Tag: Culture

Visit the Senedd and Pierhead: Cadw Open Doors 2017

About CADW Open Doors

Every year, buildings and sites across Wales open their doors to the public for Cadw Open Doors, offering a chance for people to visit hundreds of attractions across the country for free. On Saturday, 30 September the National Assembly for Wales will be offering exclusive access to the public.

While the Senedd and Pierhead are open to the public throughout the year, Open Doors visitors will be able see what happens behind the scenes in some areas not usually open to the public.

Where is it?

The Open Doors tour will take visitors on a journey through the history of both Cardiff Bay and the National Assembly for Wales.

It will include all three buildings within the Assembly’s Cardiff Bay estate:

The Pierhead

Pierhead building with open door

Start your journey through time in 1897 with the Pierhead, an iconic late Victorian building where visitors can discover the history of Cardiff Bay. The Pierhead is now a museum and exhibition centre, open to the public seven days a week.

Ty Hywel
The original home of the Assembly’s debating chamber, Ty Hywel hosts the offices of both Assembly staff and Members.

The Senedd

The Senedd in Cardiff Bay

An iconic landmark in Cardiff Bay, the Senedd is the heart of democracy in Wales. A modern parliamentary building and home of the debating chamber of the Assembly, the Senedd is also one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales. Visitors will learn about the history and the architecture of the buildings and discover more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

Address: National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

When?

There are two tours taking place on 30 September at 11:00 and 14.00.

How do I book my place on the tour?

Booking is essential as we can only offer a limited number of places on this exclusive behind the scenes tour. The 11:00 tour is FULL but there are spaces available on the 14.00 tour.

Please call 0300 200 6565 or email contact@assembly.wales to book your place.

Further information

Cadw Open Doors is an annual celebration of the architecture and heritage of Wales and is part of European Heritage Days, which take place in 50 European countries each year in September.

For more information, including other participating attractions around Wales, please see the Cadw website.

Visiting the National Assembly for Wales

If you can’t make it on 30 September you can still visit the Senedd and Pierhead buildings which are open to the public seven days a week.

The Senedd regularly hosts a variety of events with performers, singers, exhibitions and activities happening throughout the year so come along and see what’s happening!

You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd’s debating chamber.

The Senedd is currently open:

Monday – Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Public decides on future committee inquiry

Over the last couple of months, the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee at the National Assembly for Wales has asked the people of Wales to decide what issues they should be investigating.

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Although Assembly committees regularly involve the public in its work, and have done so using a variety of techniques (including events, focus groups, web-chats, surveys, video interviews, workshops, and crowdsourcing apps), this is the first time an Assembly committee has asked the people of Wales to decide a future committee inquiry.

How they sourced ideas

The chair of the Committee, Bethan Jenkins AM sat down with James Williams from BBC Wales to talk about the newly formed committee on Facebook live, the first time the National Assembly had ever done so. Bethan encouraged people to get in touch, and make suggestions for priority areas.

The Committee invited people to suggest ideas on Facebook, Twitter and by e-mail, and also held an event at the National Eisteddfod to continue the conversation.

What people said

A number of suggestions were received from a mix of organisations, groups and individuals, which were then grouped and presented to the Committee.  The members then cross referenced this public list with the priority areas they had identified in a planning session they had held.

There was a lot of common ground between the Committee members’ priority areas and the public list, including:

  • how the ambition of achieving a million Welsh speakers can be achieved
  • concern at the continuing decline of local media and local news journalism
  • lack of portrayal of Wales on UK broadcast networks
  • the role of Radio in Wales
  • the remit, funding and accountability of S4C

Continue reading “Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Public decides on future committee inquiry”

Guest Blog – Opening up committees is a step forward for stronger democracy in Wales

Dr Andy Williamson, October 2016

It’s great to see the fifth National Assembly starting off with a strong intention to increase public participation. The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee has already started, committee chair Bethan Jenkins asking the public to help shape what they talk about through a range of innovative and original channels.

This is the stamp of a modern legislature, one that is invested in strong democracy and the best interests of the people that it serves.

