Critics on Culture Colony
28th July 2011
A couple of years ago, when the idea of Cuture Colony was first germinating, one of the priorities that emerged, alongside being an alternative place to television for cultural content, was the need for a genuinely independent space for critical voices. It has long been recognised by many that cultural activity in Wales suffers from a lack of debate, analysis and constructive criticism, essential to the development of arts practice and building careers within the creative industries.
It is not the place for Culture Colony itself to offer criticism or opinion. When writing our 'news' items we try to be impartial and do not offer a sanctioned Culture Colony point of view. However, Culture Colony has been created with the intention for its membership to be able to express opinion and comment on events, exhibitions and the works of art that we all might like to discuss. (Opinion that can sometimes be found in the 'news' are authored pieces that have been submitted to Culture Colony for us to publish and are credited to the writer).
In the last upgrade of the Culture Colony web site we introduced a new internet service that we've called 'Platform'. This enables organisations and business' to run their own 'social network' alongside their existing web presence. It is still early days yet and we are watching closely to see how Platform members use this new facility so that we can improve the functionality where necessary and enhance the online community experience.
We have been greatly encouraged recently by two new Platforms that have emerged on Culture Colony as they offer the potential for one of our founding principles to be realised, that of providing an independent space for critical writing and analysis.
Rooters, a loose association of internet bloggers who write about cultural things, and specifically Welsh cultural things, set up a Platform last week. They have joined forces and created a Platform on Culture Colony where they will be posting ArtLogs and funnelling more visitors through Culture Colony to their existing blogs. On their platform it says that they are "Serious about criticism, honest with engagement, intrigued with wider context and packing in all the verve and imagination that we have."
Currently there are 7 members of the 'Rooters' platform. Taking their title from a play on the name of the news agency 'Reuters' and the fact that they'll be rooting around to find their stories providing a route for their readers to share their cultural thoughts and discoveries. And, as bloggers, they rely of course on the routers we all use to connect us to the internet. It's all in the name!
They go on to say "Some of us are fresh faced, some are old hats, but we all, including you, have something valuable to contribute." Very true.
Yesterday, critical writing on Culture Colony received another boost as the induction course for Visiting Arts and Wales Arts Internationals 'Welsh Arts Critics' Development Programme' took place at Chapter in Cardiff. The four critics on the programme met their mentors and it was decided that they should use the online facilities that Platform membership of Culture Colony will provide.
Eluned Haf, director of Wales Arts International said "We want to use the Platform on Culture Colony as a laboratory to develop the skills our critics will need as they develop their careers".
The course is led by Linda Christmas, a former arts journalist and experienced teacher of journalism.
The programme was launched in April 2011 with an open call announcement and 34 applications were received. The successful candidates are
• Lowri Hâf Cooke – a regular reviewer on bbc.co.uk/cymru/cylchgrawn/ffilm; Red Handed Magazine, Barn, Tu Chwith, Y Twll, Radio Cymru and Golwg
• Amelia Forsbrook - a stage editor, theatre critic, freelance arts correspondent and co- founder of art.IS blog. Awarded 'Best Critic' by Tim Jonze, Editor of Guardian.co.uk in the Cardiff University Student Media Awards
• Dylan Moore – founding editor CFUK; founding co-editor The Raconteur and alumnus of the National Theatre of Wales / Academi ‘New Critic’ scheme.
• Susie Wild - a freelance journalist, PR, poet, writer and editor, and a regular contributor to Buzz magazine.
Participants meet their mentors.
The participants have each been paired with an established critic who will provide 1:1 mentorship over a period of six-months. During this time, all four participants will receive financial and logistical support to attend two overseas arts platforms featuring Welsh artists.
We look forward to following the progress of the new critics as they travel the world to write about Welsh culture and to find out what the Rooters uncover as they root around our creative and cultural life here in Wales and beyond..... Watch these spaces, or should that be watch these Platforms.
Also see -
Welsh Arts Critics Development platform
Welsh Arts Critics Development profile
External web sites -