New statues and commemorative artworks in Wales should address the lack of diversity of those commemorated in public spaces, according to a Senedd committee.

The Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications committee found that women; disabled people, the LGBT+ community and people from BAME backgrounds are all underrepresented in public spaces. The committee's findings come after after launching an inquiry into how historical figures are remembered in Wales.

The cross-party committee has now called for the creation of a new national plaque – or ‘Plac y Dddraig’ scheme to “address imbalances”, as well as encorage a "national conversation" to take place over who the first set of plaques will commemorate.

It is hoped that the programme will involve whole communities, raising awareness of Welsh history and how it relates to the nation of today and the future.

Every local authority would take part and funding should accompany the scheme, with a national framework overseen by the Welsh Government.

Bethan Sayed MS, Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, said: “Diversity is a serious problem and the overwhelming majority of statues across Wales are commemorating white men.

“It’s time that we addressed this and created new statues of commemorative artworks that recognise the contributions of women; disabled people; Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people and LGBT+ people as well.

“Our recommendation for a new Welsh national plaque scheme, ‘Plac y Ddraig’, could begin to address the imbalances and involve the whole community in commemorating the great people who have contributed to our country.”

As part of its inquiry, the committee also heard conflicting opinions on the removal of statues, with opinions ranging from blanket opposition to their removal to those who questioned the purpose and relevance of statues at all.


It expressed its wish for decisions on the removal of statues to be made by communities and local authorities saying they should give full consideration to a range of options, like providing more information and context, and not necessarily removing monuments.

According to the committee’s report, the Welsh Government must provide more ‘leadership and guidance’ on how to consult local communities, engage with ‘harder to reach’ and minority groups and involve specialist opinion, including local historians.

Last year, following the death of George Floyd in the Uinted Sates, a number of statues and memorials across the UK were targeted by anti-racism protestors, with one of slave trader of Edward Colston pulled down and thrown into Bristol Harbour.

In Wales, nationwide audit ordered by First Minister Mark Drakeford found that over 200 Welsh statues, streets and buildings commemorated people directly involved with the slave trade or opposed its abolition.

Councillors in Cardiff also voted for a statue of slave owner Sir Thomas Picton to be removed from its city hall, where it has stood for over a century.

“In Wales we were shocked by the events in the summer of 2020 and the tragic death of George Floyd,” said Ms Sayed. “The wave of protest that followed ignited a debate about who we remember in our public spaces.

“There is much in our history to be proud of, but that pride we all feel should not blind us from some of the more egregious events that have also taken place in our past – the legacy of which is still being felt today.

“We’re keen for communities to have the final say on who should be commemorated in their areas but we believe the Welsh Government should show leadership and provide guidance on how to involve all parts of the community.”