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Waterford for Three Sisters 2020

Re-imagining Our Region ambition cothĂş

kinship

flourishing

adventure

wellbeing

openness


“This is a wonderful project, Anna Livia Plurabelle would have been delighted at the notion of her Three Sisters riverrunning together into the European Capital of Culture.” John Banville, Internationally known Booker Prize winning Irish novelist

SHORT-LISTED CITY – EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE


Contents Introduction / 3

chapter 1

Our Long Term Strategy /9

Our Programme Concept / 10 Our Approach to Evaluation: Meta and Micro / 17

chapter 2

chapter 3

Our European Dimension / 20 Cultural and Artistic Content / 25

—Ambition Uaillmhian / 33 —Kinship Dáimh / 40 —Flourishing Flúirse / 44 —Openness Fuascailt / 51 —Adventure Aistear / 56 —Arts, Health and Wellbeing Sláinte / 60 —Creative Region Cothú / 65 chapter 4

Capacity to Deliver / 73

chapter 5

How we Outreach / 78

chapter 6

Our Approach to Management / 82

Our Organisational and Delivery Structure / 89 Contingency Planning / 92 Marketing and Communications / 95 Closing Words / 99


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION


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in tr odu cti on

Welcome to the Three Sisters Re-imagining our region

Fáilte go dtí An Triúr Deirfiúr – An Bhearú, An Fheoir agus An tSiúir – aibhneacha a iompraíonn leo cuimhní faoi theacht na Lochlannach agus na Normánnach, ag tabhairt fuinnimh dos na céadta blianta de thalmhaíocht, d’iascaireacht agus de ghrúdaireacht, de scríbhneoireacht agus de cheol, de theanga agus den gceardaíocht. Aibhneacha a cheanglaíonn pobal Oir-dheiscirt na hÉireann leis an Eoraip agus níos faide i gcéin, fiú amháin, le stair agus todhchaí chomónta. Fáilte go dtí Port Láirge, Loch Garman agus Cill Chainnigh; na cathracha, na contaetha agus na pobail atá snaidhmthe le chéile ag na haibhneacha seo, agus atá tar éis teacht le chéile anois mar chumar fuinnimh, in iarracht a bheith mar Phríomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa, 2020. Fáilte go dtí ár réigiún Eorpach – ionad d’áiteanna atá ar thóraíocht ról faoi leith in aois seo na géarchéime gheilleagraí, maraon le mór-athrú cultúrtha agus teicneolaíochta. Fáilte go dtí Eoraip an lae amáraigh – áit ina mbeimid ag comhoibriú ar mhaithe le nuálaíocht, agus ar mhaithe lenár n-acmhainní, ár gcaipitil, ár ndóchas agus ár mbrionglóidí a roinnt, chun go mbeidh ár gcultúr mar bhun-acmhainn do thodhchaí atá táirgiúil, cuimsitheach agus inbhuanaithe.

Welcome to the Three Sisters – the rivers of the Barrow, the Nore and the Suir – carrying memories of Viking and Norman arrival, energising centuries of agriculture & brewing, fishing, writing & music, language & craft, and connecting the communities of South East Ireland to Europe and beyond with a shared history and future. Welcome to Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny, the cities, counties and communities connected by these rivers, coming together as a confluence of energy to win the privilege of hosting the European Capital of Culture in 2020. Welcome to our European region – a place of places, struggling to find a role in an era of economic crisis and profound cultural and technological change. Welcome to the Europe of tomorrow – where we collaborate to innovate, sharing our resources, capital, hopes and dreams and positioning culture as our key resource for a productive, inclusive and sustainable future.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q1: Why does your city wish to take part in the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture? Why we are presenting our bid

Our vision

Europe is changing. As we emerge from the financial crisis, historic certainties are being progressively disrupted. The 20th century saw a Europe built through the industrial power and cultural might of major cities – those hubs of trade, knowledge and innovation which attracted talent, generated capital and dominated the discourse of European identity. Yet the 21st century is already proving to be different. Digital technology and improved transport connections, coupled with the growing pressures of big city living are opening up the possibility of smaller cities and relatively rural regions as places to achieve a progressive work and life balance. At the same time, smaller cities and their surrounding countryside are finding their cultural voice and seeking themselves to play a leadership role in reshaping Europe at a time when the very values that informed the European Union are being questioned. From embracing new technologies to diversify their economies to welcoming refugees and other new Europeans to build communities of sanctuary, tolerance and hope, it is often Europe’s smaller cities and notionally ‘peripheral’ regions which are demonstrating an enlightened and passionate approach. Waterford for the Three Sisters is a new model for culture-led change in a relatively rural region which is geographically to the edge of Europe today and yet to the heart of the Europe of tomorrow. It is based on a unique partnership between three historically competing counties (Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny) in South East Ireland. Like many other regions across Europe without a dominant urban centre (it is made up of three smaller cities and multiple small towns and villages), the Three Sisters is struggling to find a voice and to establish a sustainable approach to economic, social and cultural development. Our bid offers a strategic opportunity, to share capacity and resources to build a sustainable European region and enable our smaller cities to forge a new productive culture-led role. By bringing our three local authorities together to explore, plan for and invest in culture-led solutions to place, community, social and economic development, we can together re-imagine the European region. Our ambition is to be an example to Europe and to inspire other small regions to work together through Culture to transform their future.

Three Sisters European Capital of Culture 2020 focuses our collective ambition to deliver innovative and sustainable cultureled regional development, which embraces the cooperative, collaborative and creative potential of our urban and rural areas, enhancing the lives of our citizens, celebrating our shared European heritage, and transforming the potential of our region. The Three Sisters, European Capital of Culture 2020 will enable us to: -- Pioneer a new model of culture-led regional partnership and investment that connects urban and rural areas, establish shared approaches to development -- Develop a sustainable cultural economy built on collaboration and co-creation. -- Shape new ways of working which enable culture-led solutions to health and wellbeing issues -- Strengthen our collective sense of place, reanimate citizen engagement and enable new types of cultural activity -- Facilitate a Europe-wide participative agenda which, through culture, critically re-imagines what we mean by ‘growth’, ‘competitiveness’ and ‘productivity’ in regions outside a metropolitan core -- Explore how non-metropolitan regions across Europe can provide sanctuary, opportunity and community for those who have been marginalized, threatened and displaced from their homelands.

We Need it We Want It We Can Deliver It


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We Need It Like many other semi-rural regions across Europe, we are under performing in areas such as educational attainment, disposable income, health and well-being and inward investment. We know we need a catalyst for change, and we believe European Capital of Culture can be that catalyst. We know that this culture-led legacy focused action will enable the region to reach its full potential, focusing on our collective capability towards a more sustainable future for the people of our region. Our Regional Cultural Strategy – completed since our initial Bid at the preselection phase – sets out a new agenda based on sharing resources, coordinating programming and positioning culture as mission critical for our wider social and economic development and exploring how culture can deliver a sustainable future for our non-metropolitan region.

We Want It Our bid is a collaboration between our citizens, cultural sector and local government. Without a shared appetite across the Three Sisters, this Bid would not have been developed. Moreover, our Regional Cultural Strategy – which underpins it – would not have the shared commitment it requires for delivery. As evidenced through our consultation and engagement process, our want is based on a desire to develop a region to be where culture is valued, where it is at the heart of what we do and how we plan, where those who work within the cultural and creative industries can make a sustainable living from their chosen career, and where all our citizens and visitors are engaged, inspired and included. Hosting the European Capital of Culture 2020 creates an impetus to drive our culture-led change agenda. But we are not alone: by working with partners across Europe in cities and regions like ours, we can together re-imagine a Europe of culture.

Without a shared appetite across the Three Sisters, this Bid would not have been developed...

We Can Deliver It Putting culture to the heart of the city and regional agenda is not an easy thing to achieve; and demonstrating the value of culture across multiple strategic priorities even less so. But in the Three Sisters, we have come to recognise that without a committed and radical approach to strategy, partnership and investment with culture at its heart, we will continue to struggle: for voice, confidence and purpose. Our bid to be European Capital of Culture 2020 comes from a genuine change process which is part informed by structural and existential crisis and part by a belief that smaller cities and regions do not need to be left behind and that we can contribute to a prosperous and culturally engaged Europe. That we can deliver it. Strong leadership has been shown across the three cities and counties of the Three Sisters - at the top level of our local Government; politicians, executives and agencies. In addition, our significant cultural players and organisations have worked alongside us in mobilising support and developing a programme which we are confident we can deliver. Our commitment is also evident in our allocation of a substantive budget to support the development and delivery of the European Capital of Culture year in 2020. These are budgets which can only be leveraged by smaller cities and counties working together. We have designed a robust framework for the delivery of the programme which will ensure that all elements

of planning, development delivery and legacy are carefully managed. While we appreciate that significant developments are required within the region in advance of 2020, we have a portfolio of project and programme elements which have already commenced in preparation for a successful outcome from the bid process. This includes our programme of demonstration projects – recently commissioned pilots, R&D activities, symposia, hubs and networks which, once tested will be scaled up as we build toward 2020. This commitment shows our determination not only to win the title and to spend the next four years transforming how we will work together to create a sustainable legacy for the region beyond 2020. It also demonstrates our commitment to collaborating across Europe and in doing so re-imagining a Europe where smaller cities and regions are actively delivering change rather than simply responding to it.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

figure 1 Demonstration project: Mapping Cultural current connections in the region to create a road map for new services and collaborations.

nections european business con

europea

euro

n educa tion

pean

c u lt

ural

connect

conn

ectio

ions

ns

Creative Industries Librarys Museums Sports Music Arts Community Europe Cultural Europe Business Europe Education

q2: Does your city plan to involve its surrounding area? Explain this choice. The Three Sisters is a region being (re)made and (re)imagined in South East Ireland. Our bid is led by the city of Waterford as candidate city on behalf of the cities and counties of Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford. Our regional approach is a new, ambitious model of public policy and partnership which recognises the limitations in capacity of smaller cities and of that administrative boundaries are technical rather than cultural constructs. In short, by working across this new region through culture, our working principle is that we are better together. Our bid connects rural and urban, puts cross-boundary sharing and cross-sectoral development to the heart of planning, and positions culture as a driver of social and economic change.

1

Cumar is the Irish word for confluence – coming together.

2

Waterford Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Carlow – Wexford Campus and the National University of Ireland (Maynooth) Kilkenny Campus.

q3: Explain the cultural profile of your city. The Three Sisters culture is in motion, drawing from many voices across a diverse social and political landscape and shaped by a collective memory of the land and sea, arrivals and departures, urban and rural. Thesegenerate a rich and evocative sense of place and allow for a diversity of types of practice, of ways of seeing and doing; while flowing together as a cumar1 (confluence) to create cities and a region of culture. Our culture is also shaped by traditional and contemporary song and dance; of mass participation – from high quality large-scale international programmes to multiple smaller scale and community-run activities in the towns and villages of the region; and by creating and making – in craft, visual arts and literature. Heritage trails, cycle-ways and river banks generate their own lattice of cultural pathways throughout the region, bringing us together. But like any siblings the Three Sisters also have their differences and each city has its own distinct cultural backdrop - Kilkenny boasts its Medieval Mile, Waterford its celebrated Viking Triangle and Wexford its strong Norman heritage. Evocative, artistic voices which are recognisably of Ireland’s South East include internationally renowned writers John Banville, Colm Tóibín, Claire Keegan and Eoin Colfer; artists Michael Warren and Paddy Lennon, ceramicist Nicholas Mosse, digital pioneers Cartoon Saloon, glass sculptor Fred Curtis, designers Rudolf Heltzel and Bláithín Ennis examples of the wealth of creative talent in the region.

49 23 12 13 2 4 63 66 3 1


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We are a region of small-scale cultural organisations and micro creative businesses, reflecting distributed populations and people marrying quality of life with economic and creative sustainability. Our emergent digital sector is found across the region from town centres to rural villages and enhanced by creative interventions in public spaces. It is particularly visible in the cluster of micro creative enterprises in the Fumbally Exchange co-working space in Waterford and craft clusters in Kilkenny and Wexford. The students and faculty of our three major third-level colleges provide a diverse, engaged audience for arts practice through their curricula2. Design and crafts are particularly strong across the Three Sisters notably in glass, jewellery and ceramics. Kilkenny is the national hub for craft and design, home to the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and the National Craft Gallery. The city still enjoys the legacy of the 1960s Kilkenny Design Workshops and has built an international reputation for jewellery-making and ceramics form this international collaboration. Waterford’s long association with glass dates back from 1783 through the Waterford Crystal brand to micro-enterprises in glass design and production in the city and county today. A national inter-agency approach to reposition the city as an International Centre for Glass Design and Making has already produced a framework model for development and which will be progressed as an element of our ECoC programme. The region is also a pioneer for arts and health with a track record of long-term partnership and programming in hospitals, care settings, community spaces and in the home, specifically through the Waterford Healing Arts Trust and in arts and disability with the nationally acclaimed model Arts Ability in Wexford and K-Cat (Kilkenny Collective for Arts Talent). We are a region of festivals. Each city hosts at least one annual festival of international significance. The flagship festivals in the region are Waterford Spraoi International Street Arts Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Kilkennomics and the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival and our regional food festivals. By their nature festivals bring people together as engines for expression and connectivity. Inspired by the arts, food, rural life, craft, community, sport and culture and heritage, they are platforms for connecting people and ideas and create a destination focus for national and international visitors. These along with other festivals in the region have the creativity, skills and organisational capacity to help develop and connect events, programming and resources on a regional scale. The National Opera House is the major cultural draw in Wexford – a facility and organisation of genuine excellence. It is home to the annual and internationally renowned Wexford Festival Opera - Ireland’s leading opera event by a distance. The festival attracts international and domestic audiences annually to its presentation of lesser-known operatic repertoire. Theatre and performing arts – including real strengths in street arts – are a particular feature of the region’s culture, borne of communities of practice, where amateur activities in rural and urban areas have generated international excellence. Visual arts are well-represented with the Butler Gallery, Lismore Castle and VISUAL3 (in nearby Carlow) of particular international significance. A recent innovative cross-art form collaboration; ‘Song of the Sea’ features the Oscar-nominated Cartoon Saloon in partnership with the Butler Gallery. Wexford Arts Centre blends voluntary and professional activity and

strong international cultural partnerships and together with Blackstack Print Studio and ArtLinks (artists’ regional supports programme), embrace the region’s tradition of grassroots activity and cooperation. Our cultural heritage is the bedrock of our region, from our sport, language, musical traditions, through to our landscape and built heritage. Sport is a particularly important element of this heritage. The Three Sisters is the cradle of hurling – Ireland’s oldest field sport and together with Gaelic football is celebrated in every community. Both have a hugely passionate fan base and an unparalleled network of voluntary and community activity, which proves a major cultural asset for the Three Sisters. Our language is part of our cultural heartbeat. ‘Gaeltacht na nDéise’ in Waterford is one of seven Irish-speaking areas in Ireland where our native language is still spoken as a living, community language and where our linguistic heritage and its importance are proudly and passionately promoted. The culture of language is celebrated publicly through festivals, events and activities with other Celtic minority language speakers in Wales and Scotland, in particular through exchanges, cultural visits and artistic collaborations and through programmes with recent migrant communities from across Europe. Our language is also changing: the Three Sisters is a microcosm of the process of cultural and demographic change across Europe. Waterford is designated as Place of Sanctuary~Waterford4. We, like other European regions, are experiencing quite profound social and cultural change as new arrivals, as they always have, are changing who we are and how we see ourselves. There is much to be done to improve our capacity for hospitality, to enhance intercultural dialogue, and to not only accommodate new arrivals but to embrace their potential as contributors to our cultural and economic life. As a region of smaller cities and rural areas, our role in engaging the full diversity of our communities and talent base could play a meaningful leadership role for regions like us across Europe.

3

VISUAL is a partner to the Three Sisters and is playing an active role in programme development and delivery.

4

City of Sanctuary began as a movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK, and has spread now to Ireland. Waterford prefers to be known as Place of Sanctuary – Waterford. Its aim is to make Waterford become a place of welcome safety, security, and respect for all who visit and live in the county regardless of colour, race, religious, or social status.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

ta b l e 1

Our Region —Key Facts economy

68.8%

37 k

education

GVA per person against the national average. We are still in recovery from the financial crisis of 2008. The number of unemployed people in the region – well over the 19% national average.

WIT ITC NUI

We are home to Waterford Institute of Technology, the Institute of Technology Carlow (Wexford campus) and the National University of Ireland (Kilkenny Campus), third level colleges with specialisms in humanities, research, innovation, technology, creativity and regional development.

23%

The average decline of numbers employed in each business sector during the recession.

90

23%

The percentage of micro-businesses in Waterford alone which are micro-enterprises, accounting for 23% of employment.

average school dropout rate com11.3% The pared to national average of 9.9%.

%

The percentage of people in the region with a third-level qualification, compared to a national average of 29%.

Talent retention in the region is cited as a key development concern, with the lack of jobs and low levels of entrepreneurship common issues.

We struggle to retain talent and attract inward investment – as our industries restructure and the Irish economy continues to struggle. creative and cultural industries

health and well-being

1,700

Below National Average

The number of creative industries identified in the region by our regional mapping project, commissioned for the Three Sisters 2020 bid.

Clusters in glass, ceramics, artisan foods KEY FEATURES are features of the region. A range of interagency approaches for culture-led development have already commenced in the region and will be delivered through our new Regional Cultural Strategy.

number of people in Waterford who 15,600+ The have a disability: 14% of the population.

33%

Homelessness is increasing – tripling in Kilkenny in less than 3 years, with close to 200 people in this position.

354k

LESS

Tourism, while growing, in the region is

SPEND DECLINE

While visitor numbers are up, their % spend in the region has declined on 2013 figures

€143m

Revenue delivered to the local economy by the 744,000 overseas visitors to the region in 20145.

10%

€198m

Revenue delivered to the local economy by the 922,000 domestic tourism trips in the same year.

1,700+

currently under-leveraged and contributes less to our economy than other Irish regions.

A priority across the region is to improve the region as a destination and increase overnight stays.

5

The percentage of people with a disability in employment in Kilkenny, compared to 63% of persons without a disability.

population

tourism CONTRIBUTES

Most health indicators are slightly below the national average with marked disparities across the region.

Failte Ireland Regional Tourism Facts 2014; revised 2016. 2015 regional statistics are not available at this time.

34k

The total population in the Three Sisters Region. Waterford: 113,795, Kilkenny: 95,419 and Wexford: 145,320 people respectively (2011 Census). The number of non-Irish nationals living in the region – we are an increasingly intercultural region. The percentage of non-Irish nationals in the population of Waterford (12% in Kilkenny). Almost 10,000 people speak a foreign language as their first language. The number of Irish language speakers living in the Gaeltacht region in Waterford County.


chapter one

Our Long Term Strategy


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q4: Explain the concept of the programme which would be launched if the city is designated as European Capital of Culture. o u r programme concept

The primary theme is Re-imagining the European Region: Culture, Community & Sustainability beyond the urban. Our two connecting themes are: Cumar (confluence) and Arrivals. primary theme

Re-imagining the European Region: Culture, Community & Sustainability beyond the urban

connecting theme 1

connecting theme 2

Cumar

Arrivals

(Confluence)

(as a region past, present and future)

Ours is not a programme of grand gestures and spectacular crowd events, although we will have our moments; nor is it a European Capital of Culture where legacy means new buildings (aside from regeneration projects which will live and breathe culture). We believe that small is beautiful too and when multiple smaller acts are connected, we can achieve much bigger things. As responsible custodians for culture in a Europe of smaller cities and regions, we want to build a programme of activities which are sensitive to scale, and which enable our cultural sector to grow sustainably rather than burn bright and fade away. Our major events will have an intimacy which reflect our sense of identity and place and which will give us and regions like us an opportunity to plan responsibly and build a long-term future with culture to the helm. The Three Sisters is a programme where many interconnected small acts combine to generate a cultural region which is integrated, sustainable and vital to our economic prosperity, social vitality, health and wellbeing. This, we feel, is a realistic and relevant approach for regions like us across Europe: each struggling to find a voice, shape a new role, and build a progressive future.

...we want our European Capital of Culture to be one of fairness, openness, and collaboration, built through Cumar. Arrivals is a state of mind, a way of seeing and doing and a metaphor for openness, relevance, innovation and creativity.


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Cumar (Confluence) For our first Connecting Theme, we want our European Capital of Culture to be one of fairness, openness, and collaboration, built through Cumar. This is a vital part of our sense of community and place across the Three Sisters, which have been shaped by different cultures, identities and activities coming together. Shared approaches have been developed over time from how we produce and distribute our dairy produce to how we participate in sport and culture. Yet there are missing links, untold stories, and a genuine crisis of confidence for us and regions like us across Europe. In recent decades across the Three Sisters and Europe, our collective sense of purpose and place has been eroded, with the financial crisis bringing us to question the strength of our shared identities, the boundaries of our communities and thus our place in a wider Europe.

Arrivals We want to diversify and disrupt the notion of arrivals for European Capital of Culture 2020. Arrivals is a state of mind, a way of seeing and doing and a metaphor for openness, relevance, innovation and creativity. We want to demonstrate how in Europe the non-metropolitan, polycentric, relatively rural region, has arrived. As a region of arrivals, the Three Sisters will become a hub and conduit for new ideas based on new relationships that connect the local to the global: a place where the best ideas internationally coalesce with the best ideas locally to achieve great cultural programming, boundary-crossing creative businesses and an enlightened political class. It is a place where imagination thrives and where creative talent can be fulfilled. It is a place to come to (to live, work, create) rather than leave. Too often, the story of Ireland is one of departure: particularly of talent and culture. This certainly bears some truth – we are an island nation, our history is shaped almost as much by what the Irish Diaspora has achieved abroad as what is achieved at home. But this is only half of the story. It is also much more central to identities on the west coast than on the east. In the Three Sisters, our story is one of arrivals: -- It was on our coast and up our rivers that the first immigrants to Ireland arrived 9,000 years ago. These hunter-gatherers, followed several centuries later by metal-workers enticed by the deposits on our ‘Copper Coast’, were the original settlers and it was through the Three Sisters they discovered the rest of the country. -- It was on the same coast that the Celts, Vikings and Normans arrived. Each arrival re-shaping our culture and landscape. It was these arrivals which urbanised the population, adapting mainland European models of urban markets and garrisons. They also introduced religion and the types of social order and legal structure this requires.

In the Three Sisters, we want to amplify the distinct identities, aspirations and stories that make up a contemporary region bringing together historically separated art forms and processes. We will commission work that links our everyday cultural sensibility to those of our peers in non-metropolitan regions of Europe, our families across the world, our twinned towns and cities, exploring shared identities and how cumar transcends notions of place and nation. We will commission new convergent art forms which connect different identities, technologies and approaches. We will explore how Europe-wide movement of refugees and economic migrants offers hope for these new settlers and for Europe as a whole. We will critically re-visit the heritage of the region to ensure the voices of women are heard and their role in nurturing communities and stimulating social and economic life imaginatively described and presented. We will explore emergent forms of cumar in the cultural sector and champion it as a vital element in welcoming people to our region – as visitors, collaborators and the new Irish and European.

-- For century after century, the Three Sisters have welcomed or attempted to rebuff arrivals from across Europe – with Celts from Iberia, Brittany and Wales; British colonialists; and in the last fifty years significant numbers of tourists, economic migrants, gentrifying ‘down-from-Dubliners’ and British, and refugees. Our population is growing year on year – in part through arrivals of the new Irish (of economic and cultural migrants, refugees and returnees) and in part through a relatively young population (the average age in Waterford is 36 years old). Together, with Europe, we are embracing the opportunities borne of the intercultural region while grappling with the challenges of maintaining cohesion and nurturing tolerance. -- We are a region where the arrival and passing of the seasons plays a huge role in how we live and who we are, just as it does in relatively rural regions across Europe where agriculture remains a major industry and where many of our ancestors made their livelihood from the land. This influences everything from the sporting and cultural calendar to the renaissance of the artisanal brewing industry in Wexford. It also gives us a ready-made structure for our cultural programme which will resonate locally and across Europe. -- We are a region where the agendas, challenges and opportunities of Europe are arriving and converging to shape our agenda for 2020 and beyond. A region without a big city, a region which is struggling to manage economic and social change, and a region which is finding new solutions to progressively shape its future; is a region of Europe. As ECoC 2020, we will adopt Europe’s issues as our own and we will show how, with a culture-led approach, Europe can be a better place and regions like the Three Sisters have a future.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q5: Describe the cultural strategy that is in place in your city at the time of the application, as well as the city’s plans to strengthen the capacity of the cultural and creative sectors, including through the development of long term links between these sectors and the economic and social sectors in your city. What are the plans for sustaining the cultural activities beyond the year of the title? Our new Regional Cultural Strategy (2016-2025) - ‘Better Together’, is a key element of our development towards hosting the European Capital of Culture in 2020. It provides a first step in our culture-led regional development process. It represents the ambition and aspirations of the combined partner counties. It highlights the region’s commitment to working together. It speaks to a regional agenda within a wider European context. It shows the commitment of the partners to leading transformational change. Our strategic Vision for culture as outlined in our strategy is:

A region where culture is valued and resourced to improve the lives, opportunities and prospects for all who live, work and visit the Three Sisters. This vision is further supported by our Mission - to transform The Three Sisters region through culture-led partnership and investment to enhance the lives of our citizens by: -- Promoting and supporting sustainable cultural development across the region -- Investing in the expression of and engagement with culture and creativity through our people, places and programmes; -- Working with local, national and international partners to develop our cultural capacity and potential for collaboration -- Creating opportunities for cultural practitioners to fulfil their potential

Our strategy focuses on four core areas for our culture-led regional development which will enable us to achieve significant and sustainable impact and legacy beyond 2020 (See Pillars below). These strategic priority areas are replicated as the pillars on which our ECoC cultural programme is built. Our Regional Cultural Strategy will be championed by the Three Sisters 2020 Culture Company which will lead the implementation of our culture-led development and assist the establishment of long term links between the cultural sector and the economic and social sectors in our region. Implementation of the strategy will support planning, development and delivery of the ECoC programme. We will strengthen the capacity of our cultural and creative sectors through our strategy by: -- Adopting cross-sectoral, cross-agency and cross-disciplinary work practices to enhance regional cooperation; developing of new investment models to support innovation, entrepreneurship and R&D and establishing new centres of excellence for the smart, creative rural economy. -- Leveraging regional expertise to respond to funding calls from the European Commission and other funding programmes for culture and working with the Arts Council’s Investment Strategy towards a multi-annual funding model for effective long-term planning for culture in our region. -- Facilitating co-creation and shared resourcing for festival programming and establishing mechanisms for co-production and touring and the promotion of our intangible cultural and linguistic heritage. -- Benchmarking all programmes and projects against international standards/models of best practice in cultural planning and commissioning research to measure the spillover effects of the cultural sector into the wider economy. -- Enhancing transnational partnerships for artistic and creative collaborations, enterprise development, shared learning and exchange, and expertise in digital technology approaches to cultural programming. -- Embracing the opportunity presented by the European Capital of Culture to promote the Three Sisters region to a global audience.

