SOME THOUGHTS ON Fine Gael’s ‘CREATIVE IRELAND’, by Dave Lordan

The FG Creative Ireland plan is in detail here.  Looking through it briefly, a couple of points:

1) The eminently exportable forms of Drama (you can be sure that ‘drama’ means exclusively what can sell in New York & London) & Film are included. But notably no mention of other less-commodiffiable & more dissenting forms of literature. No mention of the performance poetry form for example, which has been a widespread engager of children’s & community creativity in the last decade.

This indicates that the drafters of the plan are out of touch with developments in the arts & creative pedagogy &or they are being advised & influenced by heavily bureaucratised, corporate-controlled, sectional interests within the arts.

2) There are very few concrete proposals – lots of high-sounding talk though. Apart from easing up a little on social welfare harassment of artists, there are no concrete details about what the plan will mean at the level of individual artists.

3) Nothing will happen in 2017 but the drafting of county plans & national plans & the formation of local authority working groups. Musical chairs for committee hacks. The impact of this on working artists will be zero. It will keep a good few non-artists busy & well expensed though. There are no figures at all on how much the govt proposes to spend on the scheme. They have not shown us the money.

The likelihood of Fine Gael being out of govt by 2018 & their plan being ditched must be very high.

4)Artists have no role whatsoever in the running of or decision making of Creative Ireland. The whole thing will be governed, all important decisions made, all priorities decided by:

‘A Cabinet Committee chaired by An Taoiseach

A Senior Officials Group, led by the Secretary General of the Department of An Taoiseach, comprising senior civil servants from each relevant Department

A dedicated Project Office, located in the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.’

In other words Creative Ireland will be bossed by right-wing politicans & unelected senior servants appointed by them – the least creative people in the country.

This is of course absurd. GUBU, in fact. Imagine if the national plan for farmers, doctors, plumbers, or any other professional group besides artists were going to be completely run by people who were not farmers, doctors, plumbers etc – nothing so ridiculous would even be considered. The questions raised here are very serious – why are irish artists held in such contempt by the governing powers? Why are we so easy to collectively cod?

5) The language of the document makes it clear that this has nothing to do with promoting creativity either for its own sake or for the purposes of a critical engagement with social & political issues.

Instead, it’s an accountant-inspired scheme designed to harness the creativity of the Irish for purposes of international branding & neo-liberal competition.

“Amid increasingly fierce global competition for investment, tourism and export markets, a clear articulation of a country’s values, capabilities and beliefs about itself is increasingly important”

“Creative Ireland presents an opportunity to create a single proposition based on Irish culture and creativity that represents a considered, compelling and imaginative view of how we wish to be seen by the outside world”.

We’re being proposed as a new kind of sexy ammunition in the economic war, in other words.

The emphasis here  on a ‘Single Proposition’ & prominently elsewhere in the document on “Unifying our Global Reputation”  is like something out of the North Korean Arts Plan . Artists need to raise the red flag on this one. We’re not here to play in some kind of gigantic ARTSRUGBY team.

Anyway – read the document & see for yourself. Sounds like load of absolute tory bollocks to me, and may well do far more harm to the arts than good.

http://www.davelordan.com

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