Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Yn ôl i Chwilio

Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

14/11/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Carwyn Jones AC
David Melding AC
Delyth Jewell AC
John Griffiths AC
Mick Antoniw AC

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

David Anderson Cyfarwyddwr Cyffredinol, Amgueddfa Cymru
Director General, National Museum Wales
Neil Wicks Dirprwy Gyfarwyddwr Cyffredinol a Chyfarwyddwr Cyllid ac Adnoddau Corfforaethol, Amgueddfa Cymru
Deputy Director General and Director of Finance and Corporate Resources, National Museum Wales
Nia Williams Cyfarwyddwr Addysg ac Ymgysylltu, Amgueddfa Cymru
Director of Learning and Engagement, National Museum Wales

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Mared Llwyd Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Martha Da Gama Howells Clerc
Clerk
Robin Wilkinson Ymchwilydd
Researcher

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

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. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 10:08.

The meeting began at 10:08.

Penodi Cadeirydd Dros Dro
Appointment of Temporary Chair

Good morning, everybody. Unfortunately, our Chair of the committee, Bethan Sayed, is unwell this morning, so I'd like to propose a motion under Standing Order 17.22 that we elect a temporary Chair—David Melding. Are there any objections? David is duly elected.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da. Thank you very much. I invite Members who have any declarations of interest to make them now. I don't see any.

2. Sesiwn graffu gydag Amgueddfa Cymru
2. Scrutiny session with National Museum Wales

So, our substantial item this morning at St Fagans museum, this wonderful institute, is the annual scrutiny of National Museum Wales, and I'm delighted to welcome David Anderson here this morning, the director general. David, before I ask you to introduce your team, I think the question everyone wants me to ask you is: have you brought the Botticelli? [Laughter.]

I'm afraid I start with a negative. No, it's not with me. But we are delighted with the television programme, I have to say.

Neil Wicks is director of finance and resources, deputy director general, and Nia Williams is director of learning and engagement.

And I know you're regular visitors; we're very grateful. This annual session is a really important one, and we've had some interesting material to conduct the session on. I think you're familiar with our proceedings, but, obviously, they will be conducted in Welsh and English. The Welsh translation, for those who need it, is channel 1. Channel 0 will amplify our proceedings as well. And I'll ask John Griffiths to start our session.

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Yes. Bore da. I wonder if we might start with an overview, really, of your financial situation. And firstly, is the grant in aid from the Welsh Government sufficient? That's a bit of a leading question with perhaps an obvious answer.

Well, I would certainly say that it is not sufficient for our ambition, no. We're meeting here at St Fagans and this has been a huge success since it reopened, as you know, with the Museum of the Year for the UK award for us. We want to do the same for every one of our sites across Wales, including Llanberis up in north Wales. So, I think that we need funding to invest in the feasibility studies that will unlock funding from across the UK for us to move forward on other sites. Perhaps Neil would like to say something as well.

10:10

It's the inevitable answer that funding is never enough. I think the reality is on two counts, really. The first one is capital investment, and I know that it's tight across the public sector all the way, but our backlog maintenance and preventative maintenance is probably now somewhere around about £50 million. And the severity of it means that even on this site you're visiting today, there are two historic buildings that are closed and will remain permanently closed.

The challenge is twofold, really. It's how we maintain our heritage and cultural assets for Wales and then, secondly, how we develop them to use for multiple purposes—clearly, for culture and heritage, but in the other sense as, perhaps, tourist hubs. The GVA we generate, we got recorded around about £80 million-odd, but my guess is that it's probably over £100 million. And then the other side of it really is slightly more in a role that we've been undertaking over the last few years, which is how we can assist in the health agenda and social inclusion agendas. So, I think the physicality of the buildings, we need to preserve for the nation, but enable us to deliver going forward. And what you can see from here, particularly in the main buildings, but in Gweithdy higher up the site, is that investment. The Welsh Government investment was around about £7 million, but you've got a £30 million project by cash spend and probably a £50 million project by value. So, I think that we can offer a lot more.

In terms of revenue, I think it would be fair to say that we've been squeezed and we are at a bit of a pinchpoint in terms of that. In terms of money, our reserve will last approximately two years for revenue, and without the current pay rise this year, so we are getting into a very squeezed point in terms of what we're able to do. And, at some point in the next two years, that is going to affect services. And what I mean by 'services' is what we're able to deliver, and we're not going to be able to maintain what we do.

I see. What have the implications been for staffing levels, then, over the recent period, and what might happen from this point?

Obviously, it depends on the budget settlement that's coming out very soon. I think, overall, if we're not able to, in inverted commas, 'balance the books'—. So, this year, we will make a small core deficit in terms of our operation and running costs, relative to our budget—I mean 'small'. And, as the future grows, that core deficit will grow, hence the use of accumulative reserves from previous years. And ultimately, if it went to the nth degree, you're either looking at site closure, partial closure or redundancy. We have been through four rounds of voluntary severance and I don't think there's much left in that pot to do.

Perhaps, Chair, if I might just add as well, I think that there's the analysis by direct cost, which, of course, is absolutely appropriate, but there's also analysis by investment as well. And, picking up Neil's point about the £7 million that the Welsh Government provided, the gross value added for this site is probably somewhere in the region of £30 million to £35 million per annum and it will have been significantly increased because of the additional attendances that have come from the redevelopment. We leveraged more than £20 million from other sources to add to the Welsh Government's funding, so that was money brought in from outside. There was all the employment that came because of this and, therefore, the investment through the project as well as the financial benefit to Wales of GVA, going forward in perpetuity, really, as well. So, I think I would want very much to argue that the investment in the cultural infrastructure of all our museums will bring similar benefits as well to Wales very, very quickly too. And I think that the investment model is one that needs to be set alongside the basic revenue and capital costs model.

So, would it be fair to say that, in terms of capital and the sort of investment that you'd like to make in your sites, you're pretty restricted at the moment? I was at the Cathays museum over half term, and it was absolutely packed with families looking at Dippy. I was there with my great-nephew, actually, and it was great seeing, but we were talking about the flow of people through that building and some of the restrictions. Obviously, if it was possible to spend money and the money was available, then it could accommodate a much greater volume of people.

10:15

Absolutely. One of the ambitions we have is to have some seed funding for a master plan for the National Museum Cardiff for precisely the reason you've given. It's now a 100-year-old building with a characteristic 1970s addition to it, as well; I don't think the addition would have been what we would have designed ourselves from where we are now. It struggles on busy days to manage the numbers, but, more significantly, the visitor facilities are outdated and not always easy to use. There's no wheelchair access to the building from the front, the lifts are antiquated, and I could go on and on and on with the list, and Neil could add to it many times. So, I think that we really, really need to upgrade our facilities.

Last year, £8 billion was spent on the development of cultural institutions across the globe. What's very clear is that this is understood very widely now, globally, to be an area where investment pays back significantly. In the UK, the English Government has now put aside quite a large—hundreds of millions of pounds for investment in capital infrastructure for the national museums and for other museums too. The same is happening in Ireland. I really believe it would be enormously to Wales's benefit to do the same for the capital buildings here as well.

And, really, it's the availability of capital that's holding back that investment, not other factors.

If I may, there's also—success breeds success. So, clearly, our visitor numbers to this site—I think, when the Minister visited, she was queueing along the road to get in along with the rest of us. The reason for that was it was a rainy day and we can't use the overflow car parks. So, I think there is maybe a joining up of what that key infrastructure is, in terms of public transport. So, I think we would be able to potentially reach 1 million visitors here over the next five to eight years, but our infrastructure in terms of, in this case, the car park, would not allow us to do that. In a way, we're building expectation. I think we have first-class facilities; it's now trying to service those facilities and maintain what is, if you like, a first-class venue for Wales.

The ambition for the other sites is about bringing those facilities, where we have physical sites in other parts of Wales, up to a similar standard. So, if you look at it in a slightly different way, we would love to take touring exhibitions around Wales. Even our own sites don't have the environmental conditions to take them, and I'm thinking particularly of north and west Wales at this point.

So, I think there are difficult choices in terms of that investment, but, in terms of the investment the Government has made by capital and by the continuing revenue, the payback has been very, very strong. We're talking about less than £2 a visitor. So, the reality is, if we invest, it can offer so much more, either by intervention, by tourism, as in cultural tourism in this particular case, but also, potentially, regeneration for areas and acting as a hub for that. You could see a clear link in Llanberis between the world heritage site bit and Llanberis, as a museum, being at the core of that. In terms of tourism, where do all the tourists go that don't walk up Snowdon, for example? So, I think that there is actually opportunity, there is a real chance to be joined up in terms of what we're doing, and there is something then that can link through to the Wales plc type model.

