An Taoiseach and Minister Madigan host inaugural Creative Ireland Forum on Culture, Wellbeing and the Creative Society

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, T.D., together with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Josepha Madigan, T.D., and the EU Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport today, Mr. Tibor Navracsics (Wednesday 13th December) addressed the inaugural Creative Ireland Forum on Culture, Wellbeing and the Creative Society at Dublin Castle.

One year on from the launch of the Creative Ireland Programme, the Forum is an opportunity to share progress on the Programme to date and to draw inspiration from leading thinkers, policy makers and practitioners across the arts, education, health,  heritage, enterprise and wellbeing sectors. Culture, Wellbeing and the Creative Society will focus on three broad policy areas:

  • The role of creativity and culture in health and wellbeing
  • The critical importance of cultural and creative education
  • The contribution of arts, culture and the creative industries

The Forum will begin with a keynote address by An Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar T.D., with contributions from Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Ms Josepha Madigan, T.D., and the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Mr Tibor Navracsics who will officially launch the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Ireland.

Underpinning Creative Ireland as an all-of-Government initiative, guest speakers on the day include Richard Bruton, T.D., Minister for Education and Skills; Simon Harris, T.D., Minister for Health and Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  They will be joined throughout the day by panelists including Professor Brian MacCraith, President Dublin City University; Dan Colley, Director, Collapsing Horse Theatre Company; Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director of Health and Wellbeing, HSE; Dominic Campbell, Creative Ageing International, Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, Grafton Architects and Curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale; Paul Young, Founder, Cartoon Saloon and Joseph Walsh, sculptor and furniture maker..

Speaking at the Forum today, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D., said: “Some people see culture as an escape from the problems of the world, but I see it as part of the solution. It helps us understand who we are – and where we came from – and allows us to imagine a better future. The Government wants to encourage creativity at every stage of life. Just last week, we launched Creative Youth, which aims to ensure that our children are given the chance to explore and fulfill their creative potential because we know it boosts their sense of wellbeing. Today’s conference will look at how engaging in culture is good for our health and will also discuss the major contribution made by our creative industries. Ireland’s reputation as a hub of cultural activity can never be taken for granted; through Creative Ireland the Irish Government is making a strong statement that we value culture and creativity as an essential part of public life.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Josepha Madigan, T.D., added: “Today’s Forum represents a fantastic opportunity for me as a new Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to really see first-hand how the Creative Ireland Programme  has impacted  over the last year and where it can make a difference as we bring the Programme forward into its second year and beyond. At its core, however, Creative Ireland is a wellbeing strategy. It aims to improve access to and participation in cultural and creative activity in every county across the country – an ambitious undertaking but that is what we need.  Creative Ireland puts culture and creativity at the centre of public policy and I hope that at this Forum today we can explore together the opportunities to bring more creativity into all of our public policies and really put those words into concrete, tangible actions.  I am looking forward to hearing the ideas and experiences of you the audience, practitioners, artists, specialists, educationalists and all the other people represented here today.  This will help us build on the success to date and also plan for the future of the Creative Ireland Programme.”

Launching the European Year of Cultural Heritage for Ireland in 2018, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Mr Tibor Navracsics said: “I am delighted to be in Dublin at the Creative Ireland Forum, and to have this opportunity to launch the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Ireland. This is particularly relevant as the EU has been a cultural project since its very conception, and culture and inspiring creativity remains at its heart.  I truly believe that cultural heritage is the most valuable European resource that we have inherited from the past, which can and must help us build the Europe of the future.  This is my key message for the European Year of Cultural Heritage and I am particularly keen on creating a bridge from the past to the future by focusing on future generations – children and young people. Developing children’s curiosity about their roots will be the greatest challenge for the Year, but it will also be its most important legacy.” 

Culture, Wellbeing and Creative Society will be live streamed on the Creative Ireland Facebook Page.  https://www.facebook.com/CreativeIrl/

Full details of the Forum schedule are available at creative.ireland.ie #creativeforum

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