Senedd chamber

Open, transparent and accessible legislatures are the way of the future and we can see this happening around the world:

  • in Westminster the Petitions Committee is drawing in new audiences to watch what their parliament is doing and to get involved in debates;
  • in Brazil and Chile legislation is shared online with the public, who can comment, amend and vote on those changes before they are referred back to members;
  • legislatures as diverse as Georgia, Paraguay and France are implementing strategies to increase public involvement in what they do and to ensure that is transparent and accessible;
  • Scotland, Italy and the Czech Republic are examples of parliaments who are providing real-time, open access to their data, whilst the Dutch and New Zealand parliaments provide online, fully searchable archives of their parliamentary record; and
  • Serbia and Peru are amongst the legislatures around the world actively partnering with civil society organisations, finding new ways to open up, reach out, listen and to share.

This is disruptive practice and even positive disruption brings challenges. Members can feel that increased participation encroaches on, some say threatens, their role in a representative democracy. In reality, experience shows us, it does the opposite. And we have to put innovations like this in context; members still make the decisions, they still decide on the majority of committee business. But in the age of social media and constant news, it quickly becomes obvious that being more engaged and better connected significantly benefits members who want to feel the pulse of their communities. The world over, our representatives have to accept doing their job not only in the full gaze of increased public scrutiny but with greater public involvement. This is a good thing; democracy is not about a vote every five years but having a voice every day.

The world has changed, forcing us to reshape the work of legislatures as more and more varied channels of public participation and interaction open up. To understand why this matters we first have to accept the benefits of greater public engagement, and those benefits are many. There are logistical challenges too, knowing which tools to use and not trying to own or control them (or the discussion). We have to develop a willingness to go where the people are, to use the tools they use, to choose what’s best for the job at hand.

A more informed and engaged public makes for a stronger democracy.

Creating new ways to give people a voice and get more involved in what their representatives are doing starts to break down the barriers of mistrust that have calcified across too many of our public institutions. It’s not a panacea, there is no silver bullet and people are slow to trust, quick to push their own agendas, to express frustration when they don’t get their own way. We can’t expect a system that has been distrusted, has often been perceived as closed and controlling, to change overnight and nor should we expect public attitudes to shift immediately either, that would be naive. This is an ongoing process, we need to be cautious and tolerant but equally to press ahead with the confidence of knowing that being more open is better for all of us in the long run.

Opening up committees can feel hard because it is hard. But it is both the right thing to do and necessary. It’s a reflection on the ongoing societal shift in our attitudes and approach to democracy, which will be easier to embrace if we can talk openly and honestly about what it means, for elected representatives, staff and the public.

Opening up committees is about inclusion. It’s about stronger representation, making democracy more participatory and how this benefits members and the public. Open democracy leads to better legislation, legislation that is thoughtful and appropriate, that is based on a wider set of views, immersed in the experiences of real people. Legislation that better reflects who we are. The world is complex and finding new, reliable ways of solving problems will be easier when we can effectively harness that significant reservoir of talent, knowledge and ideas that has lain untapped for far too long. To get there, we need more education, more information and more partners to promote greater political maturity and effective engagement.

We need more people, different voices, to be heard and heard more often. Inviting people into committees, asking them to help shape the agenda and giving them more space to be heard are positive steps forward. This trajectory towards more effective engagement is what modern democracy is all about.

Dr Andy Williamson is the Founder of Democratise and a Governor of The Democratic Society. He recently wrote the World e-Parliament Report 2016 and is co-author of ‘From Arrogance to Intimacy – A Handbook for Active Democracies’.

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Engagement firsts at the National Assembly for Wales

For the first time, the Assembly has established a Committee with specific responsibility for communications, culture, the arts, the historic environment, broadcasting and the media.

These issues are the things that enrich our lives, that fashion and explain our narrative as a nation, that are the soul of our unique culture and heritage, and help define what it is to be Welsh.

The new Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee is a group of eight Assembly Members from across Wales, who represent the five political parties which make up the Assembly. Over the summer, the Committee provided a variety of opportunities for people to get in touch and tell us what they thought the Committee should prioritise.

Committee Members

Back in July, the Assembly used Facebook Live for the very first time. Over 2,700 people watched Chair of the Committee, Bethan Jenkins AM talk about her hopes for the Committee. We had lots of ideas through the Facebook Live feed, on Twitter, and by e-mail.

