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Cardiff National Eisteddfod 2018: 'Women in Marble. Cardiff: who next?

Event Date:10th August

Cardiff National Eisteddfod 2018: 'Women in Marble. Cardiff: who next?

Facilitator: Sara Huws, Founder of the East End Women’s Museum


Emeritus Professor Jane Aaron, editor of Honno classics presents Kathleen Freeman, author

Dr Elin Jones, former History teacher presents Professor Millicent Hughes Mackenzie, educator

Helen M. Jones, Assistant Director Morgan Academy presents Val Feld AC

Non Vaughan Williams, lecturer in digital media presents Nan Davies, broadcaster

Dr Sian Rhiannon Williams, historian and editor presents Betty Campbell, headteacher

Simultaneous translation will be available

Please join us – Croeso cynnes – everyone welcome!

The vote was won by BETTY CAMPBELL [1934-2018]: Cardiff and Wales’ first black headteacher, presented by Dr Sian Rhiannon Williams

Women in Marble: Cardiff – who next?

Friday 7th August

This is the seventh time the Archive has held an event at the National Eisteddfod  and once again this year the sub-committee (Sian Rhiannon Williams, Elin Jones, Rosanne Reeves, Catrin Edwards a Catrin Stevens) held several meetings during the winter to plan our annual session. In view of all the discussion this year about the lack of statues to commemorate the achievements of women in Wales and also internationally it was decided to follow this theme this year and to concentrate upon our capital city. Five women who deserve to be commemorate with a statue were chosen and five historians / campaigners were asked to present them. Sara Huws from Museums Wales was invited to launch the debate because of her lively and passionate blog on the subject. And thus Dr Elin Jones presented Hester Millicent Hughes MacKenzie, educationalist and campaigner for suffrage and the first women from Wales to stand for election in 1918; Emeritus Professor Jane Aaron – Kathleen Freeman, classical scholar and author of 27 detective novels under the pseudonym ‘Mary Fitt’, as well as ten other novels; Non Vaughan Williams – Nan Davies, broadcaster, who reached the higher echelons of the British Broadcasting Corporation; Helen Mary Jones – Val Feld, former AM and campaigner for equal opportunities and the ‘Yes’ vote during the Welsh referendum; and Dr Siân Rhiannon Williams – Betty Campbell the first black women to be a Headteacher (in Mount Stuart Square nearby) in Wales and a campaigner fo.rd racial equality. Each argument was convincing – many thanks to all the speakers for their polished and fascinating presentations.   

Both room and gallery of Societies 1 were full for the presentations and the meeting was chaired by Catrin Stevens, Chair of Women’s Archive Wales. Julie Hughes who represented Heritage Lottery Wales was also present. Ballot papers had been prepared and when the papers were counted it was noted that Betty Campbell had come top of the poll and thus considered most deserving of a statue erected in her memory in our capital city. The session was a fun event but it also had a solemn message as it underlines the huge gap that exists  between the recognition of women and men’s contributions and achievements in the public domain.

We succeeded in getting good publicity for the event through radio programmes: Roy Noble on Radio Wales and Geraint Lloyd on Radio Cymru and there was a comprehensive article in Barn. On the Friday morning actress Pippa Moss came as a living statue of Amelia Earhart to raise awareness by holding a placard asking ‘But where are the statues to the women of Cardiff?’ on the steps of the Senedd.  To draw further attention Mared Pugh-Evans dressed as a suffragette and handed out flyers to Eisteddfodwyr. Catrin Edwards and Tash Horton filmed the event for our archive.

This was another successful event in the ‘Century of Hope’ calendar.