Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee10/11/2021
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies AS|
|Carolyn Thomas AS|
|Delyth Jewell AS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Hefin David AS|
|Heledd Fychan AS|
|Tom Giffard AS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Christopher Catling||Comisiwn Brenhinol Henebion Cymru|
|Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales|
|David Anderson||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|David Thomas||Comisiwn Brenhinol Henebion Cymru|
|Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales|
|Diane Hebb||Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru|
|Arts Council of Wales|
|Kath Davies||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|Neil Wicks||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|Nêst Thomas||Ffederasiwn Amgueddfeydd ac Orielau Celf Cymru|
|The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales|
|Nia Williams||Amgueddfa Cymru|
|National Museum Wales|
|Owain Roberts||Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru|
|National Library of Wales|
|Pedr ap Llwyd||Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru|
|National Library of Wales|
|Rebecca Nelson||Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru|
|Arts Council of Wales|
|Sharon Heal||Cymdeithas yr Amgueddfeydd|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Martha Da Gama Howells||Ail Glerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Mae hon yn fersiwn ddrafft o’r cofnod.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. This is a draft version of the record.
Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.
The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:30.
Bore da. Hoffwn estyn croeso i'r Aelodau i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 34.19, rwyf wedi penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd rhag bod yn bresennol yng nghyfarfod y pwyllgor er mwyn amddiffyn iechyd y cyhoedd. Mae'r cyfarfod hwn yn cael ei ddarlledu'n fyw ar Senedd.tv. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan? Heledd Fychan.
Good morning. I'd like to welcome Members to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I have determined that the public are excluded from attending the committee's meeting in order to protect public health. This meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv. Are there any declarations of interest? Heledd Fychan.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Tan fis Mai, mi oeddwn i'n cael fy nghyflogi gan Amgueddfa Cymru. Mi oeddwn i hefyd yn aelod o fwrdd y Museums Association, a hefyd ar bwyllgor y ffederasiwn—wedyn dwi'n adnabod nifer o bobl sy'n rhoi tystiolaeth i ni y bore yma.
Thank you very much. Until May, I was being employed by National Museum Wales. I was also a member of the board of the Museums Association, and also on the federation's committee, so I know many people who are giving evidence this morning.
Diolch am hwnna. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau unrhyw fuddiannau eraill i'w datgan? Na. Jest yn edrych. Grêt.
Thank you for that. Do other Members have any declarations of interest? No.
So, fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 2, sef ymchwiliad undydd ynghylch treftadaeth, amgueddfeydd ac archifau. Fe wnaf i ofyn i'r tystion gyflwyno'u hunain ar gyfer y record. Pan dŷch chi'n eich cyflwyno'ch hunan, os allwch chi yn gryno esbonio beth ydy gwaith neu remit eich sefydliadau, plîs, jest o fewn rhyw frawddeg neu ddwy. Fe wnaf i ddod at Christopher yn gyntaf.
So, we'll move on to item 2, which is a one-day inquiry on heritage, museums and archives. I'll ask the witnesses to introduce themselves for the record. When you introduce yourself, if you could briefly explain what the remit or work of your organisations are, just in a sentence or two. First of all, Christopher.
I'm the chief executive of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Our job, essentially, is to gather the evidence that underpins policy towards the historic environment. So we have a survey and investigation team, we have an archive, and we have a public-facing capacity as well.
Diolch. Diolch yn fawr iawn, Christopher. Fe wnaf i ddod at David nesaf.
Thank you, Christopher. I'll come to David next.
Hi. I'm David Thomas, I'm head of public services at the royal commission, so I'm responsible for all our public-facing services, like our online development, our enquiries service and our engagement programme.
Diolch, David. Fe wnaf i ddod at Nêst nesaf.
Thank you, David. I'll come to Nêst next.
Nêst Thomas. Fi ydy llywydd Ffederasiwn Amgueddfeydd ac Orielau Celf Cymru. Mae o'n gorff elusennol, annibynnol ar gyfer amgueddfeydd ac orielau celf yng Nghymru, ac yn eu cynrychioli nhw a'u gweithlu, boed nhw'n gyflogedig neu'n wirfoddol. Ac rydyn ninnau hefyd yn fudiad gwirfoddol, felly, ac mae'n cynnwys aelodaeth amgueddfeydd cenedlaethol, awdurdodau lleol, prifysgolion, milwrol, gwirfoddol ac annibynnol ac yn y blaen.
I'm Nêst Thomas. I'm president of the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales. It is an independent, charitable body, representing museums and art galleries in Wales, and representing them and their workforce, be they employed or voluntary. And we too are a voluntary organisation, and it includes membership from national museums, local authorities, universities, military, voluntary, independent and so on and so forth.
Diolch, Nêst. Ac yn olaf, fe wnawn ni ddod at Sharon.
Thank you, Nêst. And finally, we'll come to Sharon.
Bore da. I'm Sharon Heal. I'm the director of the Museums Association. We're a campaigning membership organisation. We have individual members in Wales, and we have institutional members. And much like the fed, we would represent the National Museum and local and independent museums right across Wales. We deliver workforce support, professional development programmes, events and also funding into the sector—over £1 million a year in funding into museums, including into museums in Wales. Thank you.
Diolch am hynna, Sharon. Fe wnawn ni symud at gwestiynau, os ydych chi i gyd yn hapus â hynny. Dim ond 50—wel, llai na 50 munud sydd gyda ni, felly byddwn i'n gofyn am gwestiynau ac atebion mor gryno ag sy'n bosib, os gwelwch chi'n dda. Heledd Fychan yn gyntaf.
Thank you for that, Sharon. We'll move on to questions, if you're all happy with that. We've got less than 50 minutes, so we'll be asking for brief questions and looking for brief answers as well. Heledd Fychan to start with.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Eisiau holi oeddwn i, i ddechrau, o ran unrhyw drafodaethau rydych chi wedi eu cael efo'r Dirprwy Weinidog ers yr etholiad, ac o ran beth rydych chi'n ei feddwl y dylai Llywodraeth Cymru fod yn ei flaenoriaethu ar gyfer y pum mlynedd nesaf, gan gymryd, os ydych chi wedi cael y cyfle i weld y Dirprwy Weinidog, eich bod chi'n barod wedi gwneud y cais hwnnw am gefnogaeth.
Thank you very much. I wanted to ask you, to begin with, about any discussions you've had with the Deputy Minister since the election, and about what you think the Welsh Government should be prioritising for the next five years, taking that, if you have had an opportunity to meet the Deputy Minister, you've already made that application for support.
Pwy bynnag sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf, ydych chi eisiau rhoi eich llaw i fyny, os ydych chi eisiau—? Nêst.
Who would like to go first? If you'd like to indicate. Nêst.
Mi wnaf i gychwyn. Do, rydyn ni wedi cael cyfarfod ar ran y ffederasiwn, amgueddfeydd annibynnol drwy Brydain, a hefyd efo Cymdeithas yr Amgueddfeydd. Cawsom ni gyfarfod buddiol iawn, yn rhoi trosolwg o beth sydd wedi bod yn digwydd yng Nghymru. Ac un o'r pethau amlwg a oedd yn codi, er mwyn bod yn gryno, oedd yr angen am strategaeth ddiwylliannol a chreadigol ar gyfer y dyfodol i'r sector, a hefyd ein bod ni i gyd yn awyddus iawn i gyfrannu at raglen Lywodraeth Cymru, gan ein bod ni'n gweld y cyfleoedd—[Anghlywadwy.]—drwy'r amgueddfeydd yn y sector.
Yes, I'll begin. We've had a meeting as a federation of independent museums across the UK, and with the Museums Association. We had a very beneficial meeting, giving an overview of what's been happening in Wales. And one of the things that arose, in order to be succinct, was the need for a cultural and creative strategy to secure the sector's future, and that we were all very eager to contribute to the Welsh Government's programme for government, because we do see opportunities through museums in the sector.
Thank you. Yes, we've just published some research on local authority funding for museums, which looks over a 10-year period, which found that, in Wales, there'd been a 31 per cent drop in funding over that 10-year period, up until 2019-20. So we did raise with the Deputy Minister our concern about funding for the sector, which obviously was reflected in the 2015 expert review of local museums in Wales, which said that there'd been historic underfunding. And one point of interest I think, if you take a comparison between Wales and England, for example, is that, for the period of 2018 to 2022, Arts Council England put in substantial funding to its national portfolio of museums. The equivalent of that funding for Wales would have been £8 million in that period, so we raised with the Deputy Minister that we would like to see strategic funding for local museums in Wales, as well as museums being central to the culture strategy.
Could you—? Actually, can I come on to Alun, who wants to come in with a very quick supplementary on that point?
Sorry, no. I was interested in what you said—you know, spoken to the Deputy Minister about the funding—I'm just interested in what she said.
Well, obviously, it was a first conversation and she was in listening mode and she said that she and her officers would go back to the expert review and look at the recommendations of that. But certainly, between the Museums Association and the fed, we've been saying for a long time that we want to see some of the recommendations from that expert review implemented, in particular the regional working, and also a look at national infrastructure and funding for local museums across Wales.
So, she didn't say anything about additional funding or guarantees of existing funding streams.
No. She said that she would take into account our comments in terms of the budget—that it would be a strong request from the Museums Association, and I think the fed and museums across Wales, that there's a more strategic approach to funding and there is central Government funding input into local museums and the infrastructure of local museums, but there was no commitment.
Thank you. You referenced, Nêst and Sharon, the local museum review and strategy in your responses. Obviously, the local museum review is now six years on from that. Was there any indication from the Minister that there are plans to update that work in response to the issues you've raised or any updates around implementing the recommendations?
Similarly, if I may, with the cultural strategy, obviously, Wales did have its own museum strategy, which came to an end in 2015. Do you think there is still a need for a specific museum strategy or are you confident that the cultural strategy will address this current deficit?
Ie, dwi'n meddwl y ffordd roeddem ni'n edrych arno fo y buasai'r elfen amgueddfeydd yn gweithio'n dda o fewn y strategaeth ddiwyllianol ac un creadigol hefyd, ein bod ni'n gallu cynnwys yr holl sector. Achos dwi'n meddwl ei fod o'n bwysig iawn ein bod ni'n gweithio'n strategol ac yn gweithio i'r un cyfeiriad ac mae llawer iawn i'w ddysgu o'n gilydd. A hefyd, efo'r expert review, ydy, mae o wedi dyddio ond mae rhai o'r egwyddorion yn parhau, sydd angen eu hedrych arnyn nhw, oherwydd dwi'n credu, ers sawl blwyddyn rŵan, does yna ddim sylw wedi bod i'r adroddiad ac rydym ni angen ail-edrych arno fo.
Yes, I think the way we were looking at it was that the museums element would work well within the culture strategy and also a creative one, so that we could include the whole sector. Because I think it's very important that we do work strategically and work towards the same direction and there's much to learn from each other. And also, with the expert review, yes, it's dated, but some of the principles continue and they need looking at, because I think, for a number of years now, there hasn't been much attention given to the report and we need to look at it again.
Just to follow on from that, yes, we would want museums to be really central and core to a new culture strategy, but I don't think we need any more reviews. What we need is the implementation of the recommendations from the existing reviews and we need that support for local museums. What we've seen over the course of the pandemic is local museums really supporting communities, community recovery and community well-being and doing a fantastic offer in terms of hybrid, digital and working outside of the walls of the museum. But that takes resources, it takes input, it takes digital infrastructure, and those are the things that we want Government to be investing in—the skills and the infrastructure to provide that offer and to support community recovery going forward.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Dwi'n ymwybodol nad ydym ni wedi rhoi cyfle i'r comisiwn brenhinol rŵan, wedyn, os caf i droi'n benodol at y comisiwn brenhinol, yr un cwestiwn i chi: a ydych chi wedi cael cyfarfod efo'r Dirprwy Weinidog eto, ac, os felly, beth ydych chi wedi galw ar y Gweinidog amdano o ran cefnogaeth dros y pum mlynedd nesaf, a hefyd oes yna bethau yr hoffech chi ein gweld ni fel pwyllgor yn eich cefnogi chi arnyn nhw o ran galw ar y Gweinidog a'r Dirprwy Weinidog am gefnogaeth?
Thank you very much. I'm aware that we haven't given the royal commission an opportunity as of yet, so, if I could turn specifically to the royal commission, the same question for you: have you had a meeting with the Deputy Minister as of yet? If you have, what support have you requested from the Minster over the next five years, and also are there things that you would like to see us, as a committee, supporting you on in making demands of the Minister and Deputy Minister?
Yes, we have had a series of meetings with the Deputy Minister and officials. I think we've been focusing on how we map our work across on to the programme for government, and whether we’ve got the skills and capacity to deliver. I think we’ve identified that the climate emergency and the digital strategy are the two areas to which the royal commission can make a contribution. I would say that those are rather amorphous at the moment—we’re not exactly clear what the actions are. Some of the actions in the programme for government, like the establishment of a museum of north Wales or a football museum, are very clear, precise actions. There is a lot in the programme for government that isn’t clear. I think what we would like to see from Welsh Government is a clearer steer on who’s leading which of the programme for government actions and what the strategy is, and how we as an organisation can contribute, because otherwise we’re in danger of duplicating and working in the dark.
I would echo the call for a cultural strategy. We desperately need it. It’s noticeable that the natural environment and natural culture gets a huge amount of resource and coverage. We want parity of esteem. We are interdependent—the cultural and the natural environment. What we have is as important as butterflies and birds. So, working towards a cultural strategy is absolutely essential.
Finally, I would say that capacity is a major issue. I would echo what Sharon and Nêst have already said—it’s capacity.
I’d like to echo as well Sharon’s comments about the shift to online and digital methods of communications with groups. I know, from the royal commission, we do work with quite a number of volunteers. We’ll have to look at new ways of working with volunteers, because they were very much, kind of, office based and so on. So, I think support for digital skills would be really good as we move into more things like crowdsourcing, working digitally, and I think there has been a shift in the way that our public services in the commission, but also wider in the sector, are delivered. So, again, I think support for resources in that area will be very welcome.
Diolch, David a Christopher. Os caf i holi jest un peth, o ran sefyllfa ariannol y comisiwn yn benodol—ydy hi'n sefyllfa gynaliadwy ar y funud? Ac oedd yna unrhyw bethau penodol oeddech chi'n gofyn i'r Dirprwy Weinidog am gefnogaeth ariannol gyda?
Thank you, David and Christopher. If I could just ask one thing, in terms of the commission's financial position—is it a sustainable position at the moment? And is there anything specifically that you wanted to ask the Minister for in terms of financial support?
As part of the budgeting process, we’ve bid for additional funds for various additional posts and also to support apprenticeships. We’re very, very keen to bring on the next generation of people with skills in the historic environment. If you take on an apprentice, you make a commitment to offer them a job at the end of their apprenticeship, and we don’t have the capacity to do that.
We have been shrinking as an organisation from about 48 staff five years ago down to 30 now. Because our budgets have been flat, the way we’ve been able to continue to sustain the organisation is simply not renewing posts when people move on.
Ocê, fe wnawn ni symud—. David, os gallaf i ofyn am ateb byr iawn, os yw'n bosibl.
Okay, we'll move on—. David, if I could ask you for a very short answer, possibly.
I was just going to say, in term of our staffing as well, we’re seeing a lot of retirements at the moment as well. So, we’re losing quite a lot of experience and we’re looking to replace as much of that as possible.
Ocê. Diolch, David. Mae Carolyn eisiau dod i mewn gyda chwestiwn byr hefyd.
Thank you, David. Carolyn wants to come in with a brief question as well.
Thank you. To Christopher, the Clwydian range and Dee valley area of outstanding natural beauty, under the programme for government, they’re looking at redesignating that to a national park. It comes under the Minister for Climate Change, but part of the designation as an AONB is the historical monuments there. We’ve got Valle Crucis abbey, castell Dinas Brân, ancient hillforts, and the Offa’s Dyke trail. So, that’s all part of the designation, and I was just wondering if you would be part of that consultation, because I think that’s really important—that such designation is the built historical value of it as well as the natural beauty and the recreational value. That was the first question.
