Over the past nine months I have been busy... busy gestating the conference
Places Matter | building inclusion in the arts.
Now, with its arrival close at hand and with preparations almost in place, it's time to get excited and get ready to head west. The conference takes place on 28 March in Galway, 'The City of the Tribes', the most multicultural city in Ireland, where almost 25% of the population comprises new nationals.
Today, we are more diverse than ever. The National Planning Framework advises us that we will have another million citizens in Ireland by 2040; how much more wonderfully diverse we will be by then?
Denise Chaila (Photo: Shane Serrano)
Gathering a room full of arts organisations, local authorities, artists and others interested in inclusion in the arts, we will break open the conversation and ask, How can we ensure that the arts in Ireland reflect our diverse society? Are opportunities to take part in the arts meaningful and relevant to all members of our communities?
When we talk about inclusion in the arts, we also need to talk about exclusion. We have designed this conference to inspire the audience to commit to change and leave as ambassadors equipped with the enthusiasm, tools and signposts to wipe out exclusion.
I'm excited by the line-up, from Nina Simon, Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, who has transformed her organisation into a community institution, to Abid Hussain, Director, Diversity, Arts Council England and Dr William Schabas, one of the world's leading human rights academics.
The voice of the artist is, as always, critical, and we are privileged to have contributions from Rosaleen McDonagh, Nita Mishra, Melatu Okorie, Kunle Animashaun, Denise Chaila, Glory Anumudu, Theo and Rusangano Family.
Blessing Sibindi (Photo: Cathy Coughlan, Kildare Arts Office)
The evening before Places Matter, 27 March, in the Pálás Cinema, we will launch the Arts Council's Equality, Human Rights and Diversity Policy. It outlines our commitment to taking actions to actively deepen our understanding of inequalities in the arts, ensuring that our board, staff, advisers and panellists best represent our diverse, contemporary Ireland.
You can download the programme, see more information and make your booking
We look forward to seeing you in Galway.