Future Wales Fellowship to communicate sustainable living through art

Heledd Wyn

Heledd Wyn

12 April 2022

Art as a means of understanding how climate change is affecting people’s everyday lives will be the focus for a new study by an Aberystwyth University academic.

Heledd Wyn, who teaches Advanced Media Production, is one of eight artists to have been awarded a Future Wales Fellowship by the Arts Council for Wales.

As part of the Fellowship, Heledd will receive a grant of £25,000 and will work with scientists and thinkers who are working to tackle climate change and promote more sustainable ways of living. 

There will also be opportunities to develop her own artistic work, but also to challenge the way people think about climate change to encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

A photographer, film-maker, visual artist, and educator, Heledd has a degree in Drama from Royal Holloway (University of London) and has been trained by the National Film and Television School (NFTS) and the BBC. 

She joined Aberystwyth University in 2021 as a lecturer on the Advanced Media Production project.

The Advanced Media Production project is a unique multidisciplinary scheme between the University’s Departments of Computer Science and Theatre, Film & Television Studies.  Supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, it aims to enhance innovation and productivity in the Welsh creative industries sector by training professionals and graduates to exploit new technologies in media production.

Heledd said:  “It is an honour and an opportunity to develop my creative practice in film as well as work with the community to devise artistic and scientific strategies that will influence a more sustainable life in Wales.”

Natural Resources Wales and Arts Council of Wales are joint partners of the Future Wales Fellowship, which is part of a wider programme of work linked to a Creative Nature Memorandum of Understanding to better understand how art and culture could play a beneficial role in engaging people in key issues such as the climate and nature emergencies.

The Fellowship will explore the impact climate change is having on the people of Wales focusing on the three main themes of Energy, Food and Transport.

Judith Musker Turner, Portfolio Manager Arts Council of Wales, said: “We’re delighted to have selected eight outstanding artists as Future Wales Fellows who will inspire new approaches to issues relating to sustainability, wellbeing, the Climate Emergency and Climate Justice, and engage with the lived experiences of people in Wales and beyond.

“We were blown away by the passion, commitment and deep understanding of issues relating to the Climate Emergency demonstrated by the overwhelming number of artists who applied for the Future Wales Fellowships and will look to draw further upon this wealth of expertise as Arts Council of Wales works to develop our own plan for Climate Justice and the Arts.”

Joe Roberts, Lead Specialist Advisor at Natural Resources Wales (NRW), said: “It is such a privilege to bring together this incredible group of artists. We know from our State of Natural Resources Report 2020 that, as a society, we need to live differently if we want to help limit Wales’s contribution to global temperature rise. Welsh culture is so fundamentally entwined with nature it is essential that culture is a part of our conversation about the planet we pass on to future generations.

“NRW are excited to be working with the Arts Council of Wales and the Centre for Alternative Technology on this Fellowship. It embodies many of the values that NRW was established to support and puts creativity and empathy at the heart of our response to climate change.

The other members of the Future Wales Fellowship are Kathryn Ashill, Angela Davies, Kirsti Davies, Dylan Huw, Durre Shahwar, Rhys Slade-Jones, and Fern Thomas.

The Fellows had the opportunity to meet as a group at the end of March when they attended a two-day residential course hosted by the Centre for Alternative Technology near Machynlleth, and heard from some of the foremost experts in the field of environmental issues and sustainable practices.