Pre-appointment scrutiny of Kate Eden for Chair of National Museum of Wales

ON Wednesday (12 Jul) the Senedd held a pre-appointment scrutiny meeting of the preferred candidate for the post of Chair of the National Museum of Wales.

The preferred candidate was Kate Eden, and was questioned as part of the meeting on her background, as well as her motivation for applying for the post.

Kate Eden is one of four children, born in Wrexham and raised in a village near Mold in North Wales. Kate attended Alun School in Mold where she benefitted from ‘inspirational’ teaching in art, literature as well as history and politics in particular.

She attended Siena University in Italy where she studied art and political philosophy of the Italian city states. Kate’s executive career was then spent in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry working for a range of companies in public affairs, policy and communications roles.

Kate has been taking a pro-active step in learning Welsh at Coleg Gwent in Merthyr Tydfil.

The committee first asked Kate what her motivation was in applying for Chair of the National Museum of Wales.

Kate answered:

“One of the first trustee roles I applied for when I left my executive career was with the Museum. This was back in 2016 and at that time I wasn’t successful but it sparked an interest that has grown over the years especially as I’ve seen the Amgueddfa develop and evolve.

“It’s response to difficult times has been inspirational to watch as a visitor – from Reframing Picton, the Objects of Comfort wellbeing campaign, to the purchase of Melin Teifi – it shows a future thinking responsive organisation that I’d love to be part of leading.

“I’m also passionate about ensuring everyone has the chance to experience this work, to access our facilities and collections.”

In the second question, Kate was asked why she felt she was well-suited to the role.

Kate said that Having worked as a non executive/trustee on a number of boards over the past seven years, three years ago she was fortunate enough to be appointed as chair of a NHS organisation.

In her response, Kate said:

“This has been a great opportunity to lead an organisation alongside our Managing Director, and see the impact robust governance, sound finance, rigourous oversight and scrutiny can make to an organisation and its staff, and how we deliver for our population.

“Having been a board member of the Arts Council of Wales for six years, I recently spent six months acting up as Interim Chair. That period – during which I supported the settling in of a new Chief Executive, and oversaw the consultation and application stage for our forthcoming Investment Review – was really instructive and inspirational in allowing me to see myself as a Chair of major national institution.

“I’m also excited to explore further ways to strengthen the partnerships between our cultural assets, health and well-being, and think I am well placed to champion this work.”

The committee then asked Kate how she would work with individuals and organisations that support and promote the work of National Museum Wales.

Kate said:

“Effective partnership working is key to ensuring our facilities, locations and collections are as accessible and representative as they possibly can be.

“My first job would be to fully understand the range of partnerships with individuals and organisations that are already in place, engage with them and seek to build on those relationships to better further our joint aims and ambitions.”

In their final question, the committee then moved to ask Kate how she would work with the Senedd Members, Senedd Committees and other stakeholders.

Kate responded:

“I’d like to work with this Committee, other Senedd Committees and Senedd Members in an open and transparent manner. Senedd Committees and Members play a critical role in scrutinising the work of Amgueddfa Cymru and the way in which it spends public money.

“There will be formal ways in which the Chair of the Amgueddfa will need to interact with them – providing evidence and keeping them updated on areas of priority.

“Outside these more formal interactions, I would warmly welcome regular contact with Committees and Members in the work the Amgueddfa does so that the opportunities and challenges that face us are fully understood.”

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