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City cultural treasure in line for national award

Acton from the Your Voice Advocacy Group at Swansea’s Dylan Thomas Exhibition. Pics: Swansea Council

A Swansea cultural favourite has been shortlisted for The Best Small Museum Project Award at the Museum Association’s Museums Change Lives Awards 2022.  

The awards celebrate the achievements of museums making a difference for people across the UK, and the Dylan Thomas Exhibition is shortlisted for its work with Swansea’s Your Voice Advocacy Group.

The Dylan Thomas Exhibition, run by Swansea Council at the Dylan Thomas Centre,  has been hosting the group’s weekly sessions for five years, predominantly focusing on giving voice to local learning-disabled adults.

The partnership has seen positive change to service delivery at the venue, creating accessible forms and easy-read guides. It has fostered skill-sharing, resulting in improved representation in marketing materials with group participants playing their part.

The council’s cabinet member for culture and equalities Cllr Elliott King said: “The sense of ownership of the Dylan Thomas Exhibition – a literature centre and collection dedicated to self-expression – that the Your Voice Advocacy Group has developed is truly inspiring.

“The partnership our team has fostered with the group is helping us to create a better, more inclusive museum, where people can make friends, engage with cultural material, share ideas and create their own poetry to express their feelings.

“I am delighted that this work is being recognised by the Museums Change Lives Awards and wish our team the best of luck.”

Your Voice Advocacy Group is active in the learning-disabled community locally, nationally and internationally, attending conferences and events, then sharing learning to effect positive change.

The Dylan Thomas Exhibition’s partnership with the group promotes health and wellbeing, with members of the group noting that the exhibition, through its associated activities, is somewhere to meet friends, consider opportunities to take part in projects, to get your voice heard, to get active, lift spirits and to ease loneliness and feelings of isolation.

The project inspires engagement, reflection and debate. Each week the group shares – on social media – a poem reflecting on their session. It’s created with the exhibition’s magnetic poetry interactive board, demonstrating that creativity with language is empowering and for everyone.

The Dylan Thomas Exhibition won the Museums Change Lives Award in 2020 for its work with people seeking sanctuary.