Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Culture Policy

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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217. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the innovative support schemes that have been developed since June 2020 for small local festivals, amateur dramatics and musicals; and the festivals and organisations that have benefited from every such scheme. [32169/22]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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Primary funding for the arts is delivered through the Arts Council.   Across its various funding schemes, the Arts Council supports more than 160 festivals annually. The Arts Council seeks to support festivals on a year-round basis and makes a significant contribution to both major festivals and to over 150 small festivals throughout the country through its festival investment scheme.  The Council recognises the distinctive role arts festivals play in sustaining a vibrant and sustainable arts profile at local level. Festivals provide opportunities for artists and audiences to experience new work and ways of making work.  

My Department operates a small-scale local festivals and summer schools funding scheme designed to support local cultural festivals and summer schools which are not in receipt of other essential Government moneys and which may not be eligible under funding criteria for larger scale events supported by Fáilte Ireland, the Arts Council or similar bodies.  

In addition a number of local authorities support small-scale festivals, in some cases, under the all-of-Government Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022, led by my Department.  Under its Creative Communities initiative, annual funding is provided to the 31 local authorities to enable them implement their individual Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018-2022, with €6.6 million provided in 2021. This funding also supports Cruinniú na nÓg, the national day of free creativity for children and young people.

Fáilte Ireland also provides supports for festivals and participative events that focus predominantly on internationally-motivating festivals/events from the point of view of inbound international tourism and bednights.  Fáilte Ireland's 'Winter in Dublin' campaign was created to promote a specially curated programme of cultural events and experiences taking place in the capital throughout the Winter. Flagship events within the campaign - such as TradFest - promoted Irish musical talent at their core. 

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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218. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the new bursary schemes that have been created since June 2020 to encourage the next generation of young artists. [32170/22]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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Primary responsibility for the development of the arts rests with the Arts Council under the Arts Act 2003. It is important to remember that the Arts Council is independent in all decisions around funding, including who to fund and how to fund them. A key strategic priority of the Arts Council is a commitment to support emerging artists of promise and all artists – creative and interpretive – whose quality of practice merits investment. 

From the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the Arts Council adopted a pro-active approach to supporting individual artists of all genres as well as arts organisations. Since then, the Arts Council introduced new and enhanced funding programmes of commissions and bursaries.  The 2021 budget allocation to the Arts Council increased to €130 million. In 2021 the Arts Council had over 8,000 applications.  

I understand that the Council expanded the bursary scheme across all art forms in both number and value in 2021. The number awarded increased from 170 in 2019 to 577 in 2021 (+239%) and the value of the awards increased from €1.8 million in 2019 to €9.3 million in 2021 (+412%). Particularly notable within this overall trend was an increase in funding for Literature from €366,084 to €1.8 million, Music from €127,775 to €1.4 million, and Traditional Arts from €30,410 to €531,158. 

Details of 2022 bursaries' schemes can be accessed on the Arts Council's available funding page via this link www.artscouncil.ie/available-funding/ 

A report and analysis of the Arts Council’s response to the Covid-19 crisis for the arts in 2020/2021 was published by the Council and can be accessed at this link: www.artscouncil.ie/uploadedFiles/wwwartscouncilie/Content/Publications/Research_reports/Our%20Covid%20Response%20(July%202021).pdf.  

The Arts Council supports artists in Ireland through grant funding, project awards and supports to individual artists by way of commissions and bursaries. The Next Generation Artists Award were first introduced to mark the 1916 centenary. The purpose of the Award is to support promising artists across all disciplines at an early but pivotal stage in their career - providing support for emerging artists from all backgrounds and genres with an opportunity to develop their skills and produce new work. Further details of the 2022 award including criteria and guidelines can be accessed at the following link www.artscouncil.ie/Funds/Next-Generation-Artists-Award/.  In addition art organisations funded by the Council regularly engage in support of emerging artists and fostering of excellence in local contexts. 

In addition to measures funded by the Arts Council, the Deputy will be aware of the Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme. The overarching objective of this scheme is to address the earnings instability that can be associated with the intermittent, periodic, and often project-based nature of work in the arts. The scheme will research the impact on artists and creative arts workers creative practice of providing the security of a basic income, thereby reducing income precarity. 

The following categories of applicants were eligible: 

- Practising artists; 

- Creative arts workers (see definition below), or; 

- Recently trained applicants (within the last 5 years). 

