Jen Coppinger, Programming Team, Galway 2020

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As part of a new series, we feature members of the Galway 2020 team, to gain an insight into the work they do, and find out how they feel about winning the European Capital of Culture 2020 bid for Galway.

Joining the Team

“I joined the team in February 2016. At this point the programme was beginning to take shape but needed additional hands to help carry the load. I was asked to concentrate on the performing arts and literary end of the programme and to assist artists and organisations in making their projects viable for the scrutiny of the bid process. February to July has been an extremely busy time for all involved in the bid team. The work has been incredibly exciting, invigorating and challenging. I have loved every second of it”.

“The opportunity to think big and to dream projects that have a long gestation period has been enthralling.”

A Changing Role

“In my 20 odd years working in the arts, I have learned that one’s role always changes – we need to be malleable, adaptable and reactionary. Working on Galway 2020 enabled me to expand my horizons greatly by learning to be more ambitious than ever before. The opportunity to think big and to dream projects that have a long gestation period has been enthralling.”

The Announcement

The announcement day in the National Concert Hall was an outer body experience. Working in The Hub over the last few month gave all of us a window into how much the people of Galway wanted to be the European Capital of Culture in 2020. The public arrived into the office on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis wanting to lend a hand to the bid. We knew how much support and hope was riding on the decision and knowing that I was part of the bid team will forever be a career highlight.

“The pride that Galwegians have for their county, coupled with their sense of place, of culture, of craic is a unique and wonderful thing.”

What I learnt about Galway and its people

The kindness of all the folk I met through each project was overwhelming. Every day that went by, I had a conversation with a city, rural or island dweller that took my breath away. The pride that Galwegians have for their county, coupled with their sense of place, of culture, of craic is a unique and wonderful thing. The people of Galway are also remarkably eager to get involved in culture activities. This has not necessarily been my experience nationally or internationally, so I am excited to see how the community of Galway will get behind 2020 in the same manner that pilot projects have been embraced. We all have a treat in store!

My Vision for 2020

That 2020 will create exciting, fresh and ambitious artists in Galway bringing the Second Wave to international attention. That the people of Galway can participate in projects, can welcome hundreds of thousands of people to their beautiful county and can be proud of the work all audiences will experience.