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British Council announces new Director and major global programmes for Wales

The British Council – UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations – has appointed Simon Dancey as its new Director for Wales, who will lead two new global programmes for the British Council. 10 Dec 2012

British Council announces new Director and major global programmes for Wales

The first will be a two year programme bringing Dylan Thomas’ work to new audiences across the world with a global showcase from 2013 to 2015 in partnership with Arts Council Wales and the Welsh Government; the second programme will see Simon managing British Council’s Skills portfolio in the UK.

Business Minister Edwina Hart said: "I welcome the appointment of Simon Dancey as the British Council's new Director for Wales. His appointment comes at an exciting time as we prepare to raise the cultural profile of Wales around the world with a centenary celebration of the life and works of one of our best loved writers, Dylan Thomas."

Colm McGivern, Regional Director UK, British Council said:

"I am delighted that Simon Dancey has been appointed to the role of Director Wales. Since he started in September, his extensive experience of cultural skills management and international partnerships in creative industries and international education has already brought major programmes and global partnerships to Wales."

Speaking of his appointment and new global programmes for Wales, Simon Dancey commented:

"Wales has a beautifully unique culture, and I’m determined to ensure that it has a distinct and powerful presence in our portfolio of cultural relations projects around the world. So, I’m very excited to announce that one of the first of the big programmes to launch in Wales during my tenure at the British Council will be a two year Global Showcase starting in 2013 - the Dylan Thomas100"

"Dylan Thomas was a fascinating poet who lives on as an inspiring figure in not just Welsh and UK literature but in many parts of the world. Spanning four continents and more than 10 cities, the British Council’s programme for Dylan Thomas 100 will bring his work to an international audience, reaching new global collaborators with reimaginings of and responses to his poetry during his centenary year in 2014. In Wales we will also now lead on the British Council’s Skills portfolio which will initially see us working in Brazil."

Susanna Nicklin, Director Literature, British Council said:

"Following on from the success of our Dickens 2012 project which reached over 92m people globally, I am delighted to be working with Simon and our partners in Wales on this ambitious celebration of such an important writer".

During the global showcase, collaborative poetry, drama and music performances will take place in India, USA, Australia, Argentina and Canada; alongside master classes and education and skills workshops for teachers and practitioners. These collaborative arts and skills workshops will be held in: Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Quebec, Vancouver, New York, San Fransisco, Sydney, Melbourne, Mumbai and New Delhi. The arts education and skills elements will focus on international partnership building on existing good practice, such as:

  • Poetry master-classes across participating regions with clear global dissemination platform.
  • Theatre productions of Dylan Thomas’ plays across the overseas regions
  • Laugharne Festival
  • Selector

Simon Dancey commented:

"Through these new programmes, Wales’s international profile and partnerships will continue to grow, resulting in greater global engagement with Wales"

Simon Dancey has held a number of high profile roles in the UK and internationally. Most recently he was the International & Nations Director with Creative & Cultural Skills, one of the UK’s sector skills councils where he oversaw international partnerships focussing on skills, creative industries, education, employer engagement, qualification reform & research for the whole UK.

Before this, Simon was a trustee of the Arts Council of Wales for six years until 2010 and started his career in Community Music Wales.

A trained psychologist and professional musician, Simon has also worked as a record producer, sound engineer and script writer. He founded the UK's first community record label, Complete Control, and Compass Point, an international festival of urban arts.

He is currently undertaking a PhD research project on comparative International Creative Industries Policy with a specific focus on Latin America.

He is the recipient of awards for both his artistic and organisational work (including awards from the Guardian and the BBC) as well as publishing a number of articles and critiques around art, creativity and politics. Both professionally and personally he has been actively involved in high level political lobbying, impacting both international and national policy movements.

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