And then, the second one. As I read the report, I saw National Museum Wales is in charge of—is it five museums? But the smaller museums, if we managed to increase their status, because they’re very much valued in their local areas where they sit—. So, under this strategy, if we could higher their status, basically. So, if the programme for government is looking at the museum for north Wales in north-east Wales in Llanberis, or the football museum in Wrexham, or investment in Theatr Clwyd, could we not—. As that investment and that higher status is given to them—the focus—could we not link in to the smaller museums at the same time to make sure that they're part of that same umbrella, or working together? I think that would help them. Perhaps that could be included in any strategies.
I'll answer the first question and then I'll hand over to Sharon and Nêst for the second part. The simple answer to the first question is no, we haven't been consulted. I think it would fall more under Cadw's area of responsibility than ours, but you've highlighted an issue which is that many of the programme for government commitments are cross-portfolio, and what we would really like to see at the royal commission is a greater degree of partnership and an understanding across different ministerial responsibilities. Environmental protection tends to be in a different portfolio. We have real concerns about some of the environmental commitments that have been suggested—the huge scale of forestation, for example, across Wales, absolutely essential, but it has to be done sensitively because there's a huge amount of pre-historic monuments and peat bogs and other precious resources out there. We need to be part of the conversation to ensure that conservation doesn't mean one good doesn't destroy another.
Ac wedyn, Sharon.
And then, Sharon.
Yes, just on that question of local museums and investment, I completely agree we need to invest and raise the status of the fantastic local museums that we have in Wales. There's really good partnership working now between the national museum service and local museums, but what we want to see, again, are the recommendations from that expert review implemented and investment going into the infrastructure of local museums. There's a fantastic distributed national collection across those local museums, so rather than putting capital spending into new, we would argue, 'Put the capital spending into the infrastructure that already exists there at a local level', because you've got a string of pearls, in effect, in terms of the collections, the buildings, the museums that exist right across Wales. So, investing in what we've got would be our plea to Government and implement those recommendations from the review.
Diolch am hwnna, Sharon. Mae'n flin gen i, bydd rhaid i ni symud ymlaen achos amser, so wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.
Thank you for that, Sharon. I'm sorry, we'll have to move on, so we move on to Alun Davies.
If I could, I'll just continue that part of the conversation. You say, Sharon, that you'd like to see more investment in the string of pearls, which is a lovely description, of our local museums. That implies to me that there isn't that investment taking place at the moment. Is that part of the diminishing funding that you referred to earlier?
Yes. I mean, we all know that local authorities are under pressure. They were under pressure before the pandemic; they're under even more pressure now because of the cost of the pandemic, and museums need local-level support from the local authority to invest in those services, and there's a squeeze on that—there's a squeeze on the whole cultural and arts sector—but on museums in particular. We've mapped that in our local authority research. I'd be happy to send the links to the Members on that research, but it was also mapped in the review of local museums. So, there's been a sharp decline in funding, which I'm sure Nêst can speak to as well, but across every museum that is supported by its local authority, there's been a sharp decline of at least 30 per cent over the last 10 years. That needs to be stopped and there needs to be a new set of investment, and we would argue from Government as well as from local authorities.
Look, I'm sure you would argue that. I'm yet to meet any association of that sort that hasn't made that argument, and I don't blame you for doing it, by the way—if I was in your shoes, I'd do exactly the same. But, can I ask perhaps a more difficult question, and I'd like Chris to comment on this as well if you could, because you both—and Nêst to a lesser extent—argued that you're almost waiting for Government for all these different things, and I'm thinking, you know, you're a pretty impressive outfit: why aren't you doing this? Why do you need Government to tell you what to do? Chris, you talked about partnership working. The arts and cultural sector in Wales is not like the United Nations, is it? It's not a huge organisation. Why can't you just meet up with somebody, do it on Zoom, have a cup of coffee, start thinking about these things yourselves? Why do you rely on Government to do these things? I'm interested, more than anything else.
There are two answers to that. One is the capacity issue: why are we asking for more? If I can illustrate that just with one example, we have one person who is responsible for recording all the massive numbers of places of worship and twentieth-century buildings that are currently being made redundant or being demolished. There are schools being demolished all over Wales. We're trying desperately to make a record with one person's time, so that's the capacity issue. As for the, 'Why don't we just get on with it?', we have conversations at an operational level with our counterparts in different parts of Welsh Government, but it's policy that's lacking. It's the strategy. It's the signing up to that strategy from officials.
Okay, I get that, and I think that's very reasonable.
Dwi'n meddwl bod Nêst eisiau dod i mewn hefyd.
I think Nêst wanted to come in.
I just wanted to pursue the point with Chris.
Okay, we'll come back to you in a minute, Nêst.
I would appreciate Nêst's response as well, but I didn't want to lose the point here. I think you're right in terms of policy, because policy does drive the civil service and the rest of it. So, what are the policy considerations that you believe are missing? By the way, I accept your point about capacity; I've got no issue with that at all, and I think it's hugely important for us as a country that we're able to create the rich, not just inventory but analysis of the cultural buildings and the rest of it, environment that you've described. I've got no issue with that at all. What I'm interested in is what are the policy initiatives that you would like to see from Government?
I think just clarity over what—. Delivery. Sorry, I just said 'policy' and now I'm going to change my ground and talk about delivery. Clarity of exactly who is going to do what, and who's responsible and over what sort of timescales.
I think that's important, and I think that's something we should be taking up as a committee with the Government as well. I completely accept that point of view. I'm sorry, Nêst, I think you—.
Roeddech chi'n trio dod i mewn yn y fanna. Sori, roeddwn i eisiau dilyn y pwynt gyda Chris cyn colli fe.
You were trying to come in at that point. I just wanted to follow up that point with Chris.
Mae hynny'n iawn. Ie, mae sawl peth wedi codi mewn ffordd. O ran y ffederasiwn, wrth gwrs, rydyn ni'n fudiad gwirfoddol, ond mi rydym ni'n eistedd ar lawer iawn o bwyllgorau yn cyfrannu at bethau drwy Brydain i gyd, boed o'n collections at risk, boed o'n partneriaethu gyda Kids in Museums. Rydyn ni'n chwilio am gyllidebau tu allan, ond fedrwn ni ddim ond mynd â phethau mor bell, a dyna lle mae angen y cam nesaf, fel petai.
A hefyd, jest yn pigo i fyny o rai o'r sgyrsiau blaenorol efo'r amgueddfa pêl-droed ac amgueddfa lechi, jest i ategu hefyd ein bod ni fel ffederasiwn yn eistedd ac yn rhoi mewnbwn i'r cynlluniau yna. Rydyn ni wedi cael gwybod mi fyddwn ni'n cydweithio fel amgueddfeydd lleol efo'r amgueddfa pêl-droed, ac, yn aml iawn, fel sydd wedi'i ddweud, ni fel amgueddfeydd lleol sy'n agos iawn i'n cymunedau ni. Ni ydy'r cyfrwng i gyrraedd llawer o'r cymunedau a'u hanesion ar y casgliadau, felly. Roeddwn i jest eisiau ategu hynny.
Ac mae yna gydweithio agos iawn efo Amgueddfa Cymru, cyfarfodydd misol, yn trio meddwl yn fwy strategol am rannu casgliadau, cyfleoedd ar y cyd, ac rydyn ni'n ddiolchgar iawn am yr arian rydyn ni wedi ei gael i gefnogi winter of well-being efo pobl ifanc ac wrthi yn gweithio'n galed iawn ar hynny er mwyn cyflawni erbyn diwedd Mawrth. Roeddwn i jest eisiau cael tipyn o hynny i mewn.
That's absolutely fine. Yes, a number of things have arisen. In terms of the federation, we're a voluntary organisation, but we do sit on many committees and contribute to things throughout the UK, be it collections at risk, partnerships with Kids in Museums. We're looking for external funding, but we can only take things so far, and that's where you need that next step, as it were.
And then just picking up on some of the previous conversations on the football museum and the slate museum, if I could also add that we as a federation do have an input to those plans. We will be collaborating as local museums with the football museum, and very often, as has been said, it's us as local museums who are closest to our communities. We are the medium to access many of those communities, their histories and their collections, so I just wanted to emphasise that.
There is close collaboration with National Museum Wales, monthly meetings, and we're thinking strategically as to how to share collections and joint opportunities, and we are grateful for the funding that we've received in supporting winter of well-being, working with young people, and we're working very hard on that in order to deliver by the end of March. I wanted to get some of that into the conversation.
Ie, digon teg, ond a gaf i ofyn i chi, hefyd, ydych chi'n cytuno gyda'r pwyntiau mae Sharon wedi eu gwneud amboutu cyllid ac ariannu'r sefydliadau yma? Hefyd, ydych chi'n cytuno gyda beth mae Chris wedi dweud amboutu sut mae polisi yn gweithio a sut dylai fe weithio?
Yes, that's fair enough, but could I ask you if you agree with the points that Sharon has made on funding these institutions? Also, do you agree with Chris's comments on how policy works?
Cytuno'n llwyr, ie. Mae eisiau bod yn glir ar y ffordd ymlaen. Dwi'n cytuno hefyd efo'r capasiti. Dwi'n meddwl bod o'n wyrthiol beth mae'r sector yn ei gyflawni, a dweud y gwir, ac mae'r potensial yna, onid ydy? Dyna beth sydd mor bwysig, dwi'n meddwl: sut rydyn ni'n gallu dal yr holl botensial, fel oedd Sharon yn dweud, y perlau yma sydd gennym ni? Mae yna gymaint buasem ni'n gallu cyflawni efo'r cyfeiriad a'r buddsoddiad. Un peth rydyn ni wedi sylweddoli yn y cyfnod COVID ydy rydyn ni wedi bod yn greadigol iawn. Rydyn ni wedi parhau i ymgysylltu efo pobl, ond hefyd mae llawer o'r infrastructure a'r adeiladau, fel mae'r expert review wedi dweud, yn ei gwneud hi'n heriol iawn, weithiau, i hyd yn oed ailagor o fewn cyfyngiadau adeiladau hanesyddol ac yn y blaen. Ond felly cytuno'n llwyr efo Sharon a Christopher.
One hundred per cent, yes. We do need to be clear on the way forward. I also agree on the issue of capacity. I think it's miraculous what the sector does deliver, and the potential is there. That's what's so important: how can we capture all of that potential, as Sharon mentioned, these pearls that we have? There is so much that we could do with the right direction and the right investment. One of the things that we've realised throughout COVID is that we've been very creative. We've continued to engage with people, but also much of the infrastructure, the buildings, as the expert review pointed out, make it very challenging to reopen, given the restrictions in historical buildings and so on. So, I agree entirely with Christopher and Sharon.
Ocê, ac i'r tri ohonoch chi—
Okay, and to the three of you—
Dwi'n meddwl efallai bod Sharon eisiau dod i mewn ar y pwynt yna, cyn ichi—. Sharon?
I think perhaps Sharon wants to come in before that—. Sharon?
Just a quick one to answer your point. I think you're right to challenge us to ask what we do and what we deliver. As I said, we do bring funding into museums in Wales through our collections funds, through our digital innovation and engagement grants, and we've funded the Dylan Thomas Centre, National Museum Wales, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and others over the course of the last couple of years. So, we do bring that money in, which is UK-wide trusts and foundations but we deliver it into museums in Wales. But that can't replace the gap in public funding that exists for local museums, and that's where we're asking for Government intervention. And the reason that we're asking for it is because of what museums deliver around health and well-being, around creating a sense of place—we've heard that really strongly this morning—but also creating those spaces for community recovery. You know, we're in a really difficult situation still, where the public are cautious about being in enclosed spaces. Our visitation figures are around 40 or 50 per cent of what they were pre pandemic, but we're still doing that work to support community recovery, and we would argue, therefore, that delivering that public benefit means that we need public investment.
Yes, clearly you would, and I've got no issue with that. You said it was 30 or 40 per cent, did you, in terms of pre-COVID participation or visitor numbers.
Ai hynny yw eich profiad chi, Nêst, ac oes gennych chi unrhyw rifau gan y comisiwn brenhinol?
Is that the same in your experience, Nêst, and do you have any numbers from the royal commission?
Ie. Buaswn i'n cytuno ein bod ni i lawr 40 i 50 y cant yn niferoedd yr ymwelwyr, ac wedyn mae hynny'n cael effaith ar yr incwm, a llawer o amgueddfeydd yn dibynnu ar yr incwm yna. Felly, mae gennym ni gyfnod heriol iawn o'n blaenau ni. Ac ydy, fel mae Sharon yn dweud, dydy'r hyder ddim cweit yn ôl chwaith i bobl ddod yn ôl; er ein bod ni'n agor yn ddiogel iawn, mae'r niferoedd yn parhau i fod yn isel.
Yes. I would agree that we are down 40 to 50 per cent in the number of visitors, and that has an impact then on the income, and a number of museums rely on that income. So, we have a challenging time before us. And yes, as Sharon has described, the confidence isn't back quite yet for people to come back; even though we are opening in a safe way, the numbers continue to be low.
David Thomas, you spoke, in your introduction, about the public-facing services provided by the royal commission. I was fascinated by that; it's something, quite frankly, that I don't know very much about, and that's my fault—I accept that. But you were speaking about the digitalisaiton of exhibits or information available, and one of the things I've really enjoyed, actually, during the period of lockdown and the rest of it, was accessing collections and the rest of it digitally—you know the national library, for example, I think is doing a fantastic job in terms of digitalisation. To what extent were you able to turn a crisis into an opportunity, if you like, through lockdown to open up some of the information or the knowledge that you have to be accessed digitally by those of us who were fed up of Netflix and looking for something to do?
And, David, we're going to have to move on in a moment, and I know that that's a very important question, but if I could ask for as succinct an answer as possible.
Okay, yes. Basically, we were in a very good place to start with, because we're not the same as museums and so on, so our in-person visitors have always been fairly low, so our main activity has always been online in terms of connecting with people. So, we were able to crank up those services that we already had. We also had funding to work through our digital delivery project, so, actually, during the lockdown, we kind of had a complete overhaul of our services as well and now we're seeing benefits from that. And as we come out of the pandemic, we're certainly now looking forward to much more intense kind of digitisation programmes to get more of that information out to the public. Also, we were using the online social media channels and so on, and they strengthened during the pandemic as well and will continue to be strong, I think, now.
If you're able to provide us with numbers on that, David, that would be helpful. If you can write to the committee with a breakdown, that would be really helpful.
Yes, happy to, yes.
That was commendably succinct, thank you. I've got two Members who haven't come in at all yet with questions, so I'm going to need to give preference to them. We've got just over 20 minutes left and quite a few more areas yet to come. So, I'll move now to Tom Giffard.
Thanks, Delyth. I won't take too long, because Alun has asked all the questions that I had planned for you all this morning [Laughter.] What I would ask, though, just to get your views, is what sort of impact, or what your views would be, I guess, on the introduction of mandatory COVID passes in your sectors and what you think the effect of that would be.
Whoever wants to go first—Nêst.
Dwi wedi bod yn gofyn i rai o'r amgueddfeydd beth fuasai eu hymateb nhw, a dwi'n meddwl i ddechrau y buaswn i'n licio croesawu, mewn ffordd, beth mae'r canllawiau yma a Llywodraeth Cymru wedi bod yn gwneud, achos dwi'n meddwl bod yr amgueddfeydd wedi eu gwerthfawrogi ac wedi eu croesawu nhw. Mae yna rai heriau wedi codi, a dwi'n meddwl buasai’r COVID pàs yn enghraifft o hwnnw, gan fod y rheolau efallai yn wahanol rhwng Cymru a Lloegr ac yn y blaen. Mae'r un un pethau'n codi weithiau efo masgiau a track and trace o ran pobl yn gallu bod yn heriol iawn.
