Cultural Policymaking and Research on the Island of Ireland

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    The critical consideration and investigation of cultural policy on the island of Ireland has long been missing from international debates and discussion. A fuller understanding of the place of culture as a distinct area of cultural policy in Ireland is lacking within a European context and in relationship to the UK context.

    This deficiency may have to do with the complexity of the subject of culture in Ireland. The term culture, while widely acknowledged for its complex and diverse interpretation, is met with even further complication here. Any distinct public policy dedicated to the subject is fraught with underlying philosophical viewpoints regarding conflict and union. Additionally, the development of a culture of research for the discipline of cultural policy and its close affiliate arts management, has grown differently here. The absence of any extant strategic, national cultural policy in either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland has not helped this deficiency.

    Despite these circumstances, however, we have historically seen both the Republic and Northern Ireland increase public provision for the arts in the form of Arts Council work and cross-border partnerships—even before the Good Friday Agreement; new roles in local government and the development of regional venues across the Island; and, like Ireland’s European neighbours, engage in discussions around the economic and social value and uses of the arts.

    Recently, both the Republic and Northern Ireland are experiencing shifts in public policy relations with culture. Both are currently in vastly different consultation processes for establishing new and first-time, so-called ‘strategic’ national cultural policies. At the same time, the value the Northern Irish government places on arts and culture has been called into question by brutal cuts and the impending elimination of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. In the Republic of Ireland, alongside the anniversary of the 1916 Uprising, strategic plans are looking at establishing a ten-year policy aimed at more joined-up government engagement in culture; the recognition of culture as core to society; and consideration of the importance of cultural diversity.

    With no fully documented history of cultural policy or gathered body of research on the subject either side of the border, this proposed Special Issue presents a unique opportunity to review how researchers across different disciplines approach and understand culture as a distinct area of public policy in Ireland. By bringing together research on the practices and policies relating to cultural policy in various aspects of Irish life- north and south of the border, we aim to stimulate new insights and gather a body of new empirical cultural policy research on the island.


    • Cultural policymaking and research on the Island of Ireland

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    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)189-194
    JournalCultural Trends
    Journal publication date28 Jul 2017
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017

      Research areas

    • cultural policy , republic of ireland , Northern Ireland



    ID: 123056700