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Paper 38 - Art, Wales, Discourse and Devolution

William Housley

This paper reports on a study carried out on art and devolution in Wales. It explores practitioners' understandings of visual art in Wales and the notion of Welsh art as national parameters that are both recognised and contested. The paper analyses examples of artistic narrative as a means of describing the character of these understandings and the various discourses utilised by artists in negotiating the relationship between the creative self and wider social, cultural and national boundaries. The paper argues that recent developments in Wales and the attempts to construct a national visual story overlook the sociological reality of contestation and alternate understandings circulating within the art scene in Wales. However, it also acknowledges that homogenised fictions are inevitable features of national social/cultural forms that have been marginalised. To this extent the paper explores the narrative of the creative self in relation to wider discourses of nation in terms of a case study that has resonance with the study of culture, marginalised collective experience and national renewal and re-invigoration and cultural modernization in Wales, the UK and beyond.

Paper 38 - Art, Wales, Discourse and Devolution, Series Working Paper Series, (2003), ISBN 1 872330 89 4