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Night-Time Economy Forum | The Arts Council



The Arts Council is bringing artists and arts organisations together for the first annual Night-Time Economy Forum today. Designed to bring together a range of international, national and local perspectives on trends and initiatives relating to arts and the night-time economy, this is the first of what will be an annual event.

The Arts Council’s goal is to enable arts and cultural event spaces to develop new programmes and initiatives for late night events. The arts play a significant role in Ireland’s night-time economy and to develop this further the Arts Council seeks to facilitate arts and cultural spaces to work together and facilitate more use of publicly owned cultural buildings and heritage sites for events.

The Night-Time Economy Forum, which takes place this afternoon in the National Art Gallery of Ireland, will be attended by nearly 300 people who will hear insights from other European cities and towns, opportunities for innovation. The benefits to both the arts and culture community and to the wider night-time economy will be discussed as will the positive impact on audiences and audience development.

The Arts Council is a member of the of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce, established by Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin in July 2020. It affords an opportunity for relevant stakeholders from across the night-time culture sector to develop an innovative approach to supporting and developing a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable night-time economy in Ireland.

In advance of the first Night-Time Economy Forum, Minister Catherine Martin said: “I am delighted to see that the ambitious programme of the Night-Time Economy Task Force will create fruitful discussions at today’s Forum that will shape and change our cities and towns at night. I know that artists and art organisations feel inspired to further develop partnerships and create an innovative variety of new late-night events to connect with audiences. Look at other European cities or towns, where culture thrives at all hours, where the city’s heartbeat doesn’t end at night. Their vibrancy continues well into the night in venues. And they have built their reputations on this. And we can do that here. It is about opening doors for our creative communities, easing licensing restriction and costs for venues, turning the lights on in empty buildings and of course offering audiences and patrons exciting new nightlife options.”

Welcoming the event, Director of the Arts Council Maureen Kennelly said: 

‘This Forum is an important opportunity for the cultural sector and other stakeholders to discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as we work with other partners to realise the ambitions of the task force. We will shortly issue a call for proposals for pilots in a range of locations based on local collaborative approaches to opening late.’

In addition to hosting an annual Forum, the Arts Council is carrying out an audit of arts and culture buildings around the country to ascertain suitability and accessibility. In relation to further development, funding will be announced by the end of Quarter 1 2023.

The keynote speaker at the Forum is Professor Terry Stevens, who will provide insights and practical examples of how urban centres are re-designing the use of cultural spaces and the public realm to re-invigorate the night- time economy.

Robbie Kitt will introduce the Forum, and other speakers include Adrienne Rodgers, the Director of Services of Community, Culture and Placemaking in Cork and Mirik Milan, former Night Mayor, Amsterdam and CEO of Vibe Lab – an organisation set up to support creative communities and help the world better understand the value of vibrant life at night. The programme also features Ruth McGowan, CEO of Dublin Fringe Festival and the actor/comedian Saoirse Smith.

The event is free for all and will be streamed live on the Arts Council YouTube channels from 2pm today 17th January here, where the recording can also be accessed after the event.

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