Okay. Two other questions from me—one on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, really. In aligning the museum with the legislation, are you able to point to practical differences that that has made?

Yes, I think we strongly support the future generations Act, regard it as core to our own vision and strategy as well. We're just embarking on a new 10-year strategic vision process and strategic plan for the organisation, and it will be core to that. Nia, do you want to add—?

Ydw. Gwnaf siarad yn Gymraeg. Mae'r ddeddfwriaeth uchelgeisiol hon yn rhywbeth rŷm ni'n ei chroesawu. Ein cred ni, mewn ffordd, yw diwylliant i bawb, ac rŷm ni wedi seilio hwnna ar y syniad o hawliau diwylliannol, yn mynd nôl i bryd sefydlwyd yr amgueddfa hon nôl ym 1948 a sefydlu hawliau dynol yr un flwyddyn. Mae'r ddeddfwriaeth yn ymgymryd â hwnna. Y gwahaniaeth rŷm ni wedi'i weld ydy'r ffordd rŷm ni'n gweithio mewn partneriaeth, mewn ffordd lawer iawn mwy strategol, a phartneriaeth at bwrpas, gyda amcanion clir i'r partneriaethau yna.

Un esiampl ddiweddar yw'r ddeddfwriaeth ynglŷn ag equalities. Rŷm ni wedi bod—gyda nifer o bartneriaid, gan gynnwys arts council Cymru, y comisiwn, Estyn; mae yna ryw 10 partner i gyd—yn rhan o greu un set o amcanion ar draws y cyrff i gyd ynglŷn ag equalities, rili. Felly, mae hwnna'n ffordd i weithio yn llawer iawn mwy unedig gyda'n gilydd. Mae hefyd yn rhan o'r ffordd rŷm ni'n gweithio gyda'r sectorau ar draws Cymru i sicrhau nad yw diwylliant yn rhywbeth rŷm ni'n creu ar gyfer pobl, ond bod pobl yn creu'r diwylliant, ac rŷm ni'n annog hynny, ac rŷm ni'n blatfform i hynny ddigwydd. Felly, mae ein rhaglenni cyhoeddus ni nawr yn cael eu cyd-greu i sicrhau ein bod ni'n cwrdd â'r anghenion sydd eu hangen ar bobl Cymru. Felly, dyna'r ffordd, ond dwi'n meddwl ei fod e—. Ar gyfer y dyfodol, mae'n sicr yn rhywbeth sydd yn dod yn ganllaw i'r holl ffordd rŷm ni'n gweithredu, ac, fel dywedodd David, ein cynllun 10 mlynedd ni—rŷm ni'n seilio'r strategaeth 10 mlynedd rŷm ni wrthi'n datblygu nawr ar y ddeddfwriaeth honno.

Yes. I will answer in Welsh. This ambitious legislation is something that we warmly welcome. Our belief, in a way, is that culture should be for all, and we've based that on the concept of cultural rights, going back to the establishment of this very museum in 1948 and the establishment of human rights in the same year. The legislation does relate to that very strongly. The difference that we've seen is the way that we work in partnership in a far more strategic manner, and it's partnership for a purpose, with very clear objectives for those partnerships.

One recent example is the equalities legislation, where—along with a number of other partners, including the Arts Council of Wales, the commission, Estyn; there are some 10 partners in all—we've been involved in creating one set of objectives across all of the organisations in terms of equalities. So, that is a way of working in a far more unified and united way and also part of how we work with sectors across Wales in order to ensure that culture isn't something that we create for people, but people create that culture themselves, and we encourage that, and we're a platform for that to happen. So, our public programmes are now co-produced to ensure that we meet the demands of the people of Wales. So, that's the way, but I think it's—. For the future that is certainly going to be a guide for all of our activity and, as David said, in our 10-year plan—we are basing our 10-year strategy that we're currently developing on that very legislation.

10:20

Okay, and, finally, the climate emergency that you've declared, along with many others—I think the challenge to many others, and also to the museum, is what action has that led to and will it lead to.

We've said that we're going to develop a plan over the next 12 months that will be a comprehensive one, looking at both what we do with the public and also our own responsibilities as an organisation internally as well. I think that it's evident—I hope that if you went into the national museum in Cardiff today you would find the young people's exhibition in relation to the climate emergency alongside Dippy the dinosaur there. And I think in some ways it's very timely for us that Dippy is in Cardiff, because it makes a very strong point about climate change over huge periods of time, and also is a very stark reminder that no species is permanent, or, at least, particularly for us. So, I think we could be the first species that will contemplate its own extinction at its own hand, really, as well.

So, I think there's a lot in the permanent galleries already and the natural sciences that tell the story of fluctuating climates and the sometimes quite catastrophic impacts those have had on species. So, I think we can build on the research work that's been done by our own natural sciences team out across Wales on all sorts of projects to work with the public as well to spread understanding. For example, we've got a project that is trying to identify alien species coming across the Atlantic on plastic and other materials and landing on Welsh shores. So, we're finding new species turning up in Wales and we're documenting those and we will be creating a record going forward of the impact of climate change in that kind of way. I don't know if my colleagues want to add anything to that.

If I may, in terms of us, as actions, there are probably two bits to this. One is the larger picture and the national picture for Wales, as David's described. In terms of us as an organisation, we've recently put humidifiers into Cathays Park, as in National Museum Cardiff, and that's probably reduction electric consumption by 90 per cent, and certainly in terms of carbon dioxide. That probably says more about the ones that were replaced as well, I have to add. But these are quite leading edge in terms of they're ultrasonic, whereas the old were steam driven, and I literally mean the steam developed the air con to keep the galleries. We have solar panels on both Big Pit and Cathays Park and the collections centre, which was done two years ago via a Government Salix loan. I think where we can look going forward, we have combined heat and power units. So, they have reduced consumption, as you'll see from the annual accounts. Carbon emissions have gone down about 30 per cent over five years, as has electricity and gas consumption. In terms of money, it's actually gone up, because the price point of the products that we have to purchase has gone up. 

In terms of looking forward to the future, there are opportunities for the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, possibly on photovoltaic array, but certainly around combined heat and power. But the other big one that was done in Cathays—as you can imagine, our lighting uses tremendous amounts of electricity, and, certainly, most of that now has been converted to LED, and we look to do that across a number of our sites.

At a very practical level, the plastic straws have gone and what would be deemed to be takeaway coffee cups are of a compostable vegetable matter rather than either plastic or paper. And we will be looking to take those initiatives wider across, but, certainly, in terms of direct action, that's broadly where we are. 

10:25

Os caf i hefyd—. Fel darparwr mwyaf addysg tu allan i'r dosbarth yng Nghymru, gyda dros 200,000 o addysgwyr ffurfiol yn ymweld â'n saith amgueddfa ni'n flynyddol, mae gennym ni blatfform da hefyd i drafod materion ynglŷn â hyn gyda'n defnyddwyr ni, a hefyd y cyfle, trwy'n harddangosfeydd ni, i feddwl ynglŷn â dysgu gydol oes am arferion cynaliadwy gyda'n cynulleidfaoedd ni ar draws Cymru. 

If I could also add, as the biggest provider of education outside the classroom in Wales, with over 200,000 formal learners visiting our seven sites on an annual basis, we have a good platform to discuss issues relating to this with our users, and also the opportunity, through our exhibitions, to think about lifelong learning and sustainable habits with our audiences across Wales. 

Delyth will ask the next set of questions. I don't want an answer to this, but just in conclusion on what John has put to you—you might want to write to us—I was interested that Neil said there was a problem with the car parks getting waterlogged—I think perhaps your wider transport strategy for this site, including public transport and also, if people cycle here, what the facilities are. But we're pressed for time, so I don't want to extend that discussion, but it's an interesting aspect, I think. Delyth. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Byddaf i'n gofyn yn Gymraeg hefyd. Roeddwn i eisiau gofyn yn gyntaf am nifer yr ymwelwyr, os gallwch chi siarad ni trwy pam ydych chi'n meddwl eich bod chi wedi gweld cynnydd o 6 y cant, rwy'n meddwl, ers blwyddyn ddiwethaf yn nifer yr ymwelwyr rydych chi'n eu chael a hefyd pa gynlluniau sydd gennych chi i gadw ymlaen gyda'r cynnydd yn y blynyddoedd sydd i ddod.