Dwi'n meddwl y buasai'n dod nôl i'r gair 'capasiti', sy'n codi lot. Mae'n rhaid i mi ddiolch i'r staff blaen tŷ sydd wedi gorfod 'navigate-io' hyn drwy'r cyfnod yma. Nhw sydd yn ymdrin â phobl ar y drws, yn aml yn eu croesawu nhw, ac mi fuasai'r capasiti, dwi'n meddwl, yn anodd iawn o ran sut fuasai hwn yn gweithio. Wedyn dwi'n meddwl ei fod o wedi codi nifer o gwestiynau: sut fuasai fo'n cael ei weithredu a chapasiti'r staff i wneud hynny. Mae'n dipyn bach mwy llafurus, hwyrach, na rhai o'r agweddau eraill, felly. Mae rhai hefyd yn teimlo, efallai, fod amgueddfeydd yn safleoedd diogel oherwydd y masgiau a pharhau i reoli'r niferoedd yn ofalus iawn.
Dwi'n credu efallai ei fod e'n amrywio o amgueddfa i amgueddfa. Efallai fod amgueddfa genedlaethol fawr bach yn fwy byrlymus o bosib. Ond, o ran y sector amgueddfeydd llai, mae'n dal i reoli'r niferoedd yn ofalus. Felly, mae yna dipyn o gonsýrn, dwi'n meddwl, am hwn a sut fuasai'n gweithio'n ymarferol, tra, wrth gwrs, yn cefnogi ac yn diogelu'n cymunedau ni a'n staff ni.
I have been asking some of the museums what their response would be, and I think first of all I would like to welcome the guidance provided by Welsh Government, because I do think that the museums have appreciated and welcomed that guidance. There have been some challenges, and I think the COVID pass would be one example of that, because the rules might be different between England and Wales and so on. The same issues arise, as have arisen with masks and track and trace, in terms of people challenging the position.
I think it comes back to the word 'capacity', which comes up regularly. I have to thank the front-of-house staff who've had to navigate this throughout this period. They deal with people on the doorstep, welcoming them, and I think capacity would be very difficult in terms of implementing this. So, I think it's raised a number of questions as to how it would be implemented and staff capacity in doing that. It's a little more burdensome, perhaps, than some of the other aspects. Some also feel, perhaps, that museums are safe sites because of mask wearing and we're continuing to control numbers very carefully.
I think it varies from one museum to another. Perhaps a large national museum would be busier. But, in terms of the smaller museums, we're still managing numbers very carefully. So, I think there is some concern about this and how it would work in practice, whilst of course supporting and safeguarding our communities and our staff.
Oedd unrhyw un arall—? Sharon.
Was there anyone else—? Sharon.
Yes, just to add to that, I completely support what Nêst is saying there about front-of-house staff. So, we would have members who are front-of-house, we're working with the Front of House in Museums staff network to produce a charter for change, which is about terms and conditions of front-of-house staff. But also, one of the things that they have strongly fed back to us is their role during the pandemic—because they're front facing, they're the gatekeepers, they're on the front line and they'd be the ones to welcome our visitors back and to ensure that spaces are safe, and they should be valued for that role. So, we would completely support that and absolutely echo the points about capacity. It's a capacity issue if then those front-of-house staff are being asked to check passports or to check tests, et cetera. That's putting them in a position of confrontation, potentially, with members of the public and they need support and we need the capacity in museums in order to implement any strategies or enforcement from Welsh Government.
Sorry, Chair, can I just follow up with a very quick question?
Tom, of course, yes.
Have any of you done any work on the financial impact you think that would have? Again, I don't expect it's something you have to hand, but maybe if there is a financial impact—you mentioned greater stress on your front-of-house staff—and if you don't have that, I'm happy to have that in writing. I'm just interested to see if there's a financial cost as well as, as you say, the confrontation and all the rest of it.
Mi fuasai yna oblygiadau costau. Does gen i ddim data chwaith, ond fedrwn ni drio gael hyd i fwy o ffeithiau. Yn sicr, mae rhywun yn gorfod cyflogi mwy o staff, rhwng y glanhau a'r trefniadau yma a chadw'r safleoedd yn ddiogel. Ydy, mae'n golygu ein bod ni wedi gorfod cyflogi mwy o staff, neu bod rhai amgueddfeydd yn gorfod cael hyd i fwy o wirfoddolwyr, ac mae hwnna wedi bod yn her hefyd i'r sector. Byddwn i'n licio codi hynny. Mae yna newid wedi bod, dwi'n credu, ac mae yna rai amgueddfeydd yn adrodd pa mor anodd ydy recriwtio, fel dŷn ni wedi gweld mewn hospitality a ballu hefyd, ond hefyd efo'r gwirfoddoli. Efallai fod yna newid yn y mindset sydd gan bobl, so mae hwnna'n mynd i fod yn rhywbeth y mae'n rhaid i ni gadw golwg arno fo.
There would be cost implications. I don't have data either, but I could try and find some more facts for you. Certainly, we've had to employ more staff, between the cleaning and these arrangements and keeping the locations and settings safe. It means that we've had to employ more staff, or that museums have had to find more volunteers, and that has been challenging for the sector. I would like to raise that. There's been a change, I think, and some museums report how difficult it is in recruiting terms, as we've seen in hospitality as well, but also with the volunteering. Perhaps there's a change in people's mindsets, so that's something that we need to keep an eye on.
Ocê. Oedd unrhyw un arall eisiau dod i mewn ar beth wnaeth Tom ofyn? Neu, Tom, oedd gennych chi unrhyw gwestiwn pellach? Na. Grêt. Ocê. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas.
Okay. Did anyone else want to come in on what Tom had asked? Tom, did you have any further questions? No. Great. Okay. We'll move on, then, to Carolyn Thomas.
Okay, thank you. I've been given questions about Brexit. I was just going to say, though, that's a really important point you've raised regarding volunteers, across all sectors, and it's a question that I asked the Minister. It's a struggle, isn't it, to get volunteers back again. So, my question is on the positive and negative impacts of the current Brexit arrangements and the projected long-term impacts of the current situation. Is further support from the UK or Welsh Governments needed? I know that European funds did help fund the art sector quite a lot, and are you aware of the new funding streams that are now coming through direct, or via local authorities, that your partners would need to bid into—UK Government-funded streams such as the community renewal programme?
Pwy fuasai eisiau mynd yn gyntaf? Chris? Christopher—sori.
Who'd like to go first? Chris? Christopher—sorry.
The royal commission has had very generous funding in the past from various European Union funds. We're involved in a €6 million project to monitor the impact of climate change on coastal heritage around Wales for example. We're hoping that Britain, the UK, will sign up to the Horizon awards, because there is funding there that is directly relevant to our work. But it's all got tied up with Northern Ireland protocols and fishing disputes. So, we're very dependent upon that sort of funding. It accounts for about 20 per cent of our total income, so we are very, very keen to continue to participate and work with partners in the European Union on major research projects that are funded by the EU.
Sharon, you wanted to come in. Can we unmute Sharon please?
Yes, I echo those points about Horizon and access to EU programmes and funding. It's difficult to disaggregate the impact of Brexit and the impact of the pandemic. So, what might be a supply chain issue could be because of Brexit or it could be because of the pandemic. But, certainly, they do have an impact on the sector. So, I know increases in fuel costs, for example, would have a big impact on museums at a local and a national level in Wales. And, also, there's an impact on touring exhibitions and Wales's international profile. I know the national museum has toured exhibitions extensively globally, and that does, obviously, increase the impacts of Wales as a nation internationally in terms of partnership and profile, and also tourism. And that has become more difficult because of Brexit, and also because of some of those supply chain issues. I was talking to some of the companies that work with museums and galleries on transport and packing for big exhibitions, and they were saying it was very difficult for them to recruit HGV drivers, for example, but also to navigate the bureaucracy that now exists, especially for transport into and through Europe. And there is a lack of clarity, I would say, from UK Government, about 'what next' and what other systems are going to be put in place, and what other funding is going to be put in place. So, yes, we would welcome some clarity from the UK Government on those issues.
Ie, jest i ategu beth mae Sharon a Christopher wedi'i ddweud, mae'n anodd gwahaniaethu rhwng beth ydy effaith y pandemig a beth ydy effaith Brexit ar hyn o bryd o ran yr amgueddfeydd lleol. Yr unig beth fedraf i adrodd ydy bod rhai wedi gweld oedi efo'u cynlluniau loteri ac efallai fod y prisiau wedi codi. Y math yna o effeithiau rydyn ni wedi'u gweld hyd yma, yn sicr, yn bennaf.
I would just endorse what Sharon and Christopher have said. It is difficult to differentiate between the impact of the pandemic and the impact of Brexit in terms of the local museums. The only thing I can report is that some have seen a delay in terms of their lottery schemes and perhaps prices have increased. Those are the sorts of impacts that we've seen so far, certainly, mainly.
Iawn, grêt. Carolyn, ydych chi'n hapus i fi symud ymlaen, neu oedd gennych chi gwestiwn ychwanegol?
Fine, great. Carolyn, are you happy for me to move on, or did you have an additional question?
No, I don't. Thank you.
Ocê, grêt. Mi wnawn ni symud yn olaf at Hefin David. Mae gennym ni tua 11 munud ar ôl o'r sesiwn.
Okay, we'll move finally to Hefin David. We have around 11 minutes remaining in this session.
One of the pieces of work we did collectively on the previous committee I was on—the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee—was an examination of how Wales is sold to the world. And one of the conclusions we made is that the package that Wales presents to the world is quite fragmented and disparate. Can I ask how your sector can make a contribution individually to that, selling Wales to the world, but also how you fit into the bigger picture globally?
Pwy fuasai eisiau mynd yn gyntaf? Nêst.
Who'd like to go first? Nêst.
Ie, o ran yr elfen ryngwladol, dwi'n gwybod y bydd gan Amgueddfa Cymru, sydd yn dod nes ymlaen yn y sesiwn yma, llawer i adrodd ar hyn. A dwi'n cytuno, mae o'n eitha fragmented—dyna ydy'r gair, dwi'n meddwl. O ran y sector lleol, dwi ddim yn meddwl bod yna unrhyw strategaeth; mae rhywun yn ymateb i geisiadau a chyfleoedd fel maen nhw'n codi.
Mae yna enghrefftiau, yn sicr, o rannu casgliadau. Dwi'n gwybod hefyd fod yna gefnogaeth wedi bod gan ICOM i gael mynd i Batagonia i wneud gwaith ymchwil. So, mae yna enghreifftiau. A hefyd, rydyn ni'n cydweithio efo ICOM UK i gael cynhadledd, gobeithio, y flwyddyn nesaf ar y cyd, i drio rhoi llwyfan i Gymru. A'r un fath hefyd efo'r MA a'r cónfferens yn dod i Gaerdydd. Ond o ran mynd yn fwy rhyngwladol, mae'r cyfleoedd i gyd yna—y casgliadau, y straeon, edrych ar ddadgoloneiddio. Maen nhw i gyd yn ymgysylltu efo hyn, ond eto, hwyrach, mae'n dod yn ôl i'r capasiti i wireddu hyn. I'r rhan fwyaf o amgueddfeydd lleol, mi fuasai yna flynyddoedd o waith cynllunio a chael cyllid i wireddu hynny.
Mae yna gyfleoedd hefyd, dwi'n credu, efo cyngor y celfyddydau, efo prifysgolion. Dwi'n gwybod hefyd am yr amgueddfa bêl-droed, fel rydyn ni wedi sôn amdani hi. Mae'r themâu yna—ac, wrth gwrs, safle treftadaeth y byd, efo'r amgueddfa lechi a'r amgueddfeydd yn yr ardal yna. Felly, mae'r cyfleoedd yna—sut mae harnesu hynna a beth ydy'r ffordd orau ymlaen? A dwi'n gwybod hefyd—a dwi'n siŵr bod Sharon yn gwybod mwy am hyn—yn y gynhadledd amgueddfeydd, roedden nhw'n edrych ar effaith amgylcheddol hyn hefyd.
Yes, in terms of the international element, I know that National Museum Wales, who are appearing later in the session, will have a lot to report. I agree that it is fragmented—I think that is the word. In terms of the local sector, I don't think there is a strategy; people respond to opportunities when they arise.
But there are examples, certainly, in terms of sharing collections. I know also that there's been support from ICOM to be able to go to Patagonia for research work. So, there are examples. And also, we are collaborating with ICOM UK to have a joint conference next year, to try and provide a platform for Wales. And it's the same with the Museums Association conference coming to Cardiff. But in terms of taking things on an international level, there's the opportunity—the stories, the collections are there, looking at decolonisation. They all engage with this, but perhaps it comes back to the capacity issue to realise this. For the majority of local museums, there would be years of planning work and getting funding to realise this.
There are also opportunities as well with the arts council, with universities. I also know about the football museum, as we've mentioned. The themes are there—and, of course, the world heritage site, with the slate museum and museums in that area. So, the opportunities are there—how do we harness all of that and what's the best way forward? And I know Sharon would probably know more about this than me, but the museums conference looked at the environmental impact as well.
Beth am gydweithredu gyda Visit Wales, er enghraifft?
What about collaborating with Visit Wales, for example?
Mae hwnna'n bwynt pwysig iawn, onid ydy? Mae'r ffederasiwn wedi cydweithio efo Visit Wales yn y gorffennol. Dwi'n meddwl bod pecynnu Cymru, a'r holl gynnig sydd yna, gan gynnwys yr amgueddfeydd lleol, yn rhywbeth sydd wirioneddol ei angen, yn enwedig os ydyn ni eisiau denu pobl yn ôl i ymweld eto. Achos mae yna gap wedi bod, wrth gwrs, rŵan efo pobl ddim wedi gallu ymweld, ac mae eisiau ailafael yn sut rydyn ni'n rhannu Cymru a'r holl hanesion a'r ysbrydoliaeth sydd gennym ni yma.
That is an important point as well. The federation has collaborated with Visit Wales in the past. I think packaging Wales and the whole offer, including local museums, is something that is really needed, in particular if we want to attract people back to visit Wales again. Because there has been a gap with people not being able to visit, and we need to look at this again and how we share Wales and all the stories and inspiration that we have here.
I think collaboration is critical, so that there is a single story that Wales is telling to the world, and that will be collaboration between Visit Wales and the cultural heritage organisations that are represented in this meeting today, to tell a united story. If you take the example from colleagues in the cultural heritage sector in Scotland—which I'm sure you'll be familiar with—they have themed years. I think this year is the year of storytelling, or stories. They have a theme each year, and then all of the cultural heritage organisations have an offer that speaks to that themed year, and that is the offer that's marketed to international tourists. They're certainly now using that to try and rebuild an international tourism strategy for Scotland, because, obviously, as with Wales and elsewhere, that has completely dropped off during the pandemic. So, I think collaboration between organisations and the tourism industry and having that coherent narrative, which other cultural heritage organisations can buy into to tell that united story of Wales, would be really valuable.
Thank you. Chris, before I bring you in, Heledd—. Oh no, I think your question's been answered. Chris.
Very briefly, I would put in a very strong word of support for Visit Wales. I think they're doing a superb job. They do have themed years as well, and they've set up the Wales Way routes, which focus visitors' attention on the main tourist attractions in Wales. I don't think there's a huge problem with domestic tourism; in fact, I think, during the summer, we've seen overtourism in some parts. I think our challenge is to spread the visitors over a wider area, and to attract them to other places other than the honey pots. We work very, very hard, for example, to encourage faith heritage tourism—pilgrimage, and so on. I think there's a bit of a problem with a lack of infrastructure; there are very large parts of Wales that lack affordable accommodation, for example. We have a stunning historic environment. I think the problems of international tourism are not unique to Wales. I think everybody—. The COVID restrictions mean that we're not getting the visitors from Asia, for example. China has underpinned tourism in the UK for several years now, and we're just not getting that at the moment. But I don't think there's a problem with domestic tourism.
Do you think there's anything that Welsh Government should do now to—[Inaudible.]
I think Visit Wales is already doing the job, and I think they're doing it splendidly.
Okay. So, Visit Wales are sufficient to—. Because one of the things that Nêst said was that the strategy is lacking, I think. Isn't the Welsh Government responsible for introducing a strategy?
I think we have a strategy. I'll answer that one in writing after the meeting and let you know the relevant documents.
That would be helpful, please. Thank you.
