Emma Robinson, Arts & Creativity Programme Manager – Age Cymru
Emma is responsible for Age Cymru’s arts and creative programmes, namely the Gwanwyn Festival and cARTrefu.
Gwanwyn is a month-long national festival held across Wales in May each year celebrating creativity in older age. The festival began in 2006 and is supported by Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government. In 2014, over 10,000 people attended over 500 events.
Gwanwyn, which means spring in Welsh, celebrates older age as a time of opportunity for renewal, growth and creativity. The aim is to offer opportunities for greater participation by older people in the arts, whether visual arts, drama, storytelling, music, literature, photography, dance or film. It is a time for performance, exhibition, workshops, discussion, networking and most importantly fun!
Gwanwyn includes commissions and collaborative projects as well as events organised by a wide range of cultural and community organisations and provides an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the very best of creativity as we age.
cARTrefu, which means home in Welsh, is a two year programme which aims to improve access to quality arts experiences for older people in residential care.
Supported by Arts Council Wales and the Baring Foundation, cARTrefu works with 16 artist practitioners from four different art forms: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Words and Music. The artists deliver residencies in care homes across the length and breadth of Wales, introducing a mix of established art forms and new activities residents may not have the chance to experience before.
In addition, each artist practitioner receives mentoring support from an experienced artist mentor. Both the artist practitioner and mentor work with care staff to help build their confidence to inject creativity into daily life.
Emma also works with partners to develop arts and creative provision and projects for older people throughout the year such as In Your Mind’s Eye that is 'shaping the future of dementia assessment units through arts and creativity'.
Originally from Lincolnshire, UK, Emma studied English and Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University on the mid coast of Wales and fell in love with Wales and has never left!
Emma has held many varied posts within the creative and voluntary / public sectors; she spent six years working as Tour Manager and Development Officer for Hijinx Theatre (an inclusive theatre company working with people with learning disabilities), 3rd Sector and Public Services Policy Officer for Cardiff Council, freelance theatre facilitator working with young people from deprived areas, Marketing and Fundraising Officer for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day and a Researcher for University of Glamorgan Community Theatre department. This varied experience has helped to compound Emma’s commitment to creating the best possible work, which is accessible to all.
In 2011, Emma won a competitive European funded internship to study and work in the programming department at Brotfabrik, a multi-arts venue in Berlin.
Emma was appointed Arts and Creativity Programme Manager for Age Cymru in July 2013. Age Cymru is the national charity for older people in Wales.