The Committee also held an event at the Eisteddfod where people in attendance put forward their ideas and prioritise. One of those suggestions was that the Committee should look at Welsh Language usage among young people, considering the announcement the First Minister and the Minister for Life Long Learning and Welsh Language made about the aim of growing the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050.

With a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to get in touch, this is what you told us were your priorities…

Welsh language

  • How the WG aim to increase the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050, including Welsh language usage among young people
  • Welsh language in secondary education, including a proposal to get rid of the concept of second language education and replace it with one continuum of Welsh learning
  • Encouraging people to carry on using the Welsh language after they leave school
  • Bilingual support for deaf and hard of hearing people

Culture

  • Funding for and access to music education
  • A strategy to develop the music industry in Wales
  • Fees and terms for the visual and applied arts
  • Access to and funding of the arts at a grassroots and local level
  • How Wales supports its traditional and unique cultural arts
  • Progression of Expert Review into Local Museums report
  • The Wales brand

Heritage

  • Preserving local heritage in Wales
  • Cultural and historical education in Wales

Communications

  • What can the Welsh Government do to tackle the democratic deficit in Wales
  • The state of local journalism in Wales
  • Welsh media representation on a UK level
  • Funding for the Welsh media
  • The implications of the BBC Charter on S4C
  • Citizen participation and access to political information

The Committee took these suggestions into consideration whilst planning the big issues they wanted to tackle over the next 5 years. There was a lot of common ground between the suggestions the Committee received and some of the Committees priorities, including:

  • how the ambition of achieving a million Welsh speakers can be achieved
  • concern at the continuing decline of local media and local news journalism
  • lack of portrayal of Wales on UK broadcast networks
  • the role of Radio in Wales
  • the remit, funding and accountability of S4C

We have grouped the remaining ideas together, and want the public to decide which issue you think the Committee should investigate in the next couple of months, once the Committee has completed its work on the Welsh language strategy. This is the first time an Assembly Committee will have given the public the ability to so directly decide what its focus should be.

Get involved by completing and sharing this survey.

This is not to say that we will ignore all but the most popular issue. All of these responses will help us decide our priorities further down the line, and we intend to follow-up all of these areas, be that through a formal inquiry, by asking questions to Ministers or by seeking plenary debates.
The Committee is committed to engaging the range of individuals, groups, businesses and organisations in its work, and hope that by providing opportunities to directly affect the Committees work that it effectively represents the interest of Wales and its people.
More about the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee.

World Architecture Day 2016: Professor Thomas Herzog visits the Senedd

By Lucy Hodson, Information Specialist, Assembly Library

The iconic Senedd building is famous as both the home of Welsh democracy and for being a beacon of sustainability. It has won a number of architectural prizes and has also received the highest ever rating awarded in Wales under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Earlier this year the Senedd was visited by Professor Thomas Herzog, the world-renowned German architect known for his interest in contemporary technologies and the supply of energy from environmentally friendly sources. He has received a number of honours throughout his career for his work, including the PLEA 2013 Award for excellence in the field of passive and low energy architecture and the 2009 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.

L-R Matthew Jones (Sustainability Manager), Thomas Herzog (Architect, Thomas Herzog Architects), Ester Coma Bassas (Architect, Welsh School of Architecture), Werner Lang (Architect, University of Munich), Richard Gwyn Jones (Visitor Tour Manager)
L-R  Matthew Jones (Sustainability Manager), Thomas Herzog (Architect, Thomas Herzog Architects), Ester Comma Bassas (Architect, Welsh School of Architecture), Werner Lang (Architect, University of Munich), Richard Gwyn Jones (Visitor Tour Manager)

Professor Herzog was given a tour of the Senedd by our Sustainability Manager Matthew Jones. After the visit he shared his thoughts:

“During the past decades I was rarely so moved and taken by a piece of modern architecture as the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay.

A weather-protected place that uses the prominent surrounding panorama of the city at the port as a space-defining backdrop. An elevated public space-enlivened and used by citizens and politicians-stands in contrast to the plenary hall with its geometry, spatial order and exposure to light, Although the assembly room is the place of public inspection, it nevertheless ensures the appropriate distance, and is –in its effect determined by the central, concentrated exposure to natural light from above.

The building is a lesson-even in terms of a self-confident, citizen-oriented democracy – and is brilliant with its clear spatial concept and its attention to technical detail. The Senedd demonstrates how meaningful architecture can be for our modern life, an architecture that communicates though transparency in a differentiated grading between opening and concentration. A stroke of luck for the country and its people.”