Pillar 1

Regional Model for Partnership – building capacity, exchange and growing our festivals

Pillar 2

Creative and Cultural Economy – growing and diversifying our creative industries and driving innovation and competitiveness across the economy

Pillar 3

Culture-Led Social Development - focused on health, wellbeing, tolerance ad cohesion

Pillar 4

Urban and Rural Regeneration – focused on enhancing and connecting our distinctive places


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Development of our long-term, cross-sectoral links will be achieved through the establishment of the Three Sisters Culture Company which will work alongside economic, tourism, social and community, education, planning and development structures across the region, embedding culture in future strategy documents and services and effectively planning for inclusive cultural programming which embraces cultural diversity. Working with our agency and educational partners we will develop capacity-building programmes and regional networking opportunities to support cultural development, R&D to deliver sustainability for micro-businesses and transform traditional creative sectors into high value innovators and measure the outputs of demonstration projects initiated by the ECoC bid. Our regional approach also enables greater traction with our national tourism partners, positioning the region to a global audience as a ‘region of culture’ as part of the national tourism proposition for the South and East of Ireland - Ireland’s Ancient East.

Plans for sustaining the cultural activities beyond the year of the title Our new Regional Cultural Strategy is inherently connected with the Three Sisters bid underpinning, reflecting and supporting the bid programme. It provides an over-arching framework which will embed the cultural agenda into sustainable regional development through the European Capital of Culture year and over the period of the strategy itself to 2025. The establishment of the Three Sisters 2020 Culture Company will ensure that culture is at the heart of ongoing planning and development for the region. The work towards delivery of the European Capital of Culture year will be ramped up to deliver a significant programme of events, many of which have both core areas and ancillary satellite programming which will continue to be delivered beyond 2020. By working together in new ways, with European Capital of Culture enabling us to collaborate more fully across Europe, we can transform the way culture is produced, enjoyed and shared in our region.

q6: How is the European Capital of Culture action included in this strategy? The European Capital of Culture programme was the driving force for the initial development of our Regional Cultural Strategy. It provided the catalyst for the journey which the Three Sisters has embarked upon in delivering a culture-led partnership model which highlight the richness and diversity of our small and increasingly multicultural region and will have a sustainable impact on our long-term development. The challenges we face in delivering this approach mirrors challenges faced by other small non-metropolitan regions across Europe. Our response to the action of the ECoC has multiple elements. Our region’s cultural development path as outlined in our cultural strategy positions culture at the heart of all decision-making, recognising its contribution to the long-term development and prosperity of our cities and wider region and ensuring sustainable resourcing, development, programming and planning for culture into the future. Our strategy will safeguard and promote cultural diversity and interconnectivity through the development of our cultural services, capacity building of our cultural players, cross-sectoral development and increasing our sense of belonging as European’s through our ECoC programme, which explores notions of European-ness as a peripheral region of an island nation. Through it we are developing new models for working which will increase our citizens’ awareness and understanding of our shared European heritage, the appeal of the region to a global audience and positioning it as a region of culture, innovation and enterprise. Ours is an approach which will enhance existing transnational partnerships (and develop new ones) to share learning and exchange, artistic and creative collaborations, an increase in reciprocal international touring opportunities - promoting a greater mutual understanding between European citizens, creatives and communities, and expanding the range and diversity of cultural activities in the region. The method adopted in citizens' developing our strategy itself responds to the ECoC action by increasing our common cultural area. The establishment of the Three Sisters Culture Company which will be put in place during 2016 will ensure that culture is at the heart of ongoing planning and development for the region. The work towards delivery of the European Capital of Culture year will be ramped up to deliver a significant programme of events, many of which have both core areas and ancillary satellite programming which will continue to be delivered beyond 2020. By working together in new ways, with European Capital of Culture enabling us to collaborate across Europe, we can transform the way culture is produced, enjoyed and shared in our region. It will give the South East of Ireland an active, engaged and high-quality cultural future through the delivery of new tools, approaches, programming content and experiences which will in turn be shared with other European regions struggling to make the most of their cultural potential.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

To demonstrate how our Regional Cultural Strategy and Three Sisters Programme are aligned and integrated as part of the same development process, we have commissioned a €90,000 programme of six demonstration projects. These are to initiate tangible actions which build capacity, enhance collaboration and build the research and evidence base. With each project having at least one European partner, they also demonstrate our capacity to deliver our engagement with a wider European agenda, show the seriousness of our plans, and enable us to grow our cultural sector through collaboration in the lead up to 2020 rather than relying on one year for the transformations we all yearn.

ta b l e 2

Our demonstration projects are featured in brief below and reflected on throughout this Bid

Building our digital capacity - eDIGIREGION eDIGIREGION is an ongoing collaborative project that brings together four research-driven clusters in the European regions of South East Ireland, Central Hungary, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain and Bucharest-Ilfov, Romania. The aim of eDIGIREGION is to plan, design and implement an ecosystem of research, innovation, creativity and commercialisation that supports the implementation of the EU Digital Agenda in each region. As we build toward 2020, it will be expanded to include new European partners and will be a connector to our activities across the cultural and creative industries and as we seek to build digital capacity across the cultural sector.

Re-imagining the European Region – Three Sisters Mapping Project The Three Sisters Mapping Project is an interactive ‘pyschogeographical’ mapping project to reveal patterns and connections between cultural organisations across the Three Sisters Region and Europe; create a coherent image of the hard and soft connections within the region; and to highlight connections and patterns which traverse the usual boundaries of identity and place. It has worked as an R&D activity to scope the real and imagined boundaries of identity and place and to explore how we can maximise existing and emergent connections within the region and across Europe.

Cultural cooperation – the Three Sisters Experiment This project trialled an audience exchange activity where three participating venues (National Opera House, Wexford, Theatre Royal, Waterford, and Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny) brought 50 of their core audience to theatre performance in each of the other venues. This is a prototype for culture-led rural mobility and joined-up approaches to audience development and programming.

Age and Space: Collaborative Design Workshops This project mobilised people to participate and influence their environment through collaborative design processes. This involved: Youth Urban Space Workshops – a collaborative design and build workshop to activate public space for young people in Callan (a small rural town); and Nimble Spaces - an enabling design pro¬cess that supported adults with a disability to work creatively with artists and architects through design collaborations and workshops.

Active Participation for the Three Sisters Generation – The Young Folk Is a collaborative project tailored for young people (Transition Year students across the region). Working together in a process of creative engagement through technichal workshops, the programme will culminate in a live show produced by the participants. It has created a network of young people interested in music and stage production within our region, trained in the technical aspects of production and performance and presenting opportunities for creative careers for these young people by 2020.

Toward a Festival of Festivals – Morbid and Sons Kilkenny Arts Festival, Wexford Festival Opera and Waterford Spraoi Festival are working together for the first time, combing their skills in opera, arts and street spectacle to co-create Morbid and Sons, a new generation of Irish street arts performance incorporating music. This includes active partnership links with festivals in the UK, France and Spain. It is the foundation of a new co-operation model for festivals across the region (our ‘Festival of Festivals’) which will create ambitious work in 2020. The project nurtures new ideas, developing cross-region capacity and cooperation which will open up future opportunities for more extensive partnership activities across the region over time.


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q7: If your city is awarded the title of European Capital of Culture, what do you think would be the long-term cultural, social and economic impact on the city (including in terms of urban development). In the Three Sisters our goal is to re-imagine the European region where both urban and rural renewal will form part of the legacy from the development path to and hosting of the European Capital of Culture in 2020. The opportunity presented to the region will deliver multiple long-term benefits which will be sustained through the concurrent implementation of our Regional Cultural Strategy and the ongoing development of a partnership approach across different sectoral areas. We anticipate that the outcomes beyond 2020 from our hosting of the European Capital of Culture will include: tab le 3 area for development

pillar 1

1 Regional Model for Partnership The Three Sisters 2020 presents the opportunity to develop greater access for our local communities to cross county boundaries to experience the range and depth of an improved cultural offer. It also sets up a programme of the scale, quality and diversity to attract greater numbers of national and international audiences to our region, and to drive new collaborative approaches to production and programming across our cultural ecology. Example of a practical outcome: Our key festivals (Kilkenny Arts Festival, Spraoi Festival and Wexford Festival Opera) will head up a Festival of Festivals programme presenting cultural highlights, driving collaboration, connecting programming across the year and into future years in conjunction with artists and cultural programmers from across Europe and beyond to create and actively participate in our commissions.

outputs beyond 2020 pillar 2

Partnership & network development

Further develop and diversify the existing cultural sector with European counterparts and generate a framework for sustainable partnership development.

Tourism

Make stronger links to tourism and creative industries agendas and enrich the lives of local communities and increase visitor numbers.

Jobs and Increased levels of employment, higher competitiveness wages, increased productivity, reduced dependency, and the growth of professions which provide spillover effects to the rest of the economy and to the quality of place – i.e. the cultural and creative industries. Building our cultural offer

Enable our cultural payers and festivals to further develop their international profile and deliver sustainable audiences for culture over time. This will be driven by increased programming across the region including shared resourcing for artistic programming and production.

Capacity building Improve confidence in our region through and innovation increased collaborative practice, embedded innovation and excellence. Health, wellbeing and quality of life

A more active, engaged, healthier and contented region with indices of ill-health and deprivation much improved.

Tolerance and cohesion

A region that makes the most of its diverse talent base – to forge new identities, generate new culture and shape a difference future.

2

Creative and Cultural Economy Programme

Following the global financial crisis, our economy has altered dramatically. We have seen a contraction in larger-scale industrial activities, a reduction of agricultural employment and an increase in financial and leisure services, advanced manufacturing and knowledge intensive industries. The creative and cultural industries are a key element of our strategic economic planning and critical for the development of a diverse, balanced, distinctive and competitive economy, adding productivity, innovation and vibrancy. Although this is a growing sector it is a major employer at a European level. For the Three Sisters 2020, we want to remodel the creative and cultural industries narrative, to one viewed through the lens of the non-metropolitan region. Example of a practical outcome: To ensure our success, we have designed our Creative and Cultural Economy Programme with our partner Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). This programme commenced with the first baseline mapping research on the Creative and Cultural Industries completed summer 2015. This research provided us with a knowledge-base of the current profile and dynamics of the creative and cultural industries across the Three Sisters. In turn, this has helped us to prioritise a set of practical interventions which deliver outcomes for our Regional Cultural Strategy and will grow to become real highlights of Three Sisters 2020 Creative Region / Cothú programme (see Chapter 3) – such as the Waterford Biennale of Glass and associated sector support activities and our Creative Careers programme.

6

The research included a survey of close to 350 creative and cultural businesses employing approx. 2,000 people across our region.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

pillar 3

3

Culture-led Social Development

Three Sisters 2020 provides the strategic platform to cultureproof our approach to social development, to be bold and experiment, and to work out ways our communities can take ownership of the process of social change which will last for a generation and beyond. The delivery of arts and health and arts and disability practice in Ireland is ad hoc, piecemeal and under-resourced, yet in the Three Sisters, we have a proven track record in this field and the expertise for further development; we just lack the capacity and resources to deliver at present. Example of practical outcome: As we build toward 2020, we will develop the building blocks for our Arts, Health & Wellbeing / Sláinte programme (see Chapter 3). It is our ambition to have the most integrated, innovative and radical offer for a non-metropolitan, rural region in Ireland (2019) and Europe (2021). Key elements of this programme will be led by the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) - Ireland’s leading arts and health programme, nationally acclaimed Arts Ability based in Wexford and Kilkenny Collective for Arts Talent (K-Cat) an inclusive visual and performing arts collective supporting actors and artists with special needs.

pillar 4

4

Urban and Rural Regeneration Programme

We have several major regeneration projects underway across our region – which will be catalysed by the Three Sisters 2020. Each involves a strong cultural and creative element. They include: -- Redevelopment of the North Quays in Waterford, which, inspired by Île de Nantes (one of our collaborating cities), is set to undergo a €15m transformation to create an urban quarter with creative production space with flexible indoor and outdoor cultural facilities at its heart. -- Regeneration of the old Smithwick’s Brewery site in Kilkenny is a large-scale €33m cultural proposition that offers an enormous opportunity to add capacity, diversity and quality to the region’s creative and cultural industries, to integrate creative thinking into design and use, as well as to develop a hub of knowledge-intensive businesses alongside the route/against the backdrop of the city’s Medieval Mile. -- A number of smaller town and village revitalisation projects are progressing, and planned, over the coming years including public art commissions and new outdoor performance spaces, as part of public realm improvements throughout the region. -- The partner Councils are currently developing a series of Greenways along disused railway tracks. Working with LEADER and with Failte Ireland these cycle and walkways will be linked to rural regeneration of small towns and villages in each county providing opportunities for heritage and activity-based tourism and inward investment. Our Programme elements Blueways and Greenways and Station to Station reference this cultural regeneration agenda.

Proposed redevopment of the Waterford’s North quays.


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Our Approach to Evaluation: Meta & Micro q8: Describe your plans for monitoring and evaluating the impact of the title on your city and for disseminating the results of the evaluation. In particular, the following questions could be considered: Who will carry out the evaluation? The Three Sisters is committed to delivering the most coherent, engaged and thorough evaluation programme of any European Capital of Culture. Our Creative and Cultural R&D Programme commissioned by the Three Sisters 2020, and led by WIT and RIKON - will provide the framework mechanism for our evaluation, which will sit alongside wider research and development activities designed to share knowledge and generate collaboration for non-metropolitan regions across Europe committed to culture as a tool for development. WIT is a third level college with specialisms in humanities, research, innovation, technology, creativity and regional development. RIKON is Ireland’s leading applied Service Innovation Centre, located in the School of Business at WIT. Linking its university-based researchers and business developers with local and national government. policy makers and the business sector.

How will you define "success"? Success will be defined in terms of how the evaluation delivers new knowledge and data for effective culture-led development for the Three Sisters – driving our Regional Cultural Strategy; in how it mobilises citizen engagement, deepening and extending active participation across the region; and how it generates knowledge and tools which are relevant to and even transferable across Europe. Success then will be judged not just in terms of the robustness of the evaluation and the extent to which it generates clear evidence of strategic value. Rather it will be judged in terms of the ways the evaluation affects policy change, steering investors towards smarter approaches to culture-led development in the region, nationally and across Europe. The evaluation will provide a new strategic narrative which will enhance understanding of the role of culture for regional development in Europe. We are aware of the limitations of some previous evaluations for European Capitals of Culture, with, for example, real issues measuring causality, intentionality and long-term outcomes. We are also conversant with the guidance offered by the European Commission on good practice evaluation and monitoring methodologies, and we have a close understanding of the most robust and compelling evaluations undertaken for large-scale culture-led programmes. This is provided through our Bid Advisers, who have led major evaluation programmes internationally.

Will concrete objectives and milestones between the designation and the year of the title be included in your evaluation plan? Over what time frame and how regularly will the evaluation be carried out? We consider one of the primary reasons for inadequate evaluation is the lack of an overarching evaluation framework and logic model at the outset. Without a clear meta evaluation question, a set of outcomes and sub-outcomes with a sharp and adaptive methodology for their measurement, the evaluation is doomed. Additional evaluation problems for large scale culture-led programmes include starting too late/ finishing too soon, poor baseline data (making benchmarking perilous) and the tension between revealing actual outcomes versus desired outcomes, with considerable political pressure often applied. To ensure we learn from these issues and from best practice models we have adopted the following design principles for our evaluation: -- It is wholly independent – Led by RIKON (Service Innovation Centre located in the School of Business at WIT) with other independent organisations sub-contracted to deliver specific pieces of evaluation research. -- It is long-term. It has already commenced with a baseline mapping of the creative and cultural sector in the region in 2015 and 2016 and will be activated in full from day one of the ECoC title being granted to Three Sisters and continuing for three years after 2020, with scope for topup evaluations every 3 years for the following 12 years. This enables us to adopt a Theory of Change approach in the lead up to 2020 – informing and shaping approaches to programme development and delivery and enabling us to take a long-term view on outcomes which may take time to be evidenced. -- It is underpinned by a clear evaluation framework and proven approach – ensuring a structured and consistent methodology throughout, used for large and distributed cultural programmes (such as the Cultural Olympiad for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games). This includes meta and micro evaluations for both programme strands and cross-cutting areas. The meta evaluation will draw together evidence from each of the micro evaluations. It will also include additional primary research and will coordinate the programming of each micro evaluation, milestones and points for review. Each micro evaluation will have its own evaluation framework. -- It is interdisciplinary and methodologically pragmatic – we will utilise a blend of quantitative and qualitative approaches to ensure we capture a holistic view of outcomes and outputs (online and offline tools). We will also carry out detailed analysis of a set of measurable indicators including visitor numbers, spend, employment (e.g. in culture), private sponsorship, public sector leverage, and macro-economic and social data. We are


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q 8 continued keen to measure the spill over effects of ECoC investment – often incidental and accidental. We will commission a dedicated research project to this end, linking best practice approaches to measuring the spillover effects of public investment in arts and culture. -- It is collegiate and collaborative – We know that knowledge is stronger when predicated on exchange. We will bring some of the best European experts to advise on our approach to evaluation, as critical friends for our evaluation process, and as advocates for its results. -- It demonstrates, not describes – We will commission a series of European demonstrator projects with our partners to focus intensively on some development themes and ideas of relevance to the evaluation. Our evaluation programme will commence in September 2016 and be undertaken as an ongoing knowledge development and exchange programme for the Three Sisters which will consist of a meta evaluation (for The Three Sisters 2020 from 2016 to 2023), which will be underpinned by an evaluation framework, logic model, and several evaluation strands. We will adopt a Theory of Change approach to evaluation – i.e. one where the outcomes tested through the evaluation will inform our approach to strategic deliver and programme design / management. We are keen for this to be a reflective, open and inclusive process – hence the need for external capacity and expertise provided by WIT and RIKON (with additional evaluation experts commissioned as required). Our evaluation is also at the heart of the Three Sisters Regional Cultural Strategy.

The evaluation process (and our wider research activities) will include partnerships with: -- National bodies: including the Arts Council Ireland, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. Working with these organisations will ensure our research and evaluation connects with national research agendas and it enables us to draw on national statistics, reviews and evaluations to enhance the context for our work. -- Our three local authority partners: guiding them toward shared approaches to data collection, monitoring and evaluation, sector mapping and strategic development. A key outcome of this Creative and Cultural Knowledge Programme will be the delivery of a range of shared regional approaches to data and intelligence, underpinned by shared regional priorities. -- Community engagement organisations: building on and scaling up our existing communication and engagement programme we will continue to hold consultation events, utilise social media as a pervasive tool and hold meetings with key partners as an ongoing process of reflexive review. Our evaluation team will lead this activity – operating as independent intermediaries to pose questions on delivery outcomes, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. -- European knowledge partners: we will set up an international advisory group of cultural policy experts to operate as critical friends to the evaluation. This will be convened by Bid Adviser Dr Tom Fleming to guarantee we benefit from the best strategic thinkers in the field and that we are plugged into European policy networks where we can present our work and learn from other models of best practice. This engagement will include connectivity with the ECoC office in Brussels ensuring we connect with the best practice from their perspective. -- European demonstrators: we are in active discussions with several other rural and non-metropolitan regions across Europe to set up a culture in development think and do tank. Through this model we will undertake and commission research to explore best and next practice in culture-led development and change in non-metropolitan regions. This will build on our recent demonstration project – where we commissioned a best practice round table event on culture-led development in smaller cities; plus on our active participation in the European Commission-funded Culture for Cities and Regions programme.

Our overarching evaluation question is:

“What are the economic, social and cultural outcomes delivered by Three Sisters 2020?”


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What sort of information will you track and monitor? Our overarching evaluation question is: “What are the economic, social and cultural outcomes delivered by Three Sisters 2020?” This will be underpinned by a set of core questions – which will form the basis of our evaluation framework and logic model. These be developed by our evaluators – WIT – and will ‘drill down’ to measure outputs and outcomes such as: -- Examples of Economic outputs: jobs created and safeguarded, investment attracted, funding raised (from public and private sector), numbers of visitors and visitor spend, hotel beds occupied -- Examples of Economic outcomes: the spillover effects of ECoC to the growth and competitiveness of the region, confidence and collaboration, innovation capacity, productivity and export readiness -- Examples of Social outputs: improved health and wellbeing indicators, attainment levels, investment in culture-led solutions to social agendas. -- Examples of Social outcomes: improved cohesion, confidence and wellbeing; intercultural literacy and engagement; and improved facilities, capacity and expertise for culture-led social change. -- Examples of Cultural outputs: jobs created and safeguarded in the cultural sector, investment in cultural infrastructure / capacity; size and diversity of audiences, turnover of cultural organisations. -- Examples of Cultural outcomes: improved confidence and capacity across the cultural sector, increased collaboration, improved innovation, excellence, reach and sustainability, transformed engagement levels in priority communities – e.g. children and young people older people, and intercultural communities. -- Examples of Transversal outputs: numbers of new commissions, projects and collaborations – local, national and European in dimension; numbers of accredited qualifications gained linked to ECoC, scale and reach of press and social media coverage. -- Examples of Transversal outcomes: quality of partnerships – local, national and European; improved awareness of and commitment to culture as a force for positive change and driver of development; evidence of improved strategic commitment and partnership.

What baseline studies or surveys - if any - will you intend to use? To measure these outputs and outcomes (and they will be developed in detail by WIT as part of the process for establishing the Evaluation Framework and Logic Model), a mixed methodology will be developed. This will include: -- Surveys to measure audience engagement and satisfaction levels -- Surveys to measure economic outcomes for businesses, social outcomes for public sector and NGO partners, and cultural outcomes for organisations -- Surveys to measure social and cultural outcomes for participating and partner organisations -- Surveys to explore volunteer engagement and satisfaction levels -- In-depth interviews and focus groups / workshops to test qualitative outcomes across the cultural, social and economic landscape of the region. These will be thematically designed – e.g. for education and skills partners, cultural organisations, artists and creative businesses, tourism operators, and so on -- In-depth interviews with partners and collaborators – regionally, nationally and internationally -- The development of measurement and collecting templates to enable effective data capture – e.g. on visitor numbers and spend. These will be co-designed with partners in economic development and tourism WIT will recruit and work with control groups throughout the evaluation process – to measure change over time and to enable some assessment of the ‘counterfactual – i.e. the extent to which outputs and outcomes can be robustly attributed to the influence of ECoC. Surveys will be undertaken quarterly for the entire duration of the evaluation, commencing with baseline surveys to assess the current ‘starting position’ for core outputs and outcomes. Overall then, we will develop a long-term independent evaluation which goes far beyond the basic measurement and description of outputs and outcomes to develop a far-reaching narrative on how culture-led development can make a difference for a semi-rural, non-metropolitan European region.

We will develop a long-term independent evaluation which goes far beyond the basic measurement and description of outputs and outcomes


chapter two

Our European Dimension

Our European dimension... requires us to grapple with the big issues of our time and to play a leadership role in exploring how culture can be a force for good.


