The vision for an anti-racist Wales - Museums Association

Sign up to our newsletter today and you could win a free membership

Sign up to our newsletter today and you could win a free membership

The vision for an anti-racist Wales

Victoria Rogers
Head of Museums and Collections, Welsh Government

Welsh Government’s vision is “…of a Wales that is proudly anti-racist, where everyone is treated as an equal citizen”.

The creation of its Anti-racist Wales Action Plan, the mandatory teaching of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories in schools, and a programme for Government commitment to ‘Ensure the history and culture of our Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities are properly represented by investing further in our cultural sector and museum network’ has created a policy framework which Welsh museums are now helping to deliver.

Working collaboratively with community partners, museums of all sizes are doing more to address inequality within their collections, displays, programming and workforce.

In 2021/22 Welsh Government funded an innovative training and support programme for the local museum sector, the first of its kind in the UK. Led by Dr Marian Gwyn, the programme was based around a series of workshop sessions and specialist speaker talks. Participants gained an understanding of Wales’s involvement in historic slavery and explored links to their own localities’ history.

The sessions explored how reappraising collections and utilising new perspectives on Wales’ manufacturing, trading and industry can enable stories connected to slavery and empire to be told from a local history perspective, teaching skills to attendees to help them survey their collections to find those stories. It also supported them in building skills and understanding in order to break down barriers and work with communities meaningfully and respectfully.

In total 41 museums took part in the programme, representing independent and voluntary run museums, those managed by local authorities, universities and the National Trust. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with many reporting that they felt they had gained the understanding, knowledge and confidence to make change.

Since the programme ended, we know many have found new connections in their localities’ history and their collections, and are starting to reinterpret their displays and exhibitions. We know that museum staff have also recognised items on display that have been wrongly interpreted in the past, and have moved to rectify this.

This is just the start. The local museum sector is extremely keen to do more to put this knowledge into action. We are committed to our museum network across the country being anti-racist. Over the course of the Senedd term we will be working via interventions, funding programmes, activities and training to ensure museums improve and their workforce, collections, displays, events, community engagement and resources are meaningfully contributing to the vision for an anti-racist Wales.

Learn more at MA Conference 2022

Creating an anti-racist country – practical lessons from Welsh museums, 1640-1740, Thursday 3 November

Welsh Government’s vision is “of a Wales that is proudly anti-racist, where everyone is treated as an equal citizen”. The creation of its Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan and the commitment to mandatory teaching of Black, Asian and minority ethnic histories in schools has created a policy framework that Welsh museums are now helping to deliver. Working collaboratively with community partners, museums of all sizes are addressing inequality within their collections, workforce, displays and programming.

This session focuses on practical examples of change in Welsh local and national museums. It shares learning from innovative practice and country-wide interventions and programmes and from museums’ focused, collaborative activity to change their policies and practice. It addresses areas such as developing collections and exhibitions; school resources; upskilling staff; and changing recruitment processes. Museum workers and community partners lead practical sessions to discuss the work they have undertaken together, explore the opportunities and challenges presented, and give practical tips and advice for delegates to take back to their own museums. 

Book your place at conference

Image credit: Museum of Cardiff

Advertisement