I ddod nôl at, er enghraifft, y themâu a ballu, yn sicr, dwi'n cofio ni'n cymryd rhan yn y themâu morwrol ac yn y blaen. Ond sut mae cael pawb i gyfrannu at hynny? Dwi'n meddwl roedd y cam yna efallai ar goll. Roedd y themâu yna, ond tipyn bach yn fyr rybudd, i fod yn onest. A phan mae amgueddfeydd ac orielau'n cynllunio themâu, arddangosfeydd, maen nhw angen gwybod lot o flaen llaw. So, dwi'n meddwl bod y syniad o themâu yn wych, ac rydyn ni wedi cyfrannu atyn nhw, ond mae eisiau tipyn mwy o rybudd, a chydgynllunio efallai, a rhannu gwybodaeth yn gynt. Dwi'n meddwl y buasai fo'n gweithio yn dda iawn wedyn.
In returning to the themed years, for example, certainly we participated in the maritime themes. But how do you get everyone to contribute to that? I think that was the missing piece of the jigsaw there. The themes were there, but it was all at a little short notice, if I'm honest. And when museums and galleries do plan themes and exhibitions, they need a lot of notice. So, I think, the idea of themed years is excellent, and we have contributed, but we need more warning and joint planning perhaps, and we need to share information at an earlier stage. Then, I think it would work very well.
Ond mae gwaith Llywodraeth Cymru'n iawn ar hyn o bryd?
But the work of the Welsh Government is fine at the moment?
Yes, it is.
Ocê. Mae gennym ni dair munud ar ôl, ond mae gan Heledd Fychan gwestiwn ar y pwnc yma.
Okay. We have three minutes left, and Heledd Fychan has a question on this.
Byddwn i'n hoffi gweld a oes yna unrhyw dystiolaeth o ran sut mae pethau fel y Wales Way wedi dod â manteision i amgueddfeydd lleol, a byddaf yn gofyn yr un cwestiwn i Amgueddfa Cymru ac ati. Dwi'n meddwl byddwn i'n hoffi mynd ar ôl y pwynt yna ymhellach. Wedyn, os oes yna unrhyw dystiolaeth ar gael o ran sut mae Croeso Cymru yn cefnogi'r sector amgueddfeydd a diwylliannol, byddai hynny'n cael ei werthfawrogi.
Hefyd, gwnaethoch chi sôn am bwynt pwysig dydyn ni ddim yn mynd i gael mynd mewn iddo fo, Nêst, o ran dadgoloneiddio, a'r gwaith pwysig sydd wedi bod yn mynd ymlaen. Sut fath o gefnogaeth sydd yna gan Lywodraeth Cymru i'r gwaith hwnnw? A sut mae'r sectorau wedi bod yn cefnogi hyn?
Hefyd, o ran y gweithlu, roedd Christopher yn sôn gynnau ynglŷn a phrentisiaethau ac ati. Oes yna ddigon o gyfleoedd i bobl ifanc ddod mewn i'r sectorau hyn? Ac a oes yna fwy yr hoffech chi weld Llywodraeth Cymru yn ei wneud er mwyn sicrhau bod amrywiaeth hefyd o fewn y gweithlu?
I would like to see whether there's any evidence in terms of how things such as the Wales Way have brought advantages to local museums, and I will ask the same question to National Museum Wales and so forth. I think I'd like to go after that point further. So, if there is any evidence available on how Visit Wales supports the museums sector and the culture sector, I would really appreciate that.
You also mentioned an important point that we weren't able to go into in terms of the decolonisation, and the important work that's been going on. What sort of support is there from Welsh Government for that work? And how have the sectors been supporting this?
Also, in terms of the workforce, Christopher mentioned earlier apprenticeships and so forth. Are there enough opportunities for young people to come in to these sectors? And is there more that you'd like to see Welsh Government doing in order to ensure that there is diversity within the workforce?
We as the Museums Association actually have just published a major piece of guidance on decolonisation in museums and galleries, so supporting the sector to look at the legacy and the impacts of slavery and empire and colonisation in museums and galleries, and to reframe the narrative. So, that's the beginning of our work. We will be doing more to build skills and confidence in the workforce in that area. I know, from speaking to representatives of Welsh Government, that training is planned in that, but there's still more work to be done to build confidence. And there's a very clear link between those stories of empire that are told and represented in the collections of museums and galleries and current contemporary racism and campaigns against racism in society. And there's a link, as Heledd clearly points out, between that and workforce. We do still have quite a monocultural workforce; we're not representative always of the communities that we serve. So, there definitely needs more work to be done to diversify our workforce through apprentice schemes, yes, but also through positive action traineeships. Again, something from Government would be welcome in that area.
David, if I could ask—. I'm so sorry, I'm only going to have time for a very quick answer from David, I'm afraid, because we need to finish on time so that there's time to prepare for the next witnesses. Very quickly from David, and then very quickly from Nêst as well.
I was going to comment on the scale of unpicking the unconscious bias that we've got in our collections, particularly with such big collections online and so on. There is quite a large job of work to do there.
That was very quick. Nêst.
Hoffwn i jest ddiolch yn sydyn i'r tîm amgueddfeydd o fewn Llywodraeth Cymru, sydd wedi sicrhau cyllid inni gael yr hyfforddiant i'r sector, a hefyd cyfle i edrych yn fwy dwfn ar rai casgliadau sydd gennym ni. Rydyn ni'n edrych ymlaen i weld hyn yn dwyn ffrwyth yn y chwe mis nesaf. Megis cychwyn ydy hyn. Mae hyn yn rhywbeth sydd yn mynd i fod efo ni yn barhaol, ac mae i'w groesawu.
I would just like to thank the museums team within the Welsh Government that have secured funding so that we can provide training for the sector, and, also, an opportunity to look in depth at some of the collections that we have. We look forward to this bearing fruit over the next six months. This is just a starting point. This is something that will be with us over the long term and is to be welcomed.
Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi i gyd am eich amser y bore yma, ac am fod yn gryno yn eich atebion hefyd. Byddwn ni'n ysgrifennu atoch chi gyda thransgript drafft ichi ei wirio o beth rydych wedi ei ddweud heddiw. Dŷn ni wedi sôn yn barod efallai y byddwn ni'n ysgrifennu yn gofyn am fwy o wybodaeth, a mae rhai ohonoch chi wedi sôn y byddwch chi yn ysgrifennu atom ni beth bynnag gyda mwy o fanylder. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am eich tystiolaeth.
Byddwn ni nawr, Aelodau, yn cymryd egwyl fer. Os byddwch chi'n gallu bod yn ôl erbyn pum munud ar hugain wedi, plis. Diolch yn fawr.
Thank you all very much for your time this morning, and for being succinct in your responses. We will be writing to you with a draft transcript so that you can check it. We've already mentioned that we may write to you asking for further information on certain issues, and some of you have mentioned that you will provide more details. So, thank you very much for your evidence.
We will now take a short break. If you could return by twenty-five past. Thank you.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:20 a 10:30.
The meeting adjourned between 10:20 a 10:30.
Croeso nôl. A gaf i eich cyflwyno chi eto i'n hymchwiliad undydd i dreftadaeth, amgueddfeydd ac archifau? Gwnaf i ofyn i'n tystion—mae rhai o'n tystion y bore yma yn yr ystafell gyda ni ac mae rhai yn ymuno trwy fideogynhadledd. Gwnaf i ofyn i'r tystion yn yr ystafell i gyflwyno eu hunain yn gyntaf—jest i esbonio'n gryno iawn beth mae eu sefydliad nhw yn ei wneud. Gwnaf i fynd at David Anderson yn gyntaf.
Welcome back. May I introduce our inquiry on heritage, museums and archives once more? May I ask the witnesses—some of our witnesses are with us in the room and others are joining through video-conference. I'll ask the witnesses in the room to introduce themselves first—just to explain briefly what their organisation does. I'll go to David Anderson first.
Diolch. David Anderson, director general, Amgueddfa Cymru—National Museum Wales.
Thank you so much. Neil.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Neil Wicks, chief operating officer, Amgueddfa Cymru.
Diolch, Neil. Fe wnawn ni fynd at Pedr ap Llwyd.
Thank you, Neil. We'll go to Pedr ap Llwyd next.
Bore da. Pedr ydw i. Dwi'n brif weithredwr a llyfrgellydd cenedlaethol yn y llyfrgell genedlaethol.
Good morning. My name is Pedr. I am chief executive and national librarian at the National Library of Wales.
Diolch, Pedr. Ac Owain Roberts.
Thank you, Pedr. And Owain Roberts.
Bore da, bawb. Owain Rhys Roberts ydw i. Dwi'n ddirprwy brif weithredwr a llyfrgellydd yn y llyfrgell genedlaethol.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Owain Rhys Roberts. I am deputy chief executive and librarian at the National Library of Wales.
Diolch. Fe wnawn ni symud yn syth at gwestiynau os yw pawb yn hapus. Fe awn ni'n gyntaf at Heledd Fychan.
Thank you very much. We will move immediately to questions, if everyone is content. We move to Heledd Fychan first of all.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Bore da i chi i gyd. Eisiau holi oeddwn i i ddechrau pa drafodaethau rydych chi wedi eu cael efo'r Dirprwy Weinidog ers yr etholiad. A chan gymryd eich bod chi wedi, pa flaenoriaethau a wnaethoch chi ofyn amdanyn nhw gan y Llywodraeth dros y pum mlynedd nesaf yma? Ac yn olaf, a ydych chi wedi derbyn eich cylch gorchwyl eto ar gyfer y flwyddyn ariannol yma?
Thank you very much, and good morning to you all. I wanted to ask first of all what discussions have you had with the Deputy Minister since the election. And assuming that you have, what priorities did you ask for from the Government over the next five years? And finally, have you received your remit letter for this financial year?
So, os gallaf ofyn, achos bod hanner y tystion yn yr ystafell, pan dŷch chi eisiau ateb, os byddwch chi'n gallu rhoi eich llaw i fyny i ddweud eich bod chi eisiau ymateb. Gwnaf i fynd at—pwy sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf? David.
So, if I could ask, because half of the witnesses are in the room, when you want to answer, if you could raise your hand to indicate that you want to respond. I'll go to—who wants to go first? David.
Diolch. We've had a meeting between the chair, myself as chief executive and Neil Wicks with the Deputy Minister, and have also been part of a museum sector meeting with the Deputy Minister as well—with Nêst Thomas, for example, also in the room. We've been very much aware of the fact that there is a new programme for government and we have, over the last 18 months or so during COVID, been pressing ahead with our own strategy for the museum and been going through a process then of doing the cross-over, the integration really of the programme for government and the ambitions the organisation has. And there is a very close alignment between those two developments, really—the Government and the museum's strategy. No doubt we will be discussing this in more detail as we go through.
I think in terms of the funding side of this, clearly, we're still in a situation where we're waiting to hear what budgets the Welsh Government will have and how that can be distributed. So, we've obviously put our case, like everybody else has, really, for being part of the funding programme. We have a lot of ambitions in our strategy around improving our representation of the communities of Wales and the people of Wales, around learning and creativity, and our key part we can play in the environment and protection of nature.
Of course, through the digital world that has become so strong for us all over this COVID period, we've also learnt a lot that we can apply in the post-COVID developments. We've got wonderful museum spaces and they are a great resource for well-being, as we've been able to see when we've been able to open up during the COVID period. And when National Museum Cardiff opened, there was actually a round of applause outside the front steps from members of the public. There was such relief and joy at being able to come back into these kinds of public spaces—to these rich public spaces.
And then, finally, we've got our international work, which integrates very well with the Welsh Government's ambitions for international development for Wales. So, I think what we'd say is that we're very much at this period of forming and bringing together of all these different strategies and there is great potential I think for the museum to contribute going forward. I don't know whether my colleague Neil would like to add anything to that.
Just specifically on the remit letter. We haven't received the final version from the Minister. We have had very open and positive discussions with regard to the formation of that remit letter, so we have been able to inform.
Diolch. Ydy Pedr neu Owain eisiau dod i mewn?
Thank you. Does Pedr, or Owain, want to come in?
Cadeirydd, mi ddof i i mewn i ddechrau, ac mi gaiff Owain ddod ar fy ôl i. Dwi hefyd wedi cael mwy nag un cyfarfod hynod, hynod o adeiladol a buddiol gyda’r Dirprwy Weinidog ac, wrth gwrs, mae ei swyddogion hi mewn cysylltiaid efo ni yn ddyddiol bron.
Mi rydym ni, yn ystod yr wythnosau a misoedd diwethaf yma, wedi datblygu ein cynllun strategol ar gyfer y pum mlynedd nesaf yma, ac mae’r Dirprwy Weinidog yn dod i Aberystwyth i’r llyfrgell i lansio’r strategaeth yna wythnos nesaf. Ond yr hyn rydym ni wedi ei bwysleisio hefyd ydy ein bod ni, yn ystod y pum mlynedd nesaf yma, am fod yn llyfrgell sydd yn llyfrgell genedlaethol i bawb yng Nghymru. Mae yna nifer fawr o bobl sydd yn methu ymweld â ni yn Aberystwyth, ond drwy ein strategaeth ddigidol, mi fedrwn ni fynd â’r llyfrgell genedlaethol i gartrefi, i ysgolion ac i ganolfannau megis llyfrgelloedd ac archifdai ar draws Cymru. Yn fwy na hynny, hefyd, ddaru ni bwysleisio wrth y Gweinidog ein bod ni am weld ein pobl ni yn gweithio yn y cymunedau yma, i gyflwyno diwylliant a gwybodaeth i’r bobl fyddai fel arall yn methu â chyrraedd gwybodaeth a manteisio ar ddiwylliant.
Yr hyn sydd yn hynod, hynod bwysig—a dyna rydym ni wedi bod yn ei drafod gyda’r Gweinidog a’i swyddogion—wrth drafod y cynllun cylch gorchwyl ydy sut y medrwn ni alinio’n gwaith rŵan gyda blaenoriaethau Llywodraeth Cymru. Ac fel mae David Anderson wedi awgrymu un barod, mi fydd ein cyfraniad ni yn ystod y blynyddoedd nesaf yma yn gyfraniad sylweddol iawn.
Materion eraill, wrth gwrs, ydy'r gyllideb. Rydym ni yn gobeithio’n wir y byddwn ni’n parhau i gael y gefnogaeth i weithredu yr adolygiad teilwredig a gafodd ei gyhoeddi y flwyddyn diwethaf. Mi fyddai o yn drueni pe byddem ni’n dod â’r cynlluniau yna i ben ar ôl blwyddyn. Materion eraill rydym ni wedi eu trafod efo’r Gweinidog hefyd ydy datgarboneiddio y llyfrgell. Rydym ni yn gobeithio y medrwn ni barhau â hynny. Ond, yn bersonol, ac fel llyfrgell hefyd, mae presgripsiynau cymdeithasol yn hynod, hynod bwysig i ni. Hynny yw, sut medrwn ni, fel llyfrgell genedlaethol, wneud gwahaniaeth i fywydau pobl gyffredin? A dwi’n wirioneddol gredu y medrwn ni, ac felly mi fyddwn ni yn gweithio gyda Llywodraeth Cymru i sicrhau bob pobl o bedwar ban Cymru yn manteisio ar ein darpariaeth ni.
Owain, wyt ti eisiau ychwanegu?
Chair, if I could come in first, and then Owain can follow. I too have had more than one very constructive meeting with the Deputy Minister and, of course, her officials are in contact with us on a daily basis almost.
During the past few weeks and months, we have developed our strategic plan for the next five years, and the Deputy Minister is coming to Aberystwyth to the library to launch that strategy next week. But what we've emphasised too is that, over the next five years, we do want to be a library that is a national library for everyone in Wales. There are many people who can't visit us in Aberystwyth, but, through our digital strategy, we can take the national library into people's homes, into schools and into institutions, such as archives and libraries across Wales. More than that, we emphasised to the Minister that we do want to see our people working in these communities, to introduce culture and information to those people who otherwise couldn't access that information and benefit from culture.
What's extremely important—and this is what we have been discussing with the Minister and her officials—in discussing the remit letter, is how we can align our work with the Welsh Government's priorities. And as David Anderson has already suggested, our contribution over the next years will be a substantial and significant contribution.
