Galway 2020 to deliver ‘world class’ programme despite departure of creative director

Despite the loss of its creative director this week, the company behind Galway 2020 remain unfazed by the departure and fresh claims that the project is in crisis.

Galway 2020 confirmed to the Galway Advertiser last evening that Chris Baldwin has left the organization “by mutual agreement” just months ahead of the start of the 500-day countdown to the year-long event.

The news of Mr Baldwin’s departure came after he had officially been on sick leave for a number of weeks. It was confirmed in a statement which outlined a number of “personnel changes” at the organization.

“Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture have made a number of key personnel changes as the programme now moves from planning to implementation phase.

“Chris Baldwin, Creative Director of Galway 2020, leaves the organisation by mutual agreement and the Board of Galway 2020 would like to thank him for his contribution to date and wish him well in the future.

It went on to say that planning for the next phase of Galway 2020 has begun with the appointment of three new cultural producers in the areas of the visual arts, the flagship programme “Small Towns Big Ideas” and audience development.

Following this and other changes the Board of Galway 2020 said that it has reviewed the composition of the cultural leadership required to deliver an exciting and innovative world class programme and will make an announcement on this in the coming weeks.

However this week, former Mayor Padraig Conneely said that the project was in crisis and that there is a need for clarity on funding, recruitment, and governance.

He also asked for details to be revealed regarding the recruitment of a business engagement director, which was allegedly initially offered to a high profile businessman, and withdrawn a week later. The role was to be key in raising more than €7million in funds for the programme.

It is also believed that while Galway City Council had delivered half of its promised €6million funding, cash-strapped Galway County Council had only paid less than ten per cent of its promised share.

The full programme for Galway 2020 will be published later in 2018 and there will be a series of local and national roadshows to let people know what to expect. The programme encompasses all aspects of culture from visual arts, sport, large scale spectacle, food, digital, music, dance, theatre, circus, film, architecture and literature.

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