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Lack of succession plan puts Galway’s arts status at risk


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Lack of succession plan puts Galway’s arts status at risk Lack of succession plan puts Galway’s arts status at risk

Galway needs to support the production of culture and not just the celebration of culture, according to the author of a new book charting 100 years of culture in this city and county.

Dr Patrick Collins, Galwegian and associate professor at the University of Galway, has warned Galway’s status as Ireland’s ‘capital of culture’ was under threat from neo-liberal economics.

Author of Galway: Making a Capital of Culture, which will be launched next week, Dr Collins said that to sustain its unique cultural status, Galway needed to support culture-makers, such as artists and producers, rather than focusing on celebrating culture, which was funding of festivals.

And ahead of the launch, Dr Collins warned that there was a lack of a succession plan to bridge the artistic community that created Druid, Macnas and Galway Arts Festival in the 1970s and 1980s, and the new up-and-coming generation of culture-makers turned off by the Galway 2020 debacle and issues such as high rents for accommodation.

“Galway is at a turning point. When you look back at the last 100 years and how culture has made the place, that turning point is an inflection that moved ever-sharper by Galway 2020 by a genuine disaffection amongst young culture-makers in Galway about being culture makers in Galway.

“The generation of (Macnas co-founder Páraic) Breathnach and Garry Hynes (of Druid) were only delighted to be in Galway to make culture. Now we have a coincidence of lots of different factors, Galway 2020 being one, and rent prices being another, where we are putting that generation of 20-odd-year-olds under threat.

“Continuing towards Galway as a place of cultural celebration isn’t going to offer them the opportunities, because they are never going to make it onto the Galway Arts Festival programme. They might make it if they do their own festival but that’s not sustainable either. So these factors are coming together now for us to question what’s needed for Galway’s cultural association to stay with it as the place grows over the next 100 years,” Dr Collins said.

Pictured: Garry Hynes: One of the leading lights of Galway’s cultural development in the 1970s and 1980s. Author Patrick Collins wants supports for the next generation.

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