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Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art


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UK Parliament artist to create artworks with residents in Wales to explore impact of race relations laws

Artist Scarlett Crawford has been appointed by the UK Parliament for a new project entitled First Waves: Exploring the impact of race relations legislation in the UK.

Over the course of her residency, Scarlett will hold workshops with partner organisations across the country – Race Council Cymru leads a partnership of the Wales wide Black History Wales Network, Swansea Museum, Fusion Programme – City and County of Swansea and St Fagan’s National Museum of History in Cardiff – to create artworks with local people which explore and celebrate the 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts. The project is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Race Relations Act.

Parliament’s First Waves artist will be holding a series of workshops in Swansea and Cardiff in June 2018 to creatively capture the voices of generations who have been directly impacted by the Race Relations Acts, but who may have had little opportunity to have their voices heard in Westminster. The workshops are open to all, however Race Council Cymru would be particularly interested in hearing from ethnic minority participants who were living in the UK before and after the 1965, 1968 and 1976 Acts.

Race Council Cymru is working with four lead partners to house the workshops with Scarlett Crawford: Swansea Museum (Supported by Fusion Programme, City and County of Swansea) in the heart of Swansea and St Fagan’s National Museum of History in Cardiff (Supported by Wales wide  Black History Wales Network). These workshops will take place on the 4th and 5th June 2018 for St. Fagans, Cardiff and 19th and 20th June 2018 at Swansea Museum.

The artworks created will be exhibited in the community on the 29th of September 2018 at the Black History Month Creative Arts Launch events and then displayed in Parliament for an exhibition in 2019 which will look at the impact of race relations legislation and the stories of the people who fought for change. The Race Council Cymru artworks will then be returned permanently to the community that inspired them.

Scarlett Crawford, First Waves artist, said:
“I’m really excited to have been chosen to creatively explore the impact of race relations legislation across the country. Working in collaboration with local communities I hope to discover the unheard stories of those who were affected by the changes, to honour the contributions of those who led the way, and to inspire future generations of people from all backgrounds to engage with art and politics.”

Mrs Uzo Iwobi OBE Chief Executive Office of Race Council Cymru:-

“Race Council Cymru(RCC) is absolutely delighted to represent Wales on this UK wide initiative. This project will enable us to capture reflections of the journey of race equality over the last 50 years. Judge Ray Singh CBE our chairperson and I are both former Commissioners to the Commission for Racial Equality and worked with Co- Commissioners to progress the understanding and implementation of the Race Relations Acts. Working with Scarlett on the First Waves project will give our diverse ethnic minority groups in Wales the opportunity to co-create some artworks to mark 50 years of the race equality journey. We are very excited to be involved”.

Kevin Brennan, Member of Parliament for Cardiff West said:

 “As the local MP and Shadow Minister for Arts & Heritage, I am delighted to welcome the First Waves’ workshop to St Fagan’s National Museum of History. This work will tell the story of an important part of Cardiff’s history and it is only right, those who lived through this period tell their story.”

 “Today Cardiff is one of the best places to live in the UK and a huge reason for that is due to its diversity and creativity. I’m pleased to see these two things coming together for this exciting project and I’m really looking forward to seeing the end results.”

Geraint Davies, Member of Parliament for Swansea West added:

“I am delighted to welcome Scarlett Crawford and the First Waves’ workshop to Swansea in an exciting community project to explore the impact of race relations legislation in art. Swansea is a community of communities, with diversity at its heart. It makes it a fantastic place to live, work or study, so it’s important that we celebrate all the things we have to offer.   

We have long been known for our artists and writers in Swansea, who have been inspired by our broad community with the backdrop of some of the most beautiful rural coastlines in the world. I am sure Ms Crawford and the team are going to have a great time working with locals at Swansea Museum and I look forward to seeing the finished piece.”

Participants of the workshops are not required to have any creative background, but should be open to exploring new ways to express themselves through a variety of media. Please email Laura Hill at for more information.


Notes for editors:

  1. For media enquiries about the First Wavesproject, please contact the House of Commons Media Office on / 0207 219 0969. Interview bids may be received for:
    Scarlett Crawford (First Waves artist)
    Alison McGovern MP (Chair of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art)
    Other MPs (on request)
  1. Find high quality images of Scarlett, Scarlett and Partners, and Scarlett, Partners and local MPs at the following link.
  1. Race Council Cymru (RCC) was established by ethnic minority organisations across Wales in 2010 to champion racial cohesion through collaborative working with our grassroots ethnic minority communities across Wales. RCC promotes integration, social justice and race equality across Wales.  It is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.

RCC works with and represents over 37 Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) grassroots communities and 107 organisations who form part of the Black History Wales Network across Wales. It works with many public, private and third sector bodies across Wales.  It promotes the awareness of racial inequalities in schools and other educational institutions.  It organises events for Black History Month and monitors the workings of the Equality Act 2010 to assess its impact and identify areas for improvement.  RCC partners with many organisations, such as the African Community Centre, Welsh Refugee Council, Chinese in Wales Association, Thai Community, Bangladeshi Community and other bodies in the promotion of race equality.  It works to improve the integration and inclusion of diverse communities at local and regional levels across Wales.

RCC is pleased to be working with four lead partners to house the workshops with Scarlett Crawford, Swansea Museum (Supported by Fusion Programme – City and County of Swansea) in the heart of Swansea and St Fagan’s National Museum of History in Cardiff (Supported by the Wales wide Black History Wales Network).

Swansea Museum is the oldest museum in Wales, and a fascinating treasure house of Swansea’s past history.  The collections contain all kinds of objects from the past of Swansea, Wales and the rest of the world. In the main museum building we have everything from an Egyptian mummy to a Welsh Kitchen, displayed in six galleries.  There are also many changing temporary exhibitions each year.

