KERRY MCCALL INTERVIEWS ORLAITH MCBRIDE ABOUT HER ROLE AS DIRECTOR OF THE ARTS COUNCIL.
Kerry McCall: On June 21, 2011, you were announced as Director of the Arts Council of Ireland / An Comhairle Ealaoin and you took up your position in September. As your first year draws to a close, it seems an opportune time to reflect.
Orlaith McBride: When I came into this position, it was very clear that I was from the world of education, of young people in the arts. The values you bring to a job remain with you but in assuming this position I have responsibility for all art forms and areas of practice. These are all valuable and critical to the overall arts infrastructure in Ireland, and it is our responsibility to support them all. I took up my position mid-way through the current strategic plan and I’ve been able to use my strategic planning and policy background to consider what needs done. Two key priorities have emerged: access and education. There is significant provision in this area across all art forms, but the Arts Council recognises that work is still needed, particularly in bringing the world of education into the realm of the arts sector. The Arts Council is committed to increasing public access to the arts. Arts Audiences is one initiative that is building and developing audiences. The other side to this coin is broader access to the arts. Access crosses all art forms, so what we need to do is effect a cultural shift both internally and externally, to reach new audiences – be those young people, those with disabilities, those who are geographically or socially marginalised. All art forms will have their own way to engage across an access agenda. Our role is to encourage and support organisations to reach beyond their regular constituency. Those in the visual arts will look at access development differently from those in the performing arts. So art forms will have varying strategies. [Read more…]