Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

Dear ,

It’s been a busy and positive start to the year.  As you’ll read we’ve had a number of significant meetings.  We report on recent arts research studies and … love is in the air for the NCFA with the O’Reilly Theatre’s Valentine’s Day fundraising event.

Be our date this Saturday

Escape the ‘table for two’ schmaltz this Saturday 14th February with The Arts in Session at the O’Reilly Theatre.  Our friends there have organised a ribald evening of liquor, lamplight and laughter all in support of the NCFA.

Enjoy comedy, music, fine wine, craft beer and craic in a cabaret style setting from 7.30pm.  They promise no-one will stare deep into your eyes. Or hold your hand across the table… Unless you want them to of course!

Tickets on the door on the night.  Suggested donation €10.  All proceeds to the NCFA. If you can’t make it on the night but would like to donate to the NCFA you can do so here.

Meeting the Minister

A delegation from the NCFA led by Chairperson Valerie Connor met the Minister Heather Humphreys in January.  The Minister was accompanied by Fergal O'Cuigligh, Assistant Secretary, Mary Nash, Principal Officer and Lorraine Hall, Policy Adviser. We also met the Minister's Media Adviser, Sarah Meade.

Our agenda was simple and to the point: when and how will the national cultural policy, Culture 2025, be delivered and we called for transparency in departmental decision making processes. We also asserted that there is a unique opportunity now to change the terms of the debate about the arts in Ireland and we shared some of the concerns alive in the arts sector today (see below for more details).

We made it clear that whilst it is our business to put pressure on the Minister to accomplish Culture 2025, we made it equally clear that the NCFA will contribute to and assist the Department by sharing our experience, knowledge and traction with the arts and cultural sector. We have a commitment for a follow up meeting.

Meeting with Arts Council

Last week, Valerie and Kerry McCall, who leads our research working group, met with Orlaith McBride, Director, Martin Drury, Strategic Development Director, and Toby Dennett, Strategic Development Manager, from the Arts Council. 

We were very pleased to hear the Council are advancing their participation in research initiatives in Ireland and Europe, which align with many of the recommendations that came out of our NCFA Colloquia on Research.  We acknowledged the determinations in the Arts Council’s Strategic Review 'Inspiring Prospects' and the findings of the very recent study 'Arts in Irish Life' to improve how research is done and what it is for.  

We ended what was a purposeful and informative meeting discussing how best we can work together in advocating for the arts.

Thank you for your contributions

27 people responded to our ‘shout out’ for issues of concern which would help inform these meetings with the Department and the Arts Council.  We were very glad to draw on the views expressed. As well as new ideas and insightful proposals for change, they underlined the still precarious living and working conditions in the arts and likewise its stressed infrastructure, the standstill of resources and developmental initiatives in art and education from primary to third level, the announcement then abandonment of policy and strategy in the past, long-term problems created by short term work schemes, and the question of who should control funding.

Researching the arts

Just before Christmas, two very different but significant arts research events took place: the first one shared findings from qualitative research undertaken by Pathfinder Research as part of the Arts Council’s strategy review and the second shared findings from the Arts in Irish Life study commissioned by Arts Audiences for the Arts Council.

In the first of a series of opinion pieces Kerry McCall, Chair of the NCFA research committee shares her view of the two sets of findings here.

And finally …

Our colleague Valerie Connor is stepping down as Chair of the NCFA.  She has led the NCFA with intelligence, determination and integrity and helped forge many new relationships and associations for the NCFA particularly amongst the visual arts community in Ireland and cultural advocacy organisations abroad. She has successfully mobilised us to action during election campaigns and Oireachtas debates.  Above all, she has helped advance the thinking and impetus towards more rigorous and appropriate research on the arts. For all of this and for so much more, we wholeheartedly thank Valerie.

Valerie will continue to work with us on the Steering Group. The recruitment of a new Chair of the NCFA is underway and we look forward to announcing further details on that soon. 

Meantime, the Steering Group continues to work together on your behalf.  Our next priority is to devise a campaign that will carry us through 2015 into 2016, the election – and commemoration – year.  We are very pleased to be supported in this endeavor by Suzie Sweeney, who is on a 20 week placement as part of her studies on IADT’s Business Studies with Arts Management course. Welcome on board Suzie!