Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu - Y Bumed Senedd

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee - Fifth Senedd

28/01/2021

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Bethan Sayed MS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Carwyn Jones MS
David Melding MS
Helen Mary Jones MS
John Griffiths MS
Mick Antoniw MS

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Emma Bennett Pennaeth Cydraddoldeb, Llywodraeth Cymru
Head of Equality, Welsh Government
Jane Hutt AM Y Dirprwy Weinidog a’r Prif Chwip
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip
Uzo Iwobi Cynghorydd Polisi Arbenigol ar Gydraddoldeb
Specialist Policy Adviser on Equalities

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Angharad Roche Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Martha Da Gama Howells Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Rhys Morgan 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.

Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:29.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:29.

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

Diolch a chroeso i Bwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu y bore yma. Ac ar eitem 1 mae cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau. Hoffwn groesawu'r holl Aelodau a'r tystion i'r cyfarfod. Oes gan rywun rhywbeth i'w ddatgan yma heddiw? Na.

Good morning and welcome to this meeting of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. Item 1 is introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. I would like to welcome Members and witnesses to the meeting. Does anyone have any declarations of interest this morning? No.

09:30
2. Ymchwiliad ynghylch pwy sy'n cael eu coffáu mewn mannau cyhoeddus
2. Inquiry into who gets remembered in public spaces

Felly, dŷn ni'n symud ymlaen at eitem 2, ymchwiliad ynghylch pwy sy'n cael eu coffáu mewn mannau cyhoeddus. A'r tystion y bore yma yw Jane Hutt AS, y Dirprwy Weinidog a'r Prif Chwip, Uzo Iwobi, cynghorydd polisi arbenigol ar gydraddoldeb, a hefyd Emma Bennett, pennaeth cydraddoldeb. Croeso i chi oll yma heddiw. A oes modd i chi ddweud eich enwau a'ch teitlau ar gyfer y record os gwelwch yn dda?

Okay, we'll move on to item 2, inquiry into who gets remembered in public spaces. And our witnesses this morning are Jane Hutt MS, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Uzo Iwobi, specialist policy adviser on equalities, and Emma Bennett, head of equality. So, a warm welcome to you all. Could you just introduce yourselves for the record?

Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip.

Uzo Iwobi, specialist adviser to Welsh Government. Diolch.

Bore da, bawb. Emma Bennett, head of equality.

Diolch yn fawr iawn am ddod atom heddiw. Os yw'n iawn efo chi, fe awn ni'n syth i gwestiynau. Mae yna lu o gwestiynau gennym ar sail gwaith mae'r pwyllgor wedi'i wneud o dan gadeiryddiaeth Helen Mary Jones pan oeddwn i ffwrdd ar gyfnod mamolaeth. Ac mae wedi bod yn ddyrys i edrych drwy eich gwaith chi tra dwi wedi bod i ffwrdd, â'r holl bobl sydd wedi ymwneud â'r gwaith pwysig yma. Dywedodd Gaynor Legall wrth y pwyllgor mae man cychwyn oedd y gwaith yma, ac ni ellir rhoi'r genie yn ôl yn y botel, fel petai. Felly, beth yw camau nesaf y Llywodraeth ar hwn? Beth dŷch chi'n bwriadu gwneud gyda'r gwaith gwerthfawr yma? Diolch.

Thank you very much for joining us this morning. If it's okay with you, we'll move immediately to questions. We have a number of questions based on the work undertaken by the committee, chaired by Helen Mary Jones when I was away on maternity leave. And it's been interesting to look through your work whilst I've been away, with all the people who have been involved with this important work. Now, Gaynor Legall told the committee that the audit was just the starting point and that we can't put the genie back in the bottle. So, what are the next steps for Welsh Government here? What do you intend to do with this valuable work? Thank you.

Thank you very much, Bethan, and thank you for inviting me to give evidence this morning on behalf of the Welsh Government. And can I just start by saying how pleased I am that you're undertaking this inquiry? I was able to meet up with Helen Mary when she was formerly chair, so that we could discuss ways in which the audit could in fact feed into what you are now undertaking. I think your inquiry is so welcome. But can I just say, in terms of where do we go from here and what the Welsh Government is doing, the audit, I think—? And you, as Chair, coming back, will see what power this audit has, how powerful this audit has been, and the leadership by Gaynor Legall, I think, leading this, supported by Gwilym Hughes, of course, head of Cadw, and the expert and diverse group that came together to advise them. And I've just been struck how this audit in itself is an important piece of work. The next stage is, yes, well, where do take this, what do we learn from it, how do we take this forward, but I think the First Minister has made it very clear that he wants to consider the outcome of your inquiry before we make any decisions about further steps. 

I think it's also really important, in terms of your inquiry, as you're taking us through—and what came out of the audit is the engagement, how we engaged with local people, local communities and, indeed, those who are most interested and influenced and concerned with this audit. It was an audit of the slave trade and the British empire, and it revealed some horrific parts of our history of Wales, as well as also bringing out some good information and history that we didn't know about. But I think we just need to move forward in terms of how we then publicly engage across Wales nationally, but particularly locally with our communities, if we want to move this forward in terms of celebration and commemoration.