Senedd

To celebrate World Architecture Day on 3 October the Senedd is hosting a special architectural tour which will showcase the building in all its glory. This new tour will explore in detail the concept and design of one of Richard Rogers’ most iconic buildings. You’ll discover the Senedd’s incredible features which make it one of the most sustainable buildings in Wales. The guide will take you to usually unseen parts of the Senedd to add to this ‘one-off’ experience.

As part of the visit, a free Senedd book will be given to all who attend, a real prize for those who are interested in architecture and the building.

If you’d like to attend one of our specially tailored tours, contact us on 0300 200 6565 or email contact@assembly.wales

For more information including opening times and how to get to us please visit the Assembly website.

More information about the Senedd including its history, concept drawings and environmental features.

#AskLlywydd – The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM, answers your questions

The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM, will be at the National Eisteddfod on 2 August in conversation with ITV Wales journalist Catrin Hâf Jones, talking about the unique challenges and opportunities she faces in the Fifth Assembly. The Presiding Officer will also answer questions from the audience and submitted through social media.

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Questions can be sent in advance or on the day, either by using #AskLlywydd  / #HoliLlywydd on Twitter, or by posting on the Assembly’s Facebook pages, where the session will be streamed live from 11:00am.

How do I watch?

If you are at the Eisteddfod you will be able to watch the interview live from 11:00am in the Societies 1 pavilion. If you are not able to attend we will be streaming the interview live in both English and Welsh to our Facebook accounts:

Assembly Wales Facebook

Cynylliad Cymru Facebook

You will also be able to watch the full interview on Senedd.tv after the event, along with transcripts.

How do I submit a question?

You can submit your questions for the Presiding Officer in a number of ways:

  • On Twitter – Follow @AssemblyWales on Twitter and reply to any tweets relating to this topic, or use the hashtag #AskLlywydd. Also feel free to Direct Message us if you’d like it to be confidential.
  • On Facebook – Like the Assembly’s Facebook Page and leave a comment on a relevant status. If you can’t see a relevant status then leave a comment on the page with the hashtag #AskLlywydd.
  • E-Mail – You can send your questions by e-mail to: communications@assembly.wales 
  • On Instagram – If you can express your views in a creative visual way we’d love to see it. Tag our Senedd Instagram account within your picture or just use the hashtag #AskLlywydd. Alternatively you can leave a comment on any one of our Instagram posts again with the hashtag #AskLlywydd
  • On YouTube – Why not film yourself asking your question and then send us the link through any of the channels above?
  • Comments – Leave a comment on this blog post right now!

Need some ideas?

The Assembly for Wales can make laws in 21 devolved areas:

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Animals, Plants and Rural Development
  • Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings
  • Culture
  • Economic Development
  • Education and Training
  • Environment
  • Fire and Rescue Services and Fire Safety
  • Food
  • Health
  • Highways and Transport
  • Housing
  • Local government
  • National Assembly for Wales
  • Public Administration
  • Social Welfare
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Taxation
  • Tourism
  • Town and Country Planning
  • Water and Flood Defence
  • Welsh Language

Here are some further links that you may also find helpful:

Key Issues for the Fifth Assembly – This publication sets out a selection of issues likely to matter in the Fifth Assembly, from the steel industry to the future of Welsh law-making.

Wales and the EU: What does the vote to leave the EU mean for Wales? – Our Research Service explains what could happen after the Leave vote in Wales.

New Assembly Commission launches strategy for Fifth Assembly – News article about the new strategy for the fifth Assembly.

The Role of the Presiding Officer – Information about the role of the Presiding officer.

 More about Elin Jones AM, Presiding Officer

Elin Jones AM is the current Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales.

The Presiding Officer is the highest authority in the Assembly and chairs the meeting of all 60 Assembly Members in Plenary, remaining politically impartial at all times.

The Presiding Officer also plays an active role in representing the Assembly and Wales’s interests on a national, UK and international stage. They chair the Assembly Commission, which makes sure that Assembly Members have the staff and resources they need to carry out their roles effectively for the people of Wales.

