Kris Boratyn, Daily Express, August 20, 2021
The Arts Council of Wales, which is publicly funded, commissioned the research that cost £51,000, and branded the body’s policies as “racist,” along with those of National Museums Wales. Both organisations have now accepted the findings of the report. The findings come after Welsh arts groups and professionals appealed for a report on racial inclusion at these organisations as they raised concerns that “Welsh meant white” and that “Welsh could exclude Black and non-Black people of colour”.
The report further added that both the Council and National Museums Wales uphold “white supremacist ideology” by limiting opportunities for minorities.
It also stated that policies on promoting the Welsh language could lead to exclusion of non-white people.
At the moment, the legislation followed by both organisations outlines the need to treat Welsh as equal to English and with equal prominence.
The Arts Council of Wales’s policy states “the Welsh language skills of all staff are assessed annually through self-assessment,” while National Museum Wales assesses whether Welsh language skills are “essential” for specific roles.
The report was carried out by the Welsh Arts Anti-Racist Union and stated that a feeling of exclusion “links to the concept of ‘Welshness’ altogether, which often disregards Black and Non-Black People of colour as the ‘other’ – there is a notion that if you are not white, you cannot be Welsh.”
People who canvassed for the report listed a number of suggestions to promote inclusion.
One of those included “relaxing the emphasis on having to speak Welsh, and providing opportunities to learn on the job.”
Another said: “Job sharing in roles that may require Welsh language proficiency, where a black or non-black person of colour who doesn’t speak Welsh can work alongside a Welsh speaker.”
The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 states that all public bodies have to treat both Welsh and English languages on an equal basis.
The Arts Council of Wales website currently states: “We are a bilingual nation – legally, socially, culturally and as individuals and communities. Nothing makes Wales more distinctive than the Welsh language.
“We’re committed to developing and promoting the arts in and through the medium of Welsh.”
Language was not the only issue that the report dealt with.
It further added: “The continual exclusion and disregard for black and non-black communities is not due to wilful ignorance; it is due to a calculated and repetitive pattern.”
A joint statement from Phil George, chairman of the Arts Council of Wales, and Roger Lewis, president of National Museums Wales, stated: “It is not acceptable that access to publicly funded culture is so unequally distributed.
“It is our responsibility to ensure everybody can experience culture in the way they choose – in person or digitally, in museums and other venues, or in their communities.”
It continued: “At the same time, we had to face some difficult and important truths in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and to reflect on our role in tackling racism.
“As a result, we have started to develop a sharper understanding of the role that Amgueddfa Cymru and the Arts Council of Wales can play in achieving race equality in Wales and in our own organisations.
“We have a long way to go to respond to unacceptable inequalities of access to cultural opportunity.”
It added: “Wales is the poorer for these exclusions and obstacles, wasting the talent and potential of those most sharply excluded.
“In the end, it’s simply not fair that access is so unevenly distributed.”