I think there are quick—. And finally, just quick wins in terms of the sharing the audit, which is already taking place—the National Monuments Record of Wales are making it more widely available, because I think a lot of people still aren't aware of this audit. It's in the public domain, but we need to make it more available. I think Cadw's going to make it—they have a dedicated online resource on the subject through its website. I think there's a huge link here to Professor Charlotte Williams's work, and I think you might have already commented on that, in terms of the curriculum, and that's ongoing work as well. Because I think the audit already can help to inform education and lifelong learning materials, and also how we are trying to tackle racism at every level in our communities, schools and throughout our public and private sectors. So, it's part of our race equality action plan, how we take this forward. But I do think the second phase of the work needs to be about how we engage with communities and the people on the actions that have affected them, and how we need to respond to the outcomes of your inquiry.

09:35

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Oes gan Uzo Iwobi neu Emma Bennett rhywbeth i'w ddweud ar hwn?

Thank you very much. Do Uzo Iwobi or Emma Bennett have any comment on this?

Diolch yn fawr, Bethan. Just to support what the Minister has just said, the devastating impact of racism is seriously highlighted in all that we hear in the media at the moment, what community grass-roots ethnic minority communities are telling us. There have been extensive conversations of pain since the death of George Floyd, conversations that have been muted for a long while, which the Minister has heard and has listened carefully to the cries of the community. I think that, in beginning to unpick this history that is us here in Wales, is so powerful, and this is part of why this audit was so critical.

For example, the fact that for years—26 years—Patti Flynn fought, campaigned, lobbied, to have her family, who fought and died in the wars alongside comrades from diverse ethnic minority backgrounds from Commonwealth communities, who were not allowed to march in Cardiff because of regulations at that time but were deemed able to die on on those fields—. Five members, all the male members, of her family—for 26 years, she fought for recognition, for acknowledgement, for a small thank you, because she felt that Wales had let her down and her family. She mentioned 200 other Butetown—just literally only Butetown—community members who had also lost all the male members of their family. She was 81 at the time, and speaking to the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, who then intervened to help correct this historic injustice by installing the monument in Alexandra Gardens in 2019, not knowing that, less than a year later, Patti herself would die very suddenly on 10 September 2020. She didn't live to see that memorial honoured for the first year. The historical pain that has been caused to people of African heritage, people of African descent, people who are descendants of enslaved people—you know, when you think about the challenges of hearing the narratives that are ongoing in the press about their ancestors and what has happened to them, we are a nation that has an incredible ability to make things right, and I think part of this audit, which the First Minister did absolutely wonderfully to commission, really begins to help us collect what is even available. For the first time, that monument in Alexandra Gardens is now officially documented as one of the monuments of Wales, but it took the Deputy Minister intervening and hearing the voices of the community.

I think there's a wider context here. Everybody has a view about their collective pain, but we need to talk about, as communities together, do we continue to glorify images of people that brought pain, or do we begin to look at how we contextualise history, whether they are documented in a particular way and their stories told, not to obliterate or to change, but to narrate in a compassionate and a caring manner, because racism is dogging all our communities. It's absolutely affecting and blighting our lives. My son at seven years was locked in his school toilet here in Wales—he was born in Wales, he's a Welsh boy, and was locked in the school toilet and beaten by four white kids because he's black. He was told, 'There is no place for you here. We don't want black people in the school.' The same narrative is happening in schools right across Wales, and these are children of Wales. So, I think, in seeking to address this, the pain of the diverse black, Asian and minority ethnic communities needs to be considered, needs to be heard and needs to be understood. Diolch yn fawr.

09:40

Does dim rhaid i—. Diolch yn fawr iawn am yr ateb cryf iawn yna. Does dim rhaid i chi i gyd ateb pob cwestiwn, ond croeso ichi roi eich llaw i fyny os ydych chi eisiau. Y cwestiwn olaf gen i yw: yn sicr, fel mae'r archwiliad Legall wedi ei dweud, mae yna ddiffyg unrhyw fath o gynrychiolaeth o bobl croenliw—mae hynny'n rhyfeddol mae hi'n dweud—yn ogystal â'r diffyg coffadwriaethau i fenywod, i bobl anabl, lot o grwpiau â protected characteristics—dwi ddim yn siŵr beth yw hynny yn y Gymraeg, sori. Beth gellir ei wneud i droi hwn o gwmpas, y diffyg cynrychiolaeth hwn? Beth yw'r cynlluniau? Dwi'n gwybod bod yna gynlluniau ar y gweill ar gyfer menywod, ond beth am y sectorau eraill? Ddirprwy Weinidog.

You don't have to—. Thank you very much for that very strong response. You don't all have to answer every question, but you are welcome to raise your hand if you do have a contribution. Just a final question from me: as the Legall audit said, there's an absence of any commemoration of people of colour, which is remarkable, as she said, as is the lack of commemoration of women, disabled people and a number of other groups with protected characteristics—I'm not sure what the Welsh term is. But what can be done to reverse this lack of representation? What plans are in place? I know that there are plans in place for women particularly, but what about the other groups? Deputy Minister.

Thank you very much, Bethan. I think this is what the audit exposed so clearly, didn't it? And I think the title of your inquiry, 'who gets remembered in public spaces?' is also about what are we going to do and how are we going to redress this now. So, we look very much to your evidence on this as well. It's shocking. The audit itself—that's why it's so vital. It speaks for itself in terms of that evidence. But I think we've got to now address this. Uzo has given us a very powerful example of a campaign that went on for years just to get a plaque in Alexandra Gardens remembering those black service men and women who died in the wars. And, actually, every year now we'll be there commemorating that, but that's one plaque.

