The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama has just announced that Uzo Iwobi OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Race Council Cymru, is its inaugural Hodge International Chair of Diversity.
This appointment, made at the Grand Finale Event of Black History Month Wales at the College, widens the scope of the College’s International Chair programme, which is supported by the Hodge Foundation.
The appointment of Uzo as International Chair in Diversity will bring the highest levels of expertise to guide the development of the College’s diversity strategy, and ensure that the College is connecting with and providing opportunities to talented young people from across the community.
Over the next three years the College will work in partnership to deliver a bespoke programme of training in multicultural awareness for staff and recruitment panels, develop further its creative programming offer, enhance its outreach and in-reach work, and develop its student recruitment and their subsequent academic progression.
“I am honoured and humbled to be able to provide transformational leadership on equality and diversity for the Royal Welsh College,” said Uzo.
“Working with senior leaders, front line staff, volunteers, students and lecturers amongst others, will ensure that the College continues to be a pacesetter and a beacon for equality- leading the way for other conservatoires to follow – because promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity will enable us mainstream equality principles across the work we do.
It’s like a piano, to get the best harmony both black and white keys must play in tune together.”
“It’s the College’s ambition to be at the fore of the equality and diversity agenda and to be seen as a flagship institution in this area,” said Brian Weir, Director of Student Experience at RWCMD.
“We are adamant that these buildings will be accessible to all, but that we also go out and work with all communities in Wales.
The College is an institution which values its civic mission and has the highest aspirations for developing further our role as the National Conservatoire of, and for Wales. We value the role the arts have to play in a diverse and inclusive society, and the power which can come from being a participant, audience member or collaborator.”
Ensuring exceptional young artists are able to access specialist training and progress into a career, regardless of any barriers they may face, is a central principle within the College’s strategy. Being able to offer the necessary financial support to students, both on the basis of excellence and financial need, is essential.
Therefore, alongside this, the College is working with partners, including Bad Wolf Productions, one of the UK’s leading production companies, to enhance the necessary financial support to ensure students are able to fulfil their potential.
“Bad Wolf is thrilled to offer scholarships to assist students training at the Royal Welsh College,” Said Natasha Hale, Chief Operating Officer of Bad Wolf Productions, and RWCMD Board Member.
“Our commitment to fair work, diversity, ethical employment and tackling inequality is reflected in the work we do, and in particular within our sponsorship and bursary programme. We wish them every success in the studies and future careers.”
The event was attended by Hon First Minister Carwyn Jones AM and included presentations of Race Council Cymru’s BHMW 2018 awards for significant contributions to the Community.
The College’s International Chair programme was founded with the support of what was then the Jane Hodge Foundation in 2011, to formalise our relationships with a number of leading artists, from across the world, to bring them to Cardiff to teach, mentor and perform with our students.
Since then, with the support of the Hodge Foundation, the programme has grown beyond a professional mentoring programme to strategically enhance the scope and quality of training delivered at the College. The opportunity to bring renowned specialists from across disciplines in music and drama to work with the new generation of talent studying at the College has enabled students to establish and extend their professional networks and the organisation itself to develop industry partnerships to offer students new platforms from which to launch their careers.
Current holders of the role include Chair in Conducting Maestro Carlo Rizzi, Chair in Opera John Fisher and Chairs in Drama Mathew Rhys and Michael Sheen.