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Is consultation just a way of manufacturing consent?

The term ‘transformative cultural funding/ investment’ was used. Is it likely that the ‘new models of delivery’ sought are pro-business, creative city, entrepreneurial models, rather than practitioner-led models?

Is it possible that the new models sought are intended to be socially ameliorative, tidy-towns type projects that have measurable social and economic outputs in the short-term?

Is there any appetite to address problems of urban exclusion, social and cultural inequality and injustice through cutting-edge cultural programmes, or is the strategic focus on culture as a driver of economic development, with a presumed knock-on effect for social well-being (trickle-down cultural policy)?

Are rifts between communities of expertise and local urban communities recognised, and if so is there any appetite to bridge those through cultural programmes?

Is culture recognised as a space of contestation or can it only be celebratory and success-oriented?

What are the common points of engagement between cultural practitioners and communities who are threatened by growing forms of social inequality?

What spaces of contestation exist in the city and what forms of activism?

What do activists demand in this space of contestation? Do indigenous, subaltern, decolonizing, or anti-capitalist ideas have any place in this process, or is it only a pro-business environment?


'Kieran O'Hanlon, The Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, would like to thank you for participating in the World Café Consultation Event, Tuesday 16th May 2017 at the Savoy Hotel.

It was an important evening for the arts and culture community here and indeed for the lifeblood of Limerick. We wanted to get your views to help formulate our thoughts, so that hopefully everyone will be able to get behind and strengthen Limerick’s cultural offering.I have been chairing the working group. The Cross Party Arts and Culture working group was agreed at Council. Its remit is to provide recommendations on a proposed structure of delivery for Arts and Culture in Limerick and see how best we can develop the sector.

The next stage in this process is to explore the capacity, feasibility and timeframe for a new model of delivery, examining the inputs needed from the Cross Party Culture and Arts Working Group of Limerick City and County Council; Limerick Arts Office; a range of other local and national partners, and the arts and cultural community in Limerick. As one participant commented at the World Café Event“Overall the model should allow the arts and culture to flourish in the county and city and support best quality arts events for and with the people of Limerick”We are looking forward to working in partnership with you on this vision as it evolves.

Councillor Kieran O’Hanlon, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Chair of the Cross Party Culture and Arts Working Group of Limerick City and County Council

World Café Event – Feedback for Attendees

From listening to the feedback of all the discussions that took place at the World Café Event, we learned about the wide range of resources you’ve requested and recommended in order to build a new model of delivery for Culture and Arts for Limerick. From analyzing all the Facilitators Notes, we’ve gathered your recommendations which are outlined below.

Public Engagement: Developed in partnership with the arts sector, this should focus on creating more affordable, accessible, family friendly, fun events especially for children and young people. Expanding beyond outreach and exploring an ‘in reach’ model, examining ‘what do communities need from us as an arts community?’ Arts and culture can be rooted in community, building a society.

Transparency is central to the new model: A need for better accountability through clearly communicated arts and culture policy and defined funding streams from the local authority as well as reasonable lead in times.

Peer Panels: Clarity and transparency that these are made up of expert and informed practitioners and people that are independent with no conflicts of interest, leading to fair and unbiased decisions, based on published criteria. Offering feedback on unsuccessful applications can help with future opportunities. Funding decisions and awards should be published and based on merit. [Update: One example of recent awards for Grants Under the Arts Act can be found here].

Review resources available: Particularly funding, which may require redistribution, again based on merit, and pooling aiming for more capacity building and sustainability. There is a need to support equality of opportunity. The Made in Limerick Programme (2014 Open Call) was mentioned as a positive recent example. Other resources can also be strengthened within the local authority including the human resources of knowledge, experience and time, as well as our local infrastructure.

Partnership model: It is essential to include the voice of Artists and Producers in decision-making and governance processes for the new model. Ensure that the Culture and Art Working Group has an equal balance of stakeholders. The group should be made up of Artists and Producers, Elected Representatives and Local Authority Arts Staff, and can be refreshed every 2-3 years.

Remuneration of Artists: This was seen as a key principle, artists deserve to be paid professional, sustainable rates. Artists should be able to afford to live and work in Limerick. A model for social and cooperative housing for artists should be made available.

Community based arts centre: Limerick needs a central culture hub; made up of studios, work spaces and meeting rooms. A space for making, meeting and presenting. The idea of setting up an arts run hostel was also recommended, as a place to welcome visiting artists and collaborators.

Balance of County and City: More balance is needed between arts provision for county as well as city based events. Projects and festivals could tour to both the city and county, with shared publicity, encouraging cultural mobility. The opportunity to link to Limerick’s rivers also came up as a concept connected to this.

Communications: This needs clearer focus and improvement, from information on resources through to centralised cultural information and ticketing.

Evaluation and evidence base: Funding and events need support to capture and map experience and develop evaluations. Arts and culture in Limerick should have a clear evidence based, not purely in numbers or bed nights but also acknowledging the social impact – art and culture can transform.

Acknowledge voluntary inputs: Voluntary hours, labour and investment by artists, the arts community and participants need to be acknowledged and recognised.

Recognise and value the arts: It should be clear and evident that the arts and culture are valued, respected and acknowledged.

At the World Café event you described a number of the possible characteristics for a new model of delivery for Culture and Arts for Limerick, including:

· Business and tourism partnerships, aiming to bridge the gap between the communities

· The model should demonstrate real listening and actions, rather than more consultation, and have clear measurable targets

· Explore the USP (unique selling point) of arts and culture in Limerick, placing sport and art as equals

· The model should be bottom up, not top down, and more grassroots

· Year long programme with a spread of planned events, programmes and supports

· Timeframe for the model should have short term goals and improvements as well as longer term plans and ambitions

· Processes including deadlines should have more time, and not be last minute

· CPD training and support for Artists, including help with funding applications, perhaps delivered as part of an umbrella cultural support organisation

· Capacity building is important as is supporting creative networking

· A Creative Documentation Squad could be set up, to professionally capture events and collate for future bids and promotion

· A Cultural Transport Fund could be established to increase attendance and mobility, across county and city

· Radio can be harnessed as a cultural platform

· Arts advisors (similar to the Arts Council) could be appointed to attend events especially in the County

· The model needs to be inclusive, championing areas such as Disability Arts and cultural diversity, as well as celebrating heritage and integrating the Irish language

· Festivals need to be recognised and valued

· Support for what's already there including infrastructure and harness local capacity, rather than out sourcing, but also be flexible to support new emerging initiatives

· Set up research partnerships with the local and international third level sector

· Make creative use of empty spaces in the city and county

· Support sustainability including legacy projects

· Intellectual property of artists and their ideas need to be protected and respected

· The new model should involve LACE (Limerick Arts and Culture Exchange) and PLAN (Professional Limerick Artists Network)

· Establish an official home for Limerick Museum, with less moving around

· The arts community would like to see more cultural links to Limerick’s rivers; a visible Tourist Office and a city centre cinema

· Overall the model should allow the arts and culture to flourish in the city and county and support best quality arts events for and with the people of Limerick A number of other models and organisations were recommended as examples for Limerick to explore including Create, the Arts Council and the Made in Limerick grant programme. A number of Local Authority examples were suggested including Kilkenny County Council, Galway County Council and Wicklow County Council. City models put forward included Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. ​

A link to the presentation will be created and shared early next week.’


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