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q9: Elaborate on the scope and quality of the activities: Promoting the cultural diversity of Europe, intercultural dialogue and greater mutual understanding between European citizens; Highlighting the common aspects of European cultures, heritage and history, as well as European integration and current European themes; Featuring European artists, cooperation with operators and cities in different countries, and transnational partnerships. Name some European and international artists, operators and cities with which cooperation is envisaged and specify the type of exchanges in question. Name the transnational partnerships your city has already established or plans to establish.

figure 2 Mapping connections to Europe. We have began the process of mapping Cultural, Business, Education, Creative Industries, Sport and other connections and will continue our project in the lead up to, during and after ECoC 2020

Three Sisters 2020 does not have a European Dimension: every dimension is European. Three Sisters 2020 is all about Europe. It is a commentary, living lab, performance and demonstration of the contemporary European experience in a non-metropolitan region. The European element is pervasive and tangible. It is a core rationale for bidding: we know our future lies in greater connectivity, sharing and collaboration. After all – we are a region of Cumar and Arrivals. But having a European dimension is not just about building stronger and richer partnerships across Europe or on commissioning European artists and creatives to participate in our programme. A European dimension also requires us to grapple with the big issues of our time and to play a leadership role in exploring how culture can be a force for good. For example:

-- We don’t just want to showcase our beautiful rural landscape and historical towns and villages; we want to highlight the deep-set challenges of rural or small city living – with issues of mobility, mental health, and deprivation common. These are structural challenges for non-metropolitan regions across Europe. By exploring the role of culture in addressing them, we can play an important critical development role for smaller cities and semi-rural regions across Europe. -- We don’t just want to celebrate Europe’s increasing diversity, we want to lead a new community of practice which engages refugees to explore how Europe realigns its approach to culture to embrace this new and very vulnerable segment of the population. This means grappling with difficult issues such as prejudice, the genuine concerns of existing local communities, and the challenge of crossing cultural, religious and ethnic boundaries.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

-- We don’t just want to take the official European Commission view of European culture and amplify it. We want to critically engage with it, exploring notions of European identity in a fast-changing environment. This includes co-creating new narratives which can help to realign strategic approaches to cultural diplomacy, network development and cultural commissioning. Europe is a critical construct currently going through a political and existential crisis. As ECoC, we must reflect on and engage with multiple notions of Europe and play a leadership role in identifying how culture can be a force for good in a new Europe which is more at ease with itself and confident of its place in the world. Specific areas of our programme and strategic approach directly embrace a European dimension. For example, our Arrivals theme ensures a strong European element across all areas of programming, with a core tenet to commission European artist(s) or organisation(s) to participate with local artist(s) and organisation(s) in every part of our Programme. It will also critically engage with the multiple travel stories of a new Europe – of refugee movement, economic migration, disclocation and the shaping of new communities and senses of identity and place. But our main European offer comes through the ways we tell our stories, how we engage and our approach to co-creating a shared future for the region. As we build toward 2020 it will continue to be implicit in our thinking and explicit in our messaging – as evidenced in our new Regional Cultural Strategy, which is expansively European in scope. This includes a focus on the opportunities of European-ness – for sharing, innovative practice and building peer and professional communities of cultural practice. The ways where wider European agendas will be most palpable in the Three Sisters 2020 bid are: -- Re-imagining the European Region – Culture, community & sustainability beyond the urban: Our primary theme is one that announces our European sensibility. We want to co-create, share and learn with other non-metropolitan regions across Europe. We believe that our learning in terms of transformation of our region through culture-led development, working in partnership and through collaboration will benefit other regions of similar scale and where the issues, challenges and opportunities such a region presents, are replicated. We are already working on a shared model for rural regeneration led by our partners SAMOA, Nantes and other EU partners, as part of the current INTERREG IVC programme call.

-- We will be a platform for exploring these issues and others which are central to the experiences of cities and regions across Europe. The mechanisms for this include targeted commissions (each of which has European collaboration at its heart), new research and development activities, and our communications and outreach work which will highlight the common aspects of European culture, asking our citizens to critically engage with notions of shared heritage, identity and futures. To achieve this, we have approached the European Committee of the Regions to co-design a knowledge exchange platform for culture-led development in European regions – ‘Culture for the European Regions’. This will enable us to reach over 350 regions in 28 member states. Here we will not shy from controversy or critical reflection: we need to explore how societal change is affecting regional development across Europe – from the unprecedented movement of people to technological innovation; from an aging population to a freelance economy. These are European issues which we, as a European region, see as ours to explore. -- Networks and Leadership: We will build on, connect and amplify our existing European connections, of which there are many. These are manifested in European Union-funded network projects, academic and student exchange programmes within WIT and elsewhere, town-twinning programmes, and multiple cultural and creative collaborations. In June 2016, as a new and 8th demonstration project, we will stage a European best and next practice symposium for culture-led regeneration in smaller cities, partnering with our colleagues as a rehearsal for a new cultural and creative industries network programme via the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme. We are also active participants in the Eurocities-led Culture for Cities and Regions Programme – where we have established practical dialogue with 12 cities as a basis for a joint programme of additional activities. Here we will critically reflect on notions of European-ness, we will challenge some of the assumed values of Europe, and we will work hard to generate new interpretations of Europe – as seen from the transforming margins. -- We will also take a leadership role in communicating the outcomes of these processes and in staging European agendas. The aforementioned platform on the European Committee of the Regions will be key here. We will also invite the European Cultural Foundation and A Soul for Europe to work with us to mobilise a European-centred conversation and broker collaboration. We will curate a section of the European Cultural Forum and we will play a leadership role on cultural diplomacy activities with Culture Ireland and EUNIC – prioritising fragile states in the Middle East and North Africa. We will also build on our strong links to North America (with ancestral links to the Kennedy family and a history of migration to Newfoundland) and generate collaborative opportunities for the European cultural sector.


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q10: Can you explain your strategy to attract the interest of a broad European and international public?

Our ambitious aim is to build 1000 new relationships from now until 2021: via new cooperation projects and commissions with European partners, our programme activity, our cultural players in the region and practitioners across all cultural forms. We are a region which already embraces transnational partnerships with European and global partners; however, the transformation of the Three Sisters as a region with culture at its heart and the principle of being Better Together, will only be achieved if we continue to nurture these existing relationships and develop new ones in the coming years.

sample collaboration

sample collaboration

sample collaboration

KCAT – KILKENNY COLLECTIVE FOR ARTS TALENT

IRISH STREET ARTS, CIRCUS & SPECTACLE NETWORK – ISACS & CIRCOSTRADA NETWORK

CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE

Kilkenny Arts Festival – Showcase exhibition including inclusive arts exhibition with international partners. We aim to create an exhibition of regional and international outsider artists working with an internationally recognised curator.

Focus on the Irish & International Context for Street Arts, Circus & Spectacle Art forms through development of an international symposium on Street Art and Spectacle led by Spraoi.

Working with a range of national inter-agency and international partners (Denmark, Finland, USA and Sweden) to develop Centres of Excellence in Goldsmithing, Glass Jewellery and Design in the Three Sisters region.

We have commenced this process through our recent awareness building, information gathering, and networking visits to Brussels, Mons, Croatia (Pula, Reijka, Dubrovnik) and Hungary, building close connections with ECoC teams and cultural, economic and social partners agencies and individuals. With a successful outcome from the bid process we will issue a briefing note to key cultural organisations in Europe telling them the story of the Three Sisters and highlighting our model of partnership and our plans to deliver an informed and developmental programme for 2020 which addresses issues and challenges of smaller cities and peripheral regions across Europe. This is why our Regional Cultural Strategy is a strategy for a European region: it is predicated on learning from best practice and innovating further. Three Sisters 2020 takes this to another level, especially in terms of reaching out to communities and audiences beyond professional and institutional connections. By integrating European collaboration across every commission, project and platform, we are consciously designing-in a European dimension. But we recognise that a European dimension is not just about who we collaborate with: it is about how we collaborate and the themes and agendas we grapple with. Through our focus on transversal issues relevant across Europe – the stuttering recovery from economic crisis, the transformational role of digital technology, the movement of people, ageing communities, youth unemployment, and environmental degradation – we will be on-trend and hyper-relevant to the needs, desires and aspirations of a Europe undergoing enormous change.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

It is our intention to develop deeper relationships with our European partners to ensure we realise real value from them and that they are sustained well beyond 2020 and will be part of the legacy for the Three Sisters. q11: To what extent do you plan to develop links between your cultural programme and the cultural programme of other cities holding the European Capital of Culture title? Collaborating with other European Capitals of Culture

We are actively engaging with other European Capitals of Culture cities and bidding Cities to learn from them and establish partnerships with them. Of primary importance is Croatia our Sister ECoC. We visited Croatia in March and established real friendships and understanding around our programmes and how we will work together from now until 2020 and beyond. Our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rijeka has identified key areas where we will collaborate: -- We will engage in a series of capacity building actions focusing on developing international project management skills, as well as on new forms for increased participation and innovative audience relations. -- The Three Sisters will participate in meeting places for cultural experiences under the Flagship 27 Neighbourhoods, in capacity building as part of Rijeka Resource and on urban re-invention under the Flagship Sweet and Salt -- Rijeka will partner on The Three Sisters International Festival of Visual Art, Cultural Programmers on the Move, Open Windows and The Invisible College and The Hedge School University.

Our relationship will be developed further by a visit by the three Mayors / Cathaoirligh and Cultural Representatives of the Three Sisters Region to Rijeka in September 2016 and we will host a return visit in early 2017 by their Mayor and artistic team to develop detailed plans for our collaborations. We have also identified a number of initiatives which we will progress with Osijek, Pula and Dubrovnik, despite the fact that they were not successful, which will enhance our programme and will deliver real benefit to these cities: -- We have established MoUs with Valletta 2018, Matera 2019and Plovdiv 2019. In each MoU we have identified programming areas which we will collaborate on together over the next five years and they have been included as partners in many of our programmes. -- We have also established MoUs with the bidding cities of Kalamata, Cluj Napoca, Timisoara and Baia Mare for 2021. -- We will engage with the Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungry and the UK for 2022 and 2023 to establish relationships with cities as their bidding process develops. We will provide advice and explore possible collaborations during their year which will help to sustain the legacy for the Three Sisters Region.. -- We have engaged with Mons 2015, Pilsen 2015, San Sebastian 2016 and Wroclaw 2016 to share information on developing and managing a world class ECoC Programme. This information has been used to inform the financing and resource models for our bid. -- Other ECoCs which we established relationships with during the initial phase of our bid include Košice 2013 and Guimarães 2012 to build on agendas they set on sustainable cultural development in smaller cities and semi-rural regions. This includes a focus on the use of temporary ‘pop-up space for cultural activities (Guimarães), creative talent development and clustering (Košice). -- It is our intention to develop deeper relationships with our European partners to ensure we realise real value from them and that they are sustained well beyond 2020 and will be part of the legacy for the Three Sisters.


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chapter three

Cultural & Artistic Content


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION


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q12 – 16: What is the artistic vision and strategy for the cultural programme of the year? Describe the structure of the cultural programme, including the range and diversity of the activities/main events that will mark the year. How will the events and activities that will constitute the cultural programme for the year be chosen? How will the cultural programme combine local cultural heritage and traditional art forms with new, innovative and experimental cultural expressions? How has the city involved, or how does it plan to involve, local artists and cultural organisations in the conception and implementation of the cultural programme?

For the Three Sisters 2020 our artistic vision is to Re-imagine the European Region through a focus on Culture, Community & Sustainability beyond the urban. Our Artistic Programme has been developed through more than a year of engagement with our people and with partners across Europe – a year of collaboration, understanding, dreaming, and of detailed planning. Harnessing the creative forces already at work in the region, we have shaped a programme which is locally owned yet European in scope; and which seeks to inspire, to challenge and to mobilise participation. But we are also clear that successful programme development is an iterative and gradual process; that it will continue to evolve and be refined; and that new creative voices will shape and influence our approach as we build toward 2020. This is why our programme is organic in nature and feel, with some programme areas more concrete and others relatively open; all converging to help us all to re-imagine the European region. It is also why we are championing small acts as much as grand gestures, building a sustainable model for cultural development rather than a high-risk parade of over-inflated events. Our ambition is for European Capital of Culture 2020 to deliver a crescendo of cultural programming born of several years cross-boundary, inter-city, urban-rural and international collaborative practice. tab le 4 Primary Theme

Re-imagining the European Region: Culture, Community & Sustainability Beyond the Urban

Connecting Theme 1

Cumar (confluence)

Connecting Theme 2

Arrivals (as a region past, present and future)

Primary Theme—Re-imagining the European Region: Culture, Community & Sustainability Beyond the Urban Styled as the Three Sisters Region – a reference to the picturesque Barrow, Nore and Suir rivers that wind their way through the territory, shaping the historic local boundaries yet also bringing together the counties – this bid, led by Waterford, represents a fresh collaboration of the three Local Authorities and the Cultural Sector across Southeast Ireland. Together, we will re-imagine the European region through: Civic collaboration – from the regional to the European Joint working between the Three Sisters’ local authorities at every level to coordinate a development programme for culture leading to 2020 and onward and underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding and shared commitment to the Culture Board7. It is also powered by a committed approach to European partnership: building close working relations with cities and regions across Europe and establishing a proposed strategic platform for culture-led development via Europe’s Committee of the Regions. A set of smart demonstrator projects enabling collaboration across and between the cultural sector and partners in commerce, education, health and wellbeing, have already been commissioned to facilitate civic collaboration and test the boundaries of joint working. See Page 14. Cultural collaboration – from the regional to the European Joint working between key cultural organisations across the Three Sisters, involving our largest cultural organisations with intermediaries in areas including arts and health and the creative industries has shaped our first connecting theme Cumar (confluence) with dedicated activities to include: -- Coordinated approaches to knowledge exchange, capacity and skills -- Development of Centres of Excellence in craft and design -- Shared box office facilities and intelligence on audience development -- Regional touring programmes -- Coordinated approaches to apprenticeships and skills development for young people

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The Culture Board is a formalised extension of the Cultural Steering Group established for the Bid and will act as a technical panel to the Three Sisters Company, supporting the ECoC development process

-- A set of radical demonstrator projects of collaborative practice across the region (joint commissions, job swaps, digital R&D activities, and co-hosted international residencies –already underway).


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

figure 3

We are currently in year 2 of a 8-year programming cycle:

2015 Launch, Inspire, Engage, define principles, themes and strategic priorities.

2016 Reform and demonstrate: set up three sisters company, recruit full time development team and bid director and artistic programmer. Cement core structural opportunities – e.g. Infrastructure, regional partnerships, large-scale cultural programme elements, national and international collaboration. Launch new regional cultural strategy. Start evaluation process. Launch demonstor projects - to explore, test and communicate opportunities.

2019 Scale-up & deliver: a set of differently scaled interventions which bridge to 2020; intensive development and rehearsal programmes; all international collaborations underway. Demonstrator projects become full-scale and europe-wide programmes.

2017 – 2018 Test and grow: commissioned pieces to amplify and disrupt the cultural offer; commence european network projects and programming in other ECoCs. Commission regional creative industries strategy. Develop new demonstrator projects. Commence evaluation.

How will the events and activities that will constitute the cultural programme for the year be chosen? Responsibility for the development, artistic excellence and quality of the cultural programme for the ECoC Three Sisters 2020 will reside with the Artistic Director of the Three Sisters Company, an internationally renowned individual, specialist in designing programmes of the scale and breadth required by the ECoC, and who will be selected immediately subsequent to a winning bid. Current programme elements will be further developed and supplemented by the Artistic Director who will leverage existing mechanisms utilised to date which include: our open call on the three sisters website, our wide range of meetings and engagements between the three sisters engagement team and community partners, citizens and stakeholders across the region, and the work of our programme co-ordinators with professional artists and cultural organisations in the region, nationally and internationally. The Artistic Director will be further supported in choosing the final programme for 2020 by the Executive Board and the Technical Panels of the Three Sisters Company – specifically the Three Sisters 2020 Culture Board and Citizen’s Panel and Engagement Programme (see organisational chart pg90).

How will the cultural programme combine local cultural heritage and traditional art forms with new, innovative and experimental cultural expressions? Being a non-metropolitan region and without the level of infrastructural development for culture that is evident in larger cities, the Three Sisters has always had to do things differently. The development of cross-sectoral and cross-artform collaborative programming is not new to the region

2020 Three sisters European Capital of Culture Programme. 2021 – 2022 Transformation, consolidation and legacy growth – a restructured regional cultural programme based on co-investment, a holistic approach to cultural planning and a revitalised economy of creating and making. Informed by the results of our evaluation.

– but as yet currently underplayed, and to which the ECoC opportunity gives voice. Our cultural and artistic programme outlined in the following pages is indicative of this type of cumar across the region. It celebrates our identity, our sense of place, our people, our traditional culture, and our understanding, of what it means to be European and to speak to a European audience. Our programme allows for new forms of cultural expression which connect with our Diaspora, a wider European community and a global audience, through a combination of traditional, existing and emerging technologies, and along with our partners in WIT, ArcLabs, Zero-G amongst others, enables us to express our cultural heartbeat in new and engaging ways for multiple audiences.

How has the city involved, or how does it plan to involve, local artists and cultural organisations in the conception and implementation of the cultural programme? From its inception the Three Sisters 2020 has worked in collaboration with agencies, artists, creative practitioners and cultural service providers across the region, each having the opportunity to input into the programming process and providing valuable insights into the diversity and breadth of our cultural programme. The development of our Cultural Steering Group in 2015 (made up of 18 individuals representing the spectrum of culture as defined in our Regional Cultural Strategy). This group will be reconstituted as The Three Sisters 2020 Culture Board and along with the Citizen’s Panel and Engagement Programme will play a fully engaged role (in conjunction with and under the guidance of the Artistic Director) in the conception, development and implementation of our ECoC cultural programme over the next four years and beyond – maintaining the legacy of the ECoC year in the region.


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figure 4

Re-imagining the European Region: Culture, community & sustainability beyond the urban

Cumar

Arrivals

Programme Streams How we cluster our programme activities

Ambition / Uaillmhain Kinship / Dáimh Flourishing / Flúirse Openness / Fuascailt Adventure / Aistear Arts, Health & Wellbeing / Sláinte Creative Region Development / Cothú

Programme Areas To influence the approach and focus of our projects

Community collaboration – From the regional to the European Encompassing citizen engagement and active participation in culture and wider community activity, centered on the spirit of meitheal (an Irish term, where communities come together to share vision, purpose and workload). This is where our voluntary programme comes to the fore – a regional taskforce of hosts, activists and enablers across the three counties, working to engage their communities and connect them to our programme of new commissions, rural and urban touring work, and cultural pioneers (in libraries, cultural hubs and health and education settings). This is also where we champion both local and incoming creators and makers – providing bespoke support and guidance, commissioning across boundaries to bring different types of creative practice together, and reimagining a region of small independent creative producers who offer a different kind of growth: one born of provenance, influenced by rich traditions of cultural practice, driven by excellence and innovation, deeply embedded in the locale, yet profoundly international in spirit and connections.

Connecting Theme 1 – Cumar (Confluence) We will amplify the distinct identities, aspirations and stories that make up a contemporary region and bring together historically separated art forms and processes. We will commission work that links our everyday cultural sensibility to those of our peers in non-metropolitan regions of Europe, our Diaspora, our twinned towns and cities; exploring shared identities and how cumar transcends notions of place and nation. We will commission new convergent art forms which connect different identities, technologies and approaches. We will explore how Europe-wide movement of refugees and economic migrants offers hope for these new settlers and for Europe as a whole. We will explore emergent forms of cumar in the cultural sector and champion it as a vital element in welcoming people to our region – as visitors, collaborators and the new Irish and European.

Our Cultural Capacity & Economy Our Festivals Our Health & Well Being Our Places Our People

Connecting Theme 2 – Arrivals We want to diversify and disrupt the notion of arrivals for European Capital of Culture 2020. Arrivals is a state of mind, a way of seeing and doing and a metaphor for openness, relevance, innovation and creativity. We want to demonstrate how in Europe the non-metropolitan, polycentric, relatively rural region, has arrived. As a region of arrivals, the Three Sisters will become a place where the best ideas internationally coalesce with the best ideas locally to achieve great cultural programming, cross-boundary creative businesses and an enlightened political class. It is a place where imagination thrives and where creative talent can be fulfilled. It is a place to come to (to live, work, create) rather than leave. Our Programme is structured to amplify and explore our primary theme and two connecting themes, and underpinned by the four strategic pillars of our new Regional Cultural Strategy. We have designed a set of Three Sisters Programme Streams – to give our activities a distinctive flavor, linking our core themes to shared agendas for culture-led development in regions across Europe. There are seven such programme streams, each named with an Irish word and its English language counterpart which serve to re-imagine the European Region and re-connect with our heritage. These are described throughout – framing examples of our proposed artistic programme. Figure 4 provides an aerial view of our programme’s thematic structure.

Programme Areas These five areas serve to influence the approach and focus of the projects and events that make up our ECoC 2020 programme. Our Artistic Director will build and develop our programme against the backdrop of these areas connecting, people, practice, place and potential.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

ta b l e 5

Programme Overview Theme Programme Stream

Programme Element A Festival of Festivals – Borradh Bring Your Own Chair Kilmore Carols Sisters x Three Sisters Sounds from a Safe Harbour

Ambition / Uaillmhian

Sruth/Flow The Cumar Commission The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife Three Sisters / Anton Chekhov Three Sisters International Weasfjord Bóithrín and Byway Commissions Station to Station

Kinship / Dáimh

Sunny South East The Big Chapel The Weather Reports Festival of Dissent From Fire and Water Kilkenomics 2020 Libraries Reimagined

Flourishing / Flúirse

Marginalia Metaphysics: A Festival of Arts and Science Re-mapping the Three Sisters: Minority Language Placenames The Invisible College and the Hedge School University Translating on the Slaney AIMS High An Inclusion Town Camán Iomán

Openness / Fuascailt

Culture Bus The Gurrelieder Open The Mechanisms of Openness State of the Audience Three Sisters Fit-up Festival Bearbha of the Barrow Blueways and Greenways Between Bridges

Adventure / Aistear

Residencies and Renovations Cultural Programmers on the Move SUBTITLE: European Cinema on Wheels Azure: Three Sisters Accessible Programming Cultural Presciption for the Three Sisters

Arts, Health & Wellbeing / Sláinte

Open Windows The Bit Between My Teeth VisAbility Fuel/Beathú Creative Regional Development Global Irish Design Challenge Mapping the Region 2020

Creative Region Development / Cothú

National Centre for Excellence in Design Sustainability and the New Nordic Vernacular Three Sisters for Europe Young Filmmakers Academy and Film Festival Waterford – International Centre for Glass Making and Design & Glass Biennial World Crafts Council Europe – European Craft and Design Summit Community led and small projects (350)

Reimagining the region

Confluence

Arrivals


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Development Phase

2016

2017

2018

ECoC 2020 2019

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Legacy Winter

2021

2022


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION


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Ambition Uaillmhian stream one

These are the activities and events which will showcase the ambition of the European region. They will signal a new era of collaborative practice and citizen engagement. They will amaze and enthrall, delight and provoke; and in doing so demonstrate our capacity to deliver cultural excellence and our yearning to connect with a wider creative Europe.

Sisters x Three Sisters

Bring Your Own Chair

Sisters x Three Sisters takes the idea of the Barrow, Nore and the Suir rivers and lifts it into a European musical collaboration of cumar and sorority. Three sets of sisters from Ireland (Henry Girls), UK (The Staves) and France/Cuba (Ibeyi) will take up residency in the region in 2019 with the musicians of Stargaze and Berlin-based conductor Andre de Ridder, developing work towards a new performance piece for delivery in 2020. During the residencies, Stargaze will create new interpretations of their repertoire with the sister pairings. This will involve public viewing opportunities (e.g. PJ Harvey at Somerset House, London, Hope Demolition Project), and will culminate in a documentary film. At the end of each of the residencies the sister groups will deliver a public performance event with Stargaze in all three of the Three Sisters counties. Under the direction of de Ridder the Sisters x Three Sisters programme will culminate in a single large-scale showcase concert where the elements of the three residencies will be combined and presented as part of our Three Sisters Opening Programme.

Bring Your Own Chair will form a key part of our opening celebration as ECoC and will develop and grow across all areas of our programme across the year. Led by renowned performance artist and Out-of-Site Festival curator Michelle Browne, it comprises a multiplicity of community co-authored concerts, parties and events to mark the opening of Three Sisters 2020 across the region, developing from 2017 onwards bringing culture to every place. Audiences will be invited to ‘bring their own chair’ to a programme of opening activities in their own city/town/village with the largest scale event in Waterford, Sisters x Three Sisters. Their chair, from their own home, will have been refurbished / repurposed/ designed by them in collaboration with a European Furniture maker during the period 2017-2019. The chair represents their participation in the making of a shared experience, and a tangible work of design that has been made by / for them, partly in tribute to the incredible legacy of internationally renowned architect and furniture designer and Three Sisters native, Eileen Gray. Bring Your Own Chair offers an opening night experience that is uniquely democratic and truly participatory. Each town’s event will be specific to its own place – designed in collaboration with Michelle and her team, but owned, authored and managed by a voluntary committee in each location. Events might comprise of gigs, feasts, parties, games, dances, pageants, and parades across 25 locations in each county with up to 300,000 bespoke chairs. Opportunities to share multiple events across the three counties through live streaming to other locations nationally and internationally, will be identified and maximised.

Residencies across the Three Sisters region 2019, a large concert January 6th 2020 in an outdoors venue in Waterford City Centre

date and place:

project partners: Stargaze (Germany), The Henry Girls (Ireland), The Staves (UK), Ibeyi (France), Mary Hickson, (Ireland) financing:

€300,000

Music professionals from across Europe, intergenerational music audience sets of sisters throughout the region, dignitaries and invited guests.

audience:

date and place: Across the Three Sisters region. Programme development 2017-2019 – Event 6 January 2020. project partners :

DCCoI, Atalier d’Art (France), Crafts Council (UK), and a wide range of furniture makers from the EU including Cillian Ó Súilleabháin, Stephen Ó Bríain, (Ireland) and Fred Baier and Laura Ellen Bacon (UK)

financing:

€800,000

audience: Community audiences; European dignitaries; artists in the region


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

A Festival of Festivals / Borradh Three Sisters 2020 is a festival of festivals – a model for regional partnership working or cumar in action, playing a leadership role in coordinated festival programming in regions like us across Europe. In the build up to 2020 and as a legacy outcome, we want to bring together our established larger festivals for shared commissioning, programming and capacity-building, and connect the 50 plus other festivals in the region to balance programming across the year and in turn support their development in reaching audiences and building awareness. Our region features a range of world-class venues in relatively small cities and towns, including the National Opera House in Wexford which will serve as our venue for the presentation of world class European opera, music and theatre throughout 2020, as well as staging its own two key festivals in Spring and Autumn 2020. The National Opera House, Wexford will also develop and stage the closing event for Three Sisters 2020, a specially commissioned new opera; a landmark collaboration between Opera Theatre Company and community groups in the Three Sisters region. This programme will be anchored by our three major festivals (Spraoi, Kilkenny Arts Festival and Wexford Festival Opera) – which share the ambition to align more closely with each other to diversify, improve and scale-up their work, increasing linkages with European festivals and networks and showcasing more European work. Our partners in the European Festival Association will work with us to develop this balanced regional model. Highlights which we will collectively build toward for 2020 include: -- Collaboration across the programme – providing production and development support and generating new content and experiences such as via Wexford Festival Opera’s new Spring Festival. Funding has been approved by The Arts Council for a ‘Triangulation demonstrator project’ entitled Morbid and Sons, a street theatre with music project which will be presented in 2016 at Spraoi in Waterford, and in Kilkenny and Wexford. Three Sisters 2020 will also mobilise new and/or extended Europe-wide collaborations – for example, Kilkenny Arts Festival will work with Edinburgh International Festival and the Avignon Festival to mount and co-create major European works in the period from 2018 with a production of Wagner’s Parsifal – in its first Irish production. In 2020, Polska Éire will act as a connector between other festivals in the region and Poland, connecting them with Malta Festival, Teater Kwadrat and others.

