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Dear ,

It’s been a while since our last newsletter.  But we haven't been idle.  We’re gearing up for the general election next year and are delighted to have recruited new members to support us in this work.  We’ve been tracking a number of positive developments within the sector and have added our voice to the campaign to save the Beit paintings for the people of Ireland, as per the Beit family’s original bequest.

Beit paintings: join the appeal

Earlier this week we issued a press release asking the government to intervene in the sale of the Beit paintings.  We’re asking all our members and their supporters to sign their name to the appeal coordinated by the Irish Arts Review.

Playwright Deirdre Kinehan has written an Op Ed piece on the Beit paintings for this newsletter.  Read it here.  You might also be interested in Emily Mark Fitzgerald’s excellent summation of the situation with relevant links here

Culture 2025 update

Members of the Steering Committee took part in a round table discussion organised by the Royal Irish Academy on the National Cultural Policy being developed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Known as Culture 2025, work on this policy is still at an early stage, but is moving forward and so it was important and valuable to have representation in the room. Broad terms of reference were discussed, examples of other countries policies considered and the recognition of arts and culture at the very heart of Irish society were key aspects of the meeting. As at our meeting with Minister Humphreys in January, we were assured that there will be a wider consultation in the coming months and that there is an appetite at government level to move Culture 2025 forward.

We urge all our supporters to begin the groundwork now, by contacting their local representatives to:

  • ask them to make an enquiry about the current development of Culture 2025 and to ensure the right allocation of resources to achieve this is in place
  • ask them to ensure the promised wide consultation occurs with the sector

Principle of independence

The NCFA is delighted that the principle of independence for boards of national cultural institutions has been secured in the new National Concert Hall bill. We hope that the proposed changes to legislation affecting the National gallery of Ireland, the Crawford Gallery and IMMA will now be quietly set aside.  Read more about the bill here.

Irish Research Council ‘New Foundations’ grant

Kerry McCall, Chair of the NCFA Research Working Group and Lecturer in IADT, has been awarded an Irish Research Council ‘New Foundations’ grant with Dr. Victoria Durrer, Lecturer in Queens University Belfast to enable the setting up of an All Island Cultural Policy Research Network. As a North South initiative, this network will bring together academic researchers from across the island to profile existing research, and make connections in areas related to cultural policy.

Kerry had strong involvement in the NCFA Colloquia arts policy discussions held in 2013-14. One of the findings and recommendations of the Colloquia Report was the need for greater connections and opportunities for research on arts and culture in Ireland. We welcome this initiative in progressing that agenda.

For further information about this project please contact: Kerry McCall at Kerry.McCall@iadt.ie or Dr. Victoria Durrer at v.durrer@qub.ac.uk

New Chairperson and members

The NCFA is expanding in order to gear up for the General Elections. Jo Mangan, Programmer, Director and Creative Consultant (Kildare) has been appointed Chairperson.  Iseult Byrne, Cultural Producer & Project Director (Dublin), Kate Howard, Producer (Galway), Deirdre Kinehan, Playwright (Meath), Claire Power, Cultural Producer & Consultant (based in Brussels) and Emer McGarry Deputy Director at The Model Sligo, have also taken up active roles on the Steering Committee, Fundraising Working Group and Research Working Group.

Join the Fundraising Working Group

As you know the NCFA is an entirely voluntary organisation.  However, to deliver on our objectives on your behalf in the next year, we need a National Coordinator.  This is a role we have had in the past which really helped us maximise our effectiveness.

Can you help us raise money for the NCFA and for this crucial role? If you wish to join our Fundraising Working Group please contact Jo at info@ncfa.ie

Brainstorming the future

Earlier this month, members of the Steering Committee and other working groups met to reflect on our campaign message in advance of the lead-up to the General Election in 2016. We are currently collating our thinking and look forward to sharing a simple and powerful message for us all to get behind shortly, which will be around  bringing Ireland’s level of public expenditure on arts and culture in line with Member State GDP average.

And finally …

You know the old saying: an apple a day keeps the doctor away… could you keep us financially fit and healthy with a small donation?  €26 is just about the equivalent of an apple a week.  Donate your ‘Pink Lady’, ‘Braeburn’ or ‘Jazz’ apple here ….