Now, we do recognise that, actually, public opinion, and this is what's really helpful and encouraging—. The public voted for Betty Campbell to be the first black woman to have the first women's statue under the monuments for women project, which is great. And I think you took evidence—well, certainly the audit as well acknowledges that, and you've taken evidence from the monuments for women campaign project. And also Welsh Government has put money into that. We've put £100,000 into it. There were five women, and the one the public chose—. Actually, I was just checking back, preparing for this, and it was two years ago, that public vote. It was January 2019 that we got that vote for Betty Campbell's statue. And I just wanted to focus on her statue for a moment, because also, last year, we had the opportunity to see the model of it, and it is going to be the most incredible statue. As you walk out of Cardiff station, it's going to be big and strong, and it's going to be such a powerful witness of what a welcome to Wales would mean. So, I think we've got to look at that as a real opportunity and achievement, and the public of Wales voted for that as well. But I'm also very concerned to see that we redress the balance in terms of any commemoration, memorial plaque for the future, because we have to redress this. 

In terms of wider diversity, I was also thinking back to the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. If you recall—. Some of you will remember that that fourth plinth—in fact it was Chris Smith, the Labour Minister, who had a commission to look at what they could do with this fourth plinth, and they had that incredible Alison Lapper statue, disabled. It was 'Alison Lapper Pregnant', Alison Lapper. I actually went to see it in Trafalgar Square. It was extraordinary. But they have a rolling programme for the fourth plinth, and I think that's something that maybe we should as a Government, and perhaps your inquiry, look at ways in which you can have not just fixed, permanent, but also rolling programmes and also commission artists, sculptors, to undertake that and then bring people forward. We have award schemes, don't we? We have the St David's Day award scheme. There are very different views about award schemes, honours, et cetera, but I think we've got to use the race equality action plan to specifically look at where we can redress this in terms of recognising and commemorating people of black or Asian heritage. Women are coming forward, but it's still so few.

But can I just also finally say that, yesterday, I met with the disability equality forum? They're doing a report on the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people, and they've come through very strongly again with this view that disabled people aren't reflected in the running of Wales. That's our kind of equality and inclusion strategy for public appointments. So, everything that we do in Wales, including commemoration, should reflect the diversity of Wales, and that's where commemoration in Wales is as important as our education, as to how we reach out and acknowledge and how we enable the diversity of Wales's people to be represented in public and political life. So, I think it now has to be addressed.

09:45

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mick Antoniw, mae gen ti gwestiwn atodol.

Thank you very much. Mick Antoniw, I think you have a supplementary question.

Minister, many years ago, I think when we were both members of South Glamorgan County Council, there was a policy in terms of new buildings, new developments and regeneration areas that a certain percentage of the total cost would go on works of art and so on. I don't know whether that policy still exists or something, but it does seem to me that with the immense regeneration that is taking place in many of our towns and cities, that the opportunities are there within those budgets to somehow use that process to actually begin that process of what you describe as rectification. Do you think that's something that might be worth looking at?

Definitely, Mick, and interestingly, that was called the 'public arts work contribution', and in fact it's still there in section 106, and you will all, in all your constituencies, have examples of that. I think this could be a really good outcome, one of the outcomes of this inquiry and of the next stage of the audit, to look at this, because that public art is commissioned and it's a very important source of funding.

Actually, I'll just quickly say that there are two examples. In researching this, I remembered that Elaine Morgan is going to have a statue—the late Elaine Morgan, fantastic, and her biography has just been published. It's about her life. Such a strong feminist and she lived all her life in Mountain Ash. The developer is funding a statue for her at the new medical practice, health centre, in Mountain Ash. The other thing is that I understand, on the sports level, that there is a move in Cardiff council, and others perhaps are engaged, in looking at ways we can acknowledge those black rugby players, who were not—. There's Billy Boston's statue in the north of England, and not in Wales; Clive Sullivan. I think that there is private sector interest as well, not necessarily just—because we need the funding sources for this. We've got to make this a mission, haven't we, for Wales?

Ocê. Sori, mae'n rhaid i ni symud ymlaen. John Griffiths, mae cwestiynau gennych chi.

Okay. I'm sorry, we do have to move on. John Griffiths, I believe you have some questions.

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Bore da, Jane, Uzo and Emma. Obviously, public engagement and public opinion are crucial in terms of these matters, and I just wonder, Minister, what assessment, if any, Welsh Government has made of public opinion on those issues.

We've done the audit; there were some specialist experts in the team led by Gaynor Legall. I understand you've also had some consultation and it's interesting to hear how that's gone. But we just need to now move forward into a wider public engagement about this. It's got to be bold and we've got to be courageous about how we do this, because this is about how we actually deliver on the audit. So, I would say that this next stage in your inquiry is very much part of that, is wider public consultation. But I think the race equality action plan gives us that opportunity, as well as looking to all of the engagement that we've got in the other diverse groups as well, and the local authorities themselves are interested.

09:50

Yes. Well, we did carry out a consultation as a committee, Minister, and it was largely opposed to removing statues. The committee carried out this work, but obviously there is a much wider exercise that has taken place as you've described on these matters, and I'm sure there's much yet to be done.

Could I just ask you also, Minister, about the relevance of public statues and memorials in the twenty-first century? Because some people would question their relevance at all, and we've discussed the balancing up of what's in the public realm, to give a wider representation of society. But some people, I think, would question, as I say, the relevance of statues or memorials at all, and others would say that perhaps it's now more appropriate to perhaps remember events and movements rather than individuals. How would you respond to those views?

I think the importance, again, of going out to public engagement, and the interest and consultation about not just the audit, but following your inquiry. It's disappointing that you had that response to your consultation, but we mustn't be deterred by this. We've got to recognise also that there is a huge concern, as Uzo has expressed today, about: do you want to hear our voices? Do you want to hear what our views are? The lack of trust in Government, in public bodies and in the job sector is very profound, I think, particularly from our black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. So, we've got to hear those voices and encourage them to come forward.