-- Festival forum – This will focus on shared approaches to programming, ticketing, skills exchange and maximising reach, impact and innovation for 2020 as well as ensuring that the festival offering is regionally balanced across the calendar year. Between 2018 and 2020, with the European Festivals Association (via their Festival Managers Atalier and Produce and Production manager training programmes) as partners, we will convene festival seminars and meetings on the theme of Festival Innovation: Programme and Production Models. -- Cumar of our leading festivals with European counterparts. Our big three festivals – Kilkenny Arts Festival (KAF), Wexford Festival Opera (WFO) and Spraoi, which express shared artistic objectives, will work together to strategically deepen their collaboration in both artistic production and audience development, including the presentation of KAF projects in the National Opera House, Wexford. In line with KAF’s artistic mission the focus will be on exploring and celebrating extraordinary art through the ages, in particular the greatest European creative spirits who have done so much to forge a shared European, and indeed global, culture. Building on its signature series from 2017 onwards, the festival of festivals series led by KAF will deepen regional, national and international audience engagement; leverage the respective international networks of each festival to secure appropriate European and other partners for commissions and collaborations. Examples include: -- A collaboration in 2018 on Monteverdi, the inventor of opera with animated street performance on the themes of Monteverdi’s Orfeo: the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice by Spraoi. -- For 2019, KAF will present as the centrepiece of its festival the Irish premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal, one of the most influential and still controversial works of European art. Presented as a site-specific production, with the 13th-century Cathedral of St Canice in Kilkenny serving as the Grail Temple. Discussions are already in train with European partners to present the project in selected other European churches/cathedrals with a thematic connection, e.g. the Temple Church, London (Church of the Knights Templar, closely connected to the Grail legend). KAF will collaborate with WFO on the engagement of the chorus and orchestra, and with Spraoi on street performance and spectacle animating the legend of the Grail. -- Produce as its Three Sisters centrepiece a multi-disciplinary focus on Homer – both the Iliad and the Odyssey – as works of the imagination which have inspired some of the greatest European artists in music, theatre, dance, poetry, fiction and visual art over the last three millennia


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– and also embracing a series of contemporary commissions of European artists working across a wide range of disciplines which invite new responses to Homer’s timeless themes of migration, war, homecoming and reconciliation. -- Collaborate with WFO on operatic projects from past and present inspired by Homer, and with Spraoi on street performances and spectacle which express these timeless stories, drawing on participation from across Europe, including countries in the European-Mediterranean neighbourhood which are particularly affected by migration. -- Three Sisters 2020 also enables us to generate new festivals which help to build audiences of locals and visitors and which open up the region as a destination – a place of arrivals and cumar. This will include Ferry Fest – a new festival on the ferries. Three Sisters contains the port of Rosslare from which two ferry operators – Swedish Stena Line and Irish Ferries – operate daily sailings to and from the UK and mainland Europe. 450,000 people enter the Three Sisters from Europe each year on these ferries. We want the journey itself to be part of the cultural experience and we want to invite more passengers to stay in our region rather than drive through it. By working with our partners in the ferry companies and port authorities we will design a series of artistic and cultural events to re-imagine the European region as passengers approach its shores. Through an open European competition and in conjunction with the ferry operators, we will commission a series of specially designed interventions across a range of disciplines which are repeated or exhibited for a period of a month in the high summer season – work exhibited, performances in the auditoria of the boats, an app for passengers to access artistic and cultural material or storytelling. We plan to commission approximately 10 of these works. date and place:

Across the region 2018-2020

Kilkenny Arts Festival, Spraoi International Street Arts Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, Waterford Walls.. European Festival Association, Opera Europa and our region of over 50 festivals

project partners:

potential partners: Edinburgh International Festival, Avignon Festival, Swedish Stena Line, Irish Ferries financing:

€800,000

National and regional audiences, specialist audiences for opera and classical music and culturally motivated visitors.

audience:

Sruth / Flow Three Sisters 2020 will work with internationally renowned choreographer, dance artist and curator Fearghus Ó Conchúir, to realise a series of dance-based interventions across the region. Ó Conchúir is a native of Gaeltacht na Rinne / The Ring Gaeltacht in Waterford currently living and working in London. Following on from the success of his multi-platform and transnational choreography of bodies and ideas, The Casement Project, a project co-commissioned by 1418. Now in the UK and An Chomhairle Ealaíon / The Arts Council in Ireland, Sruth will involve dance residencies, cross-community collaborations, academic discourse around the body in Irish and European culture and the creation of new dance works between 2017-2021. Building on dance’s ability to explore and embody movement and flow, Sruth will create a variety of choreographic structures that link the private sources and isolated wells of inspiration to the conjoined regional flows and confluence of the Three Sisters and connect them overseas to other flows beyond the regional and national border. For 2020 itself Ó Conchúir will create a multi-faceted new choreography for stage, screen and celebration centering on dance and food – connecting the region’s newest arrivals to its oldest cultures. This new work will feature an international cast of acclaimed professional dance artists alongside a diverse group of dance enthusiasts (without professional experience), an award-winning creative team and experts in television and food production. The programme will work with the Déise Refugee Support Group and the Clonea (refugee) reception centre, television producer, Maggie Breathnach, West Waterford Food Festival, and with Michelle Darmody of the Our Table project (which uses food preparation as a way for people in direct provision in Ireland to express and share their identity). This collaborative project, developed from 2017-2020, will feature at the West Waterford Food Festival (2018-2020) and Harvest, and Savour Festivals in 2020. It will be documented for a television series by Maggie Breathnach, Red Shoe Productions, to be broadcast in 2020 on TG4 and partner European TV stations and digital platforms. Autumn 2020, touring to food and arts festivals across the region.

date and place:

project partners :

Fearghus Ó Conchúir, Project Arts Centre, Red Shoe Productions, Déise Refugee Support Group, BAI I(IRELAND) EBU: B-motion Festival in Bassano del Grappa, (Italy), O Espaco do Tempo residency in Montemor O Novo (Portugal), Rural Touring Initiative and Take Art, Somerset (UK).

financing:

€175,000

audience: Local communities of the Three Sisters, migrants, TV audiences for minority languages nationally and in Europe


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife A large scale spectacle project that will take place in three locations (Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny) as a chronological story presented over a bank holiday weekend (June 2020), staged on the Suir River and Waterford Docks, New Ross Docks, and at Kilkenny Castle. It will tell the story of the marriage of Strongbow and Aoife on its 850 anniversary. This story forms the beginning of Ireland’s formal relationship with Britain and France, the story of a region in the making, of arrivals, and of the cultural politics of cumar. The project will be led by a European Artistic director engaging the skills of local spectacle companies Spraoi and Buí Bolg, particularly linking in with NEST, Spraoi’s 4-year artist development programme in partnership with Stockton Festival (UK), Fira Tàrrega (Spain) and Ales International Outdoor Festival (France). Each of the 4 NEST artists will be nurtured through this collaborative process to lead a single element of the work. The event will feature mass participation and will link in with the local-based ISACS, (Irish Street Arts Circus Spectacle Network, Wexford) Circostrada and local youth arts and arts and disability projects.

Waesfjord Waesfjord is the Scandinavian origin of the name of Wexford – it translates as ‘inlet of flat mud lands’. To mark these historic Three Sisters / Nordic ties, Waesfjord Music Festival, which will be held in multiple venues across Wexford (indoor and outdoor), will present pop and electronic music from Scandinavia and Ireland. Curated by Efterklang/Liima, Denmark’s most prestigious indie-pop acts and frequent collaborators with orchestras across the globd, in partnership with By the Lake Festival Berlin. Waesfjord will be a highlight of Summer 2020 with musical and cross-art-form collaborations facilitated in advance in rural residency destinations. The event will present the best in emergent and established contemporary music from Ireland and Scandinavia, incorporating artists such as; Little Dragon, Kate Boy, Isbells, Liima, Lykke Li, Royskopp together with Ham Sandwich, Pleasure Beach, Brain Deady, and Le Galaxie and positioning Wexford as a boutique music destination. date and place:

National Opera House, Wexford, Mary Hickson (Ireland), By The Lake Festival (Germany) Limma (Demark).

New Ross, Waterford and Kilkenny, June Bank Holiday Weekend 2020

financing:

project partners :

Europe

date and place:

Spraoi, Buí Bolg, ISACS, KCAT, Waterford Youth Arts (Ireland), Circostrada (EU), Stockton Festival (UK), Fira Tàrrega (Spain), Ales International Outdoor Festival (France).

financing:

€1,000,000

International, national, regional and local communities audience:

Waterford city viewed from the docks

July 2020

project partners:

audience:

€270,000

Boutique music festival attendees from across


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Three Sisters / Anton Chekhov

Sounds from a Safe Harbour

Chekhov’s Three Sisters is among the masterworks of the European dramatic canon. It is a rich and resonant work which has been a part of the repertoire in every country in the European Union for over a century. In making a case for the viability of the non-metropolitan region as a new centre for cultural excellence it may be regarded as counter intuitive to produce and celebrate a play whose famous leitmotif is stagnation in a regional back water and a yearning to return to the stimulating and sophisticated life of metropolitan Moscow. However, in producing the play, we are powerfully making the case that great art is not the preserve of great cities and that our perspective as artists alive to the nuance and tempo of regional cultural life can offer a fresh and invigorating perspective in reimagining an old tale. The Wexford trio of John Banville (Booker prize winning novelist), Ben Barnes (former Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre) and Sinead Wallace (internationally recognised lighting designer) will team up with Spanish designers Alfons Flores and Mercè Paloma to create a new translation and mise en scene for Chekhov’s masterpiece. The Theatre Royal Waterford will partner with the TR Warsawa to assemble a pan-European cast drawn primarily from Ireland and Poland along with other countries across the European Union. A truly European celebration of a seminal European art work, the performance will premiere at the Theatre Royal Waterford, and present at the National Opera House, Wexford and the Kilkenny Arts Festival. The production will subsequently tour to festivals in Dublin and Edinburgh and with our partner theatre in Warsaw. We will also live-stream the event to venues across Ireland and Europe – promoted through the Europa Cinemas Network.

Sounds from a Safe Harbour (SFSH) was established in 2015 to mark the 160th anniversary of Cork Opera House. Curated by Mary Hickson and Bryce Dessner (The National) it was received to critical acclaim. In 2020 the event will move to Waterford for the Three Sisters ECoC programme. Celebrating the notions of the water, ocean and port, arrivals and departures, SFSH 2020 will marry contemporary and classical music with popular repertoire. With the support of Lismore Castle, it will facilitate the creation of new compositions and collaborations between music and visual artists. It will also critically engage with notions of a ‘safe harbour’ in Europe today – by commissioning artists working with marginalised people across Europe – including refugees and traveller communities – to explore notions of safety in contemporary Europe. We will occupy the harbour, the arts spaces, public space, unusual spaces, and the water itself to create a unique and special arts event for Waterford which asks “how do we build new communities in a fragmented, crisis-hit Europe?” In answering this question, a programme of discursive, participatory and interdisciplinary events focused on issues of migration, shelter and community building made with the National Migrants Council, Déise Refugee Support group, and others, will accompany the main stage music programme of the festival. This programme will be aligned with the ‘City of Sanctuary’ movement in Waterford.

date and place:

Theatre Royal Waterford, November 2020

Theatre Royal – Waterford, National Opera House - Wexford, Watergate Theatre – Kilkenny, TR Warsawa (Poland) project partners:

financing:

€230,000

audience: Theatre Audiences in the Three Sisters, Edinburgh, Warsaw and national and international visitors

date and place:

Waterford, September 2020

Mary Hickson, Bryce Dressner, Lismore Castle Arts, Déise Refugee Support Group, City of Sanctuary, Waterford, Erased Tapes Records (UK) project partners:

financing:

€320,000

audience: Music audiences, targeted European music specialists, migrant communities


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

Three Sisters International

The Cumar Commission

The Three Sisters International Festival of Visual Art is an ambitious exhibition held over 10 weeks during summer 2020. Taking its inspiration from major international visual arts programmes, including those in smaller cities (such as Folkestone Triennial), TSI will take place concurrently in the main visual art galleries of the Three Sisters region – Lismore Castle Arts, Butler Gallery, Wexford Arts Centre and Visual; and be interwoven across public space into our streets, squares and rural communities. It will use the connecting theme Cumar as the starting point for the transformation of the Three Sisters region into a singular exhibition space. To celebrate the sharing of the European Capital of Culture 2020 with Rijeka in Croatia, the highly respected curator Vladimir Cajkovac, will curate the Three Sisters International programme. The European importance of this festival will be further enhanced through the cumar of 28 artists selected from each member state of the EU, each working to a brief to re-imagine the European region through new narratives of identity, space and place.

Cheekpoint symbolises the cumar of the Three Sisters. The location is at the very heart of the Three Sisters, the point where the three rivers (Barrow, Nore and Suir) meet and where the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford join. This GPS point 52°16’32.5”N 7°00’00.6”W will mark the location for a new Three Sisters Commission. For each year from 2018 – 2022 the three Sisters will commission an ambitious, accessible, large-scale temporary artwork, performance or event to be staged at Ballyhack, representing the closest accessible point at the nearby popular Ferry crossing of Passage East - Ballyhack. Adapting the model of the Fourth Plinth in London, it will involve a Europe-wide commission to attract radical artists capable of re-imagining the European Union from a position of cumar – where the identities, memories, and aspirations of Europe converge in one hyper-symbolic location. An international committee, comprising experts in the fields of visual and public arts, will be established to oversee selection of the artists. date and place:

date and place:

Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford, Carlow, June

– August 2020 Lismore Castle Arts, Butler Gallery, VISUAL, Wexford Arts Centre, Vladimir Cajkovac (Croatia/ Germany)

project partners:

financing:

€500,000

Visual arts audiences, culturally aware and motivated audiences regional, national and across Europe

audience:

Wexford city

Ballyhack / Cheekpoint – 2018-2022

Lismore Castle Arts (LCA), Grizedale Arts, (UK), European curatorial committee to be established with LCA

project partners:

financing:

€250,000

Visual arts audiences, culturally aware and motivated audiences regional, national and across Europe. Ireland’s Ancient East tourism audiences

audience:


39

Kilmore Carols 2020 Kilmore Carols 2020 celebrates an annual tradition of singing ancient Christmas carols in Kilmore Church, County Wexford. Sung in the haunting and beautiful Yola language (a branch of middle English with its roots in the Norman conquests of the 1100s) unique to Wexford, the songs are in old plaintive style, devoid of harmony, but full of ornamentation. There are thirteen carols in all, one for Christmas eve, and one for each of the twelve days of Christmas. For ECoC 2020 we will present the carols in a new and imaginative way under the direction of leading composer Mel Mercier and partners in Austria, the UK and Denmark; working with a new European ensemble created especially for the occasion. In addition we will commission seasonal songs from choirs across Europe to create a seasonal festival of song. The programme will involve a residency and touring programme to be broadcast to national and international audiences and live-streamed to partner venues in Europe. date and place:

December 2020, Wexford

Mel Mercier (Ireland), Palle Millelbord (Denmark), Helen Davies (UK), Matthias Liobner (Austria), Liam Byrne (Ireland)

project partners:

financing:

â‚Ź200,000

Musicologists from across Europe, music students, folklorists and traditional/contemporary music audiences

audience:

Cheekpoint, Co. Waterford - meeting point of the Three Sisters


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

Kinship Dรกimh stream two


41

Dáimh encompasses Three Sisters’ site-specific and site-responsive programming across the region – where people live and work and where kinship evolves. The core idea is to use built and natural environments and transform their use for social and cultural purpose – thus re-imagining the region in terms of notions of landuse, ownership, even beauty. This is both urban and rural regeneration in practice, but also serves to jolt and inspire communities into collective action, ask questions about how public and private spaces both in and outdoor across the region are currently used and might be re-imagined. It is underpinned by participation at all levels and with an eye to a sustainable development and long-term regeneration of empty or under-used spaces in villages and towns across the region.

Station to Station

Sunny South East

There are 18 abandoned/derelict railway stations across the Three Sisters region. Most of the stations, and the lines that originally served them, were closed between 1945 and 1970; cutting off many rural communities from public transport. These stations were points of arrival and departure for commuters, families and tourists. Our programme will repurpose these stations as artworks, again making them points of arrival. Some of the installations will be temporary, while others will remain as public art legacy projects beyond 2020. Working with Public Art Curator Gaynor Seville2, 18 artists will be appointed to realise a project with the local communities at each of the sites, exploring the history of the railway and re-imagining notions of connectivity, travel and place and engendering a sense of positivity, critical reflection and renewal. 50% of the artists will be Irish with the remainder selected from across the EU. The project links with our wider process of culture-led regeneration underway across the region – along abandoned railway lines and river banks – the Greenways and Blueways along which our economy and identity was shaped.

Here we will investigate and re-invigorate the seaside resort towns in the region, now in decline. Playing on the region’s nostalgic history as ‘the sunny South East’, this project aims to bring the best of European seaside regeneration projects to these small towns. Caravan parks will be transformed into inhabitable art and design installations (e.g. ATP Festival, UK), and temporary shops, restaurants, galleries and venues will populate the town centres. We will collaborate with Dublin as a former ECoC candidate city – ttap the memories of Dublin-based holiday-makers who historically visited these coastal towns. We will also collaborate with four revitalised seaside towns across Europe – Margate (UK), home of Turner Contemporary and Dreamland; Klaipeda (Lithuania); Kolobrzeg (Poland) and Valletta (Malta), places where a culture-led approach to regeneration and economic diversification has boosted the economy and repurposed their role as destinations. Together we will set up a Sunny South East coastal task force and commission – hosting a series of site specific interventions, talks, walks and films which will collectively document a re-imagined seaside for the Sunny South East. In turn we will develop a creative investment plan which regional partners can support for the renewal of the Three Sisters Coastal economy. This project also offers a unique opportunity to engage new communities in Ireland, specifically the Polish community, where Polish-born people make up 3% of the people living in Ireland. Working with Polska Éire, we will re-imagine these faded destinations for domestic tourists as places where local and visiting Polish people might make their holidays in 2020 and beyond.

date and place:

Railway Stations across the region,

2018-2020 Irish Rail, Gaynor Seville, Lismore Castle Arts, Galeria Lorcan O’Neill (Italy)

project partners:

financing:

€600,000

Local and regional communities, Ireland’s Ancient East visitors, railway enthusiasts.

audience:

date and place:

2018 to Summer 2020, Tramore, Courtown,

Rosslare Margate (UK), Klaipeda (Lithuania), Kolorzeg (Poland) and Valetta (Malta) potential project partners:

financing:

International and domestic visitors, targeted audiences from participating collaborative countries, Polish community, local and regional communities

audience:

2

Gaynor previously managed Changing Tracks a cross-EU project in 2014 involving locations, artists and local authorities/councils in Ireland, UK and Spain.

€800,000


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

The Weather Reports

The Big Chapel

Telling stories about the weather is a national pastime in Ireland. Some say talking about the weather is like talking about oneself and with each passing day, the weather increasingly becomes ours, if not us, reflecting our sense of, and resilience to, situations specific to place, time and history. Building on this curiosity and preoccupation of telling weather stories, Kilkenny artist Pauline O’Connell will record one hundred people talking about the weather from upland areas of the Three Sisters. These ‘weather reports’ will form a collective portrait, communicated by the distinctive voices and experiences. Explorations of the different nuances in language, along with idioms and mannerisms of individuals will position the weather as a metaphor for a metaphysical, political, social and moral energy of person and place. A metaphor for kinship or dáimh. In collaboration with The Castlewarren Cultural Development Group, the project will consist of artistic collaborations and residencies; collaborative workshops; public walks; events and exhibitions, culminating with a seminar – all centred around a publically owned 2½ acre field ‘The Community Field’ in Castlewarren. Led by artist Iain Biggs (UK), a series of community ‘deep mapping’ excursions will also be staged as ‘places weathered in time’ which record the ‘affects’ of the weather on kinship and identity. The project will also see collaboration with photographer Elina Brotherus (Finland), who focuses on the ‘embodiment of the landscape’; and artist Susanne Bosch (Germany) on a series of public workshops aimed to question our role and responsibility as ‘ingredients that sustain a rural upland community’. The ‘vernacular’ testimonies, critical texts and culmination of visual work will be brought together through a Photo Book, with designer Teun van der Heijden (Netherlands), digital platform and exhibition for local, national and international audiences regarding ‘local places/global subjects’.

Kilkenny-based Asylum Theatre will present a promenade production for 2020, featuring an inclusive community cast of 100+ supported by professional actors and crew and using the street-scape of a local town as the stage. Thomas Kilroy’s seminal novel, The Big Chapel, is based on real life events – a notorious clerical scandal that took place in his home-town (fictionalised in the novel) in the 1860s – an event that completely and violently tore the town in two, and from which echoes are still felt today. This adaptation, developed with European collaborators, Studio Weave (UK), Armin Beber (Germany), will explore the very fabric of civic community and kinship by examining an instance of its cataclysmic failure and then renewal.

date and place:

Castlewarren, Kilkenny – October 2020

project partners: Pauline O’Connell, Castlewarren Cultural Development Group (Ireland) Susanne Bosch (Germany), Elina Brotheris (Finland), Iain Biggs (UK), Teun van der Heijden (Netherlands) financing:

€170,000

Local communities, targeted audiences across Europe equally shaped by such ‘weather reports’

audience:

date and place:

Kilkenny – August 2020

Asylum Theatre Company, Equinox Ensemble/KCAT (Ireland), Studio Weave (UK), Armin Beber (Germany)

project partners:

financing:

€150,000

Local communities, people with a disability and their careers, families, professionals in the arts and health and arts and disability sectors

audience:


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Bóithrín and Byway Commissions A series of six interdisciplinary artworks/performances will be commissioned and made for rural settings in the region by critically engaged landscape artists from Ireland and across Europe, inspired by the work of artists like Pieter Van Den Bosch, Lotte Van Den Berg, Fearghus Ó Conchúir and WillFredd Theatre. With a strong ecological remit to leave no trace, these artists will work with the natural and built landscape of the region at its most rural, as well as the communities that inhabit them to create temporary performances and or installations. Alongside the programme of new works we will host a European Symposium on site responsive performance in rural settings. date and place: Residencies 2018-2019- Programme presentation bi-monthly 2020, Symposium October 2020 project partners: We will seek collaboration with Art Angel (UK), Oreol Festival (NL), Castel Sant Arcangelo Festival (IT), Overjet IJ Festival (NL), OperaEstate Festival, Bassano del Grappa, (Italy), Campo (Belgium), WillFredd Theatre, ANU, Callan Workhouse Union, CREATE, (IRL). financing:

€300,000

Existing theatre and dance audiences, rural audiences who may not have previous experience of contemporary performance in their locality, and theatre and dance professionals from Europe

audience:

The Three Sisters is a region of strong contrasts - from the dramatic scenery of the Copper Coast, to our rich pastoral hills and rivers


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Flourishing Flúirse stream three


45

Flúirse is the expression of events and activities that celebrate and stimulate the rich intellectual culture of the Three Sisters and which critically explore notions of the European region today. With debates, lectures, masterclasses and residencies programmed right across the region, this programme is committed to providing access to high-quality life-long learning to the citizens of the Three Sisters, to breaking down barriers to knowledge creation in community hubs, and to mobilising critical debate across the region and beyond.

