Donegal County Council’s Creative Ireland team have launched a Culture and Creativity Strategy that will foster more support and celebration of creativity throughout the county.
The successes and lessons from the first five years of the nationwide Creative Ireland initiative has Donegal County Council’s Creative Ireland Culture and Creativity team eager to embark on the coming five-year phase.
Maureen Kerr, acting coordinator for Donegal’s Creative Ireland Culture and Creativity team, said, “from the initial start-up of the previous five years, it’s an all-of-Government initiative and the fact that everybody has signed up to it for another five years means they think it’s successful and we obviously do locally here as well.”
Creative Ireland began in 2017 as an outgrowth of Ireland 2016, the State project to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising, which drew a strong public response and led to thousands of culture-based events across the country.
Kerr continued, “the theme in this next strategy is to continue to embed culture and creativity and the Creative Ireland programme in local policies and plans, so we will work with our partners in the local authority and other organisations whenever they are developing their plans, with the aim of working collaboratively in a creative way.”
Under Creative Ireland 2023-2027, each county develops their own strategy for the next five years, reflecting five national themes: creative youth, creative communities, creative industries, creative health and well-being and creative climate action and sustainability.
Donegal’s Culture and Creativity Strategy 2023-2027 highlights five strategic priorities for the county within those themes: embedding culture and creativity across local authority plans, policies and project teams; strengthening and reinforcing Donegal’s cultural infrastructure and resources; supporting cultural and creative practitioners and professionals; nurturing our sense of place and identity; and enabling engagement with and access to culture and creativity.
Kerr said, “it’s an opportunity for everyone to explore their own creativity and/or to engage with creativity and culture in their community. That’s the broad idea behind Creative Ireland nationally. It’s also about people enjoying the experiences offered by the Creative Ireland programme and supporting people who are out there already working with communities – creative practitioners, creative entrepreneurs – affording them opportunities to work with and engage with the public.”
The first five years of Creative Ireland saw a range of cultural and creative projects in Donegal, including those supported through small grants awarded to communities across the county for everything from help to publishing a book to grants for local events and festivals.
Larger projects included such things as plans to create a cultural corridor in Letterkenny to connect An Grianán Theatre, the Regional Culture Centre and the Donegal County Museum; to supports for conserving thatched roofs as an important part of Donegal’s vernacular architecture; to the ongoing annual Cruinniú na nÓg celebration of creativity for young people; to a commemoration of the contributions of the textile industry in the north-west that also offered assistance to existing creatives in the field.
The Donegal Creative Ireland Culture and Creativity team has also focused on supporting people who work in the creative sector with training and mentoring and supporting pathways to employment.
Kerr concluded, “it’s about encouraging creativity and supporting the people who are working in those areas: promotion of our culture, enabling young people, building those partnerships with the Donegal Youth Council and other organisations, developing opportunities around promoting the Irish language, connections with the Donegal Diaspora.”
You can read the strategy here.
Source: Donegal County Council