The marketisation of our creativity

There is nothing as innocent as the process of passion that drags you on the path to whatever you choose to do in life. The excitement of eking out a wage, of convincing yourself that people will want to consume what you produce is common across all occupations.

And no matter what level you progress to, there is always a yearning for those early moments when you did what you did out of pure desire, no matter what profession you are in.

I was thinking of that this week when I heard that Druid are to perform at the Galway International Arts festival this summer, with an innovative production of Beckett’s Endgame. As always with Druid, the sets and prep work and rehearsals will all be held here in the city, giving valuable employment and experience to designers, and mentoring to up and coming on-and off-stage talent.

Soon it will be half a century since Galway had its cultural explosion that brought with it Druid and the festival, though perhaps it would be more appropriate to describe that time being more a firework being ignited that led to so much more.

In the mid 70s, the synergies of the likes of Garry Hynes and Mick Lally and Marie Mullen and Ollie Jennings splattered the first colourful paint on the blank canvas that was the tolerance for the arts and culture in Galway. I am sure that, like all of us who hark back to the innocence of that time, that those surviving members of the aforementioned quartet and their contemporaries would give anything to be back into that pureness of creation again for so many reasons.

Never has so much been achieved by so few people, whose work defined a place and attached to it a label that is now reaping rewards across many genres. I am reminded of it this week when I see the increasing ‘marketisation’ of the arts and culture sector in Galway, and welcome it.

I would have been one of those who bemoaned the missed opportunity that was Galway 2020 as a series of events, but I can see now that it was not entirely wasted; that it too contributed to the growing awareness of the importance of culture and creativity as an entity that is needed for us all.

The association that Galway has with the process of being creative is being recognised across all activities. Both our third level institutions have embraced with gusto the massive potential that exists in the creative industries; last Friday saw ATU officially open its impressive CREW faculty. And the Galway Culture Company has also commenced their mission of bringing together the agencies and stakeholders to draw up a collective creative vision for Galway.

What commenced as innocence and desire in desert boots and geansais five decades ago, may go on to create a raw material at the heart of the prosperity of Galway in this new century. A legacy that will thrive forever.


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