Gwenno Eleri Jones
What do you know?
I have over twenty years’ experience working in culture and heritage specialising mainly within arts engagement. I am a Fine Art graduate and trained to become a secondary school art and design teacher before changing paths to work within the cultural sector. Over the years I have worked for various arts organisations as a member of their education and engagement departments which led me to become a Local Government cultural leader, which is where my passion for using creativity for social benefit evolved. Within my public service role I had the opportunity to work with colleagues across Wales to develop large scale arts and education projects that had real impact on those who took part.
I am a fluent first language Welsh speaker, I didn’t learn English until I started school. The culture of Wales is a huge part of who I am and informs a large part of my work.
Why do you do what you do?
Being invited to join the Do-Well band was an absolute honour, the ethos of the band resonates so well with how I work and what I believe. The biggest joy, throughout my career, has been seeing the success of others and having a small part to play in helping people find the very best in themselves, whether that be teachers discovering a passion for the expressive arts, or a vulnerable young person able to express themselves through creative writing or painting.
Creativity and expression are as vital to humanity as kindness, air and water, and nothing brings me more pleasure than sharing my approach with others, and learning from the combined wealth of experience and knowledge that all members of the Do-Well band bring.
How can you be useful?
Having led on various and complex projects, including the creation of networks, community engagement and the delivery of capital initiatives, I am able to bring people together, from diverse fields and backgrounds, and help them find common ground to achieve a united goal.
I am creative to my core, and aim to help people find innovative and practical solutions to most challenges they face. I don’t claim to hold all the answers, I may not have experience within the field of the people I’m working with, but I am able to help organisations and individuals identify the issue they face and to help them explore what they may need to do to help solve it, if it needs solving.
I have been an active member of several boards, from local organisations and community festivals, to large UK wide membership led arts organisations. This has given me the opportunity to work with people at all levels. In my experience the most successful boards are those that are led by people which are able to identify and utilise the interests, expertise and passions of all those around the table, and able to make everyone feel useful, needed, equal and involved within the governance process. I am able to support boards and leaders to work towards achieving the trust and confidence of those they work with.
What album has most inspired you?
Since childhood I have held an obsessive passion for music, having learnt the piano and the harp as a young child, although sadly both skills have lapsed. My taste is diverse, from 1950’s American Blues to Electro House Music and most things in between. It has been so difficult to choose one album, especially as my husband and I are avid vinyl collectors and have thousands to choose from, but I’ve plumped for 'Screamadelica' by Primal Scream. The album was released when I was still at school and it was my first taste, as an indie kid through and through, of what dance music could be. It was the soundtrack to my most formative years and I still listen to it regularly whilst bouncing around the kitchen.