Marginalia Marginalia is a large scale exhibition of art, literature and doodles in the margins of other texts, from the classic early Irish poem An Pangur Bán (the most famous surviving poem from Early Ireland) up to contemporary scene notes from film and play texts to scientific and mathematical marginalia. Alongside the exhibition we will stage a participatory project with young people through local schools across the Three Sisters, exploring the present and future of Marginalia in the digital era. How do we re-imagine the margins when we can edit live and instantaneously? How can we preserve our drafts and doodles (and all they tell about the now) in the digital future? The project will be managed by Kilkenny Arts Festival and will travel across the region to festivals (Metaphysics, Imagine Festival, Wexford Festival Opera) during 2020. We will also collaborate with Europeana Collections (NL) to stage a digital archive and exhibition platform for Marginalia – bringing the margins to the mainstream in contemporary European debate on cultural value with regard to that which should be recorded and preserved versus that which is temporary and ephemeral. date and place: August-November 2020, Kilkenny Arts Festival, METAPhysics Festival, Science Gallery Dublin project partners: Kilkenny Arts Festival, Cartoon Saloon, Schools, Waterford Museum, Science Gallery, Dublin (Ireland) Florian Rubis (France) Potential Partners: St. Paul’s Abbey, Lavanttal (Germany) Site Gallery Sheffield (UK), Europeana Collections financing:

€300,000

Kilkenny Arts Festival audiences; visitors from Europe and globally.

audience:

Metaphysics: A Festival of Arts and Science How do we understand ourselves as human beings and how we relate to the world that surrounds us? As well as a philosophical exercise, these questions go to the heart of how we create and experience culture and how that interacts with the science of the natural order. Two of the greatest minds ever applied to metaphysics were born in the Three Sisters region and their legacy endures. Bishop George Berkeley, born at Dysart Castle in Thomastown, educated at Kilkenny College – then a university – wrote seminally important works on the psychology of vision, mechanical science and political philosophy. In 1716, he was also one of the first travel writers, conducting a colourful grand tour of Italy. Robert Boyle, the father of modern chemistry and framer of Boyle’s Law, was born in Lismore Castle, Waterford. Half a century before Berkeley, he too spent time in Italy, studying under the legendary scientific polymath, Galileo, in Florence. Metaphysics is a festival of arts and science which will stage compelling public discussions where human culture meets the natural world. It will include spectacular scientific demonstrations, breath-taking installations of visual, sonic and performance art that interrogate what it means to be human and how we relate to technologies: ancient, contemporary and yet to be conceived. It will comprise a week-long programme of events in November 2020, during National Science Week and in partnership with European City of Science 2020. The festival will also incorporate a Metaphysician’s Trail throughout the Three Sisters which will bring visitors to craft studios that use ancient and modern technologies to create artefacts like glass, pottery and jewellery – unconsciously demonstrating the theories illuminated by Boyle and Berkeley. date and place:

November 2020 – Across the region

project partners: Science Gallery Dublin, Science Gallery International, Museo Galileo (Italy), Michael John Gorman, European City of Science 2020, Science Foundation Ireland, University of California, Berkeley financing:

€250,000

Academics, students; enthusiasts for philosophy and science from across Europe, motivated visitors to the region

audience:


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

The Invisible College and The Hedge School University When the Lismore Castle-born, Robert Boyle visited Florence, Italy in 1641 to study the work of Galileo, he was at the centre of a network of philosophers, scientists and writers called The Invisible College, which inspired an organisation in Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum and the Unseen University in the Discworld works of Terry Pratchett. Drawing on the unique tradition of public houses in Ireland as the Agora which animate their bars and backrooms with communal conversation, debate, humour and gossip, the Three Sisters will develop their own Invisible College for the 21st century in 2020. This will comprise a network of three pub backrooms and community centres across the Three Sisters region that will each host monthly events throughout 2020 and beyond. These events will feature talks on cultural issues by specially-invited speakers drawn from the artistic communities in ECoC designates: Plovdiv, Matera and Rijeka, as well as other ECoC candidate and designated cities. The mission of the Invisible College will be to create a convivial and informal network between cultural practitioners and artists in the Three Sisters region and their counterparts in Europe to promote excellence and best practice in delivery of cultural programmes and engagement with audiences. Speakers from the Three Sisters will travel to ECoC cities to speak to Invisible College gatherings there and an Invisible College gathering will be held as part of Sheffield Festival of the Mind 2020 (UK). Despite the region’s rich history in intellectual achievement and the continued presence of great minds in the area, The Three Sisters does not as yet have a university of its own. In the tradition of Ireland’s Hedge Schools of the 18th Century, Three Sisters will establish a Hedge School University – a year-long series of world-class lectures, master classes, residencies and symposia on the arts, humanities and sciences in unusual locations across the three counties, with academics and leaders in practice across these fields. This will utilise the three themes of the Three Sisters as its terms of reference, with critical discussion on how knowledge is generated, exchanged and retained in a non-metropolitan European region. date and place: Thomastown (Kilkenny); Gorey (Wexford); Dungarvan (Waterford), Enniscorthy (Wexford), Dunmore East (Wexford), Ardmore (Waterford), Arthurstown (Wexford). Kilmore Quay (Wexford), Curracloe (Wexford). Throughout 2020 potential project partners: Plovdiv 2019, Matera 2019, Rijeka 2020, WIT, Trinity College Dublin, Sheffield Festival of the Mind (UK) financing:

€230,000

Cultural practitioners and artists, culturally motivated visitors across Europe, young people and life-long learners, educationalists and innovators.

audience:


47

Libraries Re-imagined

Translating on the Slaney

The Three Sisters region boasts a wealth of libraries across all three counties. Over the period 2017-2019, the libraries will engage in a large-scale preservation through technology project to make their unique, local collections and the individual and collective memories of their public more visible in the community, with content explored thematically and creatively on different platforms and through a range of digital applications. Socially engaged artists from across Europe will be invited to apply for a residency in each library across the three counties and charged to deliver two provocations. The first is to curate new exhibitions or mixed media experiences using aspects of a particular library’s unique collection as source of inspiration and as a means to interpret and understand contemporary social and cultural life in the host communities; the second is to design and realise a series of projects which capture the stories and memories of the people with legacy potential for the different communities, exploiting the library service as the established nexus of community life with a defined and ever developing role in promoting personal development, lifelong learning and creative flourishing. This process of re-imagining the role of libraries as hubs of knowledge and sources of inspiration, will explore how the role and purpose of libraries is changing, problematise the very notion of a building-based library in a digital age, and pilot new models – e.g. on rural provision, archiving and community cohesion.

Rich in culture and social narratives, the fourth river in our region is the Slaney. Enniscorthy, which sits on its banks, will stage a new festival celebrating an important tributary of contemporary literature – the wealth of European fiction in translation. The recent success of the German, Jenny Erpenbeck’s The End of Days and the Italian, Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels serve to illustrate the richness of this contemporary vein of European fiction in translation and for Three Sisters 2020 demonstrate the power of cumar and flúirse. Translating on the Slaney will be a weekend-long industry-facing event and have as its patrons the Enniscorthy native, internationally celebrated and widely-translated novelist Colm Toibín and the international prize-winning Wexford novelist, John Banville. It will showcase the best of European fiction in translation and host readings, talks and industry events supported by Literature Ireland. Strong community participation is planned for this event with local schools involved in the selection of European novels in translation to be read as books at bedtime on KCLR, East Coast and WLR the three most established local radio stations in the region. The festival will also commission writers and spoken word artists from across Europe – building on the Translation Pitch of the European Literature Festival where books, poems and scripts by contemporary European writers which have not yet been translated into English and / or Irish will be pitched live. date and place:

date and place:

Region-wide, from 2019 through 2020 and

beyond project partners: financing:

Aarhus Public Libraries, Denmark

€340,000

Library users across the region and library professionals from across Europe, municipalities and regions undertaking library reform

audience:

Enniscorthy Co. Wexford, March 2018-2020

Literature Ireland, KCLR, East Coast Radio, WLR, Head Read Festival (Estonia)

project partners:

Prospective partners include Creative Europe / The Arts Council – €80,000 per annum 2018-2021 (Four year funding where we hope the project will live on independently thereafter)

financing:

School students; literary enthusiasts; translators from across Europe; library professionals

audience:


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KILKENOMICS 2020: A Cultural Economic Symposium Kilkenomics was established in Kilkenny 2010 in response to the global financial crisis and Ireland’s entry into a programme with the Troika of the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission. The festival presents panels of economists, journalists, bankers, regulators and other experts, on stages throughout Kilkenny, grilled by hosts who are in the main stand-up comedians. This truly unique approach has resulted in Kilkenomics being dubbed: “Davos with Jokes”. In November 2020 in Kilkenny City, Kilkenomics will present a Cultural Economics Symposium that will feature the world’s top cultural economists and experts responding to a proposition on how regions can effectively manage a culture-led approach. This will include a focus on how the ECoC designation can deliver long-term structural and cultural change. The outcome will be a distinctive, fruity reportage on notions of sustainability, growth and success through culture-led development. Participants will include experts of the calibre of Ruth Towse, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands; Bruno Heyndels, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium; Gillian Doyle, University of Glasgow, UK; Victoria M. Ateca-Amestoy, Bilbao, Spain. Other ECoCs will also participate – to pitch their understanding of the value (cultural to economic) of ECoC to an audience of satirists and humourists. date and place:

Kilkenny, November 2020

The Association of Cultural Economics International and the Journal of Cultural Economics (Spain), Financial Times Europe Edition (UK), Fáilte Ireland, ECoCs of the past decade. project partners:

financing:

€290,000

Policymakers /economists and those involved in urban and rural regeneration across Europe

audience:

Festival of Dissent The Three Sisters has a strong history of activism and dissent. The Red Flag was flown from Waterford Town Hall in 1923 and a Waterford Soviet declared; anti-nuclear groups staged events at Carnsore Point in County Wexford from 1978 to 1981 to successfully oppose Ireland’s first nuclear power station at that location; the 13-year Waterford Docks strike was the longest continuous strike in Irish history (during which time not one ship was allowed to use Waterford port), and presently Waterford Whispers News is a prominent on-line satirical platform which critically engages audiences across the world. The recent rise of activism and dissent across Europe, from environmentalism to anti-fascism, is ripe for exploration. Our response is to develop a multi-faceted festival to celebrate and interrogate its origins and manifestations. The festival will be hosted across a range of platforms with partners including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and their European network of partner organisations. We will digitise existing archives, commission new short-form films covering dissent across Europe today and stage a series of site-specific performances, talks and cross-art-form interventions which reflect the changing cultural geography of dissent in a Europe facing political, economic and existential crisis. date and place:

May 2020; Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny,

online project partners: Irish Congress of Trades Unions; European equivalents; RTÉ (State broadcaster); Waterford Whispers News (as our digital media protagonists) financing:

€90,000 – Three Sisters, ICTU and broadcaster

audience: Actively engaged citizens of Europe – striving for a fairer, cleaner, safer place to live, work and visit.


49

Re-mapping the Three Sisters: Minority Language Place-names Each of the Three Sisters municipalities has developed a project on local place-names – looking at their origins from original Irish and Norse language names, the story/history behind the name and the place-name as a source of artistic inspiration and sense of place. For Three Sisters 2020 we will develop a region-wide digital mapping project to re-name streets, settlements, parks and other places. Fuelled by walking activities, workshops and discussion, we will re-map the region to generate a new imagined geography which blends the existing Gaelic, Norse and English-language place-names with new interpretations; and which converges different languages to develop a new vernacular based on notions of identity, ownership and affinity. This ongoing digital programme will in effect crowd-source new place-names for the region and in doing so build awareness of the meaning of old place-names, re-connecting us to our past while imagining a different future. To deliver this next stage of the project, we will partner with minority language areas in Europe, focusing on other minority languages such as Scots Gaelic, Welsh, Manx, Cornish, Breton, Fris, Basque, Catalan and Galician. An international Place-names symposium and exhibition (digital and in situ) will be staged to reflect on shifting notions of identity and place. This will include a practical outcome – such as the beginnings of a European Place-names resource, and a Placename/Field-name Research Guide. date and place:

March 2020: An Rinn, Port Lairge/Waterford

Waterford County Council, Zero-G, The National Place Names Committee, Foras na Gaeilge, Bord na Gáidhlig (Scotland), Comisynydd y Gymraeg (Wales), Ofis Publik ar Brezhoneg (Brittany, France), Euskaltzaindia (Basque Country, Spain)

potential project partners:

financing:

€100,000

European academics and anthropologists, visitors to the region, Ireland’s Ancient East audiences, minority language speakers in region

audience:

From Fire and Water – Superstitions and belief in the Three Sisters From Fire and Water is the title of a new collection of folklore on film by Irish artist and folklorist, Michael Fortune from across the counties of Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford. For Three Sisters 2020, a three-year project which will result in a short film, digital platform and series of talks and screenings, will see Michael work for 12 months in each county recording people, collecting and documenting beliefs and rituals on film. The recorded material will cover local customs particular to the region such as the May bush, Halloween and Wake Customs to a multitude of folkloric stories associated with each area. The area also has many borrowed traditions from its Celtic neighbours in Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and Nordic and Germanic traditions from our English and Scandinavian neighbours. Our mumming traditions are borrowed from England, while our bonfire traditions are still found in Latvia, Estonia, Northern Spain. Michael will collaborate with artists and ethnologists from these different parts of Europe to develop a new narrative and archive of the intangible folk traditions of the Three Sisters. Development across the region in 2019 – Event presentation throughout 2020 in galleries and arts centres

date and place:

Wexford Arts Centre, Garter Lane Arts Centre, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Imagine Festival, Waterford

project partners:

financing:

€70,000

Folklore enthusiasts and artists from across Europe, schools and gallery audiences.

audience:


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Openness Fuascailt stream four

Three Sisters 2020 will be passionately open, inclusive and participatory. From how we plan the programme to how we tell our stories, we will co-create, share, engage and mobilise active participation at every turn. To emphasise this commitment and to demonstrate our capacity to deliver, we have developed a set of projects where openness is celebrated but also where openness, as an, on-trend, agenda in Europe and globally, is also critiqued. Can we be too open? Can public goods and services feasibly be open without infringing on our rights and privacy? And can bottom-up approaches to artistic development, democratised through social media, genuinely improve the quality and experience of cultural life? For all our rhetoric on welcoming refugees and collaborating across Europe, does this really manifest itself day to day in the Three Sisters and other European regions? For Three Sisters 2020, we are determined to explore these questions and more.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

The Mechanisms of Openness

An Inclusion Town

To facilitate openness as a core discipline for Three Sisters 2020, we will develop bespoke mechanisms which will make it easier for our citizens to actively participate in culture and for our cultural sector and those who support it to open up their approach to planning, programming and commissioning. We will develop an Open-Source Event-Making Toolkit, accessible to all people in the region on how to make events efficiently, safely and inventively. Three Sisters will work with events professionals, socially engaged artists, local authority events and community departments in the region, delivery teams from ECoCs and WIT technology department to develop an open source event making toolkit. We will set up a Citizen’s Programming Platform – a digital and face-to-face ideas bank for programming ideas and a mechanism for sourcing partners, artists, volunteers and sponsors. We will form a Regional Youth Council in 2017, working with Waterford Youth Arts to increase the participation of young people in decision making and democratic processes, advise Three Sisters 2020 on youth programming, and connect with the European Youth Parliament who will meet in the Three Sisters Region in 2020.

This is a large-scale and long-term demonstration project which opens up a small town in the Three Sisters as a place of culture-led exchange, community development and social inclusion. Callan is a rural town of 1900 people, with a long tradition of deprivation and social conflict but a more positive intercultural future. The Callan Community Network (CCN) is the established community development group in the area. From 2017 to 2021, we will position Callan as a pathfinder inclusion town, pro-actively addressing social inclusion in every aspect of life: ethnicity, sexual orientation, income level, age, mental health, cultural community (and travellers) and disability, with a particular emphasis on intellectual disability and a special focus on arts/cultural engagement. This will connect our local strategic approach to the EU Common Basic Principles (2004) and their development in the Stockholm Programme (2009) and the Zaragoza Declaration (2010). With European pioneers of inclusive and intercultural planning and creative partners Studio Weave (UK), we will co-design an integrated programme of employment education and active citizenship – with a focus on social participation and the development of vital civil society organs. We will also explore the relationship between physical regeneration and social change, asking how culture can contribute toward sustainable development outcomes as stipulated by United Cities and Local Government in their focus on culture and sustainable urban development. The approach taken in delivery of this programme element will be rolled out in 2021 to Enniscorthy, a town with similar challenges. The Abhainn Rí Festival of Participation and Inclusion and Summer School, will expand to create a year round programme of cultural events and a forum for interaction and creative activity in 2020. A documentary film and soundtrack will be commissioned as a critical commentary on the hopes and fears of citizens living to the margins of a region on the margins. date and place: 2016-2021, Callan, March 2020, Enniscorthy 2021 project partners: Callan Workhouse Union, Callan Community Network, Trasna Productions, Camphill Callan, Abhainn Rí Festival, KCAT, Kilkenny Leader Partnership, fiinancing:

€175,000 Three Sisters; €150,000 other sources

Local communities, social and community workers, artists, policymakers for inclusion across Europe

audience:


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Three Sisters Fit Up Festival

Culture Bus

Three Sisters Fit-ups Festival brings quality professional theatre productions to audiences in isolated rural areas which ordinarily would not have easy access to the arts. A summer fit-up festival will be staged in six villages in Dunmore East/ Curracloe while a spring fit-up will work in a more urban environment in the Kilkenny area. The fit-up model will open up theatre as an art form, engaging citizens in the process of actively participating without the fear factor or practical access issues of going to a theatre. Through a collaborative process with Fearghus Ó Conchúir’s Sruth project, dance will be introduced to the Fit Up Festivals; and through the European networks afforded by ECoC, where the Fit Up Festival programmers will be supported in programming research and development. We will also stage a workshop with the 10 ADESTE partners (from 8 EU countries) to explore how the Three Sisters Fit Up model can be adapted for rural touring and audience development models across Europe. ADESTE is a Leonardo Da Vinci project co-financed by the European Commission. It is in the process of developing a new occupational profile for culture in Europe: the “audience developer”.

The Three Sisters faces challenges in providing solutions as to how citizens and visitors move between the counties. We want to increase the permeability of the region, increase mobility and break-down the boundaries of county to re-imagine a cultural region. Culture Bus is an imaginative way of engaging with this issue. Three double-decker buses, or repurposed flat-bed trucks as inspired by Rimini Protokoll’s ‘Truck Tracks’ Ruhr project, will be acquired for 2020 and local artists and community groups will be commissioned to decorate/design each one. Each bus will be county-based and travel specific routes across the region during 2020 (and will travel to other ECoCs prior to the year), bringing audiences to events, exhibitions and key scenic stop offs and places of interest. The routes of the bus will vary throughout the year in response to the variations of the programme. Culture Bus supports the development and mobilisation of sustainable audiences for culture increasing access and engagement in culture across the region and removing perceived county boundaries. date and place:

date and place:

Waterford and Kilkenny, March 2017 – 2020

Fit Up Festival, Fearghus Ó Conchúir, ADESTE, rural touring programmes and festivals across Europe project partners:

financing:

€250,000

Throughout 2020 and across the region

Bus Éireann, Leeuwarden 2018 (to be agreed post award), Valletta 2018

proposed project partners:

financing:

€50,000

Cultural audiences throughout the region and visitors to the region

audience:

Rural communities across the Three Sisters and beyond and visitors to the region

audience:

Callan Workhouse Union


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Camán, Iomán

AIMS High

In the Three Sisters sport is central to our culture. The ancient game of hurling is recorded as far back as the 7th century in Ireland. Mythological references to Cú Chulainn and the Táin Bó Cuailgne place it as far back as the 2nd century BC. The fastest field game on earth is played to the highest standard by the county teams of the Three Sisters and the women’s game of camogie is equally rich in local talent with 19 of the last 84 annual championships being won by a Three Sisters team. In 2020, the Three Sisters will put aside their traditional sporting rivalry to open up the arts through a unique series of events of sporting participation. This will take the form of rich and exuberant pageants of choreographed dance, hurling and camogie skills and athleticism performed in the Three Sisters iconic hurling arenas when the championships have concluded and school teams have begun training. This project will involve Norway’s Jo Stromgren Kompani and Buí Bolg as artistic partners as well as local amateur and professional dance companies.

Amateur musical theatre and light opera are part of the lifeblood of our communities. With audiences of a scale envied by professional theatres in the region, the Three Sisters is home to many musical society groups and associations which thrive in a rich culture of tribalism, competition and intrigue, as well as a spirit of co-operation, volunteerism, talent and hard work. For Three Sisters 2020 we will shine a light on our amateur sector. We will invite German ‘Theatre of Experts’ Rimini Protokoll and their previous Irish collaborator, theatre maker Una McKevitt, to make a new show with, by and about the vibrant amateur musical and light opera tradition in the Three Sisters. With workshops throughout 2018 and 2019 this production aims to collide the world of contemporary, professional, European theatre with the amateur yet rigorous world of musical theatre, towards a new show which will première and tour to the Three Sisters’ major theatre venues (Theatre Royal, Waterford, The Watergate, Kilkenny and National Opera House, Wexford) in 2020.

date and place: October 2020, Nowlan Park Kilkenny, Wexford Park and Walsh Park, Waterford

Kilkenny

proposed project partners: GAA, The Camogie Association, Professor Mike Cronin, Academic Director, Boston College (Ireland), Camanachd Association (Scotland) Buí Bolg, Jo Stromgren Kompani (Norway) financing:

€300,000

Sportspeople in the region and their families, GAA, shinty and other sport club members in Scotland, international and domestic visitors to the region.

audience:

date and place:

February 2020, Waterford, Wexford,

project partners: Theatre Royal, The Watergate Theatre, National Opera House, Association of Irish Musical Societies, Una McKevitt (Ireland), Rimini Protokoll (Germany) financing:

€400,000

Musical society members and enthusiasts, contemporary theatre fans

audience:


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The Gurrelieder Open

State of the Audience

Gurrelieder is an extraordinarily ambitious piece of music written between 1900 and 1911 by the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. It is a major work of the classical repertoire that represents the fin-de-siècle for the period of romantic music that occupied most of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It has never been performed in Ireland. Gurrelieder was written as a cantata for concert performance, but for Three Sisters 2020, the ambition is to perform it as a staged dramatic performance. Wide Open Opera will collaborate with The Three Sisters for first performance of the work in Ireland. There will be four main elements to the production:

Audience+ is an intensive audience development and capacity-building programme which will be developed in the Three Sisters region from 2017 to 2020. As part of this programme the Three Sisters will commission a European practitioners “State of the Audience” conference in 2020 which will incorporate work from our research partners in Waterford Institute of Technology, Audiences Europe Network and key cultural organisations in the region alongside invited international speakers from across Europe specialist in sustainable audience development. The conference will explore themes of sustainability of audiences in rural, semi-rural and peripheral regions and showcase the models developed by the Three Sisters to address this issue on their journey to 2020 and beyond.

-- Cast and Creative team would be selected from among Irish and European artists of the highest international calibre. -- An orchestra of 120 players will be drawn from young emerging professional players from across the 28 member-states of the EU who will come together for a 2-week intensive period in Waterford in the summer of 2020. -- Massed community choir featuring in the first instance choral singers from the Three Sisters, plus with opportunities for participation from other parts of Ireland and international singers. The focus here will be bringing together choirs from across the Three Sisters and Ireland.

date and place:

September 2020, Wexford Opera House

An Comhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council, Audiences Europe Network project partners:

financing:

€30,000

National and international audiences including cultural managers, audiences development practitioners and arts marketers, regional development specialists

audience:

-- Digital broadcast – live on-line and in art house cinemas across Ireland. We will also scope opportunities for a European release. date and place:

July 2020 – Waterford

Wide Open Opera Partners, National Opera House, European Youth Orchestra. project partners:

potential partners:

An Comhairle Ealaíon/ The Arts Council,

Creative Europe financing:

€650,000 Three Sisters, €150,000 project

partners audience:

European choral festival and music audiences

National Opera House, Wexford


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Adventure Aistear stream five


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Three Sisters is, like regions across Europe, a place of transition, of arrivals and departures bringing demographic and cultural change. It is also, like regions across Europe, a region of social, cultural and aesthetic diversity – from the gritty urban landscape of industrial ruins to the lilting pastures of dairy farms; or from relatively mono-ethnic housing estates to increasingly intercultural communities in our urban and some of our rural settlements. Drawing on our connecting themes of Cumar and Arrivals, Adventure / Aistear allows us to shine a light on the shifting identities of a region in transition and to reflect on what this means for the future European region. This includes a focus on intercultural exchange and mobility – for artists and audiences, ideas and approaches.

Between Bridges Between Bridges explores the realities faced by refugees and migrants coming to Europe from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa. Between Bridges will evolve over a two-year period working with refugee groups across Europe and will be realised on the major bridges that cross the Barrow, the Nore and the Suir. These bridges are crossed by thousands of people each day and they symbolise the cumar of the Three Sisters. For 2020 we want them to symbolise a new Europe of intercultural dialogue, migration and the tensions and opportunities these bring. Led locally by Lismore Castle Arts, Between Bridges seeks to re-imagine a European region which different minorities call their home and to initiate discussion on how these ancient points of crossing are today’s points of intercultural exchange. date and place: April 2020 – Bridges across the region (Development 2018-2020) project partners: Lismore Castle Arts, Brigitte Bloksma/ Casteel Wijlre (Netherlands) financing:

€350,000

The region as it travels, accompanying schools programme, visitors to region, community engagement groups.

audience:

Residencies and Renovations: Artists’ Homes One of the ongoing infrastructural deficits which arts and cultural organisations cite is the constant need for short-term accommodation for visiting artists and technicians participating in exchange and residency programmes. The Three Sisters has a surplus of unused accommodation and premises across the region, much of it a legacy of the Celtic Tiger era in Ireland and also of the urbanisation of the country generally. For Three Sisters 2020, to accommodate the significant number of visiting artists in the region in 2020 and to facilitate ongoing intercultural exchange post 2020, we will challenge artists, architects and technologists to come up with new and innovative ways of accommodating artists. We will hold a Europe-wide architectural competition to propose solutions to this issue. We will hold an exhibition of the entries and commission up to six of the winning entries. Of these will be at least one first generation refugee migrant to Europe, who will re-imagine an artists’ home in a new European region. date and place: 2018 and 2019 across the region. Launched in February with an exhibition of applicants and winners in the architectural competition in libraries across the region project partners: Callan Workhouse Union, Fumbally Exchange, Irish Architectural Foundation (Ireland) Arts Cabinet (UK) financing:

€500,000

Visual arts audiences, arts managers and organisations across Europe, library users, regeneration and migration partners.

audience:


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Cultural Programmers on the Move

SUBTITLE: European Cinema on Wheels

ISACS, (Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network) in collaboration with Prostor Plus, Rijeka, will manage a joint project developing the programming skills of festival and venue mangers with specific reference to Street and Circus Arts for the Three Sisters region and Rijeka. Working with our European Circostrada network we will create a Top 10 Festival Tour for Croatian and Irish Festival programmers to visit and experience a number of leading Circus and Street Arts Festivals across Europe, broadening their exposure to new types of work, increasing access to emerging talent and maximising potential for inter-country collaborations. A core element of the programme will be the presentation of Irish and Croatian artists to both countries for both indoor and outdoor work within the ECoC context. The festivals on the tour include: Fira Tàrrega, Barcelona, Spain; Out There Festival, Great Yarmouth, UK; Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, London, UK; CIRCa, Auch, France; Festival Mirabilia, Turin, Italy; Cirko, Helsinki, Finland; Festival Perplx, Kortrijk, Belgium; Winterfest, Salzburg, Austria; National Circus Festival of Ireland, Tralee, Ireland and Festival Novog Cirkusa, Zagreb, Croatia.