Thank you, Chair. I'll ask in Welsh as well. I wanted to ask first of all about visitor numbers, if you could you talk us through why you think you've seen an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year's figures in the number of visitors and also what plans do you have for carrying on with this growth over the next few years.

I think that the reopening of St Fagans and the publicity that we've had across the UK because of the award of the Museum of the Year has been significant. In July 2019, this year, we had 67 per cent more visitors to St Fagans than we had in July 2018. So, very clearly, there's a powerful driver there. I also think that other sites have been investing in the public programmes and temporary exhibitions—not just National Museum Cardiff, but Swansea, for example, and the slate museum. And we know from research that those are powerful drivers of new attendances and repeat attendances too. So, I think, really, at an operational level, if you like, over the next year or two, as much as we can we will be developing our public programming of all kinds, including very much the in-depth partnership with communities and organisations, which I think helps to bring a different audience to the museum, and new audiences to the museum as well. 

Strategically, we come back to the big capital developments, really. If we're going to get big leaps forward on our sites, which we truly believe would be significant, for example in Llanberis, then in that case we need to do the big capital developments that transform the sites and achieve, we would hope, the kind of success that St Fagans has had. We want to roll out the St Fagans methodologies and the St Fagans spirit, if you like, of collaboration and partnership and social justice in the same way to other museums, and we need facilities to do that well. 

—or do you want to press this one? I'll bring John in now, then. 

In terms of that collaboration, Cadeirydd, I think many of us would be aware of museums around Wales, in our own areas and beyond, that really haven't had the sort of investment and support that they might have had. And it seems to me that the National Museum has a leading role in Wales to make sure that the people of Wales are connected with their culture, their heritage, their history, as much as possible. We'll soon have a new school curriculum that will hopefully lead to some improvements. But I think the local museums have a big role to play. Some of them are local authority, some of them are volunteer-led. I know that there are programmes that the national museum has that reaches out and perhaps provides material for exhibitions and that sort of thing, but I just wonder what more, really, you think the national museum might do to share its expertise and experience and resource.

10:30

I think you're right, there is already quite a lot that we do in sharing expertise and resources. We've got loans out to over 60 places across Wales, museums and other sites, including the Maggie's Centre now in Cardiff. So, we're very keen and very positive about making those kind of loans. I think that where we have the opportunity to work in partnership with museums, and we already have established partnerships in Wrexham and Oriel y Parc in Pembrokeshire, we really are investing in those and regard them as a priority for us.

I think that we want to see that kind of programming increasing, but I would like to posit a model that is much more being driven by the local museums and galleries across Wales as well. We believe very much in the national collections—and obviously we hold the national collections of arts, science, history and archaeology—we believe those belong to Wales, they're not the sole property of Amgueddfa Cymru. Therefore, as far as possible, they should be used by the people of Wales and the museums and galleries.

There are undoubtedly really big capacity issues, and issues also of adequate climate environment, really, for works of art, in what I would say almost all the museums and galleries at the moment, which would restrict us being able to lend to many of them. It would be great if the Botticelli, for example, was able to go out across Wales too. I'd love to explore that. We are able to lend a Monet to the Machynlleth arts centre as well in a few months' time. But those tend to be the exceptions when it comes to facilities out there.

We would always argue, and we always have argued, that there needs to be investment in the local museums and galleries from a democratic point of view. If you don't get access locally—. We want to serve Wales as far as we can through our seven sites, but realistically it needs to be an ecosystem that has got both very local access as well as international standard excellence at our sites. So, we really do stand shoulder to shoulder with the local museums on this. If we're to achieve what would come out of a cultural strategy, if we had one, we would see that there would need to be investment in both those areas.

We want to see local museums and galleries able to curate their own exhibitions using our collections, not just us curating them—we want them to have the creative opportunity. We want them to have their co-productive programmes with their community partners, not just us. I really believe that Wales has got a very distinctive approach to culture that is much more democratic, much more participative, much more collaborative, and this is of global significance. It's something that, if we invest in, we will socially, economically and all sorts of other ways get wonderful results from. So, I would say, 'Let's see the investment in the local museums, please.'

Diolch, Cadeirydd. That's very interesting, and I'll come back to that.

Os allaf i ofyn yn gyntaf yn Gymraeg? Roeddwn i eisiau siarad gyda chi am y cynigion ar gyfer oriel gelf gyfoes genedlaethol. Ydych chi o blaid hynny mewn egwyddor a pha drafodaethau ydych chi wedi'u cael gyda'r Llywodraeth am hyn?

If I could ask first of all in Welsh? I wanted to talk to you about the proposals for a national contemporary arts gallery. Are you in favour of that in principle and what discussions have you been having with the Government about this?

Yes, we're in favour in principle. We supported the recommendations of the feasibility study that was done a year or so ago. And of course it all depends on practicalities, resources, and also consultation, which has been going on with local galleries and museums. I think that what we can offer on this is a very strong commitment to sharing the national collections with galleries that are working as part of the programme, and also a willingness to actively support them, and—I should have said this earlier, really—in helping to put their own bids together for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other external organisations. Because one of the problems I should have mentioned there is that if an organisation has not been putting bids together to the major funders in London, for example, for many, many years, if ever, it's very hard from a standing start to put in bids of the quality that are going to really win funding. I think we have already, with several galleries across Wales and museums across Wales in the last 12 months, 24 months, given support and advice in the bidding process. In one or two cases, we know already they've been successful, hopefully with support from us.

So, I think that what we would wish to see is the development and investment in local galleries, which is one of they key proposals in the report, and we are already working with some of those ones to help them to develop their infrastructure. We don't know yet who are going to be selected as the galleries, but the ones that already in existence across Wales, we're working with, too.

10:35

Could I ask on that? Do you think that there would need to be a stand-alone specific building for this, or do you think that it could be part—? Or would you want to see it being part of the national museum? What's your view on that?

The Government made a commitment that if there is to be a big new stand-alone gallery, then it would be part of Amgueddfa Cymru, and we really welcome that and support that recommendation. And I think also, we're ambitious for Wales, so any cultural infrastructure that will raise our profile internationally, that will attract additional visitors, bring tourist income to Wales, we would strongly welcome as well. We feel that that's best seen in the context also of investment in local galleries; we see that as an essential platform for anything that's done going forward. And also, in the context of cultural democracy, as Nia has mentioned, actually, the foundational principle is that the local work is done, that there's collaboration with community organisations and, therefore, investment in all those organisations that are needed to do that. We feel that that should be a foundation of whatever is done going forward, and a building on its own without that other investment would be much less effective.

Y peth arall, efallai, i'w ddweud yw yr angen ar gyfer storws agored ar gyfer celf gyfoes. Nid yw'r ffordd mae casgliadau yn cael eu cadw ar y funud yn ddigonol. A'r ail ydy'r seilwaith digidol i gael access digidol i'r casgliadau cyfoes, ond hefyd y casgliadau yn gyffredinol o ran y maes celf. Dwi'n meddwl bod yna waith i'w wneud fanna er mwyn cefnogi'r syniad hyn o gael rhaniad ar draws Cymru, math o beth.

The other thing, perhaps, to say at this point is to point out the need for an open storeroom for contemporary art. The way that collections are stored at the moment isn't sufficient. And the second is the digital infrastructure so that we have digital access to the contemporary collection, as well as other collections. I think there is some work to be done there in order to support this idea of having that distributed model.

Ac ar hynny, ydych chi'n meddwl y byddai gan yr oriel yma le i gasglu neu i brynu celf ar gyfer y genedl, felly?

And on that, do you think that this gallery would have room to collect or to buy art for the nation, therefore?

Dwi'n meddwl, fel y corff sydd yn gyfrifol am gasgliadau cenedlaethol Cymru—mae Cymru yn rhy fach, mewn ffordd, i gael mwy nag un amgueddfa genedlaethol, fe fyddwn i'n dadlau. Ond dwi'n meddwl wrth greu amgueddfa gelf gyfoes i Gymru, mae yna gyfle i wneud hynny. Wrth gwrs, rŷn ni wedi bod yn casglu celf gyfoes ers y cychwyn, ac mae yna drafodaeth fawr ynglŷn â beth rŷn ni'n golygu wrth 'cyfoes', wrth gwrs, ac roedd e'n grêt cael y darn o gelf a enillodd y wobr aur yn yr Eisteddfod eleni i'r casgliad cenedlaethol. Ond dwi'n meddwl bod angen cydnabod hefyd y diffyg seilwaith sydd yn bodoli ar hyn o bryd er mwyn galluogi pobl i weithredu. Mae pawb eisiau gweld yr oriel newydd yn agor, ond tu ôl i hwnna mae angen storws, mae angen platfform digidol, mae angen gweithlu i allu cynhyrchu hwnna.