In terms of the other issues, there of course is the issue of budget. We do very much hope that we will continue to be supported in implementing the tailored review that was published last year. It would be a great shame if we brought those plans to an end after just 12 months. In terms of other issues we've discussed with the Minister, we've discussed decarbonisation of the library. We do very much hope that we can continue with that. But, personally, and as a library, social prescribing is extremely important to us. How can we, as a national library, make a difference to the lives of ordinary people? And I am truly convinced that we can do that, so we will be working with the Welsh Government to ensure that people from all corners of Wales can take advantage of our provisions.
Owain, did you have anything to add?
Os gallaf i ofyn—. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi i gyd am fod mor gynhwysfawr; mae e'n ddefnyddiol iawn i gael y wybodaeth yma. Dŷn ni'n fyr o amser heddiw, felly os gallaf i ofyn am gwestiynau ac atebion mor gryno â phosibl. Dwi'n deall bod cymaint o bethau dŷch chi eisiau eu dweud. Owain, os gallaf i ofyn am ateb mor fyr â phosibl, plis.
If I could ask—. Thank you very much to you all for being so comprehensive; it's useful to have this information. We are short of time today, so if I could ask for questions and responses to be as brief as possible. I understand there is so much that you want to say. Owain, if I could ask you for as short as possible an answer.
Ymddiheuriadau, dwi’n cael bach o drafferth efo’r sain yn y fan hyn, ond mi wnaf i drio y gorau y medraf i. Ie, beth fyddwn i’n licio ei grynhoi, yn gryno iawn, iawn, ydy bod hwn yn gyfnod cyffrous iawn. Mae’n gyfnod heriol rydym ni wedi bod drwyddo fo. Ond fel mae Pedr newydd osod allan—bod y gwaith o ran y strategaeth yn mynd yn ei flaen, ac felly dwi’n meddwl bod y cyfleon sydd yn codi, yn enwedig ar yr ochr ddigidol—rydym ni’n mynd drwy gyfnod o newid, a newidiadau sy’n digwydd lot cynt na phetai’r pandemig ddim wedi digwydd. Felly, dwi’n meddwl ein bod ni mewn lle da iawn i allu symud ymlaen ac i wneud gwahaniaeth o ddifrif.
Apologies, I'm having a little trouble with the sound here, but I'll try my best. What I'd like to summarise, very, very briefly, is that it's an extremely exciting time. We've been through a challenging time. But, as Pedr has just set out—the work in terms of the strategy is ongoing and, therefore, I think the opportunities that arise, in particular on the digital side—we are going through a period of change, and changes are happening at a much quicker pace than if the pandemic hadn't happened. So, I think we're in a very good place to be able to move forward and make a difference.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. You mentioned the financial position. I think it would be helpful for the committee if you could—Chair, if I may—write to us, outlining your financial ask and requirements in detail, so that we are able to understand better your requirements. Because, hearing about the fantastic ambitions both organisations have, very much in line with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, but I would like to know, in addition to the funding—if we put that to one side, because we could have a whole session about that—what other support from Welsh Government do both organisations require to be able to realise your ambitions and potential, and how also does this relate to the cultural strategy that has been mentioned by the Deputy Minister?
I think there is a great opportunity now to have the culture and creativity strategy that I think everybody in our sector, the cultural sector, would wish to contribute to. I think one of the things that's happened over the last couple of years is that we've all had to experiment and find new ways of working, and one of the few positives that comes out of COVID, I think, is that we have learnt to do things in a different way, to work with communities in different ways, had to step outside, in our case, the walls of the museums and be present with communities. We've taken that positive decision. From that, I would say that we have seen a potential future vision for culture in Wales, which is a much more integrated part of the welfare state for health and well-being, for education and for the social care system, and all of these are real projects that the museum has been undertaking in this period, and it's a matter now of trying to see if we can scale up and make these much more integrated and national as well.
I think Alun wants to come in on that point.
That sounds fascinating. Tell me what you mean by it.
Okay. For example, we had an approach from a field hospital very early on in COVID to ask if they could have some way of bringing art into the hospital. We all said it had to be art that could be wiped down regularly as well, which, clearly, for most works of art would not be an appropriate treatment. So, what we decided to do was to do really high-quality reproductions of works of art and to essentially flood the hospital with art everywhere—the staff rest spaces, the corridors, the wards themselves. And the clinician who first of all contacted us said that she thought there was a real acceleration of improvement for the patients compared with if those hadn't been there. You know, for example, the works of art were all chosen from the area in which the hospital was located, and photographs too, and many of the patients would recognise at least some of the locations for the works of art. Part of it was to encourage people, when they were well enough, to get up and walk around to look at the works and discuss them with other patients as well. So, we then, since then, have been rolling that out with more than one health board now across Wales, and I think it's a very, very achievable target for health environments, whether it's hospitals or the doctors' surgeries, and care homes of course, as well, to be carrying Amgueddfa Cymru and other organisations' art works, really, because I think there is growing evidence that it does actually make a difference, a valuable difference in people's work. And in fact, the clinician said, after a few months, 'Well, we've had, if you like, the gallery in the hospital; the next thing we really want to do is to have the hospital inside the museum.' I mean, she's speaking metaphorically here, but I think it's about the integration of our different sectors. And I think the future—going back to the welfare state—is to actually bring all these things together. Culture has been sitting outside the door, really, and never properly brought into this work. You know, there are many projects we've done over the last 18 months, that's just one of them, which shows what is possible, and I think now is the moment to seize it. If we're going to rebuild Wales, if we're going to use the limited resources that the nation has effectively, integration and an embracing of arts and culture, really, I think, is a vital part of that future.
Can I just check if Pedr or Owain wanted to come in to answer Heledd's question?
Can we capture that information, though, as a committee? Because I think it would be useful to come back to that point.
Yes, absolutely. No, I agree. I just want to make sure that I'm giving the same opportunity to Pedr and Owain.
Gaf i ateb yn sydyn iawn felly, Cadeirydd, drwy ddweud pa gymorth ychwanegol byddem ni yn ei ddymuno gan Lywodraeth Cymru? Dwi'n credu mai dyna oedd y cwestiwn.
If I could just respond very briefly, Chair, by telling you what additional support we'd like from the Welsh Government. I think that was the question.
Yn sicr, mae'r gefnogaeth rydym ni yn ei derbyn i'r ffordd rydym ni wedi gorfod newid ein cynlluniau o ganlyniad i COVID yn gefnogaeth ragorol iawn rydym ni wedi'i chael gan y Llywodraeth, ac maen nhw yn croesawu meddwl newydd ynglŷn â ffordd i ddelifro gwasanaethau. Er enghraifft—os caf i roi dwy enghraifft sydyn i chi hefyd o'r gwaith rydyn ni wedi'i ddatblygu yn ystod y flwyddyn diwethaf yma—gweithio efo pobl sydd yn gorfod byw neu yn gorfod gweithio efo dementia. Rydyn ni wedi medru cynhyrchu pecynnau sydd yn bywiogi'r cof ac yn gymorth mawr i'r gweithwyr hynny sydd yn gweithio efo pobl sydd yn gorfod byw efo'r cyflwr yma.
Yn ychwanegol, hefyd, rydyn ni wedi gorfod ailfeddwl ein prosiect archif ddarlledu genedlaethol yn llwyr, gyda'r pwyslais erbyn hyn ar ymgysylltu lleol. Ac mae'n dda gennyf ddweud ein bod ni wedi dod i gytundeb efo Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru wythnos diwethaf, sy'n golygu bod llyfrgell genedlaethol ddigidol Cymru yn mynd i fod yn bresennol yn y bae am y tro cyntaf erioed, ac mae o'n mynd i roi cyfle hefyd inni weithio efo cymunedau Butetown, Grangetown ac yn y blaen. Felly, mae'r gefnogaeth a'r brwdfrydedd rydyn ni wedi'u derbyn gan Lywodraeth Cymru, a'r arweiniad, yn alinio'n llwyr â'n gweledigaeth ni yma yn y llyfrgell o wneud gwahaniaeth i fywydau pobl.
Certainly, the support that we do receive in terms of the way we've had to change our plans as a result of COVID has been excellent support from the Government, and they do welcome our new mindset in terms of how we deliver services. I'll give you two brief examples of the work that we've developed over the past year. We've worked with people who live with or work with dementia. We have been able to produce packs that inspire the mind and are of great help to those people working with those living with that condition.
And, in addition to that, we've had to rethink our project on the national broadcast archive, with the emphasis now on local engagement. And I am pleased to say that we have come to an agreement with the Wales Millennium Centre last week, which will mean that the digital National Library of Wales will have a presence in Cardiff Bay for the first time ever, and it will also give us an opportunity for us to work with communities in Butetown and Grangetown and so on. So, the support and enthusiasm of the Welsh Government, and the guidance, does closely align with our vision here in library in making a difference to the lives of the people of Wales.
Diolch am hynna. Mae'n flin gen i, achos prinder amser, bydd yn rhaid inni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies. Mae'n flin iawn gen i. Bydd nifer o'r pethau yma byddwn ni eisiau ysgrifennu atoch chi yn gofyn am fwy o fanylder, achos mae beth dŷch chi'n ei ddweud wrthym ni yn rili ddefnyddiol. Mae'n flin gen i am gyn lleied o amser sydd gyda ni. Symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.
Thank you for that. Apologies, because of time, we have to move on to Alun Davies. I'm very sorry. A number of these things we will want to write to you about, asking for more detail, because what you're telling us is very useful. Apologies for the time we've got. On to Alun Davies.
Licien i fynd lan i Aberystwyth rhyw ben i gynnal y sgwrs yma, ac efallai gyda chi yng Nghaerdydd, i barhau â'r sgwrs yma. Dwi wedi bod yn defnyddio'ch casgliadau chi yn y llyfrgell gartref ym Mlaenau Gwent—y lluniau o Eisteddfod Glyn Ebwy, wrth gwrs, 1958 oedd e, gyda Paul Robeson a Nye Bevan—ac mae'n hynod o bwysig cael yr hanes byw yma. Dwi'n cofio trafod y pethau gyda phobl oedd yno ac sy'n cofio Eisteddfod 1958. Dwi yn meddwl, pan dŷn ni'n sôn amboutu ein perthynas ni fel gwlad gyda'r llyfrgell a gyda'r amgueddfa, dwi'n credu bod yn rhaid inni adnewyddu hynny ac atgyfnerthu hynny drwy'r amser. Dwi'n ymwelydd i'r amgueddfa yn fwy aml ar hyn o bryd, ond dwi wedi bod yn y llyfrgell hefyd yn y gorffennol, a dwi'n mwynhau, a dwi'n mwynhau'r plant yn cael cyfle i weld pethau—Dippy yng Nghaerdydd, a beth oedd y spaceship a oedd gyda chi rhai blynyddoedd yn ôl? Roedd y plant yn dwlu arno fe. Mae'n ffantastig ac mae'n creu'r syniad mai nhw sydd biau'r sefydliadau cenedlaethol, sydd yn hynod bwysig. So, sut ydych chi wedi bod yn hyrwyddo a datblygu'r adnoddau digidol? Dwi'n fwy ymwybodol o beth dŷch chi'n ei wneud yn y llyfrgell achos dwi wedi bod yn eu defnyddio nhw ar-lein, a dwi'n deall hynny a dwi'n meddwl ei fod yn ffantastig. Dwi wedi mwynhau'r oriel ar-lein sydd gyda chi yn yr amgueddfa hefyd; mae'n rhoi blas hollol wahanol i beth sydd gyda chi yn yr amgueddfa. So, sut ydych chi yn mynd—? Beth ydy'ch cynlluniau chi i barhau i ddatblygu'r prosiectau yma?
I'd like to come to Aberystwyth to have this conversation with you, and perhaps with you in Cardiff, to continue with these conversations. I've been using your collections in the library at home in Blaenau Gwent—the photographs of the Ebbw Vale Eisteddfod, which was in 1958, with Paul Robeson and Nye Bevan—and it's very important to have this live history. I remember discussing this with people who were there, who remember the 1958 Eisteddfod. And I do think, when we talk about our relationship as a country with the library and the museum, I think we have to renew that and strengthen it again and all the time. I'm a visitor to the museum more often nowadays, but I've also been to the library in the past, and I enjoy it, and I enjoy the children having an opportunity to see things—Dippy, for example, in Cardiff, and the spaceship you had a few years ago. Children really enjoyed those. It's fantastic and it creates the idea that they own these national organisations, and that's vitally important. How have you been promoting and developing the digital resources? I'm more aware of what you're doing in the library because I've been using them online, and I understand that and I think it's fantastic. I have enjoyed the online gallery that you have in the museum as well; it provides a totally different flavour of what you have in the museum. What are your plans to continue to develop these projects?
Diolch, Alun, am y cwestiwn. Dwi'n meddwl mai Owain ydy'r un i ateb hwn.
Thank you, Alun, for that question. I think Owain would be the person to respond to this.
Ac eto, os gallaf ofyn am gwestiynau ac atebion mor gryno â phosibl.
If I could ask you to be as brief as possible in questions and answers.
Na, dwi'n gwybod bod y rhain yn bethau angerddol iawn, ond jest dwi eisiau gwneud yn siŵr bod pawb yn dod i mewn.
I know that these are very passionate issues, but I just want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity.
Diolch yn fawr iawn am y cwestiwn. Dwi'n meddwl bod y pwynt a wnes i'n gynharach ynglŷn â sut mae'r pandemig wedi effeithio ar fywyd dros y cyfnod diwethaf yma yn golygu bod yna gyfleoedd mawr yn dod o ran y ffordd mae pobl yn gallu ymwneud ac ymgysylltu â ni'n ddigidol. O ran y gwasanaethau digidol, yn amlwg, rydyn ni wedi bod yn digido ers diwedd y 1990au. Mae yna waith aruthrol wedi'i wneud yn rhoi mynediad ar-lein, ac mi oedd cyfnod y pandemig yn gyfle inni allu cynyddu yn aruthrol nifer y deunydd a oedd ar gael. So, mae hwnna'n un o'r effeithiau positif, o bosib, o'r pandemig.
Ond, wrth symud ymlaen, beth rydyn ni'n ei weld ydy rydyn ni'n byw mewn cyfnod lle rydyn ni'n byw drwy chwyldro diwydiannol arall—y pedwerydd chwyldro diwydiannol—ac mae natur ddigidol, wrth gwrs, nid yn unig yn mynd y tu hwnt i jest gweld pethau ar y we, mae o'n symud ymlaen tuag at sut rydyn ni'n ymgysylltu—sut mae pobl yn ymgysylltu â chasgliadau digidol. Hefyd, mae o'n ymwneud efo sut ydyn ni'n gallu cymryd mantais o dechnolegau newydd, lle rydyn ni—. Er enghraifft, yng nghyd-destun yr archif ddarlledu genedlaethol, sy'n mynd i ddod â chyfrwng cyffrous gweledol iawn iawn i olwg pobl, sut rydyn ni'n gallu cymryd mantais o dechnolegau newydd fel speech to text, sut ydyn ni'n gallu defnyddio dysgu peirianyddol, ar gyfer dod ag ac ychwanegu gwerth i bobl Cymru, ac i bobl ar draws y byd, a bod honno'n ffordd effeithiol o weld sut ydyn ni'n gallu dweud stori Cymru yn rhyngwladol, ond hefyd yn gallu helpu pobl i werthfawrogi ac i fod yn rhan—achos, wrth gwrs, llyfrgell pobl Cymru ydy'r llyfrgell genedlaethol, ac mae hwnna'n rhywbeth pwysig iawn sydd yn gweu trwy'r cyfan.
Thank you very much for the question. I think the point I made earlier as to how the pandemic has impacted our lives in recent times has given us major opportunities in the way that people can engage with us digitally. In terms of digital services, clearly, we've been digitising since the end of the 1990s, and huge work has been done in providing online access, and the period of the pandemic was an opportunity for us to hugely increase the amount of material available. So, that's one of the positives, perhaps, of the pandemic.
