COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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The National Campaign for the Arts has priorities include: evidence base for better policy on the arts; a more meaningful public conversation about the arts; building shared intention across the arts sector; and supporting the mutuality of the arts and education.

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Ireland/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and debates  

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

See chapter 4.1 for a discussion on current priorities. While the debate frequently centres on funding, the policy vacuum is now seen as a real inhibitor to development.  This is aired in Inspiring Prospects, the latest Arts Council report, compiled on the basis of significant sector consultation and some research. The call for an overarching policy is central to the demands of the National Campaign for the Arts which also seeks greater transparency in funding, a reframing of the debate towards the intrinsic value of the arts and increased  investment to achieve a functional level of funding.  

The effects of the cuts have been widespread. Not only have flagship projects been shelved, many arts organisations have disappeared or had to curtail the programmes / performances / activities. The national cultural institutions are struggling to maintain services in the face of staffing and grant cuts. Attempts to engage philanthropy in the funding of the arts, despite the urging of government to look in this direction, are hampered by an inadequate legislative framework for same as well as a paucity of donors. The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Arts Council both have introduced incentive schemes to encourage arts organisations to raise money from private sources but income from fundraising in Ireland represents just 3% of total arts finance ( as compared with 7% in the UK). In general, antagonism towards the public sector and the public domain, now widespread in Ireland, coupled with the punishing experience of NGOs who expressed a critical viewpoint, has exacerbated the crisis for many arts bodies and has inhibited a coherent public airing of the effects of cuts – to the extent that the degradation of the sector is notably discreet.

The National Campaign for the Arts has identified four strategic areas of work as their priority over the next five years: a better evidence base for better policy on the arts; a more meaningful public conversation about the arts; building shared intention across the arts sector; and supporting the mutuality of the arts and education.


Chapter published: 10-06-2015

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