Minister Heather Humphreys, TD was at a special event in London this week to present details of the Creative Ireland Programme / Clár Éire Ildánach to key stakeholders from across the UK arts and cultural sector and members of the Irish diaspora in Britain.
Culture Ireland has already pledged more than €140,000 in funding for Irish artists performing in the UK this year, and it was confirmed that a further grant will be announced in April.
The Minister also revealed exciting plans for the re-opening in June 2017 of the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.
The Centre, which has showcased Irish artists for over 22 years, has undergone extensive renovations with financial support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme, and when it once more opens its doors to the public this summer, is set to act as a thriving hub for the Irish arts and culture community in Britain.
Speaking at the gathering on Tuesday, the Minister said:
“I am pleased to take the opportunity to present Creative Ireland to key stakeholders across the Irish arts sector in London and to ask for their support. It is important to me that Irish artists at home and abroad are given the opportunity to participate in this ambitious five year initiative, which aims to place culture at the centre of our lives, for the betterment of our people and for the strengthening of our society.
The Diaspora thoroughly embraced the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, and this is especially true here in London where a series of fantastic commemorative events were held.
Creative Ireland sends a very important message internationally about how Ireland values its culture and how the Government is setting out an ambitious creativity agenda. It is important too for us learn from international examples, and consider how other countries have prioritised arts and culture at national level.”
Ambassador Daniel Mulhall, who hosted the event at the Embassy of Ireland in London, said:
“As Ambassador, I attach great priority to the promotion of Irish culture in Britain and to the cultural links between our two countries. I value Creative Ireland as an exciting opportunity to encourage creativity and to enhance further its standing and to celebrate Irish cultural vibrancy and diversity.”
He also added:
“This is a real opportunity, and my hope is that we will see synergies and creative connections being made, which will produce good things for Creative Ireland in the future, because Irish culture is not just something that exists in Ireland; it exists all over the world.”
John Gilhooly, Director of the Wigmore Hall, stated:
“Creative Ireland can send a very powerful International message about Ireland’s unique heritage and voice in the cultural world. Every child in Ireland can be introduced to the arts at a young age, the key unlocking a gift which will stand to them at every stage of life.”
Also in attendance on the day were: Vincent Jordan, President of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann; Mark Ball, Director, London International Festival of Theatre; Denzyl Feigelson, Advisor to Apple Music and CEO of iTunes/Platoon; Kelly O’Connor, Founder and Programming Director of Irish Film London; David Jones, Director, Serious Agency; Designer Orla Kiely and Kevin Rowland of Dexys, among others.
During the UK visit Minister Humphreys also met with representatives of London’s St Patrick’s Day Festival to discuss collaborations for a bold new festival in 2017.
Now in its 15th year, the festival attracts over 100,000 people and includes top Irish musicians performing on the main stage at Trafalgar Square with a street parade and performances by Irish performance art group Macnas.