The Arts Council’s strategic review continues this month, with the steering group, independently chaired by Terence O'Rourke, meeting to discuss the encouraging and robust response of stakeholders, key informants, and the arts sector in particular, to the call for engagement around its 'key questions'.
Members of the group encountered hundreds of people for discussions throughout April, including at three large-scale, facilitated meetings with members of the sector in Cork, Dublin and Sligo, cluster meetings and one to one conversations with a broad range of stakeholders. The group also received a large number of high-quality submissions through the Arts Council's website.
This month, the steering group will consider those responses, and also some qualitative research done with members of the wider public. The group will also begin drafting its report; the document will be finalised in June and presented by the steering group to the Arts Council's plenary meeting on 17-18 June. It will be focused on how the Arts Council can best deliver on its remit in the prevailing circumstances, and the options outlined, suggestions or findings will help shape future Council decisions and actions.
A number of themes have already emerged from the process, and one that I would like to highlight is the desire for closer and more systematic on-going dialogue with artists and arts organisations who form the backbone of the arts in Ireland. I intend to press ahead with this aspect of our work, and I hope it will serve to underscore the leadership role of the Arts Council as a strong advocate for the arts in Ireland.
In this month's newsletter you will find closing dates for several schemes and awards, including that of our Bursary Award, which buys practitioners the time and space to develop their on their artistic practice. Please take note of these deadlines and closing dates. You will also find information about our new report on private funding for the arts in Ireland, which sets a baseline against which progress in this area can be measured.