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Can you tell us about your role in Galway 2020?
I joined the team at the beginning of January for the second Phase of the Bid. I was given the role of Programme Manager, which involved close analysis of the programme work done to date and how it could be converted from a set of strong ideas into a solid, well-constructed, feasible set of projects of high artistic quality and public appeal. I also had to see where gaps existed in the programme and seek to find concepts, producers and partners to develop relevant projects in those areas, I joined a highly motivated team of cultural workers, project managers, administrators and community development personnel and I think we worked well as a team with collective ambition.
How did you role develop in the lead up to the bid?
It gathered extraordinary momentum as artists, cultural organisations, institutions and communities became more and more involved and supported the programme development. There was never enough time to respond to and work with every idea that emerged and for some organisations, the timescale within which we were working, was just not compatible. However, this was the programme development phase and there is scope to respond to and drive new ideas in the delivery phase over the coming years.
Having spent so many months working so intensely on the project, how did it feel when Galway 2020 won?
Relieved. There was a huge sense of responsibility to the people of Galway within the team, given the amount of support we had been shown from all quarters. On a personal level, I felt immensely proud and satisfied with the work done. Galway is my adopted home for the past 28 years and I suddenly thought, “Perhaps I won’t be considered a blow-in any more!”.
What was the greatest thing that you learnt about Galway and its people throughout the bid process?
That together, we can do anything, as is expressed so eloquently in the extraordinary 360 film made by Paula Kehoe, commissioned by Galway 2020, “…without unity there is no strength”.
What is your vision for 2020?
To show that all who live, work, study, visit and simply pass through Galway can have access to cultural experiences in both an everyday and destination context. That Galway can show the value and impact that culture can have on everyone’s life – particularly those people who think that culture is not for them. That Galway will be the best European Capital of Culture ever!