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Assembly Members witness engagement activity

14 February 2011

Chris Franks AM watches a short film on asylum seeker's views of Wales with Dr Rachel Hurdley, School of Social SciencesChris Franks AM watches a short film on asylum seeker's views of Wales with Dr Rachel Hurdley, School of Social Sciences

Welsh Assembly Members have learned how Cardiff and other Welsh universities are leading the way in working with the public.

The members met experts from the Beacon for Wales and Welsh Higher Education Institutions at the National Assembly’s Pierhead building to see some of the public engagement work of universities across Wales and the valuable contribution they are making to wider society.

Visitors watched a series of short films made in collaboration with asylum seekers in Cardiff exploring their memories, their views on Wales and Welshness and their future hopes and aspirations. The films are part of a project led by Dr Rachel Hurdley from Cardiff’s School of Social Sciences in partnership with Wales Refugee Council and Amguedda Cymru – National Museum Wales. There was also an opportunity to discover what future farm animals and pets may look. This project is led by Dr Jacqui Mulville, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Paul Evans (Artist) and Techniquest. Members also received detailed information about all the public engagement projects funded by the Beacon for Wales.

Carl Sargeant, Minister for Social Justice and Local Government gave the opening speech at the exhibition, titled ‘Beacon for Wales – Higher Education and the Welsh Public Showcase’.

Mr Sargeant said: "Beacon for Wales is a programme which very much supports the Welsh Assembly Government’s social justice and education agendas. I hope that you will take away from this event a sense of how collaborative working between the HE sector, government, communities and the wider public sector has the potential to achieve great results for Welsh communities, and to encourage the people of Wales to achieve greater outcomes for themselves."

Bruce Etherington, Beacon for Wales Manager said: "These projects show that Universities are committed to their communities and academics are not isolated from, but very much a part of, the world around them. Even topics such as the study of medieval women’s writings are having a direct effect on people through their use in grief counselling within the NHS today."

The Beacon for Wales, which organised the exhibition, works across Wales to help universities work with, learn from and share knowledge with the public. It is a partnership between Cardiff University, University of Glamorgan, BBC Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru and Techniquest funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust who are providing over £1.2 million from 2008 – 2011. As part of its work, the Beacon for Wales has awarded funds (£320K) for 28 public engagement partnership projects across Wales. For more information, visit