Hi fellow bloggers. This is my first go at this so excuse any blogging faux pas.
Below is an Action Plan for the group. It’s also on facebook and open for discussion.
We held a first meeting on 22nd July (hooray), and as part of a wide-ranging and positive discussion it was agreed that a twin track approach was needed. (a) A targeted campaign now to support arts funding, and (b) a longer term discussion on the role of the groups and the value of arts and culture in our society. The plan below is an attempt to address (a), and offers clear goals and a time line.
We are suggesting a date for all members to email their political representatives as one, right across the country I hope, and please feel free to suggest a date. This does not in any way preclude people using the info below to go ahead and contact TDs and Councillors where they feel the need.
All the best,
Dublin Central Arts Workers: An Action Plan 2009
To prevent any further government and local council cuts in arts spending 2009 –10.
To retain the Ministry of Arts, Sport and Tourism.
To retain Culture Ireland and The Irish Film Board.
(2) Time line
(a) August 2009 – Encourage membership across all constituencies.
Do this by messaging groups and institutions and generally spreading the word.
(b) End August 2009 – All members to email representatives.
Have a day of action, when all members are encouraged to email personally a letter to our representatives looking for support for the arts and cultural industries.
(c) Gain Failte Ireland and Business Support
Go to Failte Ireland and Dublin Chamber of Commerce in support of this initiative. Also, Dublin Traders Association – any others?
(d) September 2009 – Arrange face-to-face meetings with local TDs, prospective TDs and Councillors to make the case.
This to be worked by volunteer members through August to arrange meetings.
As you know the core arguments for supporting the arts are as follows:
(1) Jobs in the economy.
48,000 people are currently employed in the cultural industries sector.
€5.1 billion is generated per year through cultural tourism.
The sector is worth an estimated €6.5 billion in foreign currency earnings.
Dublin Central is at the heart of this. See the blog’s cultural map for further info.
The Abbey survey indicates that €40m is generated per year in business local to the Abbey.
The Hugh Lane Gallery has 208,000 visitors per year.
The National Association of Youth Drama oversees the development of 68 youth drama groups around Ireland.
Other simple facts about this consituency?
(2) Repairing Ireland’s damaged reputation nationally and internationally.
“The world is richer for (Irish) art, their literature, their poetry & their songs.”
– Barack Obama
Ireland’s financial, political and religious institutions have all let us down badly in recent times but one thing we can remain proud of is our culture. When someone thinks of Ireland they still think of our stories, our plays, our paintings, our songs, our sports. The arts are active as part of communities, not only in arts centres, cinemas, theatres and galleries, but also in hospitals, libraries, schools, prisons, hospices and on the streets.
14 of the National Theatre in London’s top 50 plays of the twentieth century were by Irish authors.
Just this week, 3 Irish writers have been nominated for the Booker prize in 2009.
The arts are Ireland’s are key part of what that marks us out as special. When US President Barack Obama reaches in his speeches for something that defines the Irish, he quotes our artists. He said recently the only book he has managed to read is by an Irish author – Netherland by Joseph O’Neill.
(3) Building towards the smart economy
“The arts, cultural and creative industries are key and primary economic contributors. They consist of real businesses, enduring employers, differentiators of us as a cultural and tourist destination. Future investment in this sector must be based on world-class ambition and achievement, and it must also be based on engaging and attracting the business sector.”
From: Building Ireland’s Smart Economy: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal
Released by The Department of the Taoiseach 2008. Foreword by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.