Capital gains —  Give three minutes to have your spake on the culture bid

Now's your chance to make a difference. To get your point across. Just like a drunk sidling up to a boss at the Christmas party and saying 'hic d'ya know what's wrong with dis fakkin' company', this is the time for you to make your mark. We all have opinions on what's wrong and right about Galway. To be fair, most is right, but now your opinions are needed on what can make Galway even more unique in its attempt to become Capital of Culture.

I've said here many the time that Galway's bid to become Capital of Culture won't be based on the number of bums on seats we can get or indeed the number of seats on which we have to place those bums. Instead it will be won or lost on our ability to get across the idea that artistic endeavours and things cultural are engrained in our souls. We need to emphasise that we're not fair weather supporters out for a bit of culture, some chardonnay and some canapes on a hot July evening.

And to do that the backers of this bid have to reach out and see what's out there. Are you sitting on that brilliant idea? Often the best ideas are those that are the simplest, the ones that lie beneath the radar. Often, the best ideas are the ones that cost damn all, that are borne out of creativity and not viability. Tonight you can play your part in making Galway different.

You can be sure that Dublin, Limerick, and the South East are doing their best to reach into their artistic souls and throw some cultural veneer over the fact that they all have superior physical infrastructure to us. They can beat us on bricks and mortar, but we need to match them and surpass them with the feeling for things cultural that lives in our souls.

A public ‘Speak Out’ as part of Galway’s bid for European Capital of Culture in 2020 will take place upstairs in Ard Bia at Nimmos tonight Thursday at 7pm. It will be the first of many public engagement events to take place throughout the region over the coming months.

This very first ‘Speak Out’ event invites the public to share ideas on How to Build a Better Galway. People are invited to speak for three minutes or bring three slides sharing their ideas about Galway’s future and how to transform the region in 2020 and beyond. Everyone is also welcome to come along and just listen and discuss.

Galway 2020 is ramping up a public engagement process in its bid to win European Captial of Culture in 2020. A first bid document must be submitted to the European Commission on October 17. Galway is competing with Limerick, Dublin and a south east bid from Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny, to win the prestigious title.

We have now an opportunity to create a whole new layer of artistic endeavour for this city; new writers, new artists, new thinkers, new singers, all sitting busily knitting a mosaic reflecting Galway but always reflecting Galway's role in Ireland. We need to look at new ideas for the venues we have, the locations. How can we make them permanent artistic infrastructures of the mind. We have to look at ways we can consume culture without even knowing it. To be readers of cultural scripts without even realizing it.

The geographers who mapped the great cities of Europe more than a century ago did so in a manner that left many of them with legacies good or bad. We now have an opportunity to create a cultural map of this city, one that draws us in and leaves a legacy for the generations after this and beyond.

Making Galway the Capital of Culture is not just about culture. It is about positioning ourselves for the coming century, grabbing opportunity by the goolies and saying this is the place to be. To say that we can create and consumer culture here, that we can inspire and accommodate culture here.

To register for the ‘Speak Out’ please email [email protected] Get your thinking cap on. Prepare your three minute pitch and get along to Nimmo’s to see what you can do for this city.

Join the Galway 2020 conversation on Twitter at @galway2020 and on Facebook at Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture

For more of me join me on Twitter at @declanvarley

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