The key functions of the Presiding Officer are:

  • to chair Plenary meetings;
  • to determine questions as to the interpretation or application of Standing Orders;
  • to represent the Assembly in exchanges with any other bodies, whether within or outside the United Kingdom, in relation to matters affecting the Assembly.

See also:

Llywydd gives evidence to Assembly Committee – Changes the Presiding Officer would like to make to the Wales Bill.

Elin Jones lays out what she wants to achieve as Presiding Officer of the National Assembly – An interview with WalesOnline on what the Presiding Officer wants to achieve in her role over the next five years.

What happens next?

Once all your questions have been collected, a few will be selected and answered on the day by the Presiding Officer.

We will collate your questions and pass them to Catrin Hâf Jones before the interview. She will then incorporate them into her conversation with Elin Jones AM, Presiding Officer. If you’re at the Eisteddfod you can come and watch the interview in person, or watch live via our Facebook pages. Afterwards, the conversation will be available online on Senedd.TV. We’ll let you know if your question was answered.

The Presiding Officer in conversation with Catrin Hâf Jones will take place on 2 August at 11:00am at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.

We look forward to hearing your views!

If you are at the Eisteddfod you will be able to watch the interview live from 11:00am in the Societies 1 pavilion. If you are not able to attend we will be streaming the interview live in both English and Welsh to our Facebook accounts:

Assembly Wales Facebook

Cynylliad Cymru Facebook

You will also be able to watch the full interview on Senedd.tv after the event, along with transcripts.

View this post in Welsh

#AskFirstMin – The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister wants to hear from you

#AskFirstMin – Have your question answered by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones

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The Committee wants to hear from organisations, businesses and from you – more details on how to take part online below.

The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister is meeting in Swansea on October 16 at 10.30 at the National Waterfront Museum. The main topic will be ‘Wales in the Wider World’. Here’s a flavour of the main drivers for discussion:

What is the Welsh Government’s overall strategy for marketing and promoting Wales to the world? What is the Welsh brand? How well are Welsh attractions promoted to tourists? Does the Welsh Government do enough to draw in investors?
Does the Welsh Government do a good job of making Wales seem appealing to tourists from the UK and abroad?  Is Welsh culture visible enough outside of Wales? What markets or products should be prioritised?

COLLAGE

A full agenda will be posted on the Committee’s web page when confirmed. 

The majority of Committees meet weekly to scrutinise the Welsh Government in detail but The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister focuses on broad topics relating to any central strategic vision of the Welsh Government’s programme.

How do I take part online?

You can submit your question, observation or comment to the Committee on the topic of ‘Wales in the Wider World’ any way you like:

Twitter On Twitter – Follow @AssemblyWales on Twitter and reply to any tweets relating to this topic or use the hashtag #AskFirstMin. Also feel free to Direct Message us if you’d like it to be confidential.
 Facebook On Facebook – Like the Assembly’s Facebook Page and leave a comment on a relevant status. If you can’t see a relevant status then leave a comment on the page with the hashtag #AskFirstMin.
 Email E-Mail – You can send your views by e-mail to: FM.Scrutiny@Assembly.Wales
 Youtube On YouTube – Why not film yourself asking your question and then send us the link through any of the channels above?
 Instagram On Instagram – If you can express your views in a creative visual way we’d love to see it. Tag our Senedd Instagram account within your picture or just use the hashtag #AskFirstMin. Alternatively you can leave a comment on any one of our Instagram posts again with the hashtag #AskFirstMin.
 Wordpress Comments – Leave a comment on this blog post right now!

What happens next?

We will collate the responses and hand them over to the Committee’s Chair – David Melding AM. The Chair will then incorporate them into the line of questioning for the First Minister, Carwyn Jones. You can come and watch the meeting in person, online on Senedd.TV or read the transcript. We’ll let you know if your question was answered. The meeting will take place on 16 October, 10.30 in Swansea at the National Waterfront Museum.

We look forward to hearing your views!

 “You can see the extraordinary beauty, the wonderful people and great hospitality, so I’d encourage everybody in the States to come and visit Wales.”
– President Barack Obama

Explore the topic – ‘Wales in the Wider World’

This may seem like a complex topic but sometimes it’s good to take a step back and look at the big picture. We want to hear out of the box ideas, comments from different perspectives and from different walks of life. Continue reading “#AskFirstMin – The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister wants to hear from you”