The SUBTITLE European Film Festival, established in 2012 in Kilkenny City, provides a unique experience to see popular European films that rarely show up at the multiplex and offering opportunities to meet and critically engage filmmakers. SUBTITLE has become one of the biggest meeting places for casting directors from around the world and the best acting talent in Europe, making it a vibrant marketplace for European cinema talent – a new Cannes for Casting. For the Three Sisters 2020, SUBTITLE will take to the roads of the region in the Cinemobile, a 100-seat cinema in 40-foot truck, equipped with state-of-the-art projection equipment. The Cinemobile will tour the region bringing the best in European cinema to villages and communities never reached before. SUBTITLE will also create the classic drive-in movie experience at suitable open-air locations such as agricultural marts and former industrial sites where people with cars can enjoy the films. These cinematic events will be part-hosted by nationals of the countries of origin of the films being screened. Programming will feature new works with a spirit of adventure – travel stories of an increasingly intercultural Europe. These special events will also feature hosted conversations with the film-makers and actors as well as meet-andgreet sessions in local pubs and community centres.

date and place: Programming trips in 2017 and 2018, performances of European Circus in 2020 project partners: financing:

ISACS (IRL) Prostor Plus (Croatia)

€300,000

Cultural managers in Three Sisters Region and Croatia and street arts and festivals audiences in 2020 audience:

date and place: November/ December 2020 in car parks, industrial estates and fields throughout the region

SUBTITLE Film Festival, Spotlight, Cinemobile, Creative Europe Media, Eurimages European Cinema Support Fund.

project partners:

financing:

€280,000

European and national film audiences; intercultural audiences; rural and small town communities

audience:


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Blueways and Greenways Our Three Sisters rivers and railways are historically vital elements of the country’s communication and transport networks. The Local Authority partners working with LEADER and Fáilte Ireland are keen to link these cultural and leisure assets to economic development, inward investment and tourism, both along the routes and for the wider region. During the period to 2021 co-investment is being provided for development of the Greenways and Blueways, which entails the upgrading of the existing tow-paths and former railways tracks to new multi-use shared leisure routes connecting towns and villages across the region, enabling journeys on foot, bicycle or by boat. Our programme re-imagines these rivers and tracks through our Connecting Colours festival which will be launched in 2020 – bringing together stories of the river and the sea, of arrival and adventure, of making a place a home. In collaboration with our partners in Nantes (L’Estuaire) and co-commissioning work across our major festivals, Greenways and Blueways become trails of story-telling and mystical acts. Further collaborations are planned with river goddess cities of Europe – including Divona (Bordeaux), Bolbe (Thessalonika) and Vellamo (Turku). date and place: Towns and villages along the Barrow, Nore and Suir, May 2020

LEADER, Fáilte Ireland, Nantes Metropole (France), Bordeaux, Thessalonika, Turku

potential project partners:

financing:

€300,000

Walking and cycling enthusiasts and Blueway/ Greenway users, tourists to the Barrow region, local communities

audience:

Greenways and Blueways throughout the Three Sisters


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Arts, Health & Wellbeing Slรกinte stream six


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In the Three Sisters, we have been a pathfinder region for positioning culture as a critical element in our care system. We are fortunate to have some of the most experienced and innovative practitioners in the country, with Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) and Kilkenny Collective for Arts Talent (KCAT), proving real assets, plus our leading cultural organisations such as the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny have been active partners in exploring arts, health and happiness as a core area of work. However, we can and must do much more to coordinate, embed and innovate. As we build toward 2020, we will establish a Social Contract for Health and Wellbeing for the region, which will set out our ambition to have the most integrated, gender balanced, innovative and radical offer for a non-metropolitan, rural region in Ireland (by 2019) and Europe (by 2021).

This programme areas will be led by the WHAT and K-Cat, with additional expertise from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and selected European partners. Based on the recommendations of the Contract – which will be co-created via a panel of experts and practitioners based in the Three Sisters, with European critical friends, our Priority projects for Sláinte include:

Cultural Prescription for the Three Sisters Embodying the Three Sisters themes of cumar and arrivals, this project brings artists from across Europe to co-deliver a large-scale cultural prescribing project of European significance. Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) supports the development of arts and health projects across Ireland through information, resources, training and advice and aims to enrich the lives of those receiving and providing healthcare through the arts. The project will incrementally grow between 2017 and 2020, starting with partnerships with nine General Practitioner (GP) practices across three counties in 2017 and arriving at 21 partnerships with GP practices across three counties in 2020, with an operational model that can be rolled out nationally and internationally. It will be driven by a full-time Cultural Prescriber, who will manage a multi-disciplinary team of collaborative and participatory artists so that the programme is as responsive as possible. The aim is to facilitate the mobility of artists across the region and for European residencies in the Three Sisters, linking into existing cultural resources in the region such as the WHAT Centre, Butler Gallery, VISUAL Carlow and Wexford Arts Centre. Guest artists from other parts of Europe such as Mark Storor, Philippe Bouteloup of Musique et Sante, and Alison Kershaw, will be invited to deliver aspects of the programme and provide mentoring to the artists. Throughout 2020 in nine GP clinics across the region

date and place:

project partners: Heart of Glass, (UK) Chris Ryan, Arts Care (Wales), Jenny Elliott, ArtsCare, (N Ireland), Clive Parkinson, MMU (UK); Alison Kershaw,(UK) Ros Howley, musician (UK) Philippe Bouteloup, Musique et Sante (France), Pia Strandman, Helsinki Metropolitan University of Applied Sciences (Finland) financing:

€350,000

Attendees to health care settings, policymakers for health and well-being

audience:


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Azure – Accessible Programming Open Windows Kilkenny artist and arts and health practitioner Denis Roche across Three Sisters 2020 Founded by Butler Gallery, Age & Opportunity, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Azure explores the potential for greater participation of people with dementia in cultural settings in Ireland. The Three Sisters 2020 will commission the Azure Network to link with arts facilitators in the region, nationally and across Europe to initiate collaborative best practice for accessible programming across the entirely of the ECoC programme and further afield with European partners, driving the potential for the Azure Network as Europe’s premier accessible programming model. To ensure sustainability a team of facilitators from across the region will receive Azure training, enabling access-friendly programming to continue in the region long after 2020 has passed. As part of this programme, and working with their European partners to collaborate, innovate and share best practice, Azure will move to include accessible programming for people with autism and blind and partially sighted visitors and people with physical and cognitive disabilities and will involve a team of technology partners who will seek new tools to increase the interactivity and immersion of programming across Three Sisters 2020. date and place:

February to December 2020

Butler Gallery. Marino Marini Museum, Florence, Lehmbr Museum, Duisburg, (Germany), Euridea, (Italy), Socialini Meno Projektai and ZISPB (Lithuania).

project partners:

financing:

€90,000

National and international audiences, residents of Nursing Homes in the region and those with a variety of limiting conditions audience:

will implement telepresence robots to connect people with mobility challenges to cultural events and institutions across Europe. The project will form part of an ongoing clinical research into the influence of contemporary art in an acute care environment. Robots can be placed in various locations such as galleries, museums and at cultural events to reach an audience who may not by physically able to attend cultural events; particularly people in residential health-care settings. There is also an opportunity to send the robots to international locations that host cultural events, particularly ECoCs in 2018, and 2019. The intervention will create a social event that links generations in different locations engendering an increased sense of community. This will have a beneficial influence on health and wellbeing in older participants and those with reduced access.

date and place: Launch July 2020 – to coincide with Three Sisters International 2020

Victoria & Albert Museum and Imperial War Museum, London.

project partners:

Leeuwarden 2018 (to be agreed post award), Matera 2019, Rijeka 2020.

potential partners:

financing:

€100,000

audience: People in healthcare settings, local and regional communities


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Fuel /Beathú The Three Sisters region has a vibrant and emerging food and drink culture which varies from county to county and from town to town. Our culinary landscape is composed of restaurants, micro-breweries and distilleries, artisan and small producers, as well as major food producers and distributors such as Dawn Meats and Glanbia. We also have Flahavan’s – a family firm producing porridge oats –part of the collective memory of childhood for Irish people. To celebrate and explore our food culture, and to appeal to a growing European market for ‘slow food’ and provenance, three major and a number of smaller food festivals have been established in the region in the last number of years. Furthermore, Wexford Food Family and the Waterford Enterprising Food Network are pioneering a model of co-operation and collaboration between producers, distributors and retailers of all sizes. For Three Sisters 2020, we will put healthy eating and locally sourced food and drink back to the top of the European menu with a programme of interventions which includes: -- The Three Sisters Food and Drink Summit: will explore innovative methods for the export potential of food and drink products and services from the Three Sisters region to be brought to a Europe–wide market. The summit will bring together local producers to showcase their products to international stakeholders and provide a discourse on local production and the value of micro-industries in the agri-food sector to the global economy. The Showcase will incorporate both business to consumer and business to business elements and will host international buyers. It will examine best practice learning from the National agency (Board Bia) and from international and European equivalents.

-- Main-Street Feasts: The Three Sisters region boasts a wealth of excellent food festivals and restaurants. To maximise our food capability across the region we will work with Eurotoques, to place ten talented young European chefs in residence in towns across the region, working with local communities in the generation of large scale participatory street-feasts throughout 2020. -- The Fat of the Land: Three Sisters Children’s Food Festival. In partnership with our existing food festivals and fronted by local celebrated chef Kevin Dundon and other leading chefs and producers from across Europe, we will explore food provenance, sustainability and the slow food movement, through the perspective of children. Incorporating the value of our cooperative culture of farmer’s markets to bring local and artisan produce to local people, we will set up a bespoke ‘cookery theatre’ with hands-on demonstrations for children inviting them to chop, stir, smell and taste. The Children’s Food Festival will encourage children of all ages to become adventurers in the world of real food, to understand what is grown on their doorstep in the Three Sisters and in collaborating regions across Europe. Fat of the Land, Spring; Street Feasts, Summer Food Summit, Autumn 2020

date and place:

Local Enterprise Board, Waterford, Euro-toques (TBC), Bord Bia, Fáilte Ireland, Growit-Yourself movement in the Three Sisters

potential project partners:

financing:

€400,000

Food professionals in the region and elsewhere; local audiences, Ireland’s Ancient East visitors via Fáilte Ireland.

audience:


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

The Bit Between My Teeth

VisAbility

The Bit Between My Teeth is a unique and original participatory arts project, and offers Three Sisters a unique opportunity to collaborate with a lasting ‘legacy project’ of Cork ECoC 2005. From 2017-2019, leading British artist Mark Storor, in collaboration with Northern Irish composer Jules Maxwell, will engage with gay men living in rural areas across Cork and Three Sisters, through an extended period of creative workshops, to create an exciting and dynamic site-specific theatre performance in 2020 which explores issues of male health and wellbeing. The project will engage with isolated gay men in rural areas, enabling them to meet other men in their own situation, find a safe and creative outlet for their own stories, and raise awareness of the issues affecting gay men living in rural Ireland. The Bit Between My Teeth is about love and longing in all its myriad manifestations. Informed by folk traditions of storytelling and travelling, the eventual performance will create a space in which the marginalisation of gay people in rural contexts post-marriage equality in Ireland and in a Europe where inclusion on grounds of sexuality is still emergent.

VISABILITY will challenge expectations, break new ground in arts and inclusion and generate a new, mature discourse around the often-perceived cultural barrier of being an artist with a disability. Equinox Theatre Company will bring a yearlong programme of inclusive European art from across performance platforms of theatre, dance, music and circus to venues across the region. It will also create an off-site, site-sensitive trilogy in collaboration with groups from Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny. This programme will tour major galleries and theatres across the Three Sisters, bringing art and inclusion front and centre. KCAT will also commission six collaborative art-works bringing two artists together for each piece to be presented at site-specific locations in the region and conduct a two day European-level symposium on inclusion and value systems in the arts.

date and place :

Launch February 2020 – Throughout 2020 and across the Three Sisters region

date and place:

KCAT, Project Ability (Scotland), Wiltz corporations, (Luxembourg), Inuti in (Sweden,) Atelier de la Tour (Austria), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

project partners:

Development 2017-2019, Performances in June and July 2020

financing:

Cork Midsummer Festival, Cork Gay Men’s Project, Imagine Festival (Ireland), Mark Storor (UK), Jules Maxwell (NI) Potential future presentations at: Sick Festival (UK), Campo/Possible Futures Festival (Belgium)

audience: Arts and Disability practitioners and participants, visual art and theatre audiences who would not normally consider attending work by artists with disabilities, knowledge leaders and professionals in European disability arts, access and inclusion

project partners:

financing:

€300,000

Contemporary theatre audiences, LGBT community across Europe, Macra na Feirme

audience:

€350,000


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A Creative Region CothĂş stream seven


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

COTHÚ involves a series of shared development activities to support the growth and sustainability of the regional creative economy and to build opportunities for creative careers to prosper in the region. The Three Sisters, like other relatively rural European regions, needs to diversify its economy, be more effective in retaining and attracting creative talent, and build strong connections between culture and the creative industries to deliver positive benefits to other sectors. With digitalisation opening up opportunities to live and work in regions such as the Three Sisters, and with other quality of life indicators such as clean air and low crime proving attractive to some creative professionals; a major opportunity exists for the region to grow a genuinely productive creative economy. But to achieve this means introducing the enabling conditions which allow creative talent to flourish – from great skills to access to hubs and networks. For Three Sisters 2020 and as a core element of our Regional Cultural Strategy, we want to play a leading role in re-imagining how a semi-rural European region can also flourish as a creative one. We will achieve this through a diverse programme of activities, some of which we are testing already as demonstrator projects. They include: -- A distributed hub programme for micro businesses across the Three Sisters. Each city will open up a ‘meanwhile space’ as part of a wider approach to championing creating and making. In addition, new dedicated creative workspaces will be prioritised as part of the planning mix for the North Quays (Waterford) and the brewery site (Kilkenny). In Wexford, a programme of rural creative workspace will be piloted – in farms, stately homes and other unexpected locations. Existing hubs – Fumbally Exchange (Waterford) and Kilkenny Design Studios – will also be consolidated, with scope for offsite extension and prototyping models of co-working. We will also build on our existing networks to facilitate this over the next 4 years – e.g. via the Culture for Cities and Regions programme (which we have participated in), new British Council-led European Creative Hubs programme, and European Creative Business Network, which can help us to connect our hubs and networks across Europe.

3

-- Development of Centres of Excellence across the Three Sisters – for Glass, Goldsmithing, Jewellery, Ceramics, Design and Making,. These enterprise-focused design-led craft enterprises will be developed in rural locations where there is backdrop of current activity and best practice and positioned as a ‘living lab’ for new directions in practice development and creative enterprise commencing as temporary spaces and scaling up in line with demand and investment from national agencies. As part of the programme we will establish a Fab Lab3 for the Three Sisters by 2017 as an open house creative technology resource. -- A programme of test beds and pathfinders on micro creative businesses in smaller cities. Here we can maximise the role of the Technology Gateway at Waterford Institute of Technology. This programme delivers technology solutions for Irish industry close to their market needs in areas of ICT mobile services, advanced manufacturing, and bio-pharmaceuticals. We will commission creative businesses from different disciplines to prototype new types of practice, service and product through the Technology Gateway. We will also work with the ArcLabs Innovation Centre, which currently supports knowledge intensive enterprises in Waterford and Kilkenny. The Centre helps entrepreneurs to harness amazing ideas, creativity and innovation and to convert concepts into thriving, commercial businesses. We will host a programme of creative residencies in ArcLabs for local and international creative practitioners, and we will approach ArcLabs as a collaborator in our wider cultural programme – to source creative approaches to technology and cross-disciplinary solutions. -- A Smaller City Creative Campus: our moment for reflection, boundary-crossing discussion and future-planning. This programme element provides a platform to explore what we mean by ‘legacy’ and the role of culture and creativity in smaller city-making. With two cross-cutting themes – on ‘open cities’ and ‘sharing cities’ – we will invite speakers and practitioners from across Europe and beyond. We also have a rich cultural and creative programme – with games, walking tours, pop ups and live music. All our contributors have a mission to inspire, engage and collaborate with you so that we can collectively re-imagine the possibility of the smaller city.

Fabrication laboratory, small-scale workshop and enterprise space www.fablabfoundation.org


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-- NEST: New Emerging Street Talent. Spraoi and ISACS’ European development programme for early-career street artists works to build the skills base and capacity of artists to grow careers as part of a long-term plan to establish Waterford a European hub for artist development and collaboration in the field of street arts and spectacle. Building toward 2020, Spraoi will support emerging street artists with leading European spectacle makers as mentors over a 4 year programme including opportunities for residential exchange with at least 3 European Partners (Stockton Festival, Fira Tàrrega and Ales Festival). The programme will facilitate performance opportunities for participating artists via exchanges between partner festivals, culminating in the creation and production of The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, one of the highlight cultural events of Three Sisters 2020. The programme will introduce new artistic skills and experience to the Three Sisters Region, creating legacy opportunities through new concepts of street and spectacle arts. -- The Three Sisters Theatre Hub. We will create a regional theatre production hub, beginning in 2017 and coming to fruition in 2020 and continuing beyond the ECoC year. Theatre is the most attended art form in Ireland and Irish theatre nationally and in the southeast is the “top of mind” artform. This project seeks to address gaps in the Three Sisters which are common to all non-metropolitan regions: the lack of highly qualified personnel across professional disciplines, a constant turnover of personnel and the seasonal or part-time nature of work. Our regional theatre hub aims to create a team of fulltime experienced personnel, engaged to work across all of the theatres in the region and charged with the creation and realisation of theatre projects for theatres in the region and the creation of a touring network. Modelled as a micro version of the Backstage Centre in Purfleet, UK, the Three Sisters Theatre Hub would be the skills development, R&D and ideation hub for theatre across the region – building capacity, enriching the skills mix and establishing a level of critical mass. date and place:

2017 – 2020 throughout the Three Sisters

Region project partners: Three Sisters (Lead) Design and Crafts Council of Ireland; Bord Bia; Irish Film Board; Dept. of Education; creative companies throughout the region; Enterprise Boards; Enterprise Ireland, Fira Tàrrega (Spain), Stockton Festival (UK), Ales Festival (France), financing:

€950,000

Creative (design, craft, technology and innovation) communities of practice. Niche markets for glass, jewellery, ceramics, theatre etc. International and domestic visitors motivated by creativity and innovation.

audience:

The region will continue to develop as a sustainable creative hub


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

Our Signature COTHÚ projects are those which build on the above development work to nurture talent, reach markets, showcase excellence and catalyse innovative and commercial opportunities for our regional creative economy over the next decade or more. They intend to demonstrate the creative possibility of a non-metropolitan European region. They include:

Three Sisters for Europe Young Filmmakers Academy and Film Festival In the Three Sisters, we need to build digital and screen literacy; encourage the development and retention of local talent, enable the diversification of the industry into animation and short-form content, and be much better at telling our stories using digital technology. Young Irish Film Makers, the national organisation for youth film in Ireland, are based in Kilkenny; as are Cartoon Saloon, Ireland’s leading animation company. Together we will develop a week long European Youth Film Festival & European Youth Film School which will become a biannual event in the Three Sisters. Young film makers from all over Europe will be invited to come together for 7 days of practical workshops, talks from industry experts and film production. Script-writing master-classes will be held alongside a ‘meet market’ of young filmmakers and producers to co-identify new commissioning opportunities. In partnership with Waterford Youth Arts, County Wexford Film Project and European Partners Four Rivers Film Festival (Croatia), Station Next (Denmark), NUFF (Norway), Camera Zizzano (Greece), YOUKI (Austria), REC (Germany), and Electric December (United Kingdom); we will build toward this festival through a careful process of partnership development and the introduction of specialist support and exchange platforms, building year on year to 2020. For example, in 2018 we will stage a Three Sisters Youth Film Festival and youth film exchange inclusive of European film schools; in 2019 we will hold the first National Youth Film Festival to coincide with the National Youth Film School; and in 2020 we will stage the first European Youth Film Festival. date and place:

Annually in June from 2018-2020. Kilkenny

and region-wide Kilkenny Young Filmmakers; Waterford Young Filmmakers; Wexford Young Filmmakers; Waterford Youth Arts, County Wexford Film Project and Four Rivers Film Festival (Croatia), Station Next (Denmark), NUFF (Norway), Camera Zizzano (Greece), YOUKI (Austria), REC (Germany), and Electric December (UK).

project partners:

financing:

€40,000

audience: Young filmmakers and film enthusiasts across Europe, Film festival attendees


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Waterford – International Centre for Glass Making and Design Building from the outputs of the Glass Symposium held in WIT (September 2015), the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland in association with partners WIT and the City Council is backing Waterford to re-imagine its potential in glass by developing a new set of creative and innovative approaches. Four strands of work have been identified which collectively will mean Waterford has once again arrived as a leading creative centre for glass making and design in Europe: -- An innovation programme with Waterford Institute of Technology which focuses on new and smart technologies and applications for the material. -- A market development programme to stimulate and grow existing glass enterprises, capitalising on existing skills and the legacy of Waterford Crystal in the studio and tableware glass sectors for export into new markets. -- A new glass tourism proposition – presenting the story of Waterford’s long association with glass and the history of glass in Europe; incorporating a glass museum, immersive and interactive experiences, participatory learning models, live glass production displays, workshops, international residencies, and experimentation. -- International collaboration with leading glass centres – to co-create new types of product and experience, share best practice and explore shared platforms to showcase work. Connections are already well-developed with other ‘glass cities’ such as Bornholm, in Denmark and Lalique and Meisenthal in France.

-- Working with the DCCoI we will bring the Corning GlassLab™ glass-blowing mobile laboratory to The Three Sisters as part of our large-scale spectacle programme and establish an ongoing working relationship with Corning inc (Europe and USA). Bulding from this intensive sectoral transformation and development programme, we will co-create a Glass Biennial with learning from our existing connections in Bornholm, Denmark, Meisenthal and Lalique, France, Corning, New York and the Waterford Museum of Treasures. This will focus on radical innovation in glassware production, manufacturing and design, glass art and glass as science. It will connect Waterford with the international glass community. It will reference the social history of glass in Waterford and our partner city, and position it as a knowledge centre and creative leader in the future of glass technologies and applications. Development programme commencing 2016 – Glass Lab, Summer 2020, Biennial 2020 and every two years after

date and place:

Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and WIT; Bornholm Bienalle (Denmark), Centre Internationale du Verrier (CIAV) Meisenthal, and Lalique Glass Museum (France), Corning Museum of Glass and Glass Lab™, New York and Europe and the Waterford Museum of Treasures

project partners:

€1,000,000 Three Sisters, €2,000,000 DCCoI, Enterprise Ireland Regional Development Fund, development partners and WIT4

financing:

audience: International glass community, glass practitioners. Global and domestic visitors motivated by Waterford’s glass story (specifically US market and Ireland’s Ancient East core audiences

4

Fabrication laboratory, small-scale workshop and enterprise space www.fablabfoundation.org

The region has a long standing assoication with glass making


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

Sustainability and the New Nordic Vernacular The concept of the project is to showcase contemporary design and crafts from the four Nordic countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark) in Ireland. These designs all have strong elements of sustainability tied into them, whether it be through the materials, the work process, culturally, socially or otherwise – and are exclusively made by independent designers from the four Nordic countries. Instigated by the four Nordic Embassies in Ireland and developed in collaboration with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, the project will build creative and commercial exchange opportunities between Irish and Nordic designers, and stage a conversation on what Nordic design means today and share new art practices with Irish audiences. It will involve three weeks of exhibitions, workshops, seminars and public events which will showcase the best of Nordic and Irish design traditions, including the best practices of integrating sustainable materials and methods into the area. date and place:

National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny

Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Embassies, DCCoI, National College of Art & Design, Dublin project partners:

Global Irish Design Challenge The Global Irish Design Challenge (GIDC), is a legacy project for Irish Design 2015. The challenge celebrates and provides a platform for game-changing Irish design innovation, while activating and connecting a broad global network of design talent. It offered a unique opportunity to bring visibility to the exceptional levels of design and innovation taking place across the globe. Seen as a significant opportunity to raise the profile of Irish Design GIDC partnered with Dezeen, who have an on-line audience of 1.75 million per month; GIDC received over 140 applications from 14 countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Finland, France, Brazil, South Korea, the UK and Ireland. The next GIDC, in 2020, will prioritise engagement in the Three Sisters region, which will host the final exhibition. Workshops, talks and master classes will be led by exhibitors. There will be an opportunity for SMEs from the region to engage through design led problem solving consultation sessions that will run throughout the course of the exhibition. date and place:

project partners:

€10,000 Three Sisters; €40,000 Nordic Culture Fund

financing:

Craftspeople and designers, crafts and design students, designers and makers from the Irish Diaspora

audience:

financing:

audience:

National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny

May 2020, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny,

WIT, Waterford DCCoI, WIT

€80,000 – Three Sisters 2020 and commercial sponsorship Craftspeople and designers, crafts and design students, designers and makers from the Irish Diaspora.


