Consultation with artists, arts groups, and the public will be a major key to securing the title of European Capital of Culture 2020 for Galway city.
In City Hall on Tuesday, it was announced that NUI Galway won the tender to bid on behalf of city for the Capital of Culture status. The university will now begin an extensive public and stakeholder consultation process.
Galway previously bid for the title in 2005 but failed owing to a lack of arts infrastructure, such as a concert hall and municipal gallery. The emphasis on what the EU expects a Capital of Culture to have now, has changed to a focus on community involvement with the process and that the event celebrates European culture, and not just the national culture of the host city.
However it was acknowledged that infrastructural issues will have to be looked at, but more in terms of re-generating spaces in the city, and exploring the possibility of ‘pop-up venues’ within buildings lying idle.
Huge emphasis was placed on the importance of “extensive consultation and engagement with arts practitioners and the wider community” by the chief executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath.
“We have a very robust application,” he said, “building on what is already here in Galway and what is good about the arts and culture. What we have is second to none, it’s world class, and now we have to work with artists and listen to what the community has to say.”
The manager of the Town Hall Theatre, Feargal McGrath, added: “Consultation will be as important as the event itself.”
The Mayor of Galway, Donal Lyons highlighted NUIG’s “commitment to consultation with arts practitioners”. He also said the 2020 bid had strong political support.
“A critical factor in a successful bid will be political support,” he said. “I commit to do all I can, both here and further afield if necessary, to help secure Galway’s bid. We are going to approach this like an election and we are determined to win.”