Drawing from the Well: Episode 1, Louise Mulcahy, Image credit: Irish Traditional Music Archive
The Irish Traditional Music Archive (“ITMA”) is a progressive, national archive and resource centre for Irish traditional music, playing a key role in the development of a vibrant traditional arts and heritage sector positioned at
the heart of Ireland’s cultural, social and economic life. The ITMA commits to universal free access and works collaboratively with a diverse range of artists and partners to play a leading role in championing the value and relevance of the traditional
arts. With its digital infrastructure, staff skills, strategic partnerships and commitment to providing public access, ITMA was at the centre of transmission and public engagement with the traditional arts since Covid-19 hit. To date, ITMA’s digital
activities have included:
Digital exhibitions which animate archive collections through collaborative creative artistic programming with artists.
Digital transformation initiatives have been completed to make the collections ITMA hold more easily discoverable and searchable by all, and also to accelerate the move towards delivering on the principles of universal access.
ITMA’s new online broadcast series “Drawing from the Well” connects leading artists with archive material to inspire new art.
ITMA have witnessed significant momentum away from physical access and towards remote digital access. With over one million meaningful online engagements during 2020, the archive has witnessed phenomenal growth in the numbers of users who access our digital
Digital transformation initiatives highlight skills gaps in organisations. This was also the case for ITMA and as a result the company have recruited 2 staff members in the areas of film production, editing and professional sound recording/IT.
Digital transformation is costly and requires capital outlays and increased investment in hardware and new software. To cover these additional costs ITMA participated in the Arts Councils RAISE Tier 2 Programme which builds organisational capacity to
fundraise. Going forward, ITMA’s strategic priority is to move the largest physical collection of Irish traditional music to the largest digital archive of its type to be found anywhere in the world.
Key innovative digital priorities for the ITMA in the future include:
‘I have been really struck by how the Irish Traditional Music Archive has adapted to Covid-19. I think this initiative where they draw from their own deep well of archival material is absolutely brilliant… the work that they do will allow the public to
tap into that well of extraordinary musical heritage that they have.’ — Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council