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No Galway Discussions over Proposed Arts' Plan

category galway | arts and media | news report author Tuesday September 01, 2009 03:31author by Fred Johnston Report this post to the editors

Hopes Dashed for Face-to-Face Consultations - so what is City Hall afraid of?

Galway's arts practitioners were promised consultation over any proposed Arts Strategy Plan - but Galway City Arts Office has put the clamps on it and curiously instructed the person brought on board to assist with the arts' strategy that she is not to meet individually with artists or practitioners

A respected and highly experienced arts practitioner and organiser, Sarah Searson's role in Galway was expected to be that of a fresh ear willing to meet face-to-face with artists and arts' practitioners to bring about an acceptable Arts Plan, a Plan the city hasn't been able so far to produce.

But in a letter from Ms Searson this evening by e-mail I am informed that: "I won't be in a available to meet with you individually, as this is not part of my agreed role with the City Council to meet with their clients individually. If you have specific questions, or concerns the City Arts Officer would be the correct channel through which to address these. . . . . . .

If there are other points that you feel are important to make, we would also welcome these by email. "

This will be seen by more than one group as highly disappointing and unsatisfactory. One must ask what sort of arrangement could possible have determined that the City Council Arts Office would not permit her to meet face-to-face with individuals artists. It is impossible to see how anyone or any group can express their views freely on how the arts are run in Galway to Ms Searson without now being aware that these may be discussed with the Galway City Arts Officer, who has already opposed vigorously the development of one major arts' group in the city.

A longed-for independent assessment of the arts in Galway city has thus been prevented. One can only ask why. The City Councillors remain mute on the topic. As does The Arts Council.

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