Bethan Jenkins AM

Chair Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

National Assembly for Wales

Cardiff BayCardiff

CF99 1NA 


By e-mail


27 October 2016


Dear Ms Jenkins,


I am writing to you and your committee regarding the proposed changes to the status of Amgueddfa Cymru/ National Museum Wales recently announced by the Minister.


Although I am a professor in, and former Head of, the Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University, I am writing to you in a capacity unconstrained by my own subject expertise. Since 2014 when we were introduced to each other by Baroness Andrews, with the support of my institution I have been working with the Director General towards establishing a long-term partnership between the University and the AC/NMW designed primarily to promote research and achieve public impact in areas of common strength and strategic interest, making a difference to Wales and beyond(Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Vice Chancellor and the Director General on 20 July 2015).


Towards these ends, a number of joint workstreams have been created to encourage collaboration and mutual learning among researchers in both institutions. Individual collaborations already existed, of course, in the area of heritage, but the workstreams are deepening and extending activity. While one team, led by the University, has focused on opportunities for research and evaluation in the areas of poverty, inclusion and co-production, another, led by the Museum, has recently been initiated in the public understanding of science. Groups are also planned for on cultural and linguistic translation and climate change and sustainability. The recently uncovered photography archive at AC/NMW is a particularly exciting prospect for researchers across a range of disciplines. Plans are in place for researcher residencies at the Museum to further the development of collaborative projects, for the sharing of facilities, and for support and training from the University in grant-writing skills. Crucially, together, each institution can partner the other in applications for funding for which, as Principal Investigator, they are ineligible. Indeed, as is well known, such collaborations are much valued today by funders.


Besides developing joint applications for research funding (for example, to RCUK funding councils, Horizon 2020, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Lottery Heritage Fund), the University collaborates increasingly with AC/NMW in research training. Recognised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as a research organisation in its own right, the Museum is a valued partner in the AHRC-funded South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. While AC/NMW does not yet have the same status as an RO with the Economic and Social Research Council, it nonetheless currently co-sponsors three PhD projects being undertaken within the All Wales Doctoral Training Centre. AC/NMW is also an associate partner of the Natural Environment Research Councils GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership.


My experience in building this partnership with Mr David Anderson and his senior team thus leaves me concerned that the proposed merger with Cadw and the integration of AC/NMW into Historic Wales could adversely affect not only the autonomy and agility of the organisation in proposing and resourcing strategic initiatives together with us (or indeed others), but also, and perhaps more severely, the status of the institution as an independent research organisation able to bid for research funding.


I hope that this personal testimony from the collaborative rock-face, as it were, will be helpful to the committee as it reflects on the proposed changes.





Professor Martin A. Kayman FRSA FEA

Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Cardiff University