But, in moving forward, what we see is that we're living in a period where we're living through another industrial revolution—the fourth industrial revolution—and the nature of digital, of course, goes beyond viewing things online, it's moving towards how we engage—how people engage with digital collections. It also relates to how we can benefit from new technologies where—. For example, in the context of the national broadcast archive, which will be a very exciting visual medium, how can we take advantage of new technologies such as speech to text, how we can use machine learning, in adding value for the people of Wales, and for people across the globe, indeed, and that that is a very effective way of identifying how we can tell the story of Wales internationally, but can also help people to appreciate and to be part of all of this, because the national library is the library of the people of Wales, and that's very important—that interlinks all of this.
Owain, gaf i jest ddod i mewn fanna? Achos dwi'n cytuno gyda chi ar lefel uchel—llyfrgell y byd ydy'r llyfrgell gen mewn sawl ffordd, ac mae'n cofnodi ein hanes ni fel cenedl. Ond hefyd mae'n cofnodi ein hanes ni lle rydyn ni: hanes trefi, hanes cymunedau, hanes unigolion, hanes pobl. Ydych chi'n meddwl bod yna ffordd o greu gwell cyswllt rhwng y gwaith dŷch chi'n ei wneud yn Aberystwyth ac amgueddfeydd lleol, lle bynnag ydych chi, archives lleol, so dŷch chi'n gallu dod â hanes tref, ble bynnag y mae'r dref, at ei gilydd i gyfoethi bywydau ymwelwyr, efallai, ond hefyd pobl sy'n byw ac yn ymwneud â'r dref ei hun, lle bynnag y mae hi yng Nghymru?
Owain, if I could just come in there, I agree with you on a high level—the national library is the library of the world in many ways, and it records our history as a nation. But also it records our history where we are: the history of communities, towns, individuals, people. Do you think there is a way of creating an improved link between the work that you're doing in Aberystwyth and the local museums, wherever they are, local archives, so that you can bring the history of a town, wherever that town may be, together to enrich the lives of visitors, perhaps, but also people who live and work in those towns, wherever they are?
Rwyf i'n meddwl bod Pedr eisiau dod i mewn ar hyn.
I think Pedr wants to come in on this.
Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna yn gyfle pwysig. Mae o'n rhywbeth rydyn ni wedi dechrau ei wneud o ran y projectau rydyn ni wedi bod yn ymwneud efo nhw. Gwnes i sôn am waith ymgysylltu rydyn ni'n ei wneud efo cymunedau. Un enghraifft a fyddwn i'n ei nodi ydy lle rydyn ni wedi symud tu hwnt i jest digido a rhoi cynnwys ar-lein i fod yn gweithio efo gwirfoddolwyr mewn ffordd ddigidol. Mae yna nifer o raddfeydd gwahanol o wirfoddoli digidol. Ar un eithaf, mae gennych chi wirfoddoli lle mae unrhyw un ar draws y byd yn gallu cyfrannu, ond hefyd mae yna rywle yn y canol, lle mae gennym ni wirfoddoli digidol lle rydyn ni'n gallu mynd i leoliad neu cydweithio efo partneriaid—er enghraifft, rydyn ni wedi gwneud gwaith ym Mlaenau Ffestiniog yn edrych ar orielau a gwaith ffotograffydd lleol yn fanna, lluniau o ddigwyddiadau roeddech chi'n sôn amdanyn nhw o ran eisteddfodau a charnifal, ac yn gallu defnyddio hwnna fel cyfrwng i'w helpu nhw i ddeall ac i ddod i adnabod eu hardal. Ac mae yna lot iawn o fuddiannau eraill hefyd o gwmpas y sgiliau digidol maen nhw'n eu hennyn, y synnwyr yna o gymuned, a'r holl fuddiannau llesiant hefyd rydyn ni'n gallu eu clywed ac yn gallu eu gweld.
I think that that is an important opportunity. It's something that we've started to do in terms of projects. I spoke about the engagement work we're doing with communities, and one example I would note is where we've moved beyond digitisation and putting content online, and are working with volunteers in a digital way. There are a number of different levels of digital volunteering. There's a level where anybody across the world can contribute, and there's also somewhere in the middle where we have digital volunteering where we can go to a location and work with partners—for example, we're working in Blaenau Ffestiniog, and looking at a local photographer's work and galleries, looking at photographs of events that you've talked about in terms of eisteddfodau, carnivals, and using that as a medium to help them to understand and to get to know their area. And I think there are a number of other advantages in terms of the digital skills they get, that sense of community, and also those well-being advantages that we can see and hear about.
Reit, oedd Pedr eisiau dod i mewn yn gyflym hefyd, a wedyn fe wnawn ni fynd at David? Pedr.
I think Pedr wanted to come in quickly, and then we'll move to David. Pedr.
Yn sydyn iawn, i ateb Alun yn benodol, felly, yn ystod y tair blynedd nesaf yma, fe fyddwn ni yn sefydlu canolfannau digidol mewn rhyw 15 o ganolfannau ar draws Cymru, ac mi fyddwn ni, fel rhan o archif ddarlledu cenedlaethol Cymru, hefyd yn penodi pedwar neu bump o swyddogion maes, a phwrpas y swyddogion maes a'r canolfannau digidol yma ydy sicrhau bod yr ardaloedd lleol yna yn gweld bod y llyfrgell yn berthnasol i'w bywyd nhw. Mi fyddwn ni, wrth gwrs, yn hyrwyddo cynlluniau gwirfoddoli er mwyn caniatáu i bobl adrodd eu hanes eu hunain, eu hanes lleol eu hunain, a'i gadw fo ar gof a chadw ar y ddarpariaeth mae'r llyfrgell yn ei threfnu.
Just very briefly, in responding specifically to Alun's question, over the next three years, we will be establishing digital centres in some 15 different areas of Wales, and, as part of the national broadcast archive, we will be employing four or five field officers. The purpose of those officials and those digital centres will be to ensure that those localities do see that the library is relevant to their lives. Of course, we will be promoting volunteering opportunities in order to allow people to tell their own stories, their own local history, and to ensure that it is retained in the provision organised by the library.
Diolch, Pedr. Cyn inni ddod â David i mewn, rwyf i'n meddwl bod Heledd Fychan eisiau gofyn cwestiwn. Efallai y byddwch chi'n gallu ymateb i'r ddau ar yr un pryd.
Thank you, Pedr. Before I bring David in, Heledd Fychan want to come in, and perhaps you can respond to both.
Jest eisiau gofyn: ydych chi'n meddwl eich bod chi'n cael digon o gydnabyddiaeth a chefnogaeth gan Lywodraeth Cymru gyda'r gwaith yma? A hefyd, o ran edrych ar y mesurau cyfredol sydd gan y ddau sefydliad o ran eich cylch gorchwyl chi ac ati, ydy'r rheini'n cael eu diweddaru i adlewyrchu'r gwaith hwn? Oherwydd pan oedd Jason Thomas, fel swyddog, gyda ni, mi wnaeth o sôn am—'financial penalties' dwi'n meddwl oedd y geiriau wnaeth o eu defnyddio o ran sefydliadau mae'r Llywodraeth yn eu hariannu sydd ddim yn cyrraedd mesurau. Felly o glywed—. Mae hyn yn wahanol iawn, onid ydy, o ran y math o waith rydych chi wedi bod yn cael ei fesur arno fo yn y gorffennol, felly ydy'r mesurau sydd gennych chi wedi cael eu diweddaru i adlewyrchu'r gwaith hwn fel eich bod chi yn cael y gefnogaeth gan Lywodraeth Cymru i wireddu hyn?
I just wanted to ask: do you think that you are properly recognised and supported by the Welsh Government in this work? And also, in looking at the steps both organisations are taking in terms of your remits, are these updated to reflect this work? Because when Jason Thomas, the official, was with us he talked about 'financial penalties'—I think those were his words—in terms of Government-funded organisations that don't meet their targets, and this is very different in terms of the work that you have been measured on in the past, so have your performance indicators been updated to reflect this so that you are supported by Welsh Government in delivering this?
Rydyn ni yn datblygu mesurau ar hyn o bryd, Heledd. A dwi'n credu ein bod ni'n cael ein cydnabod ac yn cael ein gwerthfawrogi gan Dawn Bowden a'i hadran hi. Os caf i roi fy nwylo i fyny a chydnabod hwyrach mai ni sydd ddim yn adrodd ein stori a'n llwyddiannau digon da, ac mae yna drefniadau ar y gweill ar hyn o bryd, fel rhan o'n cynllun strategol ni, i wella'r agwedd yna ar ein gwaith ni. Mae angen inni ddweud ein stori yn fwy croch ac yn well i bobl Cymru fel eu bod nhw yn ymwybodol o gyfoeth ein casgliadau a'r gwasanaethau rydyn ni'n eu darparu.
We are developing measures currently, Heledd. And I think we are recognised and appreciated by Dawn Bowden and her department. If I could put my hands up and acknowledge perhaps that we are not telling our story and our successes well enough. And there are arrangements ongoing as part of our strategic plan to improve that part of our work. There is a need for us to tell our story louder and better to the people of Wales so that they are aware of how rich our collections are and the services that we provide.
Diolch, Pedr. Fe wnawn ni ddod at David.
Thank you, Pedr. I'll come to David.
Just very briefly, we haven't yet suffered any financial penalties, and I really hope that won't be a real prospect. Can I pass over to Neil, please?
Diolch, Cadeirydd. A few things, really. The first one is that things changed significantly, as we all know, during COVID—not just for the museum, across the whole of Wales and the UK. And within that, we as an organisation were very physically based, arguably—there was a website—but that's changed significantly. And the two key ones, really, within that were that blended learning and digital learning became a big part, where we were able to, if you will, transmit live into schools and into homes directly. That will continue, and it's one of the areas I think where scaling up would be tremendously helpful, so we get a blended approach between, if you will, what has been quite traditional, on a face-to-face basis, blended with digital.
That is also true in exhibitions. Burton was the first digital exhibition at the museum—arguably born digital. It clearly started off as a physical exhibition, but became a digital exhibition for all the reasons you'd understand. Similarly, events have had to do exactly the same. So, the food festival would be a good example, at St Fagans, where clearly that was largely physically based, but became a digital event. Similarly, digital nights—if you will, a sleepover of a different version. So, it's not just about changing; it's about maintaining some of those and providing the access and the engagement. And the digitisation in terms of the collections is very, very key to that. But we have over 5 million items, and it's ensuring that the bits that we're digitising can be used, reused for public use, particularly in learning and creativity, and doing those with communities, as far as we're able on a hyperlocal basis and a local basis. It's not just about telling our story; it's about telling other people's stories and working with people to do that.
In terms of moving forward, I think that the key things for us are continuing what we've already started—some of those have been pilots—and our new strategy will enable us to do that. And digital is a key strand of that, with health and well-being and representation. And it's how those are integrated together. The strategy will take us to around 2030, beyond the term of this Government, and that will be aligned with the programme for government. But it's how those things then integrate in terms of, for example, decarbonisation and in terms of the delivery of our current services. So, we will need to look at how the role of digitisation is not just digital-born, but is actually blended into our other activity that you would more traditionally associate—.
In terms of, then, the KPIs, we are working on those with the Welsh Government, and I do expect them to change. They are quite traditionally based: number of visitors, number of website visits, income generated. And I think we need to look far wider than that and perhaps holistically, and look a bit further into more qualitative measures. So, I expect some of the quantitative to remain, but I think it's looking far wider. And the use of case studies would be the obvious way to do that. Some of those will be annually based and, at the moment, we perhaps don't have the data to have those baselines. During COVID as well, we worked with an organisation called Audience Finder to look at the data of what the visitor behaviour is, both prior, where we were in COVID, and going forward, so that can inform how we are, if you will, targeting or what we're looking for. And in terms of, then, those priorities, the elements David described at the beginning in terms of our six goals or commitments are going to be the key and the backbone of what we will deliver, and digital will be a major part of that.
David, if I can ask, but very briefly—. We've got less than—well, fewer than—20 minutes left and three Members who haven't come in yet. But very briefly.
Very briefly. The first thing to say is that we're a multidisciplinary organisation, an interdisciplinary organisation. We have science— natural sciences, environment as well. So, therefore, some collections will be a resource for creativity, for health and well-being, as we've described already, and I think the creativity is absolutely essential. It's core to the new Welsh curriculum and it should be core to the way people use our digital resources. It's not just reception; it's use that's really critical.
The second thing is that what we will do with our natural sciences digitisation will be very different. There is potential for us to be doing a DNA mapping of all of the natural environment of Wales that's in our collections, historical as well as contemporary, and this is vital for tracking the progress of the impacts of climate change and protecting nature too. So, I think what I'd want to stress is the multiple ways in which the digital can be used, but it must be community based, it must be people based, and it must be development based, really, not just passive reception.
Thank you so much.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom Giffard.
We'll move on to Tom Giffard.
Thank you, Chair. We've talked a little bit about COVID already, but I'm keen to get a better understanding of the—[Inaudible.]—day, and what, if any, further funding is required from Welsh Government, you think, in that regard and how current commercial incomes compare to the levels you received pre-pandemic.
I cut out for a little bit of the question, I'm afraid.
Yes, Tom, could you repeat the question, please? Sorry, but we lost you just for a few moments in the middle there.
Yes, no problem. So, I'm just keen to get a better understanding, basically, of the current impacts of COVID, so how it's treating you today as opposed to when we were going through a worse time. So, is there any further specific funding you might need today, based on the current situation with COVID from Welsh Government? Just to get a clearer idea of what that would look like, and, secondly, to get a better understanding of how commercial incomes currently compare to those pre-pandemic levels.
I'll just mention one thing quickly: we have had some funding confirmed from the Welsh Government for the winter of well-being, which is part of the development opportunities for children and young people coming out of COVID, and we are sustaining many of the programmes that we developed during COVID as well into the future. The hybridity is really vital. But I realise we're short of time, so I'll pass over to Neil.
Thank you, Neil. Sorry, again, to all witnesses. I'm sorry to keep on rushing you. It's because of time constraints. Thank you. Diolch, Neil.
If I could just start, in terms of the current impacts, the numbers being able to visit—physically visit—our sites is reduced and the primary reason is to keep our staff and visitors safe, and obviously to be within the Government guidelines. So, in terms of that full recovery of our physical visitor base, it is partly restricted in terms of numbers, and some of that is because of the ventilation in some of the buildings. They are very old, and, in that sense, we don't always have natural ventilation. But we will work through that as the guidelines either change or enable us to return to our greater visitor numbers pre-pandemic.
In terms of the funding at the current situation, our Government grant has been maintained, and, this year, it was actually increased, so I don't think there is any specific funding that we would require at this stage with regard to the current COVID situation.
In terms of commercial, our previous commercial income was around about £4.5 million on purely commercial activity. I think it would be fair to say that, during the 2020-21 financial year, it was more like about £300,000, so it's less than 10 per cent. We were able to access furlough, which has offset that in quite a considerable way. We would look to try and get back to our previous commercial turnover. We're working towards that, our income is increasing, but it's still less than half what it was pre-COVID, and I would anticipate that it's probably going to take until the end of the 2022-23 financial year, as we go into 2023-24, to get a full recovery against that particular aspect of our income. Positively, fundraising has largely held up, and indeed we've been able to access different grants from trusts and foundations, which has been able to offset some of the lost commercial.
Diolch, Neil. David, ac wedyn gwnaf ddod â Pedr i mewn.
Thank you, Neil. David, and then I'll bring in Pedr.
Yes, very quickly, we were determined not to let COVID stop us from continuing to do our work. We had to change it, but we still put on Artes Mundi during the COVID period. We still opened 'Richard Burton' eventually, physically as well as digitally. We've now got the Windrush exhibition at St Fagans, which is about the experience of the Windrush elders, and we've much more been doing the digital side to reach that as well. So, I think we've repurposed funding, I suppose, is my main point on this, but we've managed to keep going forward even so.
Thank you. Pedr, roeddech chi eisiau dod i mewn.
Thank you. Pedr, you wanted to come in.
