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As 2014 begins, we appreciate all the ongoing support and look forward to the year ahead. A huge thanks to everyone who put their shoulder to our 'Laugh Your Arts Off' fundraiser at Project Arts Centre at the end of last year in aid of the NCFA – especially to the comedians, staff, prize donors, and hearty audiences. We raised over €2,000.

The Arts and NCFA in 2014

The implications of the Budget 2014 are becoming apparent in the ongoing diminishment of core arts activity. Faced with this reality, the question for all of us is what can we do about it? What action do we need to take?  What arguments do we need to make to change this situation once and for all? 

Barely a week into the new year, arts’ organisations nationwide received their funding notification letters from the Arts Council, the majority confirming further cuts in their support.

In Limerick city, the generally bad news arrived at the same time as a significant cohort across the city’s arts communities joined forces to demand transparency about the role of central and local government in controlling the finances and fortunes of the City of Culture. In the ensuing public debate, questions were asked again about the Departmental use of basic criteria and procedures in managing a flagship cultural initiative.

Throughout 2013, the NCFA sought to shine a light on the methods used at the Department of Arts that direct its spending outside its allocation to its funding agency, the Arts Council. We will continue to probe these questions and to take action to put such enquiry into the public realm.  With local elections to be held in May 2014, we will turn our attention to ensuring that support for the arts at a local level is an election issue. If you’d like to help us ‘make it local’ in this campaign, please contact us on info@ncfa.ie  

NCFA Colloquy #4 ‘The Role of Education and Research in the Arts’

The fourth and final Colloquy in the series of research events will be held on Wednesday 12 February 2014 at 13.40 in the Radisson Hotel, Galway. Guest speakers are Dr Hannele Lehto, who is the Director of Arts Policy at Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture and Dr Julian Sefton-Green, an independent researcher in Education and the Cultural and Creative Industries. As in previous events, a formal response by a member of the Irish arts community will lead into a wider discussion. Admission is free, but booking is essential as seating is limited. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To book please email events@ncfa.ie

News of UK Report

Meanwhile, at the end of last year the UK National Campaign for the Arts released its Arts Index Report. It is a useful piece of research that makes for interesting reading following on from Fiona Hyslop’s widely reported annual lecture to the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, in 2013.

The Arts Index Report uses 20 indicators – ranging from funding to cultural output – and finds that government funding for the arts in the UK has fallen 21% over the last three years, that contribution from business was down 11% in the same period and that employment was down, though satisfaction with the arts was rising. Read more here.


With best wishes,

The Steering Committee: Mark Brennock, Valerie Connor, Vincent Dempsey, Gerard Howlin, Fiach Mac Conghail, Niamh O'Donnell, Claire Power, Mags Walsh.