Our statement on the Black Lives Matter movement

Placard from the Women's March held in Cardiff on 21 January 2017 in response to the inauguration​ of Donald Trump.

We believe that culture should be accessible and relevant to everybody. Working with all communities across Wales, we have an important role to play in achieving this goal.

Within our seven national museums and our collections centre we care for over 5 million objects but we know this is not currently accessible to every community in Wales. Some people can’t see themselves reflected in our museums and collections and therefore don’t think Amgueddfa Cymru is for them. We acknowledge that our collections, galleries and learning programmes do not adequately represent all the histories of Wales.

Working beyond our walls, we want to reach out to and provide every community in Wales with the opportunity to develop new and different relationships with us - both physically and digitally. To achieve our aim, everybody living in Wales should be central to the creation of current and future collections; we have a responsibility to learn from communities in every corner of Wales, listen to diverse voices and take positive action.

Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter Movement has driven many organisations to seriously consider their role in fighting racism. As a result we have developed a better understanding of the role that Amgueddfa Cymru can play in achieving race equality in Wales.

Museum collections are often rooted in colonialism and racism. Amgueddfa Cymru is no different.

We have a long way to go, but together with our community partners and young people, we have been and will continue to diversify our collections, increase representation, and contribute to conversations that highlight decolonisation, inequality and racism.

We are working to build a museum sector that stands up for equality, human rights and anti-racism. We have a role to play in driving change, partnering with the communities of Wales to be actively anti-racist in all that we do.

What are we doing?

Zero Racism Wales logo

We must all do more to stand up against racism in all its forms, we’re standing with Race Council Cymru in saying NO to racism in Wales

  • As an organisation, we’ve signed up to the zero-tolerance policy to racism in Wales and you can too. Find out more: www.zeroracismwales.co.uk
  • We want to work with the people of Wales to honestly reflect our nation’s stories. To find out how you can get involved, please get in touch: https://museum.wales/getinvolved/
  • We are working with black communities across Wales to build trust and understanding, asking how to make working in the museum a viable option across the board for potential curators, conservators, designers, technicians, palaeontologists and more.
  • We are reviewing colonial and racist collections and interpretation with relevant community groups as an urgent priority.
  • We are actively collecting the histories, contemporary histories, material culture and art of black communities in Wales and looking at how we can review these collections to better reflect their true histories.
  • We are upskilling and educating our own staff in terms of intersectionality, BLM and black communities, including on the use of language and terminology. This includes Trustees, Friends, Patrons and Volunteers.
  • Equality and diversity is one of our top priorities and will remain so; we are committed to this work.

    Current projects include:

  • Reframing Picton: Our exhibition to reinterpret the portrait of Sir Thomas Picton and to showcase new artistic work is open. Read a blog based on the opening of the exhibition here.
  • Launched our first digital arts magazine, Cynfas to promote the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales through arts and culture. This first edition focuses on Black History Month and is edited by Amgueddfa Cymru Producer, Umulkhayr Mohamed.
  • Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP) youth group workshops to re-interpret three objects from the collection.
  • (Un)Seen (Un)Heard at National Museum Cardiff – Amgueddfa Cymru Producer Umulkhayr Mohamed leads re-display and re-interpretation of Goscombe John Rotunda gallery to highlight black representation and voices.
  • Developing relationship with Black Lives Matter Cardiff organisers to collect the experiences of now and the material culture of the Black Lives Matter movement in Wales.
  • We have recently accessioned a number of BLM placards and a set of digital images donated by a local student-photographer. The placards were collected from a BLM demonstration in June following a call-out from the stage from our Curator of Black History asking attendees to leave their placards at the end of the rally for the Museum to collect.