Dwi'n meddwl mai'r effaith fwyaf y mae COVID wedi'i gael arnom ni, heblaw'r golled ariannol o golli incwm masnachol o ryw £700,000, ydy ei fod o wedi gwneud i ni i gyd sylweddoli, yma yn y llyfrgell genedlaethol, dwi'n credu, pa mor fregus ydy unigolion, pa mor unig ydy unigolion a pha mor anghenus ydy ein cymunedau ni, i'r fath raddau, dwi'n credu, ein bod ni yn y dyfodol rŵan yn gorfod gofyn i ni ein hunain, beth bynnag rydyn ni'n ei gyflawni, 'Pa les mae hyn yn mynd i ddod i'r bobl sy'n byw yn ein cymunedau ni?' Mae o wedi gwneud i ni sylweddoli, dwi'n credu, fod yn rhaid i ni gyfiawnhau bob dim rydyn ni yn ei wneud, a dydyn ni fel cyrff cyhoeddus ddim yma i wasanaethu ni ein hunain, ond ein bod ni yma i wasanaethu unigolion a gwasanaethu ein cymunedau ni. Mae wedi newid ein meddylfryd ni yn llwyr.
I think the biggest impact of COVID on us, apart from the financial losses of some £700,000 in commercial income, is that it's made us all realise, here in the national library, just how vulnerable and fragile individuals are, how lonely individuals can be and how needy our communities are, to such an extent, I think, we will for the future have to ask ourselves, whatever we achieve, 'What benefit will this bring to people living in our communities?' It has made us realise, I think, that we have to justify everything that we do, and that we, as public bodies, aren't here to serve ourselves, but we are here to serve individuals and our communities. It has changed our mindset entirely.
Diolch, Pedr. Tom, oeddech chi eisiau gofyn rhywbeth arall?
Thank you, Pedr. Tom, did you have any further questions?
Yes, just one very brief one. I'm just wondering what assessment you've made of the introduction of mandatory COVID passes in your sector, and what impact you think that will have.
I think clearly it will have an impact. All of these things change our relationship with our visitors. We're now in a situation where people used to be able to come into our museums without any booking, without any preparation at all, and by and large there have been very few occasions on which we've not been able to accommodate anybody who turns up. My concern about the restrictions, essential though we do understand they are, is that it does change our relationship with our visitors coming to the museum, and formalises it in various ways, and potentially in certain situations may lead to more exclusions, too, because not everybody has digital access, for example, very easily to be able to pre-book to visit. So, I think it comes in a context of the complexity of our relationship with our visitors, and it's another complexity then that we would have to deal with.
Pedr, neu Owain, oeddech chi eisiau—?
Pedr, or Owain, would you like to—?
Os caf i ychwanegu mai ychydig o effaith y bydd o'n ei chael arnom ni. Dydyn ni ddim eto wedi agor ein theatr, ond mi ydyn ni yn gyson yn cynnal seminarau a darlithoedd ar-lein. Dydyn ni ddim wedi ailagor y theatr eto, er ein bod ni wedi agor y llyfrgell, arddangosfeydd a'r ystafell ddarllen.
If I could add that it will have little impact on us, because we haven't opened our theatre yet, but we are regularly conducting seminars and lectures online. We haven't reopened the theatre yet, even though we have opened the library, the exhibitions and the reading room.
Diolch, Pedr. Mae yna 11 munud ar ôl gyda ni a dwi eisiau ceisio dod mewn â dau Aelod, os gallaf i. Felly, os gallaf i ofyn i bobl fod mor gryno ag y maen nhw'n gallu bod, gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas.
Thank you, Pedr. There are 11 minutes remaining and I want to try and bring in two Members, if I can. So, if I could ask people to be as brief as possible, we'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.
Okay, thank you. I just want to go back to participation and engagement a little. I was talking to a school in north Wales that visits south Wales every year. They visit the Senedd, Techniquest and go to St Fagans as well, and I just think that in-person experience is really valuable. In the summer, I went with my husband and 19-year-old son to St Fagans and to the museum in Cardiff, and he was saying, as a 19-year-old, how great it was to go and to learn about the evolution of the world through the ages, and people, and he wished he'd learnt it when he was younger, but to actually go there now as an adult—. And I think to have that, to be able to go and visit these places at whatever age, because it's lifelong learning and about engagement, and that in-person experience. He was really engaged with it; it was great.
I noticed that a section of the museum was still closed—it was the impressionists section. So, is that open and are schoolchildren able to come back and visit the museums? And also, I wanted to mention that when a local museum closed, the library of, I think it was King Arthur's work or something, was sent to the archive in Aberystwyth and people were really upset to see it being lost from our local area. So, just really, how we can connect, because Aberystwyth felt so far away from Flintshire where they were based in the local museum. So, how can we engage with people a little bit more, so they can feel that it's still accessible to them and they're still part of it? Thank you.
Oh, and I was supposed to ask questions about Brexit, wasn't I?
Shall we go with that for now? Diolch, Carolyn, no problem at all. It's nice to have a personal input with it. Pedr. Could we unmute Pedr, please? Diolch.
Diolch. I ateb y cwestiwn yna yn sydyn iawn, gyda chymorth Llywodraeth Cymru rydyn ni rŵan ar hyn o bryd yn comisiynu adroddiad ar draw-effaith economaidd y llyfrgell ar y canolbarth ac ar Gymru, a hefyd sut y medrwn ni ddatblygu'r llyfrgell i fod yn gyrchfan ymwelwyr o fri. Felly, mae'r adroddiad yna'n cael ei baratoi ar hyn o bryd.
Mi rydyn ni hefyd yn y broses o benodi a sefydlu adran ymgysylltu a chyfathrebu, a chydnabod y medrwn ni fod wedi gwneud hyn yn well yn y gorffennol. Felly, fy nod i yn ystod y ddwy flynedd nesaf yma rŵan ydy sicrhau bod profiad yr ymwelydd i'r llyfrgell yma yn Aberystwyth yn gwella yn ddirfawr iawn, a'n bod ni yn darparu ar gyfer bob oedran ac ar gyfer pawb sydd yn byw yng Nghymru, a bod ein casgliadau ni wedyn yn adlewyrchu diwylliannau Cymru. Ond os caf ddweud, wrth gwrs, mae ysgolion yn dod i'r llyfrgell ar hyn o bryd—mae gennym ni ysgol yma drwy'r dydd heddiw—ond, Carolyn, mae'n gwaith ymgysylltu ni a chysylltu â'r cymunedau yn mynd i ddatblygu yn sylweddol iawn yn ystod y 12 mis nesaf yma, ac mi fydd profiad yr ymwelydd—. Rydyn ni eisiau i'r lle yma fod yn ganolfan gyffrous, ac os caf i ddweud, rydyn ni ar hyn o bryd hefyd yn datblygu ystafell chwarae arbennig i blant. Rydyn ni eisiau clywed sŵn plant yn yr adeilad yma yn y dyfodol.
Thanks. To respond briefly to that question, with the support of Welsh Government we are currently commissioning a report on the economic impact of the library on mid Wales and on Wales more generally, and also on how we can develop the library to become a visitor destination of some renown. So, that report is being prepared as we speak.
We are also in the process of establishing an engagement and communications department, recognising that we could have done this more effectively in the past. So, my aim over the next two years is to ensure that the visitor experience in the library here in Aberystwyth is improved hugely, and that we do provide for visitors of all ages and for everyone living in Wales, and that our collections do reflect the cultures of Wales. But if I may say, schools do currently come to the library—we have a school visiting for the day today—but, Carolyn, that engagement work that we do in engaging with communities will be developing very significantly over the next 12 months, and the visitor experience—. We want this place to be an exciting place, and if I may say, we are currently developing a very special playroom for children. We want to hear the voices of children in this building in the future.
David, would you like to add anything?
Yes. I think the first things is that children learn differently in museums than they do in the classroom. It's a parallel universe of learning and it's very experiential, and it stimulates conversation and engagement in a way that—. Having been a schoolteacher myself, I know it's very hard to do in the classroom in quite that way. I think the future for us will be hybridity, so it's really important that schoolchildren come back to the museums. It's irreplaceable, that kind of learning, but it's also essential that we do the hybridity in terms of then being able to integrate the workshops and programmes they can get online with their visit as well, so they actually have a much more holistic experience from our museums than perhaps would have been possible before COVID.
And I would say that we're about to reintroduce our programmed sessions for schools [Correction: face-to-face events] in the new year as well. We're not running them just yet and we'll see, obviously, how the guidelines go, but at the moment we're planning to try to do that.
Thank you so much. There are a number of areas of questioning that we haven't been able to get to, so if it's all right, we'll be writing to you with quite a lot of different areas. I know that there was something supplementary that Heledd wanted to ask related to something that came up earlier. Do you want to come in again?
It was just in relation—.
Sori, mi wnaf i newid i'r Gymraeg. Dim ond eisiau gofyn, rydych chi wedi sôn ynglŷn â'ch cynllun newydd, Pedr, ac mae Amgueddfa Cymru wedi sôn am y strategaeth newydd. Mi fyddwn i efo diddordeb cael mwy o wybodaeth am y rheini ac i chi eu rhannu nhw efo ni. A hefyd, roedd Alun yn sôn yn gynharach y byddai ganddo fo ddiddordeb trafod ymhellach rhai o'r pethau yma gyda'r ddau sefydliad, a meddwl os byddech chi'n agored efallai i ymweliad gennym ni fel pwyllgor i gael trafod eich strategaethau a rhai o'r pethau ymhellach mewn mwy o ddyfnder.
Sorry, I'll change to the Welsh language. I just wanted to ask, you mentioned your new scheme, Pedr, and the national museum has mentioned its new strategy. I'd be grateful to have more information on those and for you to share them with us. Also, Alun mentioned that he would be interested in discussing further some of these things with both organisations, and thinking perhaps you would be open to a visit from us as a committee to discuss your strategies and other issues in more detail.
We would hugely welcome being able to talk about these things outside the committee room and in a cultural environment, so it would be quite a radical change to do that.
Os caf innau ddweud, Heledd, mae croeso i chi ddod i Aberystwyth, a does dim angen pasbort arnoch chi.
If I may say, Heledd, you're welcome to come to Aberystwyth, and you won't need a passport.
Pasbort o unrhyw fath. Grêt. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Nawr, mae gennym ni—. Hefin, ydych chi'n dal gyda ni? Achos, dwi'n gwybod, os yw Hefin gyda ni—. Ydych chi eisiau gofyn—? Mae gennym ni bum munud, os ydych chi eisiau dod i mewn am rywbeth, a diolch am fod yn amyneddgar gyda hyn.
A passport of any kind. Excellent. Thank you very much. Now, we have—. Hefin, are you still with us? Because, I know, if Hefin is with us—. Hefin, would you like to ask your questions? We do have five minutes left, if you wanted to come in on something, and thank you for your patience.
That's fine, I'm used to being patient. Can I just ask the panel about their view on promoting Wales to the world? What can each of you do, what can you do as a sector, to promote Wales to the world?
Ocê. Fe wnawn ni fynd at Pedr, neu'r bobl ar lein yn gyntaf, am tsiênj, ac wedyn fe wnawn ni orffen gyda'r bobl yma. So, Pedr neu Owain, ydych chi eisiau dod i mewn?
Okay. We'll go to Pedr or those online first, for a change, and then we will go to those in the room. So, Pedr or Owain, do you want to come in?
Fe wnaf i ofyn i Owain, os gwelwch yn dda.
If I could ask Owain, please.
Ie, siŵr. Owain.
Yes, sure. Owain.
Dyna ni. Diolch yn fawr iawn am y cwestiwn. Ie, dwi'n meddwl, yn amlwg, ers lansio strategaeth ryngwladol y Llywodraeth jest cyn y pandemig, dwi'n meddwl, mae hwn wedi bod yn rhan bwysig o'n meddylfryd ni wrth inni fynd ati i ddatblygu ein cynllun strategol ni. Yn amlwg, mae Pedr hefyd newydd sôn am ein cynlluniau ni a'r adroddiad ynglŷn â thraw-effaith a'r potensial mawr sydd yna o ran twristiaeth a rôl twristiaeth yn hynny, a dwi'n gwybod y bu yna drafodaeth yn y sesiwn gynharach hefyd ynglŷn â hynny.
Dwi'n meddwl hefyd ei bod hi'n bwysig i weld bod yna lot o agweddau eraill hefyd, dwi'n meddwl, o ran sut rydyn ni fel llyfrgell yn gallu dweud stori Cymru y tu hwnt. Mae yna gysylltiadau, wrth gwrs, efo'r Cymru ar wasgar. Os ydyn ni'n edrych ar y gwaith sydd wedi cael ei wneud, dwi'n gwybod, efo Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru yn edrych ar gymell tawel—soft power, felly—dwi'n meddwl bod yna gyfleon yn fanna i Gymru, ac, wrth gwrs, mae'r dimensiwn digidol ac argaeledd gwybodaeth ddigidol, casgliadau digidol sydd gan y llyfrgell, yn gyfrwng gwych i allu gwneud hynny ac i allu dweud y stori yna yn ehangach. Wrth gwrs, mae hwn yn clymu i mewn hefyd efo'r potensial o ran defnydd creadigol casgliadau a gweithgareddau. Felly, dwi'n meddwl—fe wnaf i drio cadw pethau'n fyr—dyna fyddwn i'n ei ddweud o ran y crynodeb o safbwynt y llyfrgell.
Thank you very much for the question. I think, clearly, from when the Government's international strategy was launched, just before the pandemic, I think, this has been an important part of our mindset as we developed our strategic plan. Clearly, Pedr has mentioned our plans and the report on economic impact and the great potential that exists in terms of tourism and the role of tourism in that, and I know there was a discussion in the earlier session on that.
I also think it's important to see that there are a number of other aspects as well on how we as a library can tell Wales's story beyond. There are links, of course, with the Welsh people abroad. If we look at the work that's been done with the Learned Society of Wales, looking at soft power, I think that there are opportunities there for Wales, and, of course, the digital dimension and the availability of digital information and digital collections that the library has is an excellent medium to be able to do so and to be able to tell that story in a broader sense. This, of course, links in with the potential in terms of the creative use of collections and activities. So, I think—I'll try and keep things brief—that's what I'd say in terms of that being a summary of what's happening in the library.
Diolch, Owain. Felly'r gair olaf i David Anderson.
Thank you, Owain. So, the final word to David Anderson.
Very quickly, bullet points. Before COVID, a gross value added of £83 million was generated for the Welsh economy by the museum, and part of that comes from visitors from outside Wales—a substantial part of that. Secondly, the Wales-Ireland inter-governmental agreement is crucially important as a model for us working internationally, and you will have seen that the memorandum of understanding and the partnership between us and the National Museum of Ireland is an explicit part of that. We really are building on that as practice. We have ongoing discussions with museums in Japan and the United States about major touring exhibitions from National Museum Wales to those countries, which are part of a reopening up of the profile of Wales, which we can do en masse. We've also got a relationship that's just been developed with a major museum in Germany, the Museum für Naturkunde, which is around the environment, nature, environmental management. It's really exciting and there's potential for us to work with them digitally as well as in other ways. One of the key things for us is that we're not just exporting collections. We're exporting Wales's distinctive approach to culture, the way and the values that Wales represents around culture, and what we're finding is that there is a huge demand and interest in that, that, to be quite honest, the traditional London national museum model of just blockbusters coming backwards and forwards doesn't touch. We're getting to Latin America, Africa and other parts of the world through a very different way of doing culture, and we should really build on that.
Would you say that ties into the Welsh Government's international strategy?
Oh, absolutely, yes, and I think the Ireland-Wales concordat, really, or action plan, is an example of the integration of the Welsh Government's strategy with the work that we're doing. We really have to be shouting about Wales internationally, and I think the cultural sector is one of the most fruitful and penetrating ways of doing that.
A gaf i ddiolch i chi i gyd am eich tystiolaeth heddiw, am fod yn amyneddgar gyda ni gyda'r cyfyngiadau amser, ac am hefyd roi cymaint o dystiolaeth i ni? Dwi'n siŵr byddwn ni'n awyddus iawn i nid yn unig trafod y pethau hyn ymhellach gyda chi, ond hefyd i ddod i ymweld â chi pan fydd cyfle yn codi. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn eto, a diolch i'r Aelodau am fod yn amyneddgar hefyd gyda'r cyfyngiadau heddiw. Byddwn ni'n ysgrifennu atoch chi gyda transgript o beth dŷch chi wedi'i ddweud i'w wirio. Dwi'n edrych ymlaen, a dwi'n siŵr fy mod i'n siarad ar ran y pwyllgor i gyd, i weithio gyda'r sefydliadau dros y misoedd a'r blynyddoedd i ddod. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Byddwn ni nawr yn cymryd egwyl fer. Aelodau, os gallwch chi fod nôl erbyn 11:25 ar gyfer ein sesiwn olaf y bore yma. Diolch yn fawr.