I think it is such a good example of campaigning quietly, probably, for many years for a monument, for a plaque that now is in Alexandra Gardens. I just wanted to say that there are some other campaigns that have been very successful, for example, the purple plaques campaign, which the Welsh Government also funded. And our first purple plaque—. And that was because there was a view that blue plaques were not recognising women. And the first plaque, as you know, is on our Senedd building, in memory of Val Feld, and it was cross-party, it was fantastic, it was the community, and there was a huge response to it. I remember Carwyn there as First Minister, we were all there supporting this plaque. Now, interestingly, the purple plaques is now an initiative on its own, it's no longer funded by the Welsh Government. So, a number of people have received purple plaques, including more recently, just before the pandemic and the lockdown, Angela Kwok, a really powerful woman in the Chinese community, who died, and I think they're now looking at other opportunities. There's huge interest from local communities about recalling and remembering those women who are just not recognised. So, I think that we mustn't underestimate that there is strong support for memorials, for commemoration, but it's about what it's about—it's about learning, isn't it? It's about the fact that you don't just have a plaque—so, 'Who is this person?'

Just very quickly, I only discovered last night that Caernarfon Civic Society has actually now put a slate plaque outside Val Feld's childhood home in Caernarfon. What they've done is they've created a QR code to go alongside the slate plaque. In fact, I'll share this with the committee, because there's a web page—you can use your mobile. This is what we need. And I think probably Gaynor Legall said this about interpretation and about those who are already commemorated. I think the Caernarfon Civic Society did it on their own behalf in memory of Val. But that's starting to redress—purple plaques, statues for women—and we now just need to make sure that commemoration is focused on who has been missed out, who has been lost because of cultural racism, which we have to recognise is there, and really redress the balance.

09:55

Diolch. Uzo, oes rhywbeth gyda chi i'w ychwanegu at hwnna?

Thank you. Uzo, do you have anything to add to that?

Thank you, Minister. Thank you, Bethan. Just to say that it's such an important point of our national history that people of black, Asian and minority ethnic descent are given the opportunity to voice their views. And for many, many years, to recognise historic systemic racism and inequalities that have continued to blight the lives of people who look just like me. The work of the Wales-wide Black Lives Matter is critical in this conversation, and there is a Black Lives Matter Wales collective made up of 12 regions of Wales. People from Cynon valley rose to protest about the historic injustices that are happening to people of black African descent, and part of our Government's position has been to hear those voices and bring them close. So, all the Black Lives Matter Wales collective met with the Minister, spoke to the Minister and really informed the work that is going on on the race equality action plan. Their voices are coming through, and I believe that their voices need to be heard.

A young girl from Cynon valley, Martha Thickett, stood up and said, 'I will not stand in Wales as a white girl not affected by racism, but to see the plight of my neighbour, who is black, be maltreated for their skin colour, something that they couldn't have helped', and she stood up and rose up and protested, and led the protest. The Minister heard all these comments from these people directly, and I believe that, in moving this conversation forward, this engagement with the regional multicultural hubs is what our department is focused on—hearing those voices from people from Chinese backgrounds, Filipinos, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, people across the diversity spread, LGBTQ people, people who are disabled, people who are elderly who feel that their histories are forgotten and not included. This comes though very, very strongly in our work, in recognising that we are battling systemic and structural racism that has impacted adversely on the lives of many like me.

And also, that the future will judge us very carefully about what we do now in Wales, because we believe that Wales is a nation that seeks to embrace all, and in the work that the First Minister and the Deputy Minister are doing, they're highlighting that impact and the need to come through very strongly through the work of this race equality action plan. Diolch yn fawr.

Diolch, Uzo. John, ydy hynna'n iawn gyda chi o ran cwestiynau? 

Thank you very much. John, is that okay with you?

Grêt, diolch yn fawr. Symud ymlaen at David Melding nawr. 

Excellent. Okay, we'll move on to David Melding.

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Minister, I suppose this inquiry really is about how we commemorate, who we commemorate and also how we review those that are currently commemorated. It is about issues and groups that may not have been recognised appropriately in the past, and making good, but it's also looking at people who are there and asking whether they reach beyond their generation today, and whether they reach in a way that we would want their lives somehow to be regarded as a good example.

So, I think public spaces are important, basically, and I think anyone looking at this would come to the view that we have a right to review who is there at the moment, and who should be there in the future. This mostly falls to public authorities to determine, though it may be in response to what local communities are asking for, or campaigns. We heard a very moving example of a campaign to commemorate Commonwealth citizens and people of Commonwealth heritage in various ways who served in the second world war. I think most people would regard it as a shocking omission, traditionally. I think that's a very good example of where action was required if we were going to have a fully balanced and appropriate society. But, public authorities—do they need some sort of guidance? This is my question. And if so, what are the things they might be thinking? Because there will be more demand than there are places. Some of the things we've listed are possible criteria, though it is not a list of what we think should be the criteria. I just wondered if you think this sort of criteria is useful or whether it's a bit of a will-o'-the-wisp, really, where you can't quite capture it.

We've just asked people to think about the historical significance of the person, the continued influence of a person, the national impact of a person, his or her impact in their particular field, how the person was viewed at the time, whether they remain a good example today, and whether the monument is of architectural significance. And then we've also asked for consideration of the impact of minority groups who may have a very particular view of an act of commemoration. Is this sort of combination of factors, some of which would be more significant in a particular instance than others, helpful? Or—Uzo may have a view on this—would it just build further bias? Because if you're going to say, 'Well, the person has to be historically significant', you can get into a very particular view of what is historical and of the sort of importance that we should be recognising.