The key eligibility criteria is that applicants must either be an artist with their own creative practice or a creative arts worker who has a creative practice of their own which makes a key contribution to the production, interpretation or exhibition of the arts. The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme will run over a three year period (2022 – 2025).  Applications for the scheme closed on May 12th and the scheme was open to eligible artists and creative arts sector workers. 

Culture Ireland also operates a range of funding programmes to support and promote the presentation of Irish arts internationally, including emerging artists. 

In addition to direct funding from my Department and the Arts Council, RTÉ routinely offers new and emerging talent opportunities across all of its platforms including television, radio and online. It has also collaborated with the Creative Ireland programme in conjunction with its RTÉ Supporting the Arts initiative to highlight a broad range of cultural activity. 

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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219. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the progress that has taken place on the creation of a new National Town of Culture competition; the consideration given thus far to the idea including details on any meetings or consultations that have taken place on the matter since June 2020; and when a decision will be taken on the idea. [32171/22]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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In the past eight years, Ireland has delivered two successful Capitals of Culture in two different sets of circumstances – Limerick 2014 inaugural Irish City of Culture and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture during an international public health crisis.

At present, my Department is considering the outcomes from Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, as set out in the independent evaluation of the project published at the end of last year, while also supporting Galway to develop an impactful and long-term legacy framework arising from its Capital of Culture designation. The learnings from these processes will inform consideration of the creation of a new National Town of Culture competition.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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220. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the additional supports that have been given to local authorities to allow the fulfilment of long-term strategic cultural and arts planning. [32172/22]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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Under Section 6 of the Arts Act 2003,  local authorities are required to prepare and implement plans for the development of the arts within their functional areas.  My Department provides a range of supports to local authorities in respect of artistic, cultural and creative programmes and measures in place in local authorities.

Creative Ireland was launched in 2017 as an all-of-Government culture and wellbeing programme committed to the vision that every person should have the opportunity to realise their full creative potential.  Established as a legacy initiative of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, Creative Ireland collaborates across Government and with arts, community and voluntary organisations to deploy creativity as a strategy for wellbeing, social cohesion and economic success.  Alongside its very successful Creative Youth initiative, the programme’s Creative Communities partnership with the 31 local authorities, and their delivery of thousands of creative projects, has been key to enabling community-led nationwide engagement.

Through the Creative Communities initiative in the Creative Ireland Programme, I have significantly increased the funding provided to local authorities for implementation of their Culture and Creativity Strategies from just over €3 million in 2018 to an allocation of €6.3 million in 2022. This funding supported additional community-led initiatives including in relation to children and young people, health & wellbeing of older people, economic development and climate action. In February 2022, Government agreed in principle that the Creative Ireland Programme, including its Creative Communities initiative, will continue for a further five years encompassing the period 2023-2027.  Throughout 2022, the 31 local authorities are developing, through public consultation, new 5 year Culture and Creativity Strategies to enable the delivery of community-led creative projects and initiatives. The Government has agreed to extend the Creative Ireland Programme to 2027.

My role as Minister with responsibility for leading the co-ordination of the Decade of Centenaries Programme (2012-2023) is to help ensure that the challenging events of this important and formative period in our history and related themes, are meaningfully, proportionately and sensitively remembered.  Last December, I announced funding of €2 million for local authorities in 2022, to support their leading role in developing community-led commemorative activities, for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.

The Arts Council’s Framework for Collaboration Agreement with the County and City Management Association (CCMA) is critical to the success of many of the Arts Council initiatives. Much of these have been achieved in this respect with an Arts Service in each of the principal local authorities in the country. Similarly, a long-term partnership with Údarás na Gaeltachta on our Ealaín na Gaeltachta programme has resulted in a significant level of arts development in Gaeltacht areas.

Much of the nationwide infrastructure of venues and arts centres are initiated and funded by local authorities.  Support provided to arts facilities by local authorities and the Arts Council is critical to ensuring that a stable and vibrant network can be maintained.  Such facilities are also supported through small capital grant schemes operated by my Department.

In response to Covid-19,  capital funding towards the pilot Outdoor Public Space Scheme 2021  by my Department is intended to fund local authorities to adapt, equip or otherwise improve public spaces for cultural and events activities, taking account of public health guidelines and of the needs of the local arts community. Outdoor public spaces that can provide year-round use can improve well-being and contribute positively to the public realm.

In addition, significant funding has been provided by my Department in 2021 and 2022 for the Local Live Performance Support Scheme.

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