Ideas for a sustainable future for the arts in Ireland: first blog post in over three years....

June 20, 2020

It has been a truly awful time for so many people in this country, but since COVID-19 started, I have had a LOT of time to think. Like every other musician in the country, in between developing side skills in video editing, recording, baking, bird listening etc.,  I’ve also been having ideas…..LOTS of ideas! 


The COVID - 19 experience has shown us that we live in a fragile artistic eco system relying heavily on live performance to generate income and a degree of stability for artists.


Since live venues shut down, there has been a proliferation of free content online, some of it subsidised by organisations like the Contemporary Music Centre, MusicNetwork and others. 


The musical quality of these performances has been universally high - no surprise there. But there is undeniable inconsistency in the production quality - depending on the level of technical equipment available to the performers. The question of monetization of the content also looms large, as we face an uncertain immediate future for live performance. 


Over the next days and weeks, I'll be adding ideas to this blog. Like everyone else, I am worried about the future - sometimes cripplingly so. But rather than band aid solutions, perhaps this is our opportunity to create a joined up, sustainable, decentralised arts infrastructure for the future.


I am a musician, and conductor, and have lived in the UK (13 years), Berlin (5 years) and now back in Ireland since 2018. But for around eight years of my life, I studied and worked as a structural engineer. The skills of problem solving are hardwired into my brain, so this gives me a slightly different perspective on things. 


If some of this has already been put forward, I beg forgiveness. This is written in the spirit of generating debate and a discussion, and I welcome all feedback, comments, dissenting views, and even complete dismissal of the ideas.


I am, after all, a conductor - a thick skin is an occupational necessity!





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