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> Sorcha Nic Aodha
Over 50 Small Towns Big Ideas community cultural projects were given the go-ahead in recent weeks, with the exciting projects being rolled out over the next 12 months. The projects, which range from the small to large scale, and include new art and photographic exhibitions, festivals, workshops and pop-up cultural cafes, will breathe new life into communities throughout the county and city.
Small Towns Big Ideas (STBI) celebrates Meitheal, the ancient Irish tradition of coming together for a common purpose. Galway 2020 will offer the support – both practical and creative, and the opportunity to work with artists to bring their ideas to life. As a part of her role, Liz will manage and develop the programme, enabling Galway 2020 to deliver a programme that will reach as many communities as possible.
Originally from Co Kerry, Liz is a highly experienced and talented arts and culture manager. Her most recent position was as Programme Director of Mountains to Sea dlr (Dunlaoighre-Rathdown) Book Festival, prior to which she was the curator of Literature and Performing Arts with the Age and Opportunity Bealtaine Festival.
Liz says what initially interested her about Galway 2020 was the “inclusive approach” of the organisation. “There is a huge generosity of spirit at the heart of Galway 2020 itself. The role of cultural producer will enable me to work with communities throughout the county and city to deliver a wide ranging and colourful programme of events that will make waves that will endure long after Galway 2020.”
Those who are participating in Small Towns Big Ideas will have the support of Liz in the producing and development of their projects. “I will be available to these projects as a creative enabler of people and places. My role at a practical level will be to ensure that everybody is on track with their objectives and timelines, and I will be on hand to ensure that their ambitions are realised. I will also manage the all-important calendar of events for the STBI programme, supporting the work on the ground and ensuring that everyone is ready for ‘all systems go’ in 2020.”
Having worked across diverse artforms and in a range of both rural and urban settings, Liz has a genuine interest in, and passion for, the transformative potential of culture and creativity on people and places. “I have seen so much of this transformative effect first-hand across a variety of contexts throughout my working life. And I really look forward to meeting the Galway communities and assisting them to realise their ambitious plans for their own places.”
Liz’s vision for Galway 2020? “I’d like to see Galway 2020 thoroughly engage with everyone, so that every individual is touched by projects and ideas over the next two years, during 2020 itself and long into the future.”
Liz is one of three cultural producers recently appointed by Galway 2020, with further cultural producer appointments to be made in the coming weeks.
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> Jo Lavelle