I think, as the body responsible for the Welsh national collections—Wales is too small, in a way, to have more than one national museum; that's the argument that I would make. But I think in creating a contemporary art gallery for Wales, there's an opportunity to do that. Of course, we have been collecting contemporary art from the very outset, and there's a great discussion around what we mean by 'contemporary', of course, and it was wonderful to have that piece of art that won the gold medal at the Eisteddfod this year added to our national collection. But I do think we also need to recognise the lack of infrastructure that is in place at the moment in order to enable people to act in this area. Everybody wants to see the new gallery opening, but behind that you need storage facilities, you need a digital platform, you need a workforce in order to produce that.

Diolch am hwnna. Y cwestiwn olaf sydd gen i jest ar hyn yw: a ydych chi'n meddwl y dylai'r oriel yma fod yng Nghaerdydd, neu a ydych chi'n meddwl bod angen i'r oriel fod yng Nghaerdydd, neu a ddylai fe fod rhywle arall yng Nghymru?

Thank you for that. The final question I've got on this is: do you think this gallery should be in Cardiff, or do you think the gallery needs to be in Cardiff, or should it be somewhere else in Wales?

Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna i'w drafod, ac efallai ddim i ni benderfynu hynny, mewn ffordd. Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna yn drafodaeth gyda phobl Cymru.

I think that's an issue for discussion, and perhaps it's not a decision for us to take, in a way. I think that's a discussion we need to have with the people of Wales.

Okay. Thank you. And then finally from me, could you please talk us through the progress that you've made towards appointing a commercial director?

Yes. We did advertise the role and interviewed during the late summer. We weren't successful in finding an applicant we could appoint. We've had further discussions with the Welsh Government since then and have readvertised the role, and I think it's open for candidates to apply just at this moment. We'll keep our fingers crossed that we'll find somebody suitable on that. Clearly, because it's a commercial field, it's a very competitive world, and there is a large private sector out there, as well as a public sector, which means that there is a lot of competition for people who are able.

10:40

Can I just press you on that? David, earlier, you said that, was it £8 billion-worth of investment in the heritage sector amongst our competitor nations or whatever, and a lot of that would have also raised commercial sponsorship, presumably? It's a huge market, and the top museums and galleries in the world—the highest paid individual in those organisations is the commercial director. A lot more than, I'm afraid, you know—[Laughter.] Your intellectual abilities are beyond price, but I'm afraid, in the market—[Laughter.] Let's be frank, this first round, which—. A big part of the Thurley report—Government putting a lot of pressure on you to make this appointment; you've not been able to recruit. Was the salary level the principal reason you couldn't recruit the right person?

I think that the salary level was, we believe, the principal reason why we were not able to recruit.

I think that's important for us to note. Carwyn will take us on now.

Diolch yn fawr. Gofynnaf i'r cwestiynau cyntaf yn Gymraeg, ac wedyn fe af i i'r Saesneg. Mae'r cwestiynau cyntaf sydd gyda fi ynglŷn â'r arddangosfeydd lle mae'n rhaid codi tâl a thalu, wrth gwrs, i fynd mewn iddyn nhw. Yr enghraifft, wrth gwrs, yw'r arddangosfa Nadroedd! dros yr haf eleni. A ydy'r arddangosfeydd—dyna beth yw gair i chi—hynny wedi cyrraedd eu targedau ynglŷn â chynhyrchu incwm? 

Thank you very much. I'll ask the first questions in Welsh, and then I'll turn to English. The first questions I have are regarding charged-for exhibitions and, of course, paying to go into these exhibitions. The example, of course, is the Snakes! exhibition in the summer of this year. Do these exhibitions—that's a word for you—. Have those exhibitions reached their income generation targets?

The answer is 'yes, they have', and we had Leonardo as well, of course, too, which was another charging exhibition. So, in terms of, 'Does the model work in income generation terms according to target?', absolutely, yes. I don't know, Neil, whether you want to add to that.

Diolch yn fawr. I suppose there are two ways of looking at this. I think it would be fair to say, in Wales, and with the type of spaces that we have available to do temporary exhibitions, it's unlikely they're going to be a profit-making venture. But what, of course, it does do is contribute to—. So, in a way, we have a pot that we almost recirculate. So, an exhibition will take place, there will be, not all—some of them are charged and, therefore, there's an income generated. We reinvest that into the next exhibition.

Where I think we are not able to, in the same way the London nationals are—we don't have the footfall, we don't have the tourist base to charge either more, or there will only be a ceiling, if you like, to what we can generate from them. For example, there is only a throughput we can put through the temporary galleries, because of fire licence and other safety concerns. So, in the sense of whether they meet their target, the answer is 'yes'. And I think it would be fair to say that Leonardo overachieved in that sense. Does it always make enough to make it completely cost neutral? The answer is 'no'. And Snakes! is a good example. However, I have to keep stressing, it is a contribution, it does allow us to reinvest into whatever the next ones may be. 

Wel, mae hwnna'n dod â fi ymlaen i'r cwestiwn nesaf. Wrth gwrs, gydag arddangosfa sydd yn codi arian, lle mae pobl yn gorfod talu i fynd mewn, mae hwnna'n mynd i gael effaith ar ehangu mynediad. Os yw pobl yn gorfod talu—bydd rhai pobl ddim yn moyn talu. Mae pawb yn deall hynny. Ar y llaw arall, Neil, rŷch chi wedi dweud bod arian yn cael ei greu o achos yr arddangosfeydd lle mae pobl yn gorfod talu, er mwyn buddsoddi mewn arddangosfeydd eraill, a dwi'n deall hynny, wrth gwrs. Ble mae'r cydbwysedd yn cael ei daro? Pa fath o feddylfryd sydd gyda chi ynglŷn â gwneud y penderfyniad hyn ynglŷn â ble mae'r ffin yn gorfod mynd rhwng y ddau beth sydd, wrth gwrs, ddim yn gyson gyda'i gilydd? 

Well, that brings me on to the next question. Of course, with an exhibition, a charged-for one, where people have to pay to enter the exhibition, that is going to have an impact on widening access. If people have to pay—some people won't want to pay. Everybody understands that. On the other hand, Neil, you have said that money is generated as a result of the charged-for exhibitions, in order to invest in other exhibitions, and I understand that, of course. Where is the balance struck? What sort of thinking do you have in terms of making this decision about where that line has to go between the two things, which, of course, aren't consistent with each other?

Yes, I think it's a very difficult balance, and I don't think any museum director in the world would say it's anything else but that. And I think it's worth stressing that we do offer a large number of free exhibitions as well. The Kizuna exhibition last year, for example, which had huge support from the Japanese Government and the national museums in Japan and the Japanese embassy—we made the conscious decision to make that a free exhibition. We could have charged for it, but we decided not to, and the reason we decided not to was that, for us, the imperative for children and people in Wales having access to a wonderful and probably one of our finest exhibitions in a decade, which connected Wales with another culture elsewhere in the world and enabled them to see works of art that were out of Japan for the first time ever, was one where we should make that a free exhibition for those sort of reasons. We made a great effort to work around schools' programmes and other programmes to go with that.

In an ideal world, you would arguably not charge for anything at all. But the world we're in is a little bit different from that, I'm told. So, I think that we charge probably for a minority of our exhibitions. That's the truth of it, really. But they do enable us to do more than we could do otherwise, and I completely accept that it's a judgment at the end of the day.

10:45

It's as I thought, really, and it's obviously difficult with each exhibition to decide where that boundary should be. Can I move on to the issue of collaboration in the historic environment sector? What examples can you give us of collaboration between yourselves and other organisations, perhaps through strategic partnerships, and where perhaps do you see there being opportunities in the future?

Well, of course, we're partners with Cadw and the other national bodies—the royal commission, for example, and the library—on the Historic Wales partnership. That's now been running for two to three years, I think, altogether. And I have to say that we have found that an immensely fruitful partnership and really valuable to have the trade unions in the room with us as well. It's led to a quality of dialogue, I think, between the staff representatives and the Welsh Government and the institutions, that we didn't really have a forum for before. I'll ask Nia to say a little bit more about the skills work that's been done, for example. 