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World Crafts Council Europe – European Craft and Design Summit World Craft Council Europe (WCCE) will lead the World Crafts Council from 2016-2021. In May of 2020 The Three Sisters will host a European Design & Craft Summit; a month long programme of global forums, seminars and workshops exploring the future of Craft and Design to address issues, opportunities and themes of common concern. Keynote speakers and world leaders in sustainable design and thinking will be invited to discuss the re-shaping of our global future in the innovation age. The accompanying conference programme will present exhibitions of work across the Three Sisters region by Irish and European makers and will include a range of cultural activities for visiting delegates. date and place: Summer 2020, National Craft Gallery Kilkenny, WIT, Waterford project partners: DCCoI, WIT, World Crafts Council Europe, World Crafts Council International

€50,000 Three Sisters 2020, €10,000 partner funding

financing:

Craftspeople and designers, crafts and design students, researchers and academics, professional and lifestyle media, general audiences interested in craft & design

audience:

Creative Careers – Inspire / Educate / Showcase In the Three Sisters we lose too much of our talent and then proudly watch from a distance as success if pursued elsewhere. This project will promote the value of creative careers in the Three Sisters and regions like it, with an aim to nurture local talent, retain talent and build creative exchange with young talent across Europe. It will focus on embedding creative practice in school and non-formal learning settings, and work with all of the second level schools in the region to inspire Transition Year students with the idea of a creative career in the region and the potential of creating their own career. The INSPIRE element will include mentoring activities which bring young people face to face with leading creatives from across Europe and the development of new industry-led curricula which encourage early stage creative entrepreneurship. The EDUCATE element is for those who have completed their third-level qualification and who wish to begin a creative career, whether working in an existing creative enterprise and helping it to grow, or setting out on a freelance career, or setting up a micro enterprise. It will comprise a set of peer networks and training programmes for those embarking on their career for the first three years. The SHOWCASE element will – in 2019 – involve a new Three Sisters festival to showcase emergent creative talent from across Europe – validating the opportunities of career paths in the creative industries; and it will encourage innovative multi-disciplinary practice and foster new creative talent networks. date and place:

Across region throughout 2020

project partners:

Department of Education and Science

(Ireland) €150,000 Three Sisters 2020, DCCoI, Enterprise Ireland Industrial Development Authority Ireland

financing:

Transition year students, third level students, graduates, emerging professionals in the creative industries, presenters and promoters

audience:


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

National Centre for Excellence in Design Building on the legacy of ID2015 a National Centre for Excellence in Design is proposed for Kilkenny city. The centre will provide a gateway for the engagement of regional and sectoral networks and design communities across Ireland including third level institutions and stakeholder agencies and organisations. The establishment this national centre seeks to underpin Irelands design capability and creativity in association with industry and through partnerships with key regional stakeholders to promote and enhance design innovation throughout Ireland and to a global audience. Research supporting this development indicates significant opportunities for enhancing the value of design to Ireland by strengthening the design workforce and the utilisation of design skills in industry, delivering growth, efficiencies, quality, sustainability, better quality of life and stronger communities. The vision of the centre is to be a critical agent in realising this opportunity by providing a dedicated public-private partnership investment in a world-class design innovation research and capability centre of excellence. Working with key stakeholders and partners across the design, business and education sectors in Europe and Ireland and with government to address the following questions: How can Ireland move from being world class, to being the world leader in design? How can we spread design skills more widely across sectors where design is underused? How can we spread design skills more widely across the country to encourage clusters? How do we improve the diversity of design to take more advantage of the talent in the wider workforce? How do we share our leadership of such a model to a global design audience? date and place:

Kilkenny – Development 2017 onwards

project partners:

DCCoI , Kilkenny County Council

€1,000,000 Three Sisters, €2,000,000 DCCoI, IDA, Regional Development Fund and commercial partners5

financing:

International and national design community, design students, researchers and academics, industry partners for design-led innovation, visitors motivated by design

audience:

Mapping the Region 2020 Mapping the Region 2020 will build on our demonstrator project – Mapping the Three Sisters – where our design partners Zero-G used psychogeography workshops to reveal patterns & connections with emotional resonance between the Three Sisters, Europe and beyond, and which created a baseline for our future developing our understanding of the cultural bodies and connectivity within and without the region. To bridge the gap between the known and our ambition for this programme, this phase will broaden and further refine our regional mapping process. Working with industry specialists Zero-G, our schools and our libraries services we will develop our innovative approach to data collection which will form the basis of a curricular programme element for Transition Year (16 year old) students in formal education across the region combined with a series of public engagement elements. Designed as a social mapping tool, it will engage our citizens in creating their desired future for the region, capturing the emotional connections between people and place, their public’s ambition for development, their implicit knowledge and documented online as a shared learning tool for other regions across Europe. The programme also supports our bid evaluation process, enabling the Three Sisters Company to provide an additional knowledgebase which will assist the ongoing development and refinement of culture-led services, infrastructure and programming for continued cumar. During 2020 the outcomes of the mapping process will be exhibited through a touring series of open exhibition events across the region in our libraries and In spring 2021 we will convene a two-day specialist forum to share our process and methodology and outcomes from the four-year mapping process for culture-led development with our partners in other European non-metropolitan regions. Engagement and mapping process 2016 – 2020. Exhibition 2020. Industry Forum 2021

date and place:

Zero-G, Ireland, Libraries and Cultural Services, Schools across the Three Sisters

project partners:

financing:

€75,000 Three Sisters, €25,000 project partners

Citizens of the Three Sisters – Forum – EU policymakers and service providers for non-metropolitan regions

audience:

5

Three Sisters, DCCoI, IDA, Regional Development Fund and commercial partners


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chapter four

Capacity to Deliver


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q 17: Please confirm and supply evidence that you have broad and strong political support and a sustainable commitment from the relevant local, regional and national public authorities. Three Sisters 2020 is a bid to be European Capital of Culture based on unprecedented partnership and support: -- We have unanimous support from all 89 elected members of the three Councils of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. In May 2016 the three Councils voted their support for the Three Sisters bid book, for their contribution to the programme budget and for the Regional Cultural Strategy. Support for our bid has been consistent since we brought the initial proposal to the Councils in October 2014. We have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from the three Cathaoirleach (Chairpersons) of the Councils committing to a partnership approach. We have a letter of support for our first bid book and we now have unanimous support from the three councils, from all political parties and Independent Councillors for our final submission. -- We have high-level support from each County Chief Executive providing a stable backdrop for the delivery of the programme and total commitment to the vision, priorities, aims and desired outcomes of the Bid. These priorities have been incorporated into the Regional Cultural Strategy which has been adopted by the Councils and which will be implemented by the three Chief Executives irrespective of winning the ECoC. -- We have formal staffing commitment from each County – with the Bid team staff financed by the three Counties. Our team is seconded from senior posts in each county. Bid advisers have been financed through co-investment from the three Counties. Office space and equipment has been provided in-kind by the three Counties. In addition, local authority arts, library, heritage, tourism and language officers have provided additional support in developing the Bid and building relations with the cultural sector and wider public. This support is formalised in our Support Group who meet every 6 weeks. -- We have an agreement with our neighbour, County Carlow, that they will play a priority partner role. This arrangement involves the identification of three key programming areas which will be co-led by Carlow cultural organisations and specifically VISUAL Carlow’s Centre for Contemporary Art. In addition, we will benefit from audience development and in-kind arts development work from the Carlow municipality.

-- We have the full backing of all key cultural organisations in the region. Our cultural players have been actively engaged through our Cultural Steering Group (CSG), which feeds directly into the Executive Board of the Three Sisters 2020 via its three rotating Chairpersons: Ben Barnes, Director – Waterford Theatre Royal; David McLoughlin, Chief Executive – National Opera House Wexford; and Evelyn McNamara, Innovation Manager – Design & Crafts Council Ireland. The CSG has played a hugely valuable role in developing our Bid – from direct input to themes, priorities and programme ideas; championing the Bid with their partners and stakeholders; to mobilising engagement with their audiences. They have also committed in-kind resources to attend the CSG meetings (every 6 weeks for a year), to stage targeted workshops to explore specific themes and to undertake research tasks. -- We have mobilised a diverse family of formal support. This includes structured relationships with regional organisations where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or formal letter of support offering capacity and expertise for our bid is in place. A sample includes: -- Waterford Institute of Technology-an MoU for the Creative and Cultural Knowledge Programme -- Carlow Institute of Technology – Wexford Campus -- Waterford, Wexford & Kilkenny Chambers of Commerce -- Waterford Regional Airport

-- Businesses in the Region including Glanbia, Dawn Meats, Gynzyme & others -- Waterford Healing Arts Trust -- Partnership organisations -- Local Enterprise Offices -- Education & Training Boards -- Rosslare Europort -- Gaelic Athletic Association

-- We have engaged national agencies to ensure we will receive their full support should we win the title. This includes the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Culture Ireland, the HSE- Health Service Executive, TUSLA- Child and Family Agency and the Arts Council. Such organisations have already shown commitment by providing us with available research and strategic information and having preliminary discussions on how we can shape complementary strategic goals through Three Sisters 2020. -- We have leveraged our existing European collaborations and generated new ones – See Chapter 2.


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-- Temporary Performance Venue : Temporary performance space using cargo containers. -- Wexford Arts Centre: this will allow for full access for persons with physical disabilities and will allow for additional workshop and exhibition facilities as well as adding to cultural tourism in Wexford. -- Kilkenny City Library: The new Library will incorporate both traditional and modern library services with state of the art design and technology and will provide space for learning and literacy, cultural activity, community development and a comprehensive library collection.

What are city’s assets in terms of accessibility (regional, national and international transport)?

We are a region of arrivals: Our three bidding partners are all regions where invasion and arrival from Europe has shaped the destiny and character of the region and its people. Our transport links have moved from the rivers to the roads, and now people will move freely on the networks of Greenways in development. Our transport networks includes: -- The completion of the M9 motorway and current upgrading of the M11 coastal motorway (which will be completed pre 2020) have completely opened us up to the rest of Ireland. Each of our cities is on the mainline Irish train network and state -owned and private bus companies run between the cities and towns within the region and to the cities around Ireland. -- Rosslare Europort is a major passenger and freight port in the heart of the region – between Wexford and Waterford. It carries 900,000 passengers per year (Irish Ferries and Stenaline), with the capacity to bring in 1.5 million – landing straight in the middle of the Three Sisters. 10% are foot passengers; the rest by car – which raises the challenge of ensuring they stay in the region rather than drive through. Rosslare Europort has backed our bid and scope exists to utilise the ferry terminal as a cultural venue.

M4

M6

1

M7

M1

Three Sisters 2020 is an ambitious model for culture-led development in a region beyond the urban. Although individual cities across the region have significant capacity, together we have capacity and expertise to at least equal that of a large city. The official candidate city – Waterford has considerable capacity in its cultural infrastructure, transport and tourism offer and would be in a position to host activities of the scale associated with European Capital of Culture. Our successful hosting of the Tall Ships Race in 2011 demonstrated we have the capacity and know-how to host large-scale events; with an audience of over 500,000 participating across the programme. Wexford has the largest opera festival in Ireland, Kilkenny has the most extensive contemporary arts festival outside Dublin, and Waterford’s Spraoi welcomed close to 100,000 people to the city for its 2015 event. However, this is not, for us, the point. We know that in a post-crisis Europe, the only way to make sustainable use of your infrastructure and to build active, engaged, motivated and participatory audiences for culture is to collaborate and share resources. We recognise the importance of building capacity for smaller organisations – being inclusive of the voluntary sector and utilising under-used and forgotten spaces in new and innovative ways, if we are to make a real difference to people’s lives. This is why we deliver our bid as a region. Three Sisters 2020 will make use of our existing cultural infrastructure to anchor our main programme. This includes built infrastructure (e.g. our theatres, concert halls, galleries and heritage assets), festival infrastructure (our expertise, production and programming capacity), our public spaces, industrial sites, farms, river banks, coastline, and those ‘between spaces’ which can be so compelling and our people – the backbone of our cultural capability. Individually, we have some incredible assets, including two National cultural institutions – the National Opera House in Wexford and the National Craft Gallery and Design Centre in Kilkenny. Collectively, we have even more and much of it new and purpose-built (e.g. Spraoi Studios in 2003; National Opera House in 2008; and the brand new County Hall in Wexford, with its exhibition and library facilities). Our plans for the period 2016-2020 include:

-- Carriganore Arena (internal fit-out): Installation of seating, flooring, catering and conference facilities for a 2,000 capacity venue

M9

Explain briefly how the European Capital of Culture will make use of and develop the city’s cultural infrastructure.

-- Waterford Youth Arts Centre: Development of dance, music, recording and film facilities for young people

M 8

q 18: Please confirm and evidence that your city has or will have adequate and viable infrastructure to host the title.


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q 18 continued -- Waterford Regional Airport has two flights daily to London Luton airport and one to Birmingham (VLM airlines). The airport currently has capacity for 150,000 passengers per year. There are plans to extend and widen the runway, which is a regional strategic priority. This could, by 2020, open up the airport to enable it to attract larger passenger planes which would represent a major development opportunity – for the economic and cultural life of the Three Sisters. Waterford Regional Airport has backed our bid and scope exists to utilise the terminal as a cultural venue. -- Dublin airport is a maximum of 2 hours from any point in the Three Sisters. In 2015 it carried 25 million passengers, with routes to most European hubs and direct routes to several in North America and the Middle East. -- Cork airport is a maximum of 2 hours from any point in the Three Sisters. In 2015 it carried 2.1 million passengers. -- What is more difficult for the region are the transport linkages within the region itself. Although transport infrastructure is improving and each city in the region is on the national train line from Dublin, there are no inter-connecting services within the region itself. We see the Three Sisters 2020 as a catalyst for improving our public transport, increasing travel within the region and for our network of cycle ways and trails, including the Greenways and Blueways. Drive times between the cities are minimal with travel times of no more than 30 minutes between Waterford/Kilkenny and Waterford/Wexford and 45 minutes between Wexford/ Kilkenny. The national inter-city bus service operates between Wexford and Waterford 8 times per day from 07.00 – 19.30 and with a greater number of services and extended times between Waterford and Kilkenny. Private bus services operate between Enniscorthy, New Ross and Waterford – twice per day, however, no bus service operates between Kilkenny and Wexford – all services are via Waterford. In essence, travel within the region is related to commuter work patterns. It is our intention to develop additional bus routes radiating across the region rather than servicing outward journeys. We will look to extending the potential of the existing Rural Transport Initiative to develop culture buses (see Chapter 3) which will enable audiences to travel within the region for cultural events for our 2020 year and beyond. Within the cities themselves for the 2020 year we will take a leaf from Eindhoven Design Week’s initiative of ‘Design Taxis’ – taking audiences to identified locations for events, festivals and attractions. In addition, we will explore shared services for dedicated ‘cultural transportation’ – such as special buses, subsidised taxi services, car sharing for culture, and cultural trails through our industrial waterways, old railways and cycle ways.

What is the city’s absorption capacity in terms of tourist’s accommodation? The Three Sisters range of visitor attractions, cultural spaces and public realm reflects our cultural and sporting programmes, our festivals, our history and heritage (industrial, built and cultural), our outstanding natural environment and our growing reputation for creating and making products of the highest quality. Three Sisters 2020 offers a major opportunity to grow our visitor economy, to mobilise our hotels, our venues and attractions, our hospitality sector and other tourism partners to build on its impact in creating a sustainable destination focus for the region. Through our programme, we will enhance our existing events and festivals to complement new activities; develop our evening economy and capitalise on marketing and route development opportunities in partnership with our airport and port. Tourism Ireland10 has reported significant growth in the sector in 2016. A reported increase of 17% year on year growth for Ireland for the period January to April 2016 has been shown in international markets alone and with an additional 14% coming from mainland Europe and Great Britain up 17%. It also cites an increase in visitor numbers to attractions in the South East of Ireland and a steady prospect for growth of 14% to year end and a trend for increased number of visitors travelling with cars. Rosslare Europort is a major gateway for international tourism to Ireland with 450,000 passenger arrivals a year representing 31 % of arrivals to the South East. There is room for significant growth in this traffic as cited by Tourism Ireland in their September 2015 SOAR report. When combined with the potential for development of Waterford International Airport, the region holds the prospect of becoming a significant destination in its own right for air and ferry visitors from the UK and mainland Europe specifically. According to Fáilte Ireland’s Regional Tourism Report 201411, the Three Sisters attracted 870,000 overseas visitors, which generated €205.6 million in revenue and 922,000 domestic holidaymakers generating €198 million in revenue. These figures disguise considerable local differences across the region with different visitor profiles and trends for each partner county. In addition, figures show 380,000 culturally-motivated visitors to the South East region in 2014, representing 29% of the total number of culturally-motivated visitors to Ireland in the same year. We intend to maximise the opportunity which these different market segments present and to create new cultural experiences which will create a destination focus towards, during and beyond 2020 and increase dwell time in the region. Accommodation in the region ranges from 5* hotels to caravan parks and campsites. Our hotel stock is mainly located in and around our main cities and towns and 80% of visitors use hotels, guesthouses or B&Bs. Table 6 shows our current accommodation capacity12.

10

Tourism Ireland SOAR report May 2016 Regional Tourism Performance in 2014. Fáilte Ireland, Dublin, February 2016. 12 Accommodation Capacity by County 2015. South Western, January 2015 11


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table 6: Total beds available in region 2015 Type of accommodation

Beds

Hotels

9,735

Guesthouses Bed & Breakfast

533 1,438

Self-Catering

678

Caravan & Camping

5141

Hostels

200

Total accommodation stock in the Three Sisters region

17,725

Accommodation stock in bordering counties (Carlow, Cork, Tipperary and Wicklow)

28,812

Total potential accommodation stock

46,537

An additional 1,242 beds are at planning stage, and 322 are currently in construction in the region. Having felt the pain of over-development within the hospitality sector during the Celtic Tiger years and the subsequent ‘empty-hotel’ syndrome in relatively rural locations across Ireland since that time, the Three Sisters will take a sustainable approach to increasing accommodation capacity in the region. Our approach is to maximise existing bed stock by developing increased transport access across the region, so that visitors can stay in one location and participate in an event in another. As part of the European Capital of Culture development phase, the partners and tourism-related agencies in the region have completed a Regional Tourism Development Strategy (RTDS) titled “Realising the Three Sisters Potential – tourism promotion 2016-2021” for sustainable tourism development.. Key areas for development as part of this strategy include: -- Harnessing the opportunity which the European Capital of Culture year presents to ensure the Three Sisters is repositioned as a destination for cultural tourism -- Increasing access to the region via additional air routes from Europe into Waterford Regional Airport and increasing car and foot passengers as well as facilitating cruise liners via Rosslare Europort -- Developing a regional transport system to operate during the tourism season utilising our accommodation capacity across the region to service our artistic programme in 2020 and our international festival programme beyond that year -- Upgrading the regions digital presence to “best in class” standard that will promote the tourism experience -- Commitment to infrastructural developments including cycle-ways, driving routes and cultural trails across the region -- Leveraging complementary tourism offers across the region for growth in new market segments, specifically for the culturally curious visitors and building new tourism products to reflect Three Sisters’ cultural and creative programme areas.

An additional strategic priority for tourism development in the region is Fáilte Ireland’s newly launched umbrella proposition for the south and east of Ireland entitled Ireland’s Ancient East. This programme is intended to create critical mass and increase consumer recognition for the destination in overseas markets specifically for the culturally curious visitor. Our partnership with Fáilte Ireland in delivering our take on Ireland’s Ancient East will generate a significant shift in the overall tourism brand and narrative for the South East and a shared approach to destination management across the Three Sisters. This is a timely intervention for the Three Sisters European Capital of Culture programme and we have already developed a working relationship with Fáilte Ireland to amplify and animate the key tourism assets of our region and play a dynamic role as the leading brand for Ireland’s tourism economy for 2020, repositioning the region as a major cultural tourism destination. Ireland’s Ancient East is currently in Year 1 of a 5 year roll out plan.

In terms of cultural, urban and tourism infrastructure what are the projects (including renovation projects) that your city plan to carry out in connection with the European Capital of Culture action between now and the year of the title? What is the planned timetable for this work? For growth and development of our “soft infrastructure” we will develop a holistic approach to sustainable cultural, urban and tourism development in the region, understanding that we need to build greater capacity, competency and connectivity, but that we must avoid over-provision or capital developments that lack sustainable business models. Our approach is to reflect the changing ways in how tourists make choices. We will incorporate the sharing economy (collaborative consumption) in our approach, where, for example, accommodation is not limited to hotels, car-sharing and taxi-services are co-ordinated, experiences are shared with strangers and significant opportunities exist to get the ‘inside track’ from locals. This model of sharing is authentic, cost effective, peer-reviewed and offers value for money for the visitor. We will major on growing our festival economy, on crafts and design, on excellence and innovation, on cultural trails and cultural programming in the outdoors and unexpected urban locations, on digital engagement to increase the reach and interactivity of our offer, and on business tourism for creative and knowledge industries attracted to the region. Each programme element for the year will have an identified tourism audience and a distinct path to purchase for the visitor to access and engage with the region both during 2020 and beyond. As commencing with our demonstration projects, many of our programme elements will be delivered as tester programmes prior to 2020 and will connect with audiences who will return for the European Capital of Culture year through cultural exchanges, seminal events, and new tourism trails. For examples of our hard infrastructural development plans, see Table 18.


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chapter five

How We Outreach


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q 19: Explain how the local population and your civil society have been involved in the preparation of the application and will participate in the implementation of the year? Our Bid is genuinely participatory. Three Sisters was named by the people of the region in our public discussions at the start of the application process, and the level of engagement has increased day by day throughout our application process. Because our Bid brings together three cities and counties we need to work harder and more imaginatively than tightly drawn single city bids. Our Outreach and Engagement Programme has been led by our Bid Team, working in close partnership with the Executive Board, Cultural Steering Group and Local Authority Support Group, business organisations, Gaeltacht organisations, refugee organisations, community partnerships, health providers, and with specific sector interests – such as in tourism, education, sport and planning. To develop our Bid, we have undertaken our largest ever consultation with the general public and with our cultural sector using traditional and new digital platforms. Our outreach and engagement programme has been supplemented by dedicated media activity, raising the profile of the bid and mobilising participation. Our demonstration projects have also added energy and purpose to the process – making it real, tangible and participatory. How we have communicated with our local population: -- We are working across all sectors of our community from the largest grass roots organisations in the region to business networks, retailers, community groups, local authorities and many more to co-create and then spread the Three Sisters message. We have leveraged their communication platforms such as newsletters, e-zines, social media and online platforms to inform the general public about how they can become involved in the application reaching over 150,000 people through 6,183 distinct group businesses and networks. -- Our Three Sisters 2020 Bid Ambassadors and Champions have been instrumental in assisting us to capture the hearts and minds of the people of the region to support the Bid and will continue to drive the ECoC message to 2020. -- The Three Sisters Culture Cabin – our mobile information centre and engagement platform – visited over 30 large, medium and small scale festivals in the shortlisted phase of the bid. -- Social Media audience has greatly increased since October 2015, energised through our integrated approach where the whole team and all our cultural and strategic partners share responsibility to generate energy: ta bl e 7

Visits to Our Online Platforms Facebook

Oct – May 2016 230% increase

Twitter

87% increase

Instagram

151% increase

Website

350% increase

Over 300 primary and post primary schools have been consulted reaching most under 18s in the region. Through the

creation of the Three Sisters 2020 ‘Re-imagining the Region’ educational programme, 245 primary schools have been actively engaged in learning about European Capital of Culture and telling us how they imagine 2020 and beyond. -- Public consultation days were held with the region’s 3rd level college institutions reaching almost 20,000 third level students. How we have included our local population in preparing the application and will continue to work with them in implementing the Bid: -- Our regional Three Sisters Volunteer Programme was created in January 2016. This is the model we will continue to develop and refine as we move towards 2020. -- In the shortlisted phase of the ECoC application we have further developed our research and knowledge base – inclusive of the Creative and Cultural Industries Mapping Study led by WIT. We have also created a cultural map of the region which can be built on and layered as we progress through the time period leading up to and during 2020 – to fully understand how the cultural and creative landscape has changed. This map will be interactive and exhibited in public spaces and on-line. Citizens and visitors will be able to add to these layers, thus adding to our knowledge about the cultural life of the region. -- Three Sisters 2020 has built an online community; using social media, an online portal for Bid submissions & monthly e-zines; these interactions have promoted & shared the Three Sisters story and have inspired content of our cultural programme. We will set up an online television channel to involve and include our people in the lead up to 2020. -- The Culture Bank has been set up; a repository of ideas which is a resource and a snapshot in time of local people’s aspirations for their region. This will progress to become the Citizen’s Programming Platform – a digital ideas bank for programming ideas and a mechanism for sourcing partners, artists, volunteers and sponsors. -- Four Local Activation Officers were appointed post short-listing to manage the Three Sisters 2020 Outreach and Engagement Programme. Within this programme, ten core priority groups were given one-on-one / group presentation & workshops with the focus on developing Cultural Programme events ideas, including young people, arts groups, Polish communities, groups working with socially disadvantaged, educational sector, Public Participation Networks, sports clubs & front line service providers. -- Community participation is heavily written into the Audience Development Strategy for the ECoC year and beyond . -- Participation of the general public is woven throughout the delivery of our Three Sisters Programme. -- A Regional Youth Council will be formed in 2017 to reach out to and engage younger people above and beyond the tools mentioned above – as outlined in our Culture Programme project The Mechanisms of Openness. -- Our demonstration projects will increase and successful interventions will be scaled-up to contribute to our Three Sisters Programme and to function as key delivery mechanisms for the Cultural Strategy. They have played a vital role in establishing momentum and building awareness and ownership of the Three Sisters, see Chapter 1, page 14.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q 20: How will the title create in your city new and sustainable opportunities for a wide range of citizens to attend or participate in cultural activities, in particular young people, volunteers, the marginalised and disadvantaged, including minorities? Please also elaborate on the accessibility of these activities to persons with disabilities and the elderly. Specify the relevant parts of the programme planned for these various groups. Three Sisters 2020 is working with a wide range of citizens from all walks of life across our three counties. We will re-define best practice to ensure that citizens will have equality of access to the European Capital of Cultural Programme – before, during and after 2020. Community collaboration is key to our programme and major programme clusters focus on engagement, participation and equality – e.g. Openness / Fuascailt and Arts, Health & Wellbeing / Sláinte. Sustainable active participation of communities and the people of the region is integral to the Three Sisters Bid. Our Regional Cultural Strategy for the region, culture-led social development is written as a key goal: “to ensure that all communities of the three sisters are included in the culture-led regional development process and to develop a social contract for Health and Wellbeing for the region”. As an element of our Outreach and Engagement programme, we have specifically identified target groups who may experience barriers to actively participate in cultural activities; including young people, the elderly, people with a disability, minority communities, organisations and groups working with socially disadvantaged members of our society, and the educational sector (schools, third level and life-long learning). Inclusion is integral part of our planning and programming for the European Capital of Culture 2020. The Three Sisters follows Irish law as laid down in the Disability Act (2005) and Citizens Information Act (2007) in this regard. Our planning for the year includes improvement in access to public buildings, services and information and being pro-active in engaging people with disabilities in our volunteer programme. Our aim is to make all of our programme elements for 2020 accessible to all people with a disability, whether intellectual, physical, sensory or age-related. Our Cultural and Artistic programme supports sustainable and active participation for specific groups in projects via activities such as: -- Young People – e.g. Regional Youth Council, Bring Your Own Chair, Young Filmmakers Academy -- Marginalised and Disadvantaged – e.g. Asylum seekers, Refugees and Travellers –Between Bridges, Sruth, and Sunny South East -- Accessibility – the Azure project focuses on making all of Three Sisters 2020 accessible to people with Alzheimer’s, Autism, and Visual Impairment. -- Disability – e.g. via KCAT’s Visability project Communities will also be supported to create their own events through projects like the Open-Source Event Making Toolkit and the Citizen's Panel & Engagement Programme.

