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Art and Devolution in Wales: Perceptions and Expectations

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British Academy (2001 – 2002)



This research explored the concept of cultural modernization and identity as it relates to Wales. The research focussed on elite artists living and working in Wales. Culture has become central to policy and rhetoric associated with economic regeneration as well as national renewal. Through the case example of the visual arts I argued that the process of cultural modernization is characterized by two principal tensions; namely ‘top down vs bottom up’ and the ‘introspective vs international’. The research outlined some of the characteristics of these tensions and considered the possibilities of overcoming these tensions in the future. The research documented the shape and character of cultural modernization and identified it as a  crucial influence in the formation of cultural identities that provides the ‘raw materials’ for the emerging cultural dimensions of citizenship in post-devolution Wales. The research also described the shape, character and concerns of the Welsh national art world at the beginning of the 21st century.


Project Publications

Visions of Wales: Visual Artists and Cultural Futures, Cultural Sociology (BSA), Vol. 3 (1), Housley, W.  (2009)

Wales, Artists, Narrative and Devolution, Contemporary Wales, Volume 16, Housley, W. 2006

Wales, Identity and Cultural Modernisation, Contemporary Wales, Volume 15, Housley, W. 2006

Artists, Narrative, Wales and Devolution. In Discourse, Identity and Devolution (Eds.Karyn Stapleton and John Wilson) Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006

Cultural Modernisation and Art in Wales, Welsh Journal of Education, Volume 13(2), Housley, W. 2005


Art and Devolution in Wales - Welsh Assembly Image


Links for Dr William Housley