May I thank you all for your evidence today, and for being patient with us in terms of the time restrictions and for providing us with so much evidence? I'm sure we'll be very keen not only to discuss these things further with you, but also to visit you when an opportunity arises. So, thank you very much, and thank you to the Members for being patient as well with the restrictions today. We will write to you with a transcript of what you've said to check. I'm looking forward, and I'm sure I'm talking on behalf of the committee, to working with the organisations over the months and years to come. Thank you very much.
We'll now take a short break. Members, if you could be back by 11:25 for our final session this morning. Thank you.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 11:20 ac 11:32.
The meeting adjourned between 11:20 and 11:32.
Croeso nôl i'n sesiwn gydag amgueddfa genedlaethol Cymru a Chyngor Celfyddydau Cymru. Dŷn ni'n mynd i fod yn trafod cyflawni prosiectau ar y cyd. Fe wnaf i ofyn i'r tystion i gyflwyno'u hunain, plis, ar gyfer y record, a gwnaf i fynd at David Anderson yn gyntaf gan eich bod chi wedi bod gyda ni'n barod y bore yma.
Welcome back to our session with National Museum Wales and the Arts Council of Wales. We will be discussing the delivery of joint projects. I will ask witnesses to introduce themselves for the record, and I will move, first of all, to David Anderson as you have been with us already this morning.
David Anderson, director general, Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museum Wales.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Gwnawn ni fynd at Nia wedyn.
Thank you very much. We'll go to Nia.
Diolch yn fawr. Nia Williams, cyfarwyddwr addysg a rhaglenni cyhoeddus, Amgueddfa Cymru.
Thank you very much. Nia Williams, director of learning and public programmes, National Museum Wales.
Lyfli i weld chi. Rebecca.
Lovely to see you. Rebecca.
Thank you, Chair. I'm Rebecca Nelson, I'm the director of finance at Arts Council of Wales.
Thank you. Diane.
Thank you. I'm Diane Hebb and I'm director of arts engagement, Arts Council of Wales.
Thank you so much.
Mae Kath Davies yn ymuno gyda ni ar-lein hefyd—Kath.
Kath Davies is joining us online—Kath.
Bore da, ie, Kath Davies, cyfarwyddwr ymchwil a chasgliadau, Amgueddfa Cymru.
Good morning, I'm Kath Davies, director of collections and research with the National Museum Wales.
Diolch yn fawr, Kath. Gwnawn ni symud—wel, gwnawn ni fynd at Heledd Fychan yn gyntaf am gwestiwn.
Thank you very much, Kath. We will move to Heledd Fychan, first of all, for the first question.
Roeddwn i eisiau gofyn i'r cyngor celfyddydau jest cyn i ni ddechrau'r sesiwn yma, a fyddech chi'n gallu jest rhoi diweddariad sydyn i ni o ran y sefyllfa o ran prif weithredwr ar y funud o ran y sefydliad?
I wanted to ask the arts council before we move into this session, could you just provide us with an update in terms of the situation with the chief executive at the moment?
I'm happy to take that question. Nick Capaldi was our previous chief executive and he retired on 3 September. We were due to have a colleague of ours, the director or arts development, Sian Tomos, take up her post as chief executive of arts council from 6 September. Unfortunately, Sian became unwell over the summer—a long-standing health condition affected her ability to deal with any stressful situations and her condition was exacerbated by stress and anxiety, and unfortunately, she couldn't take up post. So, in terms of a contingency plan, I've been appointed as the acting accounting officer for the Arts Council of Wales and Diane will lead on arts policy. At our council meeting on Friday, we're going to propose an interim arrangement—appoint an interim chief executive if possible, with a view to appointing a permanent chief executive, as the recruitment process allows.
Diolch am hwnna, Rebecca. Gyda llaw, achos bod Kath ar-lein gyda ni ac mae rhai Aelodau gyda ni ar-lein hefyd, os ydyn nhw eisiau ymateb i gwestiwn neu ychwanegu rhywbeth, os byddech chi'n gallu rhoi eich llaw i fyny. Kath, fi'n addo y byddai'n cario ymlaen i edrych ar y sgrin hefyd fel bod fi ddim yn anghofio amdanoch chi. Fe wnawn ni symud at Alun Davies.
Thank you for that, Rebecca. By the way, because Kath is online with us and we have some Members online as well, if anyone would like to respond to a question or add something, if you could put your hand up. Kath, I promise to continue looking at the screen so I don't forget about you. We'll go to Alun Davies next.
Thank you. That's very useful to know about the arts council's role there. In terms of working together and developing ideas, the contemporary arts gallery is something that I'm very interested in. It was part of an agreement here between Labour and Plaid Cymru some years ago, and you had the feasibility studies published three years ago, something like that, in July 2018, I think. I know there's going to be an update at some point in the spring, but I was wondering if you could just outline to us where you are with developing those concepts at the moment.
First of all, just on the partnership, perhaps I could say that that was something that was right in the inception of the project, and it was something that we had already begun to discuss and work together on, even before the Welsh Government had received the report and decided how it was going to take it forward. I think that's very important to emphasise, because I think that the synergy between the two organisations has become really quite extraordinary. I think we share a lot of values, a lot of the vision for how Wales can be supported by arts and culture. It's something that we share very deeply. So, this is, in many ways, just one project of a number of areas of that collaboration, which I also think we could have talked a little bit more about in relation to ourselves and the library earlier on in the previous session too.
Okay, well, talk about it now.
Tell us what you mean by that now, because I agree with you, by the way, about the library and a contemporary arts gallery. For example, I know that the gallery has a number of collections that would be useful in that, but I liked what you were saying earlier about the arts as part of, I think you said the welfare state, or part of the health and well-being approach. I think that's really important. I think it's really, really important, and I'm interested—we talked about the gallery and we can talk about the gallery as an example, but I'm interested in those wider synergies as well.
Yes. Something that does actually relate to the event report on the national gallery of contemporary art project is around the idea of distributed collections and the fact that, and we did touch on this in the previous session, what is held by in our case a national institution actually belongs to all the people of Wales wherever they're located. What we've inherited, if you like, as a sector, is a model where you tend to bring it all together in one big place, very often a capital city, but it makes it unaccessible for all sorts of reasons to people who don't happen to live within easy travel distance of that. So, I think one of those shared principles really is that arts and culture should be where people are, so far as possible, and should be relevant, as well, to the different regions. We can come back to how that might be applied in practice, but I think that the idea that you should be able to get some access to the national collections wherever you are is an important principle, and also that the institutions that you have to access that should be resourced to be full functioning arts institutions, and not simply holders of collections or works of art too. We could talk a lot more about this, and I should maybe open it up to my colleagues. I don't know whether Diane wants to say anything there.
Only to agree absolutely with what David is saying around shared values and shared approach, certainly in terms of the conversations that we're having at the arts council and have been having for some time around our vision, our corporate planning, our operational planning, and that real move to community ownership. So, as David said, it's about arts and culture where people are, but it's also about people having ownership of arts and culture, not just in terms of collections but—
Tell me what you mean by that. Tell me what you mean by that. What does that mean?
Ownership of the engagement. So, having opportunities to really engage with work that is being created within their communities.
So, what does that mean for my constituency?
That means arts organisations and artists within your constituency working very closely with communities, working very closely with people in the community, around the development and the creation of work that is meaningful and relevant, and that puts people in those communities in a position of real kind of ownership of the arts and cultural experiences that are being created in those communities, and that they can access within those communities.
There's been numerous programmes and projects to seek to do exactly that, and they have all been very successful for a short period of time. And what's always concerned me is that, quite often, it's an individual with a drive who wants to seek to drive the project forward, and they then move away or the funding goes away, or what have you, and then it just falls to pieces again. And I'm interested as to how you can provide for the longevity of this, if you like—how you can bring people together, achieve something within the community, and then carry on doing so rather than just doing it for one year, for two years, or for three years.
I think it's fair to say that that's what we're interested in as well, and I think that's the challenge that we have set ourselves, and I think that's one of the reasons that we went into the process of commissioning the widening engagement reports. I know I'm kind of jumping ahead because we're talking about the gallery, but we've done research, we've done engagement research previously, both organisations have, but for us, we've never really got behind what is really going to make a difference, and that's why we did this particular piece of work in a very different way, so that we can really hear from the voices of those people who don't engage, or have chosen to stop engaging in arts and cultural experiences within their communities, and to really learn from that this time in a much more meaningful way that is going to inform exactly what you're talking about—how do we make a difference in the longer term?
Yes, we could devise some more projects that happen on a short-term basis, but this, for us, is absolutely about making that transformational change around where ownership of arts and cultural experiences really sit. It's very challenging for us, but I think it's a challenge that we have to step up to.
Let's think about the gallery as the example under discussion. I'm not convinced that I wholly agree with the proposition that a single large collection is necessarily a bad thing. I'm not convinced by that. I'm open to be convinced, by the way; I'm not antagonistic towards it, but I'm not instinctively convinced by the argument.
But I do like the idea of having hubs in different parts of the country, where people can experience the national collections, if you like, in different ways, and I am interested in how you make that work. But, I also believe that there's a value in having a national institution, which is—. We're getting into this 'Is it going to be in Cardiff or Aberystwyth, Bangor or Swansea?' dull argument, which I'm bored with. I've argued about things like that for 20 years; I don't want to argue about it anymore. So, put that to one side.
But how do you make those hubs work? What does it mean for me, in my constituency, my constituents? And have you any idea where or what those hubs would be?
First, if I can just comment on the major centre and the hub argument, I didn't intend to say that we shouldn't have a major centre as part of this; I think it's more that the balance at the moment is far too much towards—almost all our collections anyway at Amgueddfa Cymru for art, for example—being in Cardiff, and hardly anything anywhere else at all. And that balance is wrong, and I think we do need to address that, so, just for clarity.
In terms of the nature of those hubs, if I might maybe bring my colleague, Kath Davies, in here, because she's been thinking quite a lot about this, and maybe Diane would want to do the same perhaps.
Diolch, David. I think, over the past 18 months, we have worked very, very closely with the arts council to develop a series of different initiatives under the overarching banner of Celf ar y Cyd/Art Together, and we hope that it does move some way to achieving that. And, obviously, how we use the national collection is central to all the programmes that we've developed through Celf ar y Cyd, and looking at how we can place that collection within community settings.
I'll just briefly run through the four key strands of Celf ar y Cyd. First of all, there's a project that we developed in response to the first wave of the pandemic, working with health boards across Wales and through the Arts Council of Wales's arts and health network to look at how we could use collections to support NHS staff and bring some comfort and colour to those people who were recovering from COVID. That's something that started as an immediate response. But actually, in response to what Alun was saying earlier, I think, as we've moved forward with that, we really see value in taking collections out and using them in a very, very different way.
What was important within that particular project is that it was the NHS medical staff who decided what they wanted to use and how they wanted to use that, and engaged staff with that process. Unfortunately, because of medical requirements, we could only use reproductions, but I think that, given the strength of that programme and the different areas that we're moving into through that programme, we would want to take collections out into community settings. The type of work that we're looking at now is working with a stroke ward in Aneurin Bevan health board, and also with Powys, looking at how we can support those who are in end-of-life care. So, I think there's something that we've learnt there that we need to apply in how we can use the collections within those community settings.
Another element of Celf ar y Cyd—and I won't go through all of them, because I know we're short of time—is a project that we called 100 Celf, where we asked the people of Wales to select their favourite objects from our collection. It was tough for them to choose 30, but we got there. And what we're doing now is moving forward with some galleries across Wales, where they will take the top 30. Those galleries are in Aberystwyth, in sir Fôn and in Brecon. They will take the collection, but also, they will interpret those locally, and they add other items from our collection that have local relevance, or add items from their own collection that resonate with those local communities. I think there's some really interesting work that we've been able to model over the last 18 months, and I think that point about longevity of that programme is really important. The demand is there, and we really need to find innovative ways to be able to satisfy the demand.
Dwi'n meddwl bod Heledd Fychan eisiau dod i mewn yn y fan hon.
I think Heledd Fychan wanted to come in at this point.
Pa gefnogaeth sydd yn cael ei rhoi i'r orielau lleol ac amgueddfeydd er mwyn gwneud y gwaith yma o ddehongli? Oes yna adnodd hefyd yn cyd-fynd efo hynny?
What support is provided to local galleries and museums in order to do this interpretation work? Is there a resource attached to that?
Roedd yna rywfaint o gefnogaeth wedi dod o'r Llywodraeth—diolch yn fawr iawn—ar gyfer y prosiect yma. Mae digon i ni i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni yn cyflawni y darn yma o'r prosiect, ond bydd angen, dwi'n credu, fel roedd Diane yn sôn gynnau, efallai sgwrs bellach ynglŷn â sut y byddem ni'n datblygu cynllun busnes er mwyn sicrhau bod hwn yn brosiect sydd yn parhau.
There was some support provided from Government, and we're grateful to them for that. It was enough for us to ensure that we could deliver this part of the project, but, as Diane mentioned earlier, I think we'll need a further conversation as to how we'll develop a business plan in order to ensure that this is an ongoing project.
Okay. I welcome all that; that was really interesting. Just for my own mind, we had the initial feasibility study concluded in July 2018, there was a ministerial statement a little while ago—last year, or earlier this year—and we're expecting an update in the spring on the contemporary arts gallery. Is that the correct timeline?
Could I pass this to Rebecca, please?
That is my understanding. That's correct in terms of timeline. We are appearing in front of this committee I think on 24 November, so we could provide further information. What I will say is that Sian Tomos was very much leading this piece of work from our end, so it's something that we've had to pick up. I appreciate there has been a delay since September, but it's something we're very much keen to now continue, to carry on with conversations, and give some impetus to this project from the arts council and our expertise in the visual arts sector.
So, we will have an update in—I say 'the spring' to give you that flexibility. I would say spring 2022 rather than let it go any further back. But what's important to me is that we have that timeline, that time frame, so that you've got the momentum to continue with the project. But what I'm also concerned about is that we don't talk about this for another five years, so that you actually—. So, can I expect, or can we expect, in February, to have what will essentially be a delivery schedule?
From the arts council side, we'd very much support that, and we're thankful to have the direction from this committee—
Well, this committee's not in a position to give you that direction, but we would scrutinise whether it's been delivered or not. But from our perspective, what I think we would want, as a committee, is to understand that yourselves, as the institutions working alongside Government, I would anticipate, are committed to publishing a delivery schedule within a reasonable time frame. I don't want you to just rush forward with something that is unrealistic, but I also don't want us to be having this conversation in a year's time.
Shall I just pick up on that? We're absolutely hoping—sorry, let me remove my headphones—that we'll be in a position to do that. So, we would both like very much to give you that guarantee. Conversations around this have continued. We were very much involved in continuing in partnership around the arts and health, which Kath has just been talking about, absolutely in line with the plans that we've been developing around the approach to the national collection. So, we were able to bring in our very strong links with the health boards through the arts and health work programme and the networks that we've developed there. We were able to bring that into the partnership around the work that Kath has talked about.
It isn't my intention to either put you on the spot or to try to catch you out here this morning, it's just in order to understand what the process is. So, it might well be easier if you were to write to us, so that you can think about that timeline that you believe is achievable, and, then, to ensure that you also say, 'This is what we anticipate to do'. And it would be useful for us as a committee, I think, if you have any barriers or any difficulties that would mean that you wouldn't be able to meet the timetable of February 2022, so that we could understand that. Because what I don't want to do is for you to feel that you have to answer this question this morning, when you're not fully in a position to do so properly. That would just be difficult for everybody, I think. Is that okay?
We're very happy to do that. I think it's worth us just flagging a reminder of the position that we are in at this moment in time around the two people who are driving the organisation and that wider context. But we will absolutely take that back and we can work together on developing that for you.