Along with our digital platforms for domestic and local audiences in particular traditional strategies for audience development will be leveraged, maximising awareness through television and radio national and local) and across community engagement, outreach and educational programmes and initiatives. Our Three Sisters Volunteer Programme was created in January 2016. Based on an existing best-practice model used for Tall Ships 2011 (in Waterford), we have worked with Partnership agencies of the three counties to mobilise a diverse cohort of volunteers. Over 80 Three Sisters volunteers are now promoting learning about European Capital of Culture and overarching understanding of Europe into communities and with visitors. They are attending festivals and events and are facilitating conversations to develop ideas for and ownership of the Bid throughout the region. This is the model we will continue to develop and refine as we move toward 2020: -- We will continue to deliver on our Volunteer Strategy 2016-2020. -- We have and will continue to recruit a specific team of Welcome Ambassadors for events promoting the Three Sisters from 2016. -- We will continue to deliver a strong, flexible training programme for volunteers -- We will deliver ‘cultural welcome’ briefings and training to our ‘regional gatekeepers’ at the port and airport, train and bus stations, taxi firms and through the business and hospitality sector.

q 21: Explain your overall strategy for audience development, and in particular the link with education and the participation of schools. Building sustainable audiences for culture is to the core of our culture-led development for the Three Sisters region. Our goals for audience development are to: 1.

Identify our audiences – local, regional, national, international and niche (communities of practice/ interest)

2.

Design a plan to reach them

3.

Create a call to action for them to visit our region during our 2020 and engage with our programme up to, including and post 2020

4.

Build capacity to sustain these audiences beyond the 2020 year

5.

Align our approach with key stakeholder agencies and development plans for the region, specifically international tourism and education

These goals underpin our entire Three Sisters 2020 programme structure and are further supported by our Regional Cultural Strategy, our Regional Tourism Development Strategy (RTDS) and our Communications and Marketing Strategy for the ECoC year. Our audience development approach will broaden, deepen and extend the range of local, national and international audiences and serve as a unique test bed, with our partners in Audiences Europe Network and builds upon the findings of our initial baseline study of the data available for audiences for cultural activity in the Three Sisters region


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combined with the outcomes of Engage Audiences, the major Creative Europe study due to be published which will disseminate excellence in audience development practice. It focuses on the development of: -- Exemplary targeted marketing of the ECoC year and its programme to local, national and international audiences 2017-2020 -- Capacity building for cultural and creative players in the region 2017-2020 -- Partnership development for targeted marketing initiatives -- Research into international best and future practice in audience development and application of this in the region leading up to 2020 Target audiences for the Three Sisters fall into a number of distinct but not mutually discrete categories, from the culturally motivated visitor (domestic and international) through niche audiences for specific cultural idioms and cultural practitioners to community and educational audiences residing in the Three Sisters and nationally. Ours will be a responsive, multi-faceted approach to increasing our visibility and creating a call to action to our intended audiences, blending emerging trends in audience development methodologies and user-friendly applications with traditional audience development methodologies. In particular, our website will incorporate a personalised user-experience, ensuring that our online visitors find themselves reflected in our message, with the online experience tailored to them, and that they can carry out all transactions related to their visit (accommodation, experiences, events, travel) as part of a one-stop-shop. We will develop our online content to respond to our core programme areas so that users’ interests – e.g. by art form – are highlighted as part of our programme activity. We will continue to incorporate new and emerging online technologies across multiple social media platforms, to share our message, drive awareness of our ECoC year and programme and ultimately channel audiences to attend our events in the years up to and including 2020 and beyond. We will take our lead from the lessons learned by such initiatives as Le Voyages à Nantes and L’Estuaire, where a cultural focus was at the heart of their developmental approach to driving new and repeat visitors to their urban region and beyond. We will also develop a new demonstration project with our main theatres and festivals – to explore big data options for audience profiling and engagement. Working with key partners and through our existing networks, we will amplify our ECoC message across Europe – from the inclusion of Three Sisters 2020 cultural experiences and events in global awareness-building programmes such as Tourism Ireland’s ‘Global Greening’ to international tour operator opportunities including Meitheal, TBEX Tourism bloggers conference, UK outbound market events and Tourism Ireland promotions in European and north American countries. Conscious of our current deficit in attracting large numbers of visitors to stay in the region outside of the main tourism season and our fragmented local audience engagement in cultural events, our audience development agenda will be closely aligned to the objectives of Ireland’s Ancient

East the new strategic tourism proposition for the east and south of Ireland. We are already working with the National Tourism Development Agency, Fáilte Ireland to capitalise on the potential to position the Three Sisters region as a place of creative and cultural expression and identity, which resonates with audiences across Europe and will continue to develop this partnership over the next number of years. We will utilise our ECoC highlight events and festival programme as a key driver in building and sustaining audiences at different points in the calendar year. Traditional strategies for audience development will also be leveraged (primarily for domestic and local audiences), specifically maximising awareness through television and radio in particular and across community engagement, outreach and educational programmes and initiatives. We are, overall, adopting an intergenerational approach to cultural engagement in our bid. Our audience development strategy reflects this through our involvement of children from school-going age as Three Sisters ambassadors and as participants in a number of our cultural programmes, e.g. Inspire, as part of our ambition to sustain a creative economy, which will work with all Transition Year students in the region and run a work placement programme; Translation on the Slaney Festival will include a programme for schools of selection by students of their favourite works in translation; the Subtitle Film Festival will have a set of mediation tools and film literacy at its core, curated in an accessible way and working specifically with schools; and the Culture Bus will improve trans-regional access to culture. In addition, our third level campuses provide us with a varied youth audience which is resident in the region during traditionally fallow tourism periods. Working with our educational partners in these campuses in advance of the ECoC year to better understand how such audiences access culture and developing programmatic activity which responds to this activity will result in a more fully engaged youth audience for the ECoC year. Our volunteer programme in particular will be developed to connect with this audience, to engage them in the year and create opportunities to explore their role as young Europeans. We propose to with our research partners in Waterford Institute of Technology and Audiences Europe Network to work with key cultural organisations in the region in an intensive audience development capacity-building programme ‘AudiencePlus’ towards 2020, incorporating audience development in residence, open source event-making toolkits, and a European practitioners ‘State of the Audience’ conference in 2020. Additional developmental work will be carried out to support audience development in the region in the intervening years to 2020 and will include a new region-wide ticketing solution, data collection and shared resourcing. Each element of our bid is underpinned by a micro-evaluation process which feeds into the wider meta evaluation of the ECoC year and our Audience Development Strategy is no different. Working with our agency partners, we will develop a range of protocols and key performance indicators that will form the basis of our evaluation. This will provide us with robust and comparable data which we can use to sustain our audiences beyond 2020.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

chapter six

Our Approach to Management


83

q 22: City budget for culture. What has been the annual budget for culture in the city over the last 5 years (excluding expenditure for the present European Capital of Culture application)?

q 24: Which amount of the overall annual budget does the city intend to spend for culture after the European Capital of Culture year (in euros and in % of the overall annual budget)?

Since 2011, we have grown our overall regional investment in culture from 4% to 6% of local authority expenditure:

The three Local Authorities are committed to enhancing the existing cultural activities as we progress toward 2020 and will provide additional expenditure of €3.3m in 2021 and 2023 to sustain the legacy of the ECoC. In overall terms the proportion of expenditure on cultural activities will increase from 4.4% of the total Local Authority Budget in 2011 to 7% of the total budget in 2023.

table 8: Regional Budget for Culture Year

Annual Budget for Culture in the Region €m

% of the Total Annual Budget

2011

14.1

4.4%

2012

14.1

4.7%

2013

14.9

5.3%

2014

16.0

5.2%

2015

16.5

5.8%

This increase has been achieved despite a reduction in Local Authority funding and resources of approximately 20% and reflects the value the organisations and Elected Members put on culture. As we progress towards 2020 the Local Authorities will increase funding to support the development and delivery of the programme contributing €7.5m in resources and funding.

q 23: In case the city is planning to use funds from its annual budget for culture to finance the European Capital of Culture project, please indicate this amount starting from the year of submission of the bid until the European Capital of Culture year. The proposed operating budget of €31m is incremental to the existing annual budget being spent on cultural activities by the Local Authorities in the region. Existing budgets for culture will continue to be spent on the range of current activities undertaken by the Local Authorities.

table 9: Regional Budget for Culture 2021

2022

2023

Normal Cultural Activities (€)

18.3

18.7

19.1

Additional expenditure to sustain ECoC legacy (€)

1.3

1.0

1.0

Total Budget (€)

288.4

288.4

288.4

% of Total Budget

6.8%

6.8%

7.0%

q 25: Operating Budget for the title year: Income to cover operating expenditure: Please explain the overall operating budget (i.e. funds that are specifically set aside to cover operational expenditure). The budget shall cover the preparation phase, the year of the title, the evaluation and provisions for the legacy activities. Operating Budget for 2020 Our proposed Operating Expenditure Budget is €31m. We see this as our minimum expenditure and anticipate the potential for an uplift of up to 20% on this figure through success in fund-raising and via leverage from a wider programme of economic and social development activities. This includes European Union investment via the structural funds, Creative Europe, Horizon 2020 and partnership programs with other State Agencies including the Health Service and TUSLA, the Children and Young Peoples Agency. table 10 Operating Expenditure

€m

%

Programme Expenditure

23

74%

Promotion & Marketing

4.0

13%

Wages, Overhead & Admin

4.0

13%

Total

31.0

Programme expenditure include the cost of developing capacity and new events in the region starting in 2016, the cost of partner organisations where responsibility for events is delegated to them, the cost of collaborating with EU partners and the cost of events in 2020.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q 26 continued

Promotion and Marketing cost include Social Media content and campaigns, the creation of an internet TV Channel and advertising at National and European level to a targeted audience in partnership with our regional tourism promotion programme. Wages, overhead and admin costs include the cost of the staff involved in the management of all aspects of the project including finance, administration and event management, accommodation, general administration and travel costs. table 11 Total Income to cover operating expenditure (excluding Melina Mercouri Prize of €1.5m and EU funding)

Total

From public sector

From private sector

€m

€m

%

€m

%

28.7

24.5

85%

4.3

15%

q 26: What is the breakdown of the income to be received from the public sector to cover operating expenditure? Please fill in the table below. Unlike many countries in Europe Ireland has a very centralised form of Government. There is no regional structure and the Local Government Sector is heavily dependent on national support to deliver services particularly for Local Authorities outside of the major cities. table 12 Income from the public sector to cover operating expendature

€m

%

Central Government

15.0

60%

Support from State Agencies

2.0

8%

City & Region

7.5

31%

Total

24.5

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has indicated that national government will contribute €15m to towards the operating expenditure for the ECoC. We have conservatively included a provision of €2m for support from a range of State Agencies which will be secured post-selection. Agencies would include Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, The Arts Council, The Design & Craft Council of Ireland and The Heritage Council. Waterford and the Three Sisters Region is providing €7.5m of funding, which is an enormous commitment after six years of recession and budget cuts and given the limited level of discretionary expenditure available to the Local Authorities. It is assumed that the funding from Central Government will be provided on a phased basis from 2018 to 2020 and that sponsorship will mainly be collected in 2019 and 2020. The funding from the City and Region will be provided throughout the period and support will be available to meet any cashflow issues if other funding sources are delayed. Funding from State Agencies and the EU will be towards specific projects or initiatives.

q 27: Have the public finance authorities (City, Region, State) already voted on or made financial commitments to cover operating expenditure? If not, when will they do so? We could not be more committed. Our budget has been approved by the three Local Authorities of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny and agreed and signed-off by our Executive Board. Led by Waterford for the Three Sisters, the Local Authorities are absolutely committed to supporting the project by assigning key staff from their organisations, providing funding of €7.5m and working with key stakeholders at regional, national and international level to ensure the success of 2020 but also in ensuring the maximum benefit from the legacy for the region. The support from the politicians in the region has been unprecedented with unanimous support from all parties and independent Councillors in the three Local Authorities. We have also received a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a letter of endorsement from the Mayor / Cathaoirleach of the three Local Authorities.

q 28: What is your fund raising strategy to seek financial support from Union programmes / funds to cover operating expenditure? For the Three Sisters 2020 to deliver the outcomes we desire for our region, for our collective future, and for a strong and dynamic cultural sector; we will develop three strands to our fund-raising strategy to leverage: (1) public sector investment within the region and nationally, (2) European Union investment and (3) Sponsorship and crowd-sourced investment. Implementation of our Fundraising Strategy will be coordinated by our Three Sisters Culture Company, with dedicated fund-raising resources commissioned to lead on each strand. We have a decent but not excellent track record in accessing EU investment but this is changing. It is our intention to leverage European Union investment for cultural and creative industries for the region, covering operating expenditure, via existing programmes including; EU Structural Funds; INTERREG Atlantic Programme – we have already submitted two applications for urban regeneration and innovation transfer, and Greenways and the promotion of heritage tourism; Creative Europe programme – application submitted for ‘Follow the Viking’s heritage programme with 14 international partners, Culture for Cities and Regions – successful applications for study visits and coaching completed, Erasmus+, COSME, European Cooperation projects, European Networks, Horizon 2020, European Platforms the European Talent Exchange Programmes, the Melina Mercuri Prize and DEVCO’s Global Public Goods and Challenges programme.


85

q 29: According to what timetable should the income to cover operating expenditure be received by the city and/or the body responsible for preparing and implementing the ECoC project if the city receives the title of European Capital of Culture? table 13: Sources of Income for Operating Budget €m

%

Central Government

15.0

48%

City & Region

7.5

24%

Sponsorship

3.0

10%

Ticket sales & Merchandising

1.2

4%

Support from State Agencies

2.0

6%

EU Funding

0.8

3%

1.5

5%

Melina Mercouri Prize Total

31.0

2016

2017

0.4

2.7

2018

2019

2020

2021

3.0

5.0

7.0

0.8

0.6

1.7

1.3

7.5

0.7

2.1

0.2

3.0

15.0

1.2

1.2

1.5

0.5

2.0 0.8

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.2

2.8

4.0

8.1

14.2

1.5 0.4

It is assumed that the funding from Central Government will be provided on a phased basis from 2018 to 2020 and that sponsorship will mainly be collected in 2019 and 2020. The funding from the City and Region will be provided throughout the period and support will be available to meet any cashflow issues if other funding sources are delayed. Funding from State Agencies and the EU will be towards specific projects or initiatives.

Total

1.5 1.5

31.0

Our Timetable for Investment We are committed to year-on-year uplift in cultural investment to 2020 – over and above the significant growth in cultural investment which we detail in Table 13 above. This is to ensure we develop capacity and mobilise engagement in a structured way, building energy to ready ourselves for 2020 and then to enable us to bounce into 2021 with a far stronger, more resilient and growing regional cultural sector.

q 30: Income from the private sector: What is the fund-raising strategy to seek support from private sponsors? What is the plan for involving sponsors in the event? A comprehensive sponsorship programme will be developed to engage with the business sector to support the Three Sisters 2020. There will be four broad categories for targeting businesses and the Bid Team will develop a range of recognition packages to maximise the potential contributions: -- Event Partner. The Event Partner programme offers businesses the chance to associate their brand with what will be the most significant event programme in Ireland in 2020. The packages for Event Partners will give maximum return on investment before and during the event through extensive media exposure. This model was used in 2011 for the Tall Ships Event in Waterford and contributed 23% of the funding for the event. -- Patrons Programme – offering local businesses in the region the chance to associate their company with the Three Sisters 2020. The packages will be designed to give an appropriate level of recognition to the patron in the programme and at the many events and activities taking place up to 2020 and beyond. Four packages will be available , each with an attractive range of media exposure:

-- Friends of the Three Sisters – available for small businesses and individuals who wish to offer support. The packages will offer preferential ticketing for events and recognition in the main programme and website. Crowd-funding – we will set up a Kickstarter account (or equivalent) to raise investment for specific programming areas. These will be crowd-sourced – where we will hold an open commission to identify a programme of two-three events or activities per month during 2020 (and 1 a month in 2019); and crowd-funded – where we will engage audiences from the local to global to co-invest in their production. We will stream all selected and funded projects on-line to create a channel for user-generated, crowd-sourced and crowd-funded as our ‘people’s fringe’.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q 31: Operating expenditure: Please provide a breakdown of the operating expenditure, by filling in the table below. table 14: Breakdown of operating expenditure Programme Expenditure

Promotion & Marketing

Wages, Overhead & Admin

Total Operating Expenditure

€m

%

€m

%

€m

%

€m

23.0

74%

4.0

13%

4.0

13%

31.0

q 32: Planned timetable for spending operating expenditure table 15: Operating Expendature

Programme Expenditure

Promotion & Marketing

Wages, Overhead & Admin

Total

Total

Timetable for spending

€m

%

€m

%

€m

%

€m

%

2016

0.3

1%

-

0%

0.1

2%

0.4

1%

2017

2.1

9%

0.3

7%

0.4

10%

2.8

9%

2018

2.4

10%

0.7

18%

0.9

22%

4.0

13%

2019

6.0

26%

1.0

25%

1.1

28%

8.1

26%

2020

11.2

49%

1.7

43%

1.3

33%

14.2

46%

2021

1.0

4%

0.3

7%

0.2

5%

1.5

5%

Total

23.0

4.0

4.0

31.0

q 33: Budget for capital expenditure: What is the breakdown of the income to be received from the public sector to cover capital expenditure in connection with the title year? Three Sisters 2020 will not involve substantial capital investment. Our strategy is to make better use of what we have – to share it, connect it, invigorate it – rather than to risk the instability and cost of large-scale capital investment. Where we plan to invest, it is for improving the existing offer and for regeneration and transport projects which can be culture-led in the ways they are planned, designed and managed; and can provide new facilities for cultural activities such as workspace and outdoor performance space. Our core capital investments have been provided in table 18 and information on the projects has been included on page 16 and 75. Table 16 below introduces our overall capital investment plans up to 2020. table 16: Income from the public sector to cover capital expenditure €m

%

Central Government

64.7

37%

Local Government

31.2

18%

European Union

11.6

7%

State Agencies

69.4

39%

Total

176.90


87

q 34: Have the public finance authorities (city, region, State) already voted on or made financial commitments to cover capital expenditure? If not, when will they do so? The Local Authorities have approved the capital plan for the Three Sisters Bid Book at their May Meetings and the projects are included in the Individual Capital Plans approved at the 2016 Budget meeting of each council. The major road infrastructural projects in Enniscorthy and New Ross have been approved by Transport Infrastructure Ireland the national authority for transport infrastructure and contracts have been awarded with completion dates in 2019. Other major projects including the North Quays Regeneration have been included in the Government’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Plan 2016-2020.

q 35: What is your fund raising strategy to seek financial support from Union programmes/funds to cover capital expenditure? Funding for capital projects will come from a number of sources including Central Government, State Agencies, Public Private Partnership, Local Authorities the European Regional Development Fund, EU Structural Funds and the INTERREG programme specifically (Ireland/ Wales, Atlantic Area, Interregional and North West area programmes and URBACT III application for Waterford as partner city and a proposed creative quarter in the city). Many of our major infrastructural projects have already been commenced or have received funding approval. We are wholly connected with developments which will emerge from the Irish Government’s current ‘Culture 2025’ policy development process. Funding applications for European projects from the Three Sisters will be developed in partnership with appropriate Government Departments, State Agencies and national bodies. We will seek EU funding for the capital elements of our planned developments for Waterford Youth Arts Centre, Kilkenny County and City Library and Butler Gallery in particular. ERDF funding will be sought for our major funding programmes, Waterford Public realm, Kilkenny urban regeneration and the St Francis’ Abbey site.

q 36: According to what timetable should the income to cover capital expenditure be received by the city and/or the body responsible for preparing and implementing the ECoC project if the city receives the title of European Capital of Culture? table 17: Sources of Funding for Capital Expenditure 2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

€m

Central Government

10.7

17.4

21.0

15.2

0.4

64.7

Local Government

5.1

8.4

10.2

7.3

0.2

31.2

Public Private Partnership

0.0

90.0

205.0

205.0

31.0

531.0

European Union

0.0

5.2

4.2

0.2

2.0

11.6

State Agencies

0.0

2.4

7.5

31.5

28.0

69.4

Other

0.0

0.0

0.0

6.0

12.0

18.0

Total

15.8

123.4

247.9

265.2

73.6

725.9


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q 37: If appropriate, please insert a table here that specifies which amounts will be spent for new cultural infrastructure to be used in the framework of the title year table 18: Capital Programme Expenditure €m

Funding €m

Cultural Projects

Total

2015 Actual

2016

2017

2018

2019

Gov. Grants

LA

Other

Total

Waterford Youth Arts Centre

2.5

-

-

1.0

1.0

0.5

-

0.5

2.0

2.5

Carriganore Arena (internal fit-out)*

1.5

0.3

1.2

-

-

-

1.5

-

-

1.5

Temporary Performance Venue

0.6

-

-

-

-

0.6

-

0.6

-

0.6

Wexford Arts Centre

2.5

-

0.1

1.0

1.4

-

2.0

0.5

-

2.5

Kilkenny County & City Library

4.5

-

0.2

0.5

3.8

-

2.5

0.8

1.2

4.5

Hurling Museum

1.3

-

-

-

0.3

1.0

1.0

0.3

-

1.3

Butler Gallery

3.6

-

0.2

2.0

1.4

-

2.8

-

0.8

3.6

Medieval Mile Museum*

5.5

2.3

3.2

-

-

-

3.1

-

2.4

5.5

22.0

2.6

4.9

4.5

7.9

2.1

12.9

2.7

6.4

22.0

Waterford North Quays**

14.7

-

5.9

6.8

2.0

-

12.7

2.0

-

14.7

Waterford Public Realm**

9.5

0.3

4.0

5.0

0.2

-

2.7

4.1

2.7

9.5

Kilkenny St Francis Abbey Site**

37.0

0.5

3.0

8.5

12.5

12.5

1.0

4.0

32.0

37.0

Kilkenny Urban Regeneration

3.0

-

-

-

2.0

1.0

-

2.0

1.0

3.0

Wexford Quays Revitalisation

4.0

0.8

0.7

2.5

-

-

2.0

2.0

-

4.0

Enniscorthy Urban Regeneration*

3.2

0.6

0.4

1.0

1.2

-

0.9

2.3

-

3.2

Tramore Urban Regeneration

3.2

-

2.4

0.8

-

-

-

0.6

2.6

3.2

Dungarvan Urban Regeneration*

3.0

1.0

2.0

-

-

-

3.0

-

-

3.0

77.6

3.2

18.4

24.6

17.9

13.5

22.3

17.0

38.3

77.6

Waterford Regional Airport

5.0

-

-

1.0

3.0

1.0

-

1.0

4.0

5.0

The Deise Greenway*

7.4

4.6

2.8

-

-

-

5.9

1.5

-

7.4

Wexford Greenways*

7.6

-

1.2

2.4

4.0

-

6.6

1.0

-

7.6

Enniscorthy By Pass (PPP)**

215.0

-

40.0

80.0

80.0

15.0

-

-

215.0

215.0

Newross Bypass (PPP)**

316.0

-

50.0

125.0

125.0

16.0

-

-

316.0

316.0

Rosslare Harbour Link Road

15.0

-

-

7.5

7.5

-

15.0

-

-

15.0

Enniscorthy Flood Relief & New Bridge

35.0

0.2

0.8

2.0

16.0

16.0

2.0

1.0

32.0

35.0

Kilkenny Northern Ring Road

14.0

-

0.1

-

3.9

10.0

-

-

14.0

14.0

Kilkenny Central Access Road*

11.3

5.2

5.2

0.9

-

-

-

7.0

4.3

11.3

Infrastructural Projects

626.3

10.0

100.1

218.8

239.4

58.0

29.5

11.5

585.3

626.3

Total Capital Budget

725.9

15.8

123.4

247.9

265.2

73.6

64.7

31.2

630.0

725.9

Urban Regeneration

Infrastructural Projects

*Under construction **Project Commenced


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Our Organisational & Delivery Structure

q 38: What kind of governance and delivery structure is envisaged for the implementation of the European Capital of Culture year? Three Sisters 2020 has already mobilised an unprecedented process of organisational change across the region, cementing strategic commitment to a shared approach to culture at the heart of a shared approach to regional planning and investment. We have already put in place the basic architecture for governance, management and delivery of Three Sisters 2020. Our next task is to grow and adapt each element and to introduce our special purpose vehicle: an arm’s length agency to drive the overall artistic programme, outreach, communications and partnerships. We have already set up the