Case study: GALWAD and radical inclusion
GALWAD was a story told in real-time over seven days online, on TV and live from Wales. Committed to radical inclusion from the start, GALWAD set out to change the story by changing the storytellers – with inclusive casting, multiple languages, accessible formats and a collaborative creative process involving over 400 creatives and communities across Wales. Access and Inclusion Manager Nicci Bailey shares insight into how they worked, challenges they faced and how they tried to overcome them with a focussed lens on access.
GALWAD was a story for our times. Unfolding on social media channels in real-time over seven days in autumn 2022, and broadcast live on Sky Arts on Sunday 2nd October, it asked what if the future made contact with us in the present.
GALWAD was rooted in the people and places of contemporary Wales, with the future story-world of 2052 imagined by hundreds of people in response to the social, economic and cultural consequences that could result from a 1.8 degree rise in global temperatures.
Conceived as a new kind of tri-lingual, real-time storytelling, GALWAD broke new ground in distributing the characters and plot of the story across over a hundred pieces of content; immersing the viewer in the action through single-shot cinematography; threading BSL, Welsh and English through the script and performances and working across theatre, film and TV sectors to deliver the ambitious creative vision live from Wales.
GALWAD was committed from the start to radical inclusion - that is to change the how projects of this scale are made and by whom. As a collective of organisations and
individuals, we recognised the importance to co-create a set of working principles to create a safe environment in which to test new ways of working, to make mistakes and to learn and support each other through change.
Our principles of working were:
• Inclusion will always be our first thought.
• We are all responsible for inclusion.
• Lived experience will drive decision-making.
• We are anti-racist and anti-ableist.
• We are accountable.
• We will create conditions for creativity to thrive.
• Change is a journey and we recognise we will make mistakes.
As the project developed and our project and creative team and partners expanded, we continued to strive for radical inclusion in particular to ensure that the story of GALWAD was representative of contemporary Wales and that the characters, dialogue, plot and languages of the story challenged stereotypes and was enriched through the advice and consultation of a number of organisations and individuals including Deaf Talent Collective, Ethnic Minorities Youth Support Team, Centre for Alternative Technology, Climate Outreach and members of our creative and writing teams.
Given the short period in which the GALWAD production was developed from script to production, we are particularly grateful to the production, creative team and communities for their commitment to learning throughout the process. We knew there was an important conversation to be had around trust, disabled communities are so often let down or forgotten about by society that if we were to actually offer genuine inclusion we needed to make sure it was informed by lived experience and that disabled stakeholders could put their faith in us to provide safe supportive spaces where they can thrive.
This case study aims to give an insight into how we worked, challenges we faced and how we tried to overcome them with a focussed lens on access.
We reflect on our time working with Deaf collaborators and communities and although we are allies of the Deaf community, it’s important to recognise that this case study is written from a hearing perspective. Whilst it is not our place to comment on Deaf culture we wanted to reflect on good practice for arts organisations and provide an insight into the practical elements of access and holistic working – particularly how we worked with interpreters, so that other hearing-led organisations can develop their own practice.
We always advise that you always seek advice and consultation from people and communities with lived experience and pay them accordingly. Please see our resources section which links to some brilliant people and organisations with lived experience.
Claire Doherty, Creative Director, GALWAD
Watch one minute with Nicci Bailey, Access and Inclusion Manager
Part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, co-commissioned with Creative Wales
With funding from Welsh Government and UK Government
Produced by Collective Cymru, a collective of Welsh organisations and individuals led by National Theatre Wales.