10:00

Thank you very much, David. This is where it is going to be difficult to say whether we should draw on all of those points, those principles, or should we draw on some of them. I think, particularly, the point in terms of this audit and this inquiry is the impact on minority groups and views of what this actually means in terms of commemoration, because that's where this audit has brought so starkly the fact that we have all these statues and commemorations of people now who would not be acceptable with a contemporary decision.

But clearly, in terms of taking this forward about who should be remembered, I think it does have to go back to local engagement and views and ideas that come from the local community that come forward. Interestingly, we've talked about the women's statues project and the purple plaques, and I think they've got some principles; you probably consulted with them about what are their criteria. For the purple plaque, it's very much, 'What contribution has this woman made to Wales?', particularly in terms of advancing women's rights, for example, and strengthening equality. But also, of course, there are some very unsung heroes and heroines who perhaps wouldn't fit all these principles and criteria, and these are the people who don't necessarily get awards or honours and memorials, but they possibly do also need to be considered for memorial.

I think we just need to think, hopefully in the next stage of the audit, and yourselves, about how we can go out and actually engage with the communities about memorials. I think we can do that through education as well, and it's about heritage, isn't it? I think that's where, in terms of heritage, we are already looking at some projects in Carmarthenshire and Flintshire with funding from the Welsh Government and the lottery, so that we can start actually getting communities and children and young people to think about those principles, rather than just looking at the traditional ones. I think it is going to be sensitive and could be contentious. But influence, impact and contemporary opinion are very important considerations. We've also got to be brave and courageous to face up to the fact that this could be controversial and very difficult. But let's start the conversation.

10:05

Could I put a very quick example to you, Minister? I think probably the most distinguished, in aesthetic terms, memorial in Cardiff civic centre is the one to the Boer war. It's a sculpture of great artistic merit and is recognised as such. It stands between the law courts and City Hall in a very prominent place and it's one of the first examples of a war memorial. But it obviously commemorates an imperial war. So, is that something that you think should remain in the public space, both for its architectural distinction but also as a reminder that that used to be of great importance to the society that we live in and we need to reflect on that and perhaps learn a difficult lesson? I just don't know how you would approach that sort of thing of what's there and may need either to be affirmed as appropriate for various reasons, or removed. 

Thank you for that question. I think Cardiff council has been very courageous and brave and has responded to the call to remove the Thomas Picton statue, so they've started to address this. And in fact, a lot of local authorities are themselves undertaking reviews. I'm sure that this particular memorial—you've highlighted this particular one, the Boer war memorial, David, and it may come as part of their review that they will consider that. It hasn't come to public attention, I think, in the same way as the Thomas Picton memorial. But I think there is an issue, which Gaynor Legall certainly brought out in her response in leading the audit, about interpretation. We've already mentioned the fact that we can now, with digital means, have QR codes and we can have interpretation. That was considered in the audit and you will be considering it yourselves in terms of what you do about existing memorials such as the one you've mentioned, David—is it appropriate there, and if it is, is there going to be some explanation of the historical relevance in the interpretation. That should be certainly part of the scope of the next phase of work. Because it is history and we've got to acknowledge that it's history, but can it be a tool to educate and inform our children and young people and our citizens and visitors to Wales? But not just there on its own without that kind of interpretation. I'm sure that this will be one of the points that will come out of not just your inquiry but of the second stage of the review. 

Just to say that I totally agree with what the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip has said. I think the information that came through from the members of the committee chaired by Gaynor was that it is really important that we recognise that this is all part of a cultural war that was triggered, really, by the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and that's shaken up a lot of conversations that, previously, were not happening so openly around people's feelings about these monuments.

I think the genuine concerns and sensitivities of minority ethnic communities being casually dismissed by some right-wing commentators is really hurtful and has been traumatising. Because some parents are logging a link between some monuments and some statues and what they stand for in history to the narratives that are going on in schools, because they're being studied, and many without contextualisation, which is what the Minister is saying. That will be part of the conversations that go on in local authorities about how we contextualise and put them into proper perspectives and shed some light, so that, actually, we're careful not to glorify certain individuals so that children begin to emulate their language, which is what is continuing to happen.

We should not be deterred from doing what is right in the light of history, because history will definitely shine a light on these times and judge our courage in righting these historic injustices—and modern-day injustices that are still happening right across Wales on racial grounds. We're finding many of our children, in particular from black and Asian-skin backgrounds, being targeted and marginalised. I think that to delegitimise the genuine, deep-seated concerns of some of the members of our communities can feel very painful and can feel negative. I do think that we have an opportunity, using the learning of the audit, to bring forward a new understanding and better contextualising around what we currently have. Diolch.

10:10

David, oeddet ti eisiau dod nôl ar hyn? Na. Mick Antoniw.

David, did you want to come back? No. Mick Antoniw.

Thank you, Chair. I have some practical questions I'd like to put now, because, obviously, this whole discussion has to be, I suppose, catalysed into real recommendations, in terms of actions and so on. Can I ask you, Minister, first of all: has the Welsh Government had specific requests for advice from, for example, local authorities and so on? If so, how has the Welsh Government dealt with those so far? What sort of advice, if it has given advice, has been put out?

