  2. Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

At the same time, National Theatre of Wales put a call out for applications from Mid Wales for the next round of the Big Democracy Project, which explores how the arts can help people to engage with the democratic process. I spoke to the forum and we exchanged some ideas and decided to submit a proposal:

Does the lack of infrastructure, access and opportunity in rural Wales means that public bodies in Wales are in breach of article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

Can we unite as One Wales to campaign for all children and young people to have the chance to access cultural life?

It’s austerity-related to some degree, however it is also deeper than that. It’s about how the whole infrastructure (transport!) doesn’t support children and young people to access activity. Moreover, there is a lack of recognition of the higher costs involved in creating opportunity in rural contexts. If you think this issue is important, then vote for us:

And tweet: 

#bigdemocracy #onewales 

If we win, will host an assembly event at the Dance Centre to launch the Radnor Fringe Festival. Our assembly will be designed and led by young people in Powys. 

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