Arts Council of Wales | Codi’r To ! - ‘El Sistema’ for Gwynedd?

Codi’r To ! - ‘El Sistema’ for Gwynedd?


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Location or contact address
Available until
Closing date: 25 May 2012
Open:1 May 2012
Contact details
Mari Lloyd Pritchard
01286 685 237


Applications are invited from individuals/companies interested in carrying out a feasibility study on running the ‘Codi’r To’ project in Gwynedd. The background is outlined below.

The huge success of El Sistema in Venezuela has heavily influenced similar projects across the world. This has now reached our shores with disparate projects in England and Scotland adopting their ethos of using the power of music to encourage personal and educational achievement amongst children in underprivileged areas.

There is a similar project in nearby Liverpool and, with the prompting of two workers from the ‘Cofis Bach’ project, a group of us visited ‘In Harmony’, who work in partnership with Liverpool Philharmonic.

In Harmony is a project where music and learning an instrument take up much of the school curriculum. Everybody is involved in the education side – including the cook, the head teacher and the administrator! This sums up the project’s ethos:

“In Harmony is inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, using the unique power of music making through the symphony orchestra to enthuse and motivate children, their families and their communities. In Harmony is centred around ensembles and seeks social change through the pursuit of musical excellence. One happens through the other, and neither is prioritized above the other.” Tom Service, the Guardian Classical Blog

We have also been in contact with another project along the same lines in Scotland called Big Noise. This has also enjoyed enormous success:

‘Big Noise is an orchestra programme that aims to use music making to foster confidence, teamwork, pride and aspiration in the children taking part – and across their wider community. It is based on the methods of Venezuela’s El Sistema movement and is run by the charity Sistema Scotland... We want the children we work with to grow up to be well-adjusted and happy adults. Through the orchestra we want them to learn they can work hard at something, succeed and feel confident as a result. We hope having succeeded at learning to play an instrument, they will succeed in other areas of their lives too. The Big Noise orchestras are about supporting children to realise their full potential. Big Noise website

Our desire to offer such a social project in Gwynedd has gathered momentum and we have decided that the next logical step is to commission a feasibility study.

The Steering Group

These are its the members (so far):
Judith Humphreys, Sioned Huws (Cofis Bach, Caernarfon)
Mari Lloyd Pritchard (William Mathias Schools Service)
Meinir Llwyd Jones (William Mathias Music Centre)
Dyfed Edwards (Leader), Gwawr Roberts (Gwynedd County Council)
Siân Tomos, Einion Dafydd (Arts Council of Wales)

Feasibility Study:
Its purpose will be to explore the following:

• Would a scheme like El Sistema be suitable for Gwynedd?
• If so, for which schools and underprivileged areas in Gwynedd?
• What partners would be suitable to join the steering group?
• What local provision is available for achieving this?
• What local provision is available for achieving this bilingually?
• Is funding available to achieve this on a large scale?
• Is it a project that could work in the long term?
• Is longterm funding available to ensure the project’s sustainability?
• What outputs could be expected and how could they be measured?
• What longterm impact could the project have on educational and personal achievement amongst the participants?
• What longterm impact could the project have on poverty and health in the chosen areas?

Applications should include the following:

• A letter of application outlining the reasons for your interest in this study and your experience in the field of music/education/sociology/economics
• A rough plan of how the study would be carried out
• A timetable for completing the study (the completion deadline is prior to 31 October 2012)
• The cost of the study
• A current CV
The study is to be carried out in Welsh and the final report is to be presented in Welsh accompanied by an English translation.

Electronic applications should be sent to us by mid-day 25 May 2012, to

We will draw up a shortlist and invite successful candidates to interview on 1 June 2012.

If you have any further questions, please contact either Mari Lloyd Pritchard on
01286 685 237 or Siân Tomos on 01492 533 440.

Registered Charity Number 1034245