Archive for the ‘advocacy’ Category

#ArtsDeptNow

24th May 2016 by Maura McHugh

After the new Irish government was formed, and the cabinet appointments were announced, an astonishing decision came to light: a new hybrid department called the Department for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts & the Gaeltacht which will be helmed by Heather Humphreys TD.

This caused consternation among arts organisations and creatives around the country and it galvanised into an online petition, organised by Joe O’Brien.

Give arts, culture and heritage the respect it deserves by creating an independent Department and setting a funding target of 0.6% of GDP (the EU average spend on arts/culture). Ireland has one of the lowest levels of public support in the EU.

It has already garnered over 13,000 signatures. You can sign it now, and share it, if you haven’t done so already.

It spawned a hashtag on Twitter called #ArtsDeptNow, which is one of the best ways to track the emerging conversation about the lack of funding and focus on the arts.

Academic Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald has created a blog post, called Get in Formation: Irish Arts & Heritage Rising, that offers a comprehensive overview of the issue and keeps track of all of the articles being written about this matter online and in print.

The National Campaign for the Arts has also issued a Press Release calling on Minister Heather Humphreys to adopt a new all-party approach to national cultural policy.

Many prominent artists/writers/directors/actors are now calling for change, and using social media to alert Heather Humphreys and the cabinet to the fact that the Arts are not just a cultural photo op, but a vital resource that requires proper funding and recognition.

Hustings about Arts Policies

16th February 2016 by Maura McHugh

Ireland’s media is alight with General Election 2016 coverage, and there are hustings being organised up and down the country. Some have a focus on asking politicians direct questions about their parties’ arts policies. Keep an eye out for ones in your area.

Here’s a few to attend:

  • The Galway West Branch of the NCFA will host a Hustings event from 11am, on Wednesday, 17 February at The Mick Lally Theatre.
  • The Cork South-West branch of the NCFA has arranged a public meeting with Dáil Candidates from 6.30pm on Thursday 18 February at the Clonakilty Community Arts Centre.
  • The NCFA: Hit the Hustings will be held in the National Gallery of Ireland’s Lecture Hall, in Dublin from 12.30pm – 2pm on Friday 19 FebruaryRegister online here.

The National Campaign for the Arts has a useful page on its web site regarding Party Policies and Manifestos: General Election 2016.

And please take the time to vote on Friday, 26 February!

Women in the Irish Film Industry

11th February 2016 by Maura McHugh

The Department of Media & Communication Studies at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) Limerick is set to tackle the issue of gender inequality in the Irish film industry by hosting of a day-long colloquium entitled Women in the Irish Film Industry: Moving from the Margins to the Centre.

The event is being oranised by Dr Susan Liddy, Lecturer in Media & Communications, MIC, and will take place on Friday, 4 March.

It plans to provide a public forum in which to address the under-representation of women in the Irish film industry. Practitioners, representatives from funding bodies, broadcasters, professional guilds and voluntary organisations will debate strategies to create gender equality right across the industry and, according to Dr Rosemary Day, Head of Media & Communications, MIC, “will have the opportunity to map out a clear strategy to ensure gender equity within the Irish film industry going forward.”

There has been much public debate of late in relation to the under-representation of women working in Irish theatre which lead to the formation of the #WakingTheFeminists movement. However, according to Dr Liddy “This exclusion is not the exclusive preserve of the theatre. It is also mirrored in the Irish Film Industry, which is overwhelmingly male-dominated and lacking a strong female voice and vision. My own research suggests a mere 13 per cent of produced screenplays in the period 1993 to 2013 were written by Irish women.”

The keynote at the colloquium will be delivered by Anna Serner, Director of the Swedish Film Institute, who will speak about the 50/50 gender funding policy implemented in Sweden under her tenure. Since she took up the position in October 2011, Serner has reached her stated intent of distributing state funds equally between male and female filmmakers making Sweden the first country to reach this benchmark.

Other speakers include James Hickey (Irish Film Board CEO), Dr. Annie Doona (Acting Chair of the Irish Film Board/President IADT) and Holly Aylett Head Researcher with the European Women’s Audio-Visual Network. In November of 2015 Dr Doona, as Acting Chair of the IFB, issued a public statement acknowledging “there are many talented women writers, producers, directors, cinematographers, editors, actors, animators and designers out there that are not fully represented either in terms of accessing funding for film or in public recognition of their talent”. This was followed in December by the IFB’s Gender Equality Six Point Plan, which sets out an agenda to address the existing gender imbalance.

Women in the Irish Film Industry: Moving from the Margins to the Centre takes place in TARA, Mary Immaculate College, starting at 9.30am on Friday 4 March. Early Bird booking fee of €15 includes lunch. (Full fee €25)

Booking is essential as places are limited. For further information or to pre-book contact Dr Susan Liddy: Susan.Liddy@mic.ul.ie

This event is kindly supported by Innovate Limerick.

Meeting on Equality in Irish Film

10th February 2016 by Maura McHugh

At 6.30pm on Wednesday, 24 February the Writers Guild of Ireland and the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland will hold a meeting in the Central Hotel (Function Room 1 & 2) on Exchequer Street, Dublin, to discuss the Irish Film Board’s new goals on gender equality in the film industry, and how they can be achieved.

You can read the IFB’s Six Point Plan on Gender Equality which it published in December.

All writers and directors are welcome, however since space is limited you must book your spot in advance by emailing info (a) script.ie to confirm your attendance.

Election 2016

3rd February 2016 by Maura McHugh

Today the Taoiseach Enda Kenny dissolved the Dáil and called the General Election for Friday, 26 February.

If you want to vote you will need to be included in the Register of Electors, so please check that you are registered at the correct address.

Friday, 5 February is the closing date for your Local Authority to receive an application for entry to the Supplement to the Postal or Special voters list for the general election. Tuesday, 9 February is the closing date for your Local Authority to receive an application for entry to the Supplement to the register of electors for the general election.

This is a perfect opportunity for WGI members to remind politicians seeking election about the cultural and economic contribution the arts bring to the Irish economy, and the need for it to be supported in a practical fashion.

Sheila Pratschke, chairwoman of the Arts Council, discussed this in her recent article for the Irish Examiner: “In this centenary year, let’s get behind the arts in Ireland.

The National Campaign for the Arts has a handy manifesto on its web site for those who would like specific goals to discuss with your canvassing local representatives when they land on your doorstep.

A useful strategy could be to print out a couple of copies of the manifesto and leave them in your hallway so they are nearby when you greet a petitioning candidate.

The web site Elections Ireland should have a good list of the candidates in the various constituencies, and their contact information, if you wish to contact them about your concerns in the coming weeks.

Let’s keep the arts on the political agenda during the coming conversations.