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National award hope for Swansea arts favourite

Dylan Thomas exhibition at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, UK.

One of Swansea’s most popular cultural venues is in the running for a national award.

The Swansea Council-run exhibition and learning facility at the Dylan Thomas Centre is a finalist in the annual Museums Change Lives Awards run by national body the Museums Association.

The centre, based in the Maritime Quarter, is co-shortlisted with Your Voice Advocacy (YVA) in the best small museum category for their Our Museum, Our Voice initiative.

The honour reflects the collaborative work carried out by the centre and YVA, a user-led organisation for adults with learning disabilities.

Swansea Council cabinet member Elliott King said: “The Dylan Thomas Centre, like all our cultural venues, does great work across our communities and it’s right that it’s being recognised by the Museums Association awards.

“The work being undertaken in partnership with YVA really is helping to change lives for the better, improving the health and wellbeing of participants, creating a better place for them and inspiring engagement, reflection and debate.”

A YVA member said: The Dylan Thomas Centre staff are great. We’ve done excellent work with them and I want to keep the partnership going. It’s nice to be recognised when the awards come up.”

YVA has met every week at the Dylan Thomas Centre for a number of years and worked on co-produced activities such as museum photography, exhibition curation, easy read learning resources and creating an accessible sensory space.

It has members from across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. It offers the chance for some members to participate online.

It’s the first group to have trialled a new museums qualification designed with the Dylan Thomas Centre, and overseen by Agored Cymru, an awarding body for education and training providers. Swansea’s Fusion programme has helped support the project.

The Museums Change Lives Awards celebrate the achievements of museums that are making a difference to the lives of their audiences and communities across the UK.

This year’s awards will take place in Newcastle-Gateshead on November 7.