Thank you for that question. It was important that the Welsh Local Government Association sat on the audit team with Gaynor; I think Naomi Alleyne was the Welsh Local Government Association's representative on the task and finish group. They have asked us whether we can provide advice and guidance, because many local authorities, as I said, are undertaking those reviews, and probably in your own constituencies. This is the next stage of the process, following the audit. As you know, we're looking to this committee. So, I'm not saying we're just going to pass it to you; obviously, we need to glean all of the responses that you will gain from the committee as to the issues around guidance and principles. I think it goes back to David Melding's crucial questions, really, about the criteria for consideration in terms of views. We've really got to fully consult and engage on this. But it clearly would be very helpful if we could produce advice and guidance for local authorities when they consider how to respond to those public memorials that are now being highlighted as, perhaps, being contentious or inappropriate. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mick, did you want to come back on that?

Would you envisage also, Minister, that there should be an obligation in respect of local consultation? We're talking about process now. At some stage, as well as guidance, there needs to be some clarity, as a process, on how to proceed. But the criteria in respect of engagement with the public, the duty to consult and to engage, and then the duty against how to apply criteria to that—has that featured in the Government's thinking so far on this?

Not at this stage, but I think these are very important pointers for the next stage, following your inquiry. I think we are well served by the well-being of future generations Act in terms of the ways of engaging in terms of public consultation—not just being a formal public consultation, when you have a period of time and you ask for views. I think we have learnt a lot, particularly over the last year of the pandemic, about how we have to do public engagement, and we're sharing that with you. With the race equality action plan, we are doing much more engagement with people with lived experience, and through expanding the Wales race forum meeting, with Black Lives Matter, the disability equality forum, the same. So I think it—. Because we will have to share with the public bodies who would be engaged in this, also subject to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015—we would have to use that kind of underpinning guidance and advice and example for this. But I think it's not to the point of statute yet. It actually is going to be very clear what works in terms of engaging with communities.

And I know that's going to be difficult, because some of these issues are going to be very contentious at a local level, leading to protest—protest from different views. It will be emotive, and Uzo has already spoken about that, and the fact that it can have such a corrosive and undermining impact on people, and black and minority ethnic people, to have this kind of antagonism, again, in their faces, so often, in terms of the kind of response to these issues. But we've got to get on with it, haven't we? And it's going to be much, much more challenging, and we've got to recognise this, to help local authorities and public bodies. It won't just include local authorities, it will include the private sector, all of those who actually do—. It's like the public art question, Mick—should there be some criteria that rules in and rules out commemoration? But advice and guidance on public consultation is crucially important.

10:15

Uzo, oedd rhywbeth gyda chi i'w ychwanegu at hynny?

Uzo, did you have anything to add to that?

Yes. Thank you so much, Minister. It's just to say that I was thinking that the journey that is ahead of us now is to pull together all the variety of voices—of white Welsh people, black Welsh people, Asian Welsh people, people from diverse protected characteristic backgrounds—to have that opportunity to comment on the audit, to comment on what is right for the peoples of Wales. It won't be easy, because, like the Minister said, they are polarised views, and we see people very incensed. But I do think that, if we consider the fact that some of these people that we are glorifying on monuments that we hold so dear alternately have direct links with the fact that a three-and-a-half-year-old child is told they look like a black monkey, and they should go back to the colonies, in schools, in Wales today—. These are children who are sent to school to study, and have a stress-free, harassment-free day in school; they are coming home in tears, 'I don't want to go to school because I've been told that I'm a black—that I have the colour of poo'. This is what a three-and-a-half-year-old child was told in one school in Wales. We are dealing with the impact of racism time and time again, systemic and structural inequalities. We're dealing with the fact that people are wanting to not live any more because of racism. Thank you.

Diolch, Uzo. Mae'n anodd dilyn hwnna. Mae'r enghreifftiau yna jest yn anghredadwy. Mae hwnna'n hollol annerbyniol i glywed ei fod e'n digwydd nawr yn ein hysgolion ni heddiw. Felly, dwi'n credu, os unrhyw beth, mae'n rhywbeth i'r system addysg i ymdrin ag ef hefyd—bod y pethau yma'n digwydd yn ein hysgolion ni heddiw. Symud ymlaen yn awr at gwestiynau gan Helen Mary Jones.

Thank you, Uzo. It's difficult to follow that. Those examples are incredible, and it's totally unacceptable to hear that it's happening in our schools today. So I think, if anything, it's something for the education system to deal with as well—that these things are happening in our schools today. We'll move on now to questions from Helen Mary Jones.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. Deputy Minister, I think you've said that Welsh Government's thinking is at a fairly early stage, and I think the committee very much appreciate the fact that you're waiting to see some of what comes out of our work as well before proceeding. But we do have a system in place, don't we—we have the planning system—that allows local people to have an input into local decision making, and has a set of common rules. I realise this is at the early stage of your thinking, but would, for example, the planning system be one way in which local authorities could have a process to consult about either a new commemoration that might be controversial, or the removal or changing of an existing commemoration?

10:20

This is where we have got to, again, look at what our powers are in terms of planning policy. Obviously the national planning policy is the key vehicle for us in terms of taking this forward, and I think we will need to look perhaps, in terms of scoping of phase 2 of the audit, at options that we could consider for the future, which may include planning permission, for example, for their removal. I have to say that this is something where this is going to be very much engaging with local authorities and, indeed, local people, in terms of scoping for the next phase of the audit. Because WLGA, the Welsh Local Government Association, as the key body, will want to help us into the next phase of the audit, and I know they're giving evidence to you as to what they think would be appropriate and helpful. Local people should have the opportunity to give their views on how these decisions are made. They elect their local representatives, and local authorities have got such experience in terms of how they handle this in terms of agreements et cetera within their powers and their purview.

