S4C, the Welsh-language public service broadcaster based in Cardiff, functions as a publisher-broadcaster, commissioning TV programmes from small production companies across Wales. Its role in maintaining the Welsh language gives it a distinctive cultural mission.
Following publication of Making is Connecting, I was invited to have meetings and interactions with S4C’s New Media Forum, a committee who had been charged with developing S4C’s digital future. Meeting the Forum and the acting Chief Executive at S4C, I made proposals about the role that everyday people in Wales could play in building the range and diversity of Welsh-language media. I argued that S4C’s corporate aims were too narrow and outdated, being based only on the transmission and reception of television programmes, and proposed instead a three-part list of aims for S4C:
- To educate, inform, and entertain the Welsh people, in both established and innovative ways;
- To cultivate the creative capacity of Welsh-language producers and makers of all ages and abilities;
- To celebrate the culture, traditions and imagination of Wales.
This text was adopted and proposed in the strategy report produced by the New Media Forum over the summer, 2011, and delivered to S4C’s governing Authority and Management Team in September 2011. The report incorporated my further suggestions building on this theme: that the company should do much more to support non-professional Welsh-language media content wherever it was to be in found – primarily, video and audio made by enthusiasts and shared on online platforms – so that the Welsh language could be supported by communities of people making and sharing their own media. The report was published in November 2011.
In October 2012, S4C published a new statement of corporate aims and values, which was directly influenced by this research and the subsequent dialogue. In a striking change, the new publication stated that the organisation’s role was to ‘nurture and celebrate creativity in the Welsh language’.
Photo by Flickr user Fabi42 (see original), used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.