21 February 2008: The Arts Council and the National Action Plan Against Racism

The Arts Council, the Irish Government Agency for developing the arts, and the National Action Plan against Racism (NPAR) are delighted to announce that they have entered into a partnership to carry out research designed to develop a cultural diversity policy for the arts.   An action plan, informed by this research, will be developed in order to support cultural diversity practice into the future. 

The Arts Council has engaged Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, to manage the extensive research and consultation phases. 

The research will aim to inform arts policy in the area of Cultural Diversity and to make recommendations for the development of an Arts Council Action Plan that will enable minority ethnic and cultural groups to participate and contribute more fully to the cultural life of Ireland.

Ms. Olive Braiden, Chair of the Arts Council, said, "Cultural diversity brings new opportunities and new challenges to the arts in Ireland.  Sameness is anathema to creativity while diversity enables change and development.  Having been Chair of the Arts Council over the last five years, I have witnessed a rapidly changing landscape that is exciting and challenging in equal measure.  Our opportunities to make and experience art have been richly enhanced by our interaction with a diversity of cultural forms and practices brought here by people from countries and cultures across the globe."

Mr. Conor Lenihan, T.D., Minister for Integration said: This research is in keeping with the Government’s philosophy that the arts should be available for everybody.  The arts have the ability to enrich the lives of everyone in the country, no matter what their race or nationality.  I believe that the arts have great potential for promoting intercultural awareness, understanding and interaction.  Many migrants living in Ireland are from countries with long established traditions of arts and music.  It is expected that this research will result in opportunities being provided to nurture and encourage existing and emerging talent from within these new communities across all facets of the arts.

The research will identify the ways and the extent to which minority ethnic and cultural groups participate in the arts and what factors may either facilitate or hinder this participation. It will also look into the different models of cultural diversity practice currently employed by arts practitioners and organisations, as well as the degree to which minority ethnic and cultural groups take leadership roles in arts and culture. The research will take place throughout 2008 combining national and international desk research, consultation, analysis and the completion of a report and recommendations.

Editors Note:

Create will manage a team of researchers, each focusing on a specific element of the research.  The Create team consists of: Sarah Tuck (Project Manager); Katherine Atkinson (Project Co-ordinator); and Arthur Duignan (Project Assistant).

-         The international research will be undertaken by researchers from the Change Institute (Jagtar Singh, Lakhbir Bhandal and Will Hammonds) while the national research will be conducted by Dr. Suzanna Chan and Dr. Daniel Jewesbury (University of Ulster)

-         The consultation process with national agencies and resource organisations will be conducted by Rustom Bharucha (writer, dramaturge and cultural diversity consultant) while regional consultation  with different stakeholders and minority ethnic and cultural groups will be led by Deirdre Healy (Create)

-         A research advisory team has been established and is made up of Dr. Ronit Lentin (M Phil , Ethnic and Racial Studies, Trinity); Piaras MacÉinrí (Migration Studies, NUI   Cork) and Dr. Alice Feldman (Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative, UCD)

-         The research is being overseen by a steering group that is made up of: Dr. Aileen Pearson Evans (Chair, DCU); Janet Lacey (Dept of Justice, Equality and Law Reform); Orla Moloney (Arts Council); Dara Mulally / Sabina O’Donnell (Dept. of Arts, Sport and Tourism); Dominic Campbell (artist/ consultant); Chinedu Onyejelem (Publisher, Metro Eireann); Shalini Sinha (Independent media producer); Deirdre Figueiredo (Chair of ACE Cultural Diversity Advisory and Monitoring Panel); Ruairí Ó Cuív  (Chair of Create/independent arts consultant); Katrina Goldstone (Create); Katarzyna Mejger (consultant/interpreter)

For Further Information please contact: Sarah Tuck, Director, Create 01 473 6600 sarahtuck@create-ireland.ie

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Yelemba dance troupe from the Ivory Coast - Clonmel Junction Festival.

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