Thursday, 12 December 2019
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
On April 17, I held a symposium to investigate the possibility of creative nightlife and cultural activity after hours as an alternative and complementary option to Ireland's existing rich night time experience.
This work has significant potential to create a family friendly vibrant cultural night life to add to cultural events already taking place and to complement existing night life across the country. This topic has been one of interest in Ireland in light of a demand for a more varied night landscape and a recognition of the cultural, economic and social value of Ireland's evening experiences. It is also building on the back of movements across Europe such as Museum Night and, for example, the appointment of a "night tzar" in London.
My Department has been working with key partners to develop an approach to support a sustainable and forward looking infrastructure to facilitate the development of after-hours cultural events. In addition to local pilot projects and a national forum to consider the matter of night time culture in a comprehensive way, I am finalising plans to engage with local authorities and arts groups with regard to a mapping exercise of existing venues and civic spaces which may be suitable for night time cultural events to identify both gaps and opportunities, building on work done in this area to date. The exact methodology and approach to this mapping exercise is also being finalised.
Officials in my Department have recently written to selected local authorities with a view to establishing local interest groups to examine the potential for night time cultural events. The matter was the subject of a meeting between my Department and Dublin City Council on 4 December.
The main goal of these local groups will be to produce a report on what supports and impediments are currently impacting on opportunities for creative and cultural activity at night, both positive and challenging. The report will also propose practical locally-based initiatives to improve night-time culture. This report will then feed into a National Forum which is envisaged to comprise relevant Government Departments and Agencies. It is intended that this National Forum will meet upon receipt of local reports to consider matters arising for referral to the relevant Government Department or agency.
On foot of these engagements, consideration will be given to the development of Ireland’s first Night-Time Cultural Policy.