CULT Cymru (Creative Unions Learning Together) was established in 2008 and is supported by the Welsh Government’s Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF). It is hosted by Bectu working in partnership with Equity, the Musicians’ Union, the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain and the Wales TUC.
CULT Cymru works with a broad range of partners within and outside of the creative industries to support thousands of creative workers to reach their potential by offering learning opportunities that are relevant, accessible and affordable.
Meet the Team
Siân Gale – Skills and Development Manager
I started my career in production at HTV Wales followed by 10 years as a freelance Production Manager/Line Producer. Over the last 20 years I’ve pursued a portfolio career including managing a £13m European funded business start-up programme empowering under-represented groups to set-up in business; managing a broadcast charity and as a consultant, trainer and project manager working across the public, private and third sectors. I am a PGCE qualified trainer and a Mental Health First Aid Wales licenced tutor.
As a lifelong trade unionist I am passionate about fairness, equality, diversity, the Welsh language and environmental sustainability and aim to mainstream these into CULT Cymru’s provision. My role is to work in collaboration with our sister unions, and stakeholders to design and identify high quality, affordable, tailored and accessible learning and development opportunities that will enable those in the creative sector throughout Wales be they freelance, casual or employed workers, to reach their full potential.
Siwan Bowen – CULT Cymru Co-ordinator
After studying Drama at John Moores University, I returned to Wales to embark on a career as a freelance actress. The work ranged from Theatre in education, Theatre, Television, Radio and Voice Work. For several years I enjoyed travelling the length and breadth of Wales with a host of innovative Theatre companies. My work was also seen on numerous TV programmes broadcast on ITV, BBC and S4C. As well as being an actor, the need to add strings to my bow urged me to take up various administratives roles at organisations such S4C, Arts Council of Wales and the Education Workforce Council.
In 2018 I decided to take the leap out of self employment and into full time employment and joined the team of CULT Cymru as project Coordinator. My role entails co-ordinating with trainers, employers and other organisations to help arrange learning activities throughout Wales. I am very proud of my work with CULT Cymru and hope that my experience of working as a freelancer across the Arts and Creative Industries makes me ideally placed to help CULT Cymru’s participants.
Ruth Ballantyne – MU (Chair)
Having spent over 20 years as a freelance musician, and MU member, Ruth started work for the Musicians’ Union as the Regional Officer for Wales and South West England in 2019. With a background in orchestral playing, freelance gigs and specialist teaching she has also been proactive in creating accessible opportunities for musical development including the creation, set up and running of a charity as well as being part of creating and delivering a wide variety of projects and workshops that aimed to encourage and inspire.
CULT Cymru’s work produces a valuable resource for creatives in Wales, providing support and training to those working in the creative industries with a broad range of inspiring opportunities to connect, learn and develop. Ruth is proud to represent MU members as part of this collaboration of creative unions to assist with the development of opportunities that will enhance and support members in Wales.
Simon Curtis – Equity
Following an almost 20 years as a professional performer Simon moved to become an industrial official with the union. His role at Equity covers industrial negotiations in television and theatre, political lobbying, legal casework and engaging with members and non-members in both work venues and educational institutions.
The work of CULT Cymru and the collaborative approach by which the creative unions engage with each other for the good of our predominantly freelance members is vitally important.
Manon Eames – The Writers Guild
Originally from Bangor but now living in Swansea, Manon graduated from Manchester University with a joint honours in Drama and English. Initially, on her return to Wales, she worked as an actress with many of our theatre companies, touring in main stage, community and TIE productions, some of which she co-wrote.
She also appeared in several films and television series. However for the past twenty years she has worked primarily as a writer, writing in both Welsh and English for theatre, radio, television and film, with experience in original productions, adaptation, writing in writers’ rooms, storylining etc. In 2018 her first novel was published. From 2012 to 2018 she was Chair of the Welsh Committee of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, and now co-chair once again.
Manon is very much committed to improving pay, working conditions, opportunities and training for emerging, aspiring and experienced professional writers in Wales, in both Welsh and English.
Carwyn Donovan – Bectu
Growing up in a mining community in the Swansea Valley gave Carwyn a certain perspective on life. The strong principles of solidarity and collective action which protected its communities were always an immense source of pride for him and were what motivated him to take an interest in current affairs and the impact of political decisions on working life.
After leaving school, he began a career in underground coal mining at his local colliery and instinctually become active within the NUM. As the last of the Welsh pits closed, he transferred, like many of his colleagues to Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire, the UK’s last deep coal mine. Upon its closure, Carwyn went about transferring his skills learned whilst representing his colleagues at the coalface into becoming a full-time trades union official.
In 2017, he became Bectu’s Organising Official for the North West of England before becoming Negotiations Executive for Wales in 2020 and then its Negotiations Officer in 2021. He loves his work for Bectu which is focussed on delivering a fairer, more inclusive entertainments industry for future generations.
Amarjite Singh – WTUC
Amarjite Singh (AJ) is an Organising & Development Officer for the Wales TUC. AJ has only recently started with the Wales TUC.
AJ’s background is as a Royal Mail employee for who he worked with for over 35 years and was Branch Secretary for 15 years where he progressed through the ranks as a CWU rep. He represented the CWU at Branch level, Regional and on the CWU National Executive level. He also, represented the CWU in the wider Trade Union movement from the TUC, Labour Party and European level.