But I think we've got to also perhaps recognise that some commemorations are listed or scheduled and require separate consent for changes, and, in fact, I think, that's where Cadw comes into play as well. I have to say I was very, very concerned about the words that were expressed by the Minister—the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick—last week, in relation to this point. We're using very emotive language, well, in fact, it was appalling, populist language, I think, about planning issues, about new planning rules in England, where certainly I wouldn't want to go down that route at all. But let's look at our planning policy, in terms of what that means, and engage with our local authorities and, again, local people about what is appropriate.  

Thank you. That's helpful, and I think it's worth putting on the record that the one local authority that has gone through this process in Carmarthenshire dealing with the issue of the big Picton memorial did manage to have—and we had the cabinet Member with responsibility in front of us—a fairly reasoned local debate, consulting local people about what ought to be done. But they did also get some pretty shocking evidence provided to the extent that the level of, frankly, racism expressed in some of them was distressing for the members of staff who had to process the process. And, I think, certainly that local authority would very much welcome more national guidance so that they know that they're not alone when they're taking controversial and difficult decisions.

So, they came to the conclusion eventually with the Picton monument that what they would do with that is not to try to remove it, but to contextualise it and, also, in the context of the new curriculum, to work with local schools so that the history could be understood much better. They also looked at the extent to which anybody knew who Thomas Picton was, and the truth was that people didn't really remember either his allegedly glorious military career or his terrible record as a governor in the slave—. They just didn't know what it was. So, they've come to the conclusion that they're going to contextualise, and I just wonder, Deputy Minster and Uzo as well, whether you've got any thoughts about where contextualisation fits into this, because at one end of the discussion people would want things left entirely alone, at another end of the discussion people want things removed. But would you see a potential place for contextualisation? Each case would be different, of course, but would you see a potential place for that? 

10:25

Yes, and I think there is a place for that and I think we must recognise that Carmarthenshire County Council did actually take this on board—they took responsibility for that review and then came and consulted and had that debate and that's going to have to happen, and indeed is happening, in other parts of Wales, and I know that that's a very useful part of your evidence as well. I think the audit, and Gaynor Legall herself, has expressed the need to look at this issue of interpretation and also contextualising them—well, it's about recontextualising them, isn't it? Because it's actually putting history—or it's making clear what this memorial is all about and what it represents.

But I think the link to the schools and our curriculum is crucially important and the work that Charlotte Williams is doing, because this could be a tool for education and learning. I think this should be a very key part of the next phase of this work. I think the audit does provide this evidence base. Now we know where it all is—we've got the evidence, so, it's now an honest and informed relationship we need to develop with our history, and that's why, going back to the fact—. It's very positive what your inquiry is and what this audit has done, because this is about our history and how we can interpret it and how we can learn the lessons on the engagement that Carmarthenshire and other councils have undertaken and what that means when they start working with their local schools, because I'm sure they're already beginning to do that.

Diolch, Minister. I think under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, our Welsh Government has a duty towards a Wales that is more equal, and in order to help us, I think we need this clear-eyed understanding of the legacies of the slave trade and the British empire and all it stood for. And I think those are the conversations that will continue to emerge and we must be courageous in hearing all the voices of the peoples of Wales.

I think it will not be an easy task and, like the Minister says, it will probably involve people protesting on all sides, because for a long time, people felt that their histories have been trampled on, whereas other people feel—some of the people honoured are their family members, so it is just so hard and so difficult, but worth doing. And I think the fact of the need to bring alive those voices is what our department has been focused on, even at this very early stage, to inform our thinking on the race equality action plan, to work for that equal Wales where everybody feels that sense of belonging and that sense of identity. People are likely to embrace more all the aspects of Wales when they feel a part of Wales. And I think that is what the Minister has been focusing our work on and our clear struggle to ensure that we move from being seen as supporting systemic racist ideologies, behaviours, procedures and policies, inadvertently or unwittingly, to not just being non-racist but anti-racist in our stance. And I think that is the power of the race equality action plan and, hopefully, that will help shape the future discussions that we take forward. Diolch yn fawr.

Diolch yn fawr a chwestiynau i orffen, Carwyn Jones.

Thank you very much, and the final set of questions from Carwyn Jones.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Good morning, both. One of the questions we've wrestled with over the course of this inquiry is what should be done with any statues or monuments that are removed. I wonder if you have any views on that. And I suppose, building on that, might it be worth having discussions with the national museum to see whether they have any space, or indeed appetite, for housing any monuments or statues, should they be removed.

Thank you very much, Carwyn. Well, of course, we did have the national museum director on the task and finish group, so they were very engaged with this issue. I don't think we want to pre-empt the outcome of the next stage on this, and, as you know, there's no recommendation yet about whether monuments and statues should even be moved, and if they were—and there's one in Cardiff, I know—where they should go, and that's going to have to be considered. It's very sensitive, of course. We've just been discussing this, and the reasoned debate that they had in Carmarthenshire, but those debates are going to have to take place. So, I think it is important that we recognise that this is going to have to be addressed at the next stage. But, in a way, it follows on from the point that the alternative is about recontextualising information and improved interpretation around these memorials anyway, if they aren't removed. But, clearly, it's the next step. I think we can also, perhaps, learn from others as to how they've handled this, because this is not just an issue for Wales and the UK, it's a global issue as well. But it certainly has to be addressed at the next stage, and I'm sure your inquiry will have some comment. 

