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Creative Access Spotlight – Ayesha Ali

We are shining the spotlight on our amazing staff once again. This time it’s the turn of our fabulous Employer Training & Operations Assistant, Ayesha Ali. Grab a cuppa as we talk all things creative (and Wales!).

Please introduce yourself!

I’m Ayesha and I am the Employer Training & Operations Assistant for Creative Access.

What were your motivations for joining CA? 

I knew that I wanted to work for a mission-based organisation, somewhere where my work would help change society for the better. I always thought I’d work in the third sector – helping fill the gaps and give support the Government have missed. Since university, I have had a big interest in diversity and inclusion and mental health, so when I saw a role advertised by Creative Access, I knew I had to apply.

We need to support young people by investing money in the industry and investing in grassroots organisations.

Since working for CA, I’ve learnt so much about the creative industries and the different types of roles in the creative sector and where creative industries can take you in your career – working here has opened my eyes to the creative world.

Which creative sector are you most passionate about?

If you know me, you’ll know I am someone who has a lot of different interests so this question is quite difficult for me to answer. I am an avid reader and I adore musicals; so aligning with my hobbies, I’d say publishing and theatre. I love stories and being transported to different worlds and places. I am a big history nerd and I love learning more about different periods of history through musicals and books.

I am proud to be Welsh – it plays a big part in my identity.

Can you tell me more about the creative industries in Wales? Have they improved in terms of diversity and inclusion over the years, and if so, how? 

Ayesha with her twin sister Monisah

The creative industries in Wales are growing and becoming more established, especially journalism and TV. Historically, Wales is known for being the place where Doctor Who was filmed, but there have been so many great newer productions filmed and produced in Wales in the last couple of years. For example, last year I watched His Dark Materials which was a Bad Wolf Studios production and was filmed in Cardiff. Early this year I watched The Pembrokeshire Murders which I enjoyed, it was starring Luke Evans (who was also Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) and through the show, I discovered new Welsh talent such as Alexandria Riley.

In terms of Diversity and Inclusion, I think so much more needs to be done in Wales. I remember a few years ago, a theatre production of The Golden Dragon was criticised for its lack of diversity in casting South East Asian actors. More recently the BBC did a report a few weeks ago on Welsh musicians of colour, which covered similar themes of lack of representation of people of colour. I think the general trend is that young people who are interested in the creative industries are more likely to move to London, which is a shame.

Culture is one of the areas where the Welsh government have more control and independence over and I think more needs to be done in terms of showcasing the diversity in Wales.

What else can be done to help the progression of the creative industries in Wales? 

Barafundle beach, Pembrokeshire Wales

At the moment, there isn’t a well-developed infrastructure in Wales yet to support young people of colour who are interested in the Arts and creative industries. The talent is here – but we need to support young people by investing money in the industry and investing in grassroots organisations like organisations including Ladies of Rage who I discovered when I was protesting with the Cardiff & Vale Black Lives Matter march. Ladies of Rage are an organisation that support female and non-binary musicians in Wales and they have such a great sense of community. Culture is one of the areas where the Welsh government have more control and independence over and I think more needs to be done in terms of showcasing the diversity in Wales.

What do you love most about being from Wales? 

I love the community; Welsh people are known for being friendly and it really is true. I also appreciate the beautiful landscapes; I am such a beach person and love being in nature – and Wales is full of nature! Most importantly I love the familiarity, I’ve moved around a little for travelling, work and university so I love the familiarity and comfort I feel being back at home in Wales. I am proud to be Welsh – it plays a big part in my identity.

Finally, what’s your favourite Welsh saying? 

Ych-a-fi!

It means “that’s disgusting”. It just rolls off the tongue! I often find myself using it more than the English phrase (which is a bit more of a mouthful!).