Despite recognition some years ago by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht of the necessity for joined-up policy making in concert with other departments of government, there are few formal mechanisms for on-going inter-ministerial co-operation. Indeed the changing role of the DAHG militates against sustained development in this area. However, some progress is discernible arising in part from the more integrative partnership approach adopted by the Arts Council. As stated in the 2010 report on the Living and Working Conditions of Artists:
In recent years, there has been more integration of the arts into other areas of activity in society, including tourism, health, urban regeneration and the nurturing of the creativity of children and young people. In addition, an appreciation has emerged of the potential of the arts to link to wider economic innovation in the ‘cultural industries’ and the arts have become linked to plans to develop a ‘smart economy’. (2010: 67)
Cultural development inevitably impacts on the work of several departments – Finance, Education and Skills, Environment, Community and Local Government, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Justice and Equality and Communications, Energy and Natural Resources etc. There is an interdepartmental group for Public Art and some formal linkage with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (see also chapter 1.4). The Department and local authorities operate a Per Cent for Art Scheme through which a percentage of construction budgets are devoted to the commissioning of an associated piece of art. The Arts and Culture Enhancement Support Scheme (ACCESS I and II), which concluded in 2009, involved considerable liaison between the then Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport and local authorities, through its provision of significant capital funding on a partnership basis for cultural facilities.
In January 2013 the Departments of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and that of Education and Skills signed an Arts in Education Charter (https://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2013-Press-Releases/PR12-01-04.html) which promised reduced ticket prices for cultural events, the development of Arts Rich Schools, and encouragement of visits to cultural institutions. Artists and arts organisations in receipt of taxpayer funds will also donate time to local education projects. The charter envisages organisations like the Arts Council, the National Cultural Institutions, the Colleges of Education and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment working with both Departments in order to bring the arts into the classroom and learners into the institutes for the arts.
Some of the Arts in Education Charter commitments include:
- Donate time in return for taxpayer funding: A new Public Service Education Dividend will be introduced which will mean that artists and arts organisations in receipt of taxpayer funds will be expected to donate a small amount of time each year to a local education initiative.
- Arts Rich Schools: The Arts Council will introduce a national scheme which will incentivise and recognise those schools (primary and secondary) that make the arts a key part of school life.
- Visits to museums and galleries: The National Cultural Institutions shall ensure that each student visits a national cultural institution at least once in their second level school career.
- Reduced ticket prices: The National Theatre and the National Concert Hall – along with all other National Cultural Institutions that may, from time to time, charge an admission fee for a particular event – will offer discounted tickets to those in full-time primary, post primary and third level education. These tickets shall not cost more than EUR 5 per event.
- Artists in Residence: The number of artists’ residencies in Colleges of Education will be increased.
- Curriculum design: The Arts Council will be consulted by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment on curriculum design.
A High Level Implementation Group will oversee the implementation of the Charter, and will report to the Ministers at least twice a year. This development was greeted with considerable scepticism by the arts community who questioned many aspects of the Charter and noted that it seemed to lack any commitment to real investment (see also chapter 2.9).