10:30

Thank you, Minister. Just to come back on that point, then, you mentioned the fact that this is clearly not simply an issue for Wales, or indeed for the UK, it's an issue in many countries. I suppose the next question is: are there any international examples of what's been done with monuments or statues if they have been removed? I know Mick, on this committee, has regaled us with stories about what's happened in former Soviet countries with some of the statues there, but are there any other examples that you're aware of where controversial statues have been removed and then placed somewhere else—some examples we might learn from? Thanks.

Diolch, Carwyn. I think that, again, we need to very carefully consider what's happened elsewhere, and I can imagine Mick's examples. We know, globally, so often we've seen statues removed in anger and despair, sometimes, and in war time and conflicts as well as in protest. So, we have got to learn about how this has been managed. I think probably we will need to look to the States as well, under the new administration. I think it would be very valuable to see how, across the world, this has been addressed. But I think whatever we do—and I suppose I want to just finally say this, unless there are more questions—that the perspective for us in Wales has to be as a result of what do our black, Asian and minority ethnic Welsh people think of these issues. So, the next stage—. The audit was led by Gaynor, with an amazing range of Welsh experts, as well as from outside Wales. The fact that we had Professor Olivette Otele, who actually lives in Newport, a professor of black history and slavery in Bristol University who lives here in Wales, as part of that—. They have got to guide us, as well as looking to worldwide examples. 

Diolch, Minister. I think definitely Professor Otele, people like Professor Charlotte Williams, I think people like Dr Marian Gwyn, who has had extensive opportunities to study history as a white Welsh woman as well; it is really critical to bring about that insight. And they have done that very effectively through this audit, and I believe this committee will really go a long way to shed some light on what you've found as well to help us in developing forward. I believe that there is merit in this approach of having that conversation—challenging conversations, difficult conversations, but yet, nonetheless, dialogue that must happen. I think the voices of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have been silenced for a very long time, and the rise of Black Lives Matter has brought to the fore all the pain, all the hurt, all the emotion of people of, in particular, African descent whose ancestors were enslaved. And I think those voices need to be heard with courage. We have to look at our history and recognise that, in teaching that history, we need to be careful because it's impacting on our current day and the children in our schools are hearing this and we don't want people to walk away from sessions feeling like Africans are chattels, and Africans can be described as having skin the colour of 'something'. We need to help our children to develop a whole sense of citizenship, which is what the work our department is trying to do, and the Minister is leading us in, is shaping. And I do think it is well worth the endeavour to do this together, as all the peoples of Wales. Diolch.

10:35

Diolch. Carwyn, popeth yn iawn? Dim cwestiynau ychwanegol? Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am ddod i mewn atom heddiw. Roedd hwnna'n sesiwn diddorol iawn, ac mae'n neis i glywed eich bod chi'n mynd i aros i'n hymchwiliad ni i ddod i ben, i allu bwydo i mewn i'r hyn y mae'r Llywodraeth yn ei wneud. A gobeithio y bydd e'n rhywbeth gwerthfawr i chi allu ei ddefnyddio wedyn, er mwyn hwyluso eich gwaith yn yr ardal yma. Fel sydd wedi cael ei ddweud, dyw e ddim yn mynd i fod yn hawdd, ond mae e'n rhywbeth y mae'n rhaid i ni arwain arno fel cenedl, i ddangos ein bod ni'n gallu bod yn ddewr ac yn gallu newid. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am ddod i mewn atom heddiw—dŷn ni yn gwerthfawrogi eich amser chi.

Thank you. Carwyn, no further questions? Well, thank you for joining us this morning. That was a very interesting session, and it's good to hear that you will wait for our inquiry to conclude so it can feed in to what the Government is doing in this area. And we hope that we can make a valuable contribution, that you can use, in order to facilitate your work in this area. As has already been said, it's not going to be easy, but it is something that we need to lead on as a nation, to show that we can be courageous, and that we can change. So, thank you very much for joining us this morning—we do appreciate your time.

3. Papurau i’w nodi
3. Papers to note

Symud ymlaen nawr at eitem 3, papurau i'w nodi. Mae gennym ni ohebiaeth â Llywodraeth Cymru ynghylch cymorth ar gyfer y cyfryngau newyddion; wedyn, ymateb Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru i adroddiad y pwyllgor ar yr ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw; ac wedyn, gohebiaeth ynghylch yr ymchwiliad i ddatganoli darlledu. Ydych chi'n hapus jest i nodi, a gallwn ni drafod hyn yn y sesiwn breifat? Grêt.

Moving on now to item 3, papers to note. We have correspondence with the Welsh Government on support for news media; then, the Arts Council of Wales's response to the report on the live music inquiry; and then, correspondence on the devolution of broadcasting inquiry. Are you happy just to note those papers—we can discuss them in the private session? Excellent.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod
4. 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.

Eitem 4, cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i wahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod, a hefyd i wahardd y cyhoedd o'n cyfarfod ar 6 Chwefror—sori, 4 Chwefror, nid 6 Chwefror; dŷn ni ddim yn mynd i fod yma ar ddydd Sadwrn, dydw i ddim yn credu. Ond diolch yn fawr iawn i chi. Os yw hynny'n iawn, wnawn ni symud i mewn i sesiwn breifat. Ac wedyn, diolch i chi am eich cyfraniad y bore yma.

Item 4, a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting, as well as the next meeting, on 6 February—sorry, 4 February, not 6 February; we're not going to be here on a Saturday. If that's okay with you, we will move into private session. Thank you very much for your contributions this morning.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:37.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 10:37.