The Fusion Programme is a Wales wide project funded by Welsh Government with the aim to create opportunities through culture. Fusion Project works through cultural programmes that support confidence, empowerment and attainment, particularly for young people; using culture as a tool to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing. It supports the early years of development through literacy and family learning programmes. The Fusion programme focuses on communities and individuals who face the greatest barriers to participation.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (AC-NMW) was formed over 100 years ago and runs seven national museums across Wales. It offers free entry and visitor numbers continue to grow with over 1.6m visits made last year. It has recently launched its new vision, ‘Inspiring people, Changing lives’, which encapsulates its aspirations, as a leader in the cultural sector, to break down barriers for young people and those in most need. AC-NMW has a wide-ranging programme of free events from drop in activities to talks, workshops, lectures and demonstrations. AC-NMW’s anti-poverty agenda is cited as sector-leading by the Welsh Government and it has ambitious plans to develop programmes of deeper, broader and more lasting impact that will make a real difference to the people of Wales and beyond. AC-NMW is the largest provider of learning outside of the classroom in Wales.

The Wales wide Black History Wales Network is a network of 107 diverse organisations such as the Wales Millennium Centre, Black History Cymru Elders Forum, Barnados, Princes Trust etc. who work together to manage, coordinate and celebrate black history month annual celebrations in October – as well as facilitating the All Wales Black History Cymru 365 programme of work. The Black History Wales Network was established 11yrs ago and was set up to celebrate the contributions made by black people to local, national and world history and culture. It does this through delivering an informative educational and celebratory programme of events through out the year, culminating in October for Black History Month each year. It encourages everyone, irrespective of ethnicity or colour, to take part in events, learn about our shared global history and celebrate diversity and cultural understanding.  Black History Network is managed by Race Council Cymru.

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  1. A publicity photograph of the First Wavesartist, Scarlett Crawford, researching the Race Relations Acts in the Parliamentary Archives is available to download here. The image should be credited © UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor and must not altered in any way. For any additional enquiries related to images, please contact
  2. With support from Parliament’s Curator’s Office and Outreach and Engagement Teams, the First Wavesartist will undertake six regional placements as part of her residency. The first is due to begin in spring 2018, in partnership with the Glasgow Women’s Library. The other confirmed partners are Nottingham Contemporary, Race Council Cymru, Thamesmead Peabody and the University of Leeds. The 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts only applied in England, Scotland and Wales, therefore no residencies will be undertaken in Northern Ireland. Follow news about the residency.
  3. The Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art agreed to commission an artist-in-residence to explore and celebrate the impact of the 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts on 1 November 2016. The artist’s fee is £25,000, plus costs, which will be met by the Works of Art Committee’s existing budget. A separate fee, to be determined, will be paid for the commission of a permanent piece of art for the Parliamentary Art Collection, on the acceptance of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art.
  1. Scarlett Crawford (b. 1982) is a British artist who is passionate about equality and diversity in the arts and education and has worked as an artist and educator within the community and creative industries for the past 10 years. Her photographic work examines the semiotics of race and class and uses lens-based media to create images that try to portray narratives of the underrepresented, without reinforcing their position as ‘Other’. She makes images that juxtapose object, person and place in participatory constructed portraiture that is both jarring and surreal, blurring the lines between fact and fiction, stage and document. As a qualified teacher she has worked in schools, pupil referral units and youth offending services. As an artist she has worked with organisations such as Photofusion and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Visit Scarlett Crawford’s website.
  2. History of the Race Relations Acts:
    TheRace Relations Act 1965 was the first piece of legislation in the UK to address the prohibition of racial discrimination and followed previously unsuccessful bills. The Act banned racial discrimination in public places and made the promotion of hatred on the grounds of ‘colour, race, or ethnic or national origins’ an offence. The Bill received Royal Assent on 8 November 1965, and came into force a month later on 8 December 1965. It was introduced by the Government in response to the increasing number of people who had moved to the UK from other Commonwealth countries; at the time of the Act being passed there were nearly one million immigrants living in the UK. It was criticised for failing to address vital areas where discrimination was most prevalent, namely employment and wider aspects of acquiring accommodation. This led to the passing of the Race Relations Act 1968, which made unlawful acts of discrimination within employment, housing and advertising. The Race Relations Act 1976 established the Commission for Racial Equality, banned direct and indirect discrimination, and allowed for complaints to be made to industrial tribunals and courts. The Macpherson inquiry into the murder in 1993 of black teenager Stephen Lawrence brought about legislative changes in 2000 that included public bodies and the police within the scope of the 1976 Act, with a general duty on public bodies to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations. With the Equality Act 2010, the focus has moved to a duty to promote equality rather than a prohibition against individual forms of discrimination. Find out more on the UK Parliament website.
  3. The Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art was established in 1956 to advise the Speaker on matters relating to works of art in the House of Commons Collection. The Committee works to develop the collection by acquiring works that depict issues and individuals of particular historical significance to Parliament. Find out more about the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art.
  4. Since its establishment, the Speaker’s Advisory Committee has commissioned four portraits of BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority)parliamentarians for the Parliamentary Art Collection, Diane AbbottPaul BoatengBaroness Amos and Bernie Grant.
  1. Parliament’s previous Artist Residency, to celebrate women’s suffrage, was completed in June 2016, with the unveiling of the suffrage artwork, New DawnFind out more.
  2. The Parliamentary Art Collection is a unique and valuable educational resource of over 8,500 artworks which document and illustrate the history of Parliament over the centuries, as well as explaining the function and activities of Parliament today. The Collection is owned jointly by the House of Commons and the House of Lords and the vast majority of artworks are displayed throughout the buildings of the Parliamentary Estate. Find out more about the Parliamentary Art Collection.