Fe wnaf i siarad yn Gymraeg. Rŷn ni wedi, trwy'r bartneriaeth, datblygu cynllun sgiliau, adroddiad ar sgiliau, a chynllun gweithredu, a fydd yn cael eu rhyddhau ym mis Mawrth. Mae hwn yn gyfle, dwi'n meddwl, i edrych ar y gweithlu, i efallai wneud audit sgiliau ar draws y gweithlu, y pedwar corff—ni, y llyfrgell, y comisiwn brenhinol a Cadw—ac mae yna bosibiliadau, dwi'n meddwl, o ddarparu pethau fel prentisiaid ar y cyd, a meddwl am y math o weithlu sydd ei angen ar y sector treftadaeth ar gyfer y dyfodol er mwyn medru cadw ein cestyll ni, gyda Cadw, a'n hamgueddfeydd ni ar gyfer pobl y dyfodol.

Felly, mae hwnna'n ddarn o waith gyda'n hundebau llafur ni. Ro'n i'n cadeirio'r grŵp gyda Gareth o Prospect, yn dangos sut y gallwn ni gydweithio â'n gilydd i ddod lan gyda cynllun ar y cyd ar gyfer y sector. Dwi'n meddwl mai efallai'r maes arall y gallwn ni fod yn edrych arno yw digidol. Dŷn ni wrth gwrs yn bartner yng nghasgliad y werin. Mae hwnna'n faes lle mae'n hawdd iawn i rannu casgliadau yn ddigidol, cyhyd â bod y seilwaith gyda ni a'r gallu wedyn i bobl gyfranogi yn ddigidol gyda hynny.

Mae yna gyfleon, dwi'n meddwl, o ran diwylliant, i gydweithio â chyngor y celfyddydau yn agosach. Rŷn ni wedi bod yn cydweithio, wrth gwrs, ar y rhaglen Cyfuno, ac fe wnaethoch chi fel pwyllgor—. Fe wnaethom ni fwynhau darllen eich adroddiad chi ar hwnna, a dŷn ni'n gobeithio bod yna ddyfodol i raglen Cyfuno.

Ond, buaswn i hefyd yn dweud, drwy genedlaethau’r dyfodol, fod yna gyfle efallai i ddiwylliant a iechyd weithio'n agosach gyda'i gilydd ac i ddod allan o'i seilos presennol nhw a chydweithio. Mae yna dipyn o waith wedi cael ei wneud gyda'r celfyddydau a iechyd yn barod, a dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna eto yn cynnig model gwahanol—fod Cymru'n dod lan gyda model gwahanol, fel y wlad, wrth gwrs, wnaeth sefydlu'r gwasanaeth iechyd. Dwi'n meddwl y byddai'n dda i ni ddod lan gyda model gwahanol, gyda diwylliant a iechyd yn cydweithio.

I will contribute in Welsh. Through the partnership, we have developed a skills plan, we've produced a report on skills, as well as an action plan, and they will be released in March. This is an opportunity, I think, to look at the workforce, to perhaps carry out a skills audit across the workforce of the four bodies—ourselves, the library, the royal commission and Cadw—and I think there are possibilities to provide joint apprenticeships and to think about the kind of workforce that the heritage sector needs for the future, so that we can maintain our castles, through Cadw, and our museums for future generations.

So, that is a piece of work along with the trade unions. I chaired the group with Gareth from Prospect, identifying how we could collaborate in order to come up with a joint plan for the sector. I think the other sector that we could be looking at are digital. Of course, we are a partner in the people's collection. That is an area where it's easy to share collections, as long as we have the infrastructure and the ability for people to participate digitally in that.

I think there are opportunities, in terms of culture, to work with the arts council. We have been working on the Fusion programme, of course, and you as a committee produced a report. We enjoyed reading that, and we do hope that there is a future for the Fusion programme.

But, I would also say that, through future generations legislation, there is an opportunity for culture and health to work more closely together too and to come out of their current silos and to collaborate. There has been some work done on the arts in health already, and I think that offers an alternative model, and Wales could come up with that alternative model, as the nation that established the health service of course. I think it would be positive for us to come up with an alternative model, with health and culture combining and working together.

If I may add, there are other elements, on the very subject that you raise, that are in terms of income. We work, on this site, with the white water centre, which is based in Cardiff Bay. We just now will be opening the virtual reality in Cathays Park, and we're also developing, how would I put it, a dinosaur-based virtual reality, which, as you can imagine, will be a partnership with the Natural History Museum. But, we own the IPR to the existing one, and that's quite key in terms of the story and what we can take around Wales. In terms of, then, the wider picture, we talked earlier about developments and, perhaps, investment in infrastructure. Going forward, for example, if we were to look at Llanberis or Dre-fach, I think that those would be both community based, as St Fagans was, but those developments, I can really see, would be a partnership with, for example, in Llanberis, Gwynedd county council. They are the landowner, as it happens. But also, in terms of regeneration. I think we need to be doing these in partnership, and, obviously, that would include the Welsh Government, but more locally and regionally. Llanberis—another good example would be the world heritage bid that is currently being considered. We have been a partner with the council and commercial and others, and I'd look to see that perhaps we would be the interpretation centre, if that bid was successful, because, in that way, we're neutral to most of the other parties, and, in terms of what we do, we probably have the expertise in those areas.

But, similarly, if you looked at Dre-fach, for example, it isn't just about the facility and the infrastructure; it's about the partnership that could be derived from the two local authorities, because we, near enough, are on the border between the two, and other, perhaps, business in that area—. Melin Teifi is actually on our site and we are the owners of the building, and there are, perhaps, opportunities. But, similarly, if there was a gallery there or a learning centre, again, it would regenerate.

Then, on the opposite side of the coin, in terms of the partnerships you were talking about, as David said, I think the Japanese one was free, but it might not have been. We did receive sponsorship from Japanese-based companies in Wales, and, equally, through, as David said, the Japanese museums. But I think it would be fair to say that, without that, it's likely it wouldn't have been free, and so, sometimes, these partnerships are perhaps not as overt as, certainly, the sponsors would like them to be, but there is then something about the messaging that is in those exhibitions that overrides that.

10:50

Can I, Chair, I know time is short, but just very briefly—? I think what we would like to take from that question is that I believe the planet are now aligned for there to be a culture strategy for Wales, both on the heritage side and the partnership with Historic Wales, but also, natural environment Wales, going back to the climate emergency. We're working very closely with the arts council, these days, across a number of fronts. We share many, many objectives. The galleries in Wales are on overlap area between the arts council and ourselves.

I really strongly believe, as somebody who came in from outside Wales, that there is this Welsh model of cultural practice that is really significant, and I would emphasise again, it's globally significant. It's not just significant for us within Wales. We know this because of interest from Latin America, north America, Europe. We know we've got a delegation from Japan on site later on this morning, from Ōita , who are coming to see what's been done here in St Fagans. But National Theatre Wales, the arts council and many, many bodies across Wales are working in the same way. I believe it should be brought together, it should be celebrated and it should be given a strategic platform for the next decade, in the way that we're trying to do for the museum itself.

The planets are aligned—the first time astrology has been used as evidence before any committee of the Assembly. [Laughter.] There's a first time for everything. The final two questions from me, they're both linked, and the first one is: what assessment have you made of the success of the redevelopment of St Fagans? Linked to that, you mentioned earlier on the St Fagans methodology that you wanted to roll out across the rest of the organisation. How do you intend to do that? I'm assuming that the redevelopment's been a success, otherwise you wouldn't want to roll out the methodology to the rest of the organisation. But, those two questions really—assessment of the success and also how you're going to roll out that methodology.

If I could start with the second one first, if I may, you will not be surprised to hear that we've put in bids to UK-wide funders to get some support for doing precisely that. We're waiting anxiously and eagerly to hear the outcomes of one or two of those. This is a journey for us of what cultural democracy and cultural rights mean in practice in cultural organisations, and I would never claim we've reached the end of the journey on that one.

In terms of how we measure success, I think the first thing one can say is that there's always the question of whether it is quantitative or qualitative evaluations that you do, for example. I've been involved in evaluations and research on these things for many decades now, and I've always strongly believed that listening to the voices of the people who've been participating themselves is actually really important, and that kind of qualitative research is significant. It may not easily be put into numbers, but, nevertheless, the fact that we've now got 120-plus community partners working with us at Amgueddfa Cymru is, for me—I've just given a number there—an indication of the fact that those are regarded as being valuable relationships. Llamau, The Wallich, Drug Aid Wales and many, many organisations like that—they will not waste their time working with a cultural organisation that's not producing real value for their clients and the people they work with. So, I think that that in itself is a strong indicator and shouldn't be left to one side, if you like, too. We have got ongoing evaluations there, and Neil and Nia will talk a little bit more about those.

10:55

Yn Gymraeg eto. Y pethau dŷn ni'n edrych arnyn nhw, mae'r model i'w wneud gyda'r ffordd o weithio—y ffordd o weithio mewn partneriaeth, ond partneriaeth gyfartal. Partneriaeth sy'n edrych ar expertise pawb, ac yn gwerthfawrogi hynny, a ddim y prif bartner yn dominyddu'r bartneriaeth. Felly, mae'r model o weithio yn bwysig.

Beth wnaethon ni gyda Sain Ffagan oedd troi ein holl waith ni yn rhaglen gyhoeddus, fel bod y ffin rhwng beth mae ymwelwyr yn ei weld a beth dydyn nhw ddim yn ei weld yn diflannu mewn ffordd. Fe wnaethon ni aros ar agor ac fe wnaethon ni droi'r holl waith ailddatblygu yn rhaglen gyhoeddus, gyda phrentisiaid a dros 3,000 o wirfoddolwyr yn rhan o'r rhaglen. Felly, mae'r model gwaith yna, sy'n mynd i fod yn rhan o'n strategaeth 10 mlynedd ni, yn rhywbeth rŷn ni'n barod wedi dechrau ei wneud wedyn yn ein lleoliadau eraill ni. Mae gyda ni yn Big Pit, er enghraifft, Men's Sheds. Felly, rhoi gofod i fod yn ofod ar gyfer dynion sy'n wynebu isolation a rhoi'r gofod iddyn nhw. Felly, dŷn ni'n defnyddio'n gofodau ni yn wahanol, achos mae prinder gofodau rhad ac am ddim yn y gymdeithas sydd ohoni. Felly, mae i'w wneud gyda'r fethodoleg waith.

Mae hefyd wedyn yn gwestiwn i ni o ran y casgliadau—beth rŷn ni'n ei gasglu, pam rŷn ni'n casglu, a beth rŷn ni'n ei wneud gyda'r casgliad hwnnw. Felly, fel rhan o Sain Ffagan—ac mae hwn, y casgliad hanes, yn rhywbeth ar draws Cymru i gyd gyda ni; mae ein sefydliadau ni i gyd ar draws Cymru yn ymwneud gyda hanes—rŷn ni'n meddwl am y math o hanes rŷn ni wedi bod yn ei gasglu. Felly, mae prosiect difyr iawn gyda ni ar y funud gyda Race Council Cymru sy'n edrych ar y genhedlaeth Windrush ddaeth yma. Rŷn ni'n rhannu'n sgiliau ni, ond y gymuned honno sy'n gwneud y casglu, ond wedyn mae'r casgliad yn dod yn ôl i mewn i fod yn rhan o'r casgliad cenedlaethol. Felly mae'n fodel gwaith gwahanol. Mae’n fodel gwaith sydd ddim yn ein gweld ni yn parasiwtio i mewn i gymuned ac wedyn yn gadael, ond yn gweithio gyda'r gymuned, yn rhannu'n sgiliau ni, ac wedyn yn bod yn llwyfan, yn blatfform cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol i arddangos y gwaith hwnnw.

In Welsh again. What we're look at, the model relates to modes of working—the way of working in partnership, but also an equal partnership. A partnership that looks at the expertise of everybody and appreciates that, not just the main partner dominating the partnership. So, the model of working is important.

What we did with St Fagans was we turned all our work into a public programme, so that that boundary between what visitors were seeing and not seeing disappeared really. We remained open and we turned all the redevelopment work into a public programme, with apprentices and over 3,000 volunteers. So, that model of work, which is going to be part of our 10-year strategy, is something that we've already been doing in our other locations. In Big Pit, for example, we've got Men's Sheds. So, we've provided a space to be a space for men who are facing isolation and providing them with that space. So, we're using our spaces in a different way, because there is a shortage of free spaces in the our society. So, it relates to the methodology of work.

It's also a question for us in terms of the collections—what do we collect, why are we collecting, and what we do with that collection. So, as part of St Fagan—and this historic collection is something we have across Wales; all our organisations across Wales are involved in history—we think about what sort of history we've been collating. So, we've got a very interesting project at the moment with Race Council Cymru, looking at the Windrush generation that came here. We are sharing our skills, but the community is doing the collecting and the collating, and that collection then comes back into the national collection. So, it's a different working model, and it doesn't see us parachuting into a community and then leaving, but working with the community and sharing our skills, and then being a national and international platform to exhibit that work.

I think one of the things that indicates the success of the model again, since we're looking at different ways of doing that, along with the fact that we did get the UK museum of the year award, is what Stephen Deuchar—the chair of the judges and the director of the Art Fund—said, which is that it's,

'A monument to modern museum democracy, it has been transformed through a major development project involving the direct participation of hundreds of thousands of visitors and volunteers, putting the arts of making and building into fresh contexts—social and political, historic and contemporary',

which I think is a very good succinct summary of what the model is. And then he goes on to say that this is

'made by the people of Wales for people everywhere',

and I think that's also a very acute analysis of what's been done here. I think our visitors will speak to us about success and failure in all sorts of different ways, either through studies or through—

Rŷn ni wrthi ar hyn o bryd yn tynnu'r gwerthusiad at ei gilydd, ac rŷn ni'n mynd i wneud hynny mewn ffordd wahanol hefyd, achos mae yna lu o werthusiadau sy'n eistedd ar silffoedd a does neb byth yn eu darllen nhw. Beth rŷn ni'n moyn ei wneud yw creu toolkit hefyd i bobl allu gweithio yn y ffordd yma os ydyn nhw'n dymuno gwneud, felly rhannu'r fethodoleg fel rhan o'r gwerthusiad.

We are currently drawing that evaluation together, and we will do that in a different way too, because there are all sorts of evaluations sitting on shelves and nobody ever reads them. But what we want to do is to create a toolkit so that people can work in this way if they choose to do that, so we're sharing the methodology as part of the evaluation.

Right, we move on to our final section of questions, and I'll ask Mick to do that. Mick, the natural flow has taken us more than a bit into education and social engagement, but there may be one or two things you want to follow up. We've definitely not talked about the other national sites or relations with the Welsh Government. 

Okay. Well, there were a few areas about social engagement because we've moved, generationally, away from museums being exhibitional obelisks and it is about, sort of, ownership, participation and engagement, and, clearly, with St Fagans, you've been very highly commended in many ways for that area of work. How is that developing and how are you ensuring that that practice occurs across the whole of Wales? And how do you see the continued growth of genuine social engagement? I'll just incorporate things in terms of the Welsh language, in terms of—of interest to me, which we'll be discussing later—the national curriculum, local history and so on, people being able to engage in their own communities and also, I suppose, the poverty barrier, the barrier in terms of who actually does engage and why. We've obviously explored—. We know there are many reasons for that. So, perhaps, just an overview, because of time, putting those altogether in one picture.

11:00

I'll make a brief comment and then hand it to Nia, if I may. Just a couple of months ago, we ran the first programme of its kind that I'm aware of in Wales and maybe much more widely as well, which was a workshop for museum staff from other museums in Wales, our own staff, museum staff from Scotland and museum staff in Ireland, on cultural rights and cultural democracy. We invited some of the great museum thinkers from across the world to come and speak at that, for example, Elaine Gurian who helped to set up the Holocaust museum in the United States, and Américo Castilla, who was a human rights lawyer and is now training a new generation of museum leaders across Latin America on these principles too. So, we brought great thought together, if you like, and shared it across the Celtic nations, if I may call them that. I think that was part of a process of helping to support our own staff and other museum staff in Wales to really understand how these principles can be applied and developed. And it's our intention to run that again in the autumn of next year and to make it an ongoing process of staff development and training, because we can't get it from anywhere else, bluntly. I mean, this is where, again, Wales is innovating. So, we have to build it for ourselves there. But, Nia, do you want to pick up some of the other points?

O ran y gwaith addysg, fel dywedais i, ni yw'r darparwr mwyaf o addysg y tu allan i'r dosbarth yng Nghymru a rŷn ni yn croesawu'n fawr y cwricwlwm newydd. Mae cyfle i ddysgu mewn ffordd wahanol yma. Dyw dysgu dosbarth ddim yn addas i bawb. Mae cerdded i mewn i adeilad fel hwn gafodd ei adeiladu yn ôl yng nghyfnod y rhyfel byd cyntaf yn dod â hanes yn fyw. Rŷch chi'n teimlo'r gorffennol. Mae yna ddysgu cinesthetig. Felly, rŷn ni wedi datblygu rhaglenni. Mae gennym ni rhaglen fawr addysg, fel dywedais i, ond rŷn ni hefyd wedi datblygu rhaglenni dysgu dwys a residencies gydag ysgolion sydd mewn ardaloedd o ddifraint economaidd.

Rŷn ni'n gweithio gyda Cardiff West fyny'r ffordd yma, lle mae pobl yn dod ac yn gwneud rhan o'u cwricwlwm ysgol yma. Maen nhw'n dod bob dydd Gwener ac maen nhw'n gweithio gyda'n tîm ni yma i gael profiad addysgol gwahanol, i wneud eu llythrennedd a'u mathemateg mewn ffordd wahanol. Gwnaethom ni wneud rhaglen debyg iawn yn Abertawe, lle gwnaethom ni osod dosbarth ysgol gynradd yn yr amgueddfa am dymor cyfan i herio'r syniad eich bod chi'n gallu dysgu'r cwricwlwm yn unrhyw le a bod yna fuddion i'w ddysgu fe mewn llefydd gwahanol, ac roedd hwnna'n dangos twf yn llythrennedd ac yn hyder y disgyblion.

Felly, dwi'n meddwl bod y cwricwlwm newydd yn creu cyfle i ni ailfeddwl y ffordd rŷn ni'n meddwl am addysg, sut rŷn ni'n defnyddio amgueddfeydd a'n sefydliadau lleol a chenedlaethol eraill ni, sy'n gallu ysbrydoli addysg a dysgu mewn ffordd wahanol. Felly, mae hwnna'n rhywbeth rŷn ni'n canolbwyntio arno fe.

Rŷn ni hefyd, o ran ein gwaith ymgysylltu ni, yn rhedeg rhaglen fawr gyda phobl ifanc ar hyn o bryd. Yn draddodiadol, dyw amgueddfeydd ddim wedi bod i bobl ifanc. Os ŷch chi'n edrych ar y grantiau sydd wedi cael eu rhoi dros yr 20 mlynedd diwethaf, dŷn nhw ddim mewn ffordd wedi newid pwy sy'n defnyddio amgueddfeydd. Felly, trwy gefnogaeth y Loteri Genedlaethol, mae Kick the Dust yn rhaglen sydd yn cael ei siapio gyda phobl ifanc. Mae'n cael ei rhedeg gan bobl ifanc, a rŷn ni'n gweithio gyda Llamau, gyda ProMo-Cymru, gyda Barnados ar y rhaglen honno, a'n gobaith ni gyda'r rhaglen honno ydy i herio hefyd ein llywodraethiant ni a'r amrywiaeth sydd o ran ein llywodraethiant ni. Mae'r bobl ifanc yn gyfrifol am y rhaglenni a rŷn ni'n datblygu lladmeryddion i ddiwylliant o ran y bobl ifanc sy'n rhan o'r rhaglenni yma. A'r nod, yn y pen draw, fydd pan rŷn ni'n edrych ar ddemograffi'n hymwelwyr ni yn y dyfodol ei fod yn ymestyn ar draws pawb sydd wedi creu cartref yng Nghymru a thros yr ystod oed. Dyna'r bwriad o ran y rhaglen honno.

Rŷn ni'n gwerthuso honno gyda Phrifysgol Caerdydd, ac yn gwneud ymchwil i ni gael hefyd gweithio ar beth sy'n gweithio, i ni gael deall yn well beth sy'n gweithio, fel ein bod ni'n gallu, wedyn, sicrhau bod rhaglenni'r dyfodol wedi cael eu datblygu yn seiliedig ar beth mae'r ymchwil yn dweud wrthym ni a beth sydd yn gweithio. Ac mae'r bobl ifanc eu hunain yn rhan o'r ymchwil hwnnw. Felly, dim ymchwil yn cael ei wneud amdanyn nhw, ond nhw sydd yn siapio'r rhaglen ymchwil honno.

In terms of the education work, as I said, we are the biggest provider of education outside the classroom in Wales and we do welcome the new curriculum greatly. It's an opportunity to learn differently. Learning in the classroom isn't suitable for everybody. Walking into a building like this that was built back in the years of the first world war brings history alive. You feel the past. There is a kinaesthetic sort of approach. We've developed our programmes. We have a large education programme, as I said, but we've also developed intense education programmes and residencies with schools that are in areas of economic disadvantage.

We've been working with Cardiff West, up the road from here, where people come and do part of their school curriculum here. They come every Friday and they work with our team here to have a different educational experience, to do their literacy and numeracy in a different manner. We did a similar programme in Swansea, where we set up a primary school classroom in the museum for a whole term to challenge the idea that you could teach the curriculum anywhere and that there were benefits to teaching it in different settings, and that showed a growth in the literacy levels and confidence levels of the pupils.

So, I think the new curriculum allows us to rethink the way we think about education, how we use museums and our local organisations and national organisations, which can inspire education and learning in a different way. So, that is something we're concentrating on.

Also, in terms of our engagement work, we run a big programme with young people at the moment. Traditionally, museums haven't been for young people. If you look at the grants that have been provided over the last 20 years, in a way, they haven't changed who uses museums. So, through the support of the National Lottery, Kick the Dust is a programme that is shaped with young people. It's run by young people, and we work with Llamau, with ProMo-Cymru and with Barnados on that programme, and our hope with that programme is to challenge also our governance and the diversity in our governance. The young people are responsible for the programmes and we're developing advocates for culture in the young people who are part of these programmes. And the aim, ultimately, is that when we look at our visitor demography in the future it reaches across everybody who has created a home in Wales and across the whole age range. That's the intention in terms of that programme.

We're evaluating that with Cardiff University, and doing research, so that we can also work on what is working, so that we can better understand what is working, so that we can then ensure that programmes in the future have been developed based on what the research tells us and on what is working. And the young people themselves are part of that research. So, it's not research about them, but they're shaping that research programme.

11:05

I'll be succinct, Chair, I'm aware of time; I've just got one point. You did start touching on it briefly earlier, and that is in terms of the social engagement work that's going on with a lot of the local smaller museums—I mention my area of Pontypridd in particular, which ties in very much with that. And you mentioned again about the development of a cultural strategy. Obviously, in terms of the valuation you're doing and the idea around the development of a cultural strategy is going to take a lot more thought and work, but I just wonder if you've got some thoughts about how that strategy might develop in terms of access, but in terms of the engagement with the smaller local museums, many of which are funded in all sorts of different ways—community councils and all sorts of things.

I think the local museums and galleries are just essential. They're the foundational building blocks for any cultural strategy. I think one thing that's evident—I mean, this is the whole of the cultural sector, I would say—is that, historically, we've made a lot less investment into the kind of research that Nia has been mentioning just now than other areas of research in the medical field, for example, science and so on. And I think that that's both a significant problem for us in moving forward, but also a great opportunity. I think one would like to see a cultural strategy in which research in this area is actually a key pillar of the proposals that come through on that to support local museums. I worked in a local museum back in the day and you've got no chance, really, of developing a significant research programme if there's only you and the collection there. So, I think this is a national challenge and one that could be a support to local museums.

I'm just going to steal Neil's copy of this. We have just published a report on research in Wales, in which we place great emphasis on the importance of the participative and collaborative element of research, and that it's not seen to be simply the prerogative of experts, really valuable though they are, but also a process that, as Nia says, young people and communities can also participate in and actually help to achieve really positive and strong research outcomes as well.

So, in some, I think I would see that if there was a commitment of a small pot of money to enable us to gather, to do the secondary sources research and also draw on live research that's going on with people like us at the moment and use that as a foundation initially for the cultural strategy itself, but then a key investment area for the future, going forward, I think we would find that we were able to make smarter decisions on investment in capital projects as a result of that, and actually would again bring lots of benefits in terms of working with communities and make sure that the work is as good as it can be. There is research for Fusion and Nia, again, has been involved in that, and that's a really, really valuable start in this direction, but there's a much bigger task to be done and I would love to see Wales again building on its expertise to do that.

There are a lot of things that we could explore there, but time won't allow; I'm sure there'll be other occasions, but some very, very interesting ideas and work there. Just moving on to some of the areas that we do need to cover with regard to the National Slate Museum and the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon and so on, the investment plans for those and the current state of those.

Neil, shall I pass to you?

Yes, by all means. We have a funding request with the Welsh Government at the moment to do the initial options and feasibility for Llanberis. In the bigger picture of that, you are talking about a multi-million pound development. In terms of the leverage that we can bring into Wales, because largely it does come from outside, I think there is great opportunity. A lot of the funders who have supported us with St Fagans, I think it's fair to say would be very interested in supporting the Llanberis project, and that includes quite traditional funders, for example, the Heritage Lottery Fund. I think the difference is this: the reality of the capital that's available, both in Government terms and from trust foundations, and lottery-type funders, is that you would need to look at phases rather than big bang, and do discrete projects within that.

So we have an ambition there and in terms of that ambition, as we said, it's about facilities that are similar to St Fagans, but not necessarily replicating. But I would see a gallery there, for example, so we could take fine art to north Wales. I would also see an interpretation centre in terms of the slate industry, not just the quarry that happens to be. I would also see an expanded commercial facility, because we do need more sustainability in terms of the funding models that are available to us. Then the other part of it is the skills base, which we could develop in Llanberis. The forge is still operational, and there is something around the industry of slate and those jobs or crafts pertaining to that. Then the third element of it is in terms of the unashamed tourist angle, really, with the number of visitors that are coming to Llanberis village on a regular basis, and particularly during the summer. Then the last part is the joined-up thinking that we'd be able to do.

With regard to other sites, I think Drefach and Big Pit offer a similar opportunity in terms of those tourist hubs, and therefore a regenerative angle that could come with that. Certainly in terms of Blaenavon there is the world heritage site, you've got Big Pit itself, and there are other things that potentially could be developed. We have quite close links with the community in terms of that community work, but I think in terms of the bigger picture, it does offer significant potential.

Caerleon, if I may, is a slightly more complicated picture, simply because it's going to take a lot of bodies—and they are mainly public sector bodies—to bring it together to take that vision forward, which I think it would be fair to say we support and welcome. There is potentially some overlap with us, Cadw, and perhaps the county council, but it is something that needs that bigger vision in terms of what could be that interpretation as a Roman town and as a tourist hub within that particular area. 

11:10

I think the Thurley review was quite strong, actually, in being baffled, I think was the word that was used, by the current configuration and the fact that Welsh Government is funding Cadw and the site there, and obviously the national museum as well. There is much else around in terms of Roman history, and it's not really joined up, and it's not a seamless visitor experience, I think was another point that they made. The Thurley review sees Caerleon as a potential tourist honey pot, I think was also some of the wording they used. So would you agree? I know they thought the national museum should be in the driving seat here, really, in terms of joining it up and leading it, and working with local partners. Are you excited by the potential in Caerleon if the Thurley review—?

John, I think we've heard 'bigger than Bath', so this is really important. [Laughter.]

Absolutely, and I think we're very keen to work with Cadw and the Welsh Government to develop it. I think it's probably one of those things again where it needs an initial investment in feasibility and particularly, as I think Neil is indicating, the transport infrastructure there, so you don't end up creating a crisis for the local residents really with a very, in their terms, over-successful museum. So I think there is a particular challenge on the public transport side that's probably almost unique to Caerleon in these terms. We're very keen to do it, so I think it's really just a matter of whenever resources are available and whenever other potential partners are ready to move on it. We have had some initial discussions with Newport, for example, and they're aware of our longer term ambitions for the site. I think it's probably just, really, a matter of the readiness, if you like, really.

11:15

They will have to answer for themselves on that; I cannot possible be the spokesperson for the Welsh Government. I think, in principle, my instinct would be that, yes, they are, and I think we all recognise that, if Wales's tourism economy is going to grow in the way that I feel it should do, and needs to do for the benefit of the wealth of the nation, really, then this would be one of the areas that it would be important to develop. It's a very strong story and it's one that's got a particular Welsh element to it, because we could argue that we were the western frontier of the Roman Empire, and just make sure the Scots don't get all the credit for frontiers, really, in all this. [Laughter.]

It is absolutely the last. I hope, Chair, you'll have noticed that I've managed to go the whole meeting without mentioning Taff's Well thermal spring or the Nantgarw pottery, which will come up on another occasion. [Laughter.]

It's just on relations with the Welsh Government. On the one hand, it seems, according to Thurley, I think almost like the neglected child of Welsh Government policy, or whatever, but from your own evidence, relations are very, very good. How are relations at the moment and how could they be improved?

Well, I think my colleagues would agree, because we all work closely with Welsh Government, that they're very warm at the moment, and we have a very productive relationship, really, with the officials that we work with. And we're very glad of that. I'm sure you can imagine that that would be the case. And I think we're also grateful for the investment on the capital side that has been made over the last year or two, and we hope will continue, to enable us to repair the infrastructure of National Museum Cardiff, for example, and which did go into repairing the roof of the Roman Legion Museum as well. So, we would obviously hope that that investment will continue and will grow and, for the reasons I gave before, I think it will pay back many times to the Welsh economy if it is done.

Neil, do you want to add anything to that at all?

Yes. I think relationships are excellent, actually. I'd go a lot further. It was a particular phrase in the Thurley report, and I'm not sure it absolutely reflected even the situation as it was at that time. I think our relationships with officials have been strong. And it was a difficult time. In that way, I'm not sure they've ever been at a crisis point in terms of relationships with the Government or officials, and what we have seen now, over the last two years, is that significantly strengthen to a point where I think we are very much one in terms of what we're trying to deliver for the culture sector and, in our particular case, museums. So, I'd say they're very good and very strong.

And if I may add at this point, and I'm sure it'll be of interest to a number of you, I think the same is true in the industrial relations internally. There are well-documented issues from the past. I think those are very much behind us. I think our relationships are strong. We are developing Investors in People in conjunction with the unions and it has proved a benefit internally and continues to do so. We clearly focus on areas that were brought forward as weaknesses, and I think that's wholly reasonable, and that's where we focus. The facilities agreement is near enough ready to be signed. The unions are meeting regularly with trustees and we hopefully will be welcoming them to attend the board of trustees very soon. So, I think things have moved on significantly from that point.

There were other areas in there, and income would be another example that, I'm sure, the committee would look to. But it was a number of years ago and things have moved on massively since that point. Just to take the income one, our profit in the commercial—and note the word 'profit' not 'turnover'—has trebled since that point. So, it really has moved quite significantly in nearly all of the areas. I take your point on Caerleon, but those are investment development reasons and I think all of those that were within our control we have moved and developed and, I would say, moved beyond what was originally reported.

I think, if I could just add as well, if one looks across the range of Welsh Government work and whether it's education, whether it's health and well-being, whether it's economy, virtually in every aspect of key Government policy, we are contributing, and contributing significantly. The poverty agenda, we're contributing a lot on that; we're very committed to social justice. And so I think that the foundation of our relationship with Government is actually a very broad one, and I think we would hope, probably like quite a number of organisations in Wales, to see that the funding structures and funding models that are used for organisations like ours—which are actually cross-Government relationships and cross-Government contributions—we would hope to see that the systems and the funding structures would actually reflect the reality on the ground of the kind of work that we do. As you say, there used to be an old model of museums—which still exists, I have to say, in some places—of you turn on the lights and the people can come in and have a look in a very static way at what's been stuck in a case for the last 20 years, which is not entirely fair, but, nevertheless, that has been the model.

And I think that we are so different from that. I hope that's come across in the evidence we've given today—that, actually, that's not our starting point, it's not our destination. Our starting point is going right back to the needs of communities and the challenges that Wales faces, and actually building our strategy and our work around each of those major challenges. And I think if we, in our 10-year strategy, can come forward as a Wales-facing and challenge-facing organisation that starts on the principles of what does Wales need, then, actually, that's the kind of future cultural organisation that we should be.

11:20

Indeed, with that strong message I think we'll have to conclude the session. We have overrun; of course, we started a little late because of the inclement weather, but it's been, I think, a very productive session. I know I speak for all committee members in thanking the museum for allowing us to meet here at St Fagans this morning, but particularly in the Oakdale Workmen's Institute, which symbolises the great flourishing of working-class culture that we had as a central part of the mining industry, and I think a really fitting place, actually, to talk about some of themes about the democratic view of art and culture, which I know we all subscribe to.

I do want to end in congratulating you and your senior team, but particularly the whole community involved in the national museum, for the Art Fund Museum of the Year award, which was a very significant achievement for you all, and it's very, very pleasing indeed to see this astonishing site get that world-class recognition, which it really, really does deserve. So, thank you very much for your attendance this morning.

3. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod
3. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Colleagues, we don't have any papers to note, and I move the relevant Standing Order that we now briefly meet in private session, unless any Member objects. I don't see a Member objecting. So, we will now conclude in private.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:23.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:23.

Archwilio Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru