Friday 19 January 2018

Culture policy to draw on 1916 centenary success

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys Photo: Tom Burke
Arts Minister Heather Humphreys Photo: Tom Burke
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Ireland's first ever national cultural policy hopes to draw on the template and success of the 1916 centenary celebrations by increasing citizen participation.

A draft 'framework policy' was published yesterday and set out a list of priorities.

It will now be submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts for its further consideration and implementation.

A Government spokesperson stressed that the policy was not "just about artistic practitioners" but also focused on how "everyday Irish people respond to culture". "This can't just be about the artists," the spokesperson said. "It has to be about people around the country getting involved."

As part of the policy, the department plans on thoroughly examining and reviewing the roles of different cultural institutions, such as the Abbey Theatre and the Irish Film Institute.

It also states that a critical analysis of the distribution of funding to various arts and cultural organisations will also be carried out.

There is no mention of actual sums of money but the spokesperson stressed that this was never intended to be a budgetary outline.


However, the 28-page-document does state that the department hopes to improve funding structures through "cross-streamed funding" and encouraging the private sector to invest in the arts.

The document was welcomed by members of the arts community.

"It's not a bad start and now we have something concrete to discuss and challenge, so that's a step forward," said Willie White, Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys was keen to stress that this is a living and malleable document.

"I also want to keep the conversation going," she explained.

"I think it is important that those involved in the cultural sector have access to the Minister for Arts and my Department, and for that reason I intend to host an Annual Cultural Consultation Day."

Irish Independent

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