A five-year cultural strategy for Dublin is to be launched by the city council today. Based on work carried out for the unsuccessful bid to become European Capital of Culture, the new strategy aspires to a broader, more ambitious and all-encompassing vision of culture in the capital.
Dublin was knocked out before the final round of the competition, ultimately won by Galway, to be European Capital of Culture 2020. However, according to council chief executive Owen Keegan, the process ended up being valuable in its own right.
“We put a lot of work into that bid. I’d have to say I was a little bit sceptical at first that it was just another opportunity to blow a lot of money, but in fairness to the arts people, they made a very good case as to why it was worth doing,” he said.
“A lot of our public engagement is very sterile – that whole model of engagement needs to be refreshed – but this was an extraordinary, vibrant process and it certainly convinced me. We got a great response across all areas of the city, and businesses got involved. It demonstrated that there’s great energy around the idea of culture. We didn’t win the designation but we did feel we shouldn’t just go back to what we were doing.”
Up to now the council’s definition of culture has been very narrow. “It was a series of very worthy projects but the total effect was just the sum of those projects,” Mr Keegan added. “We want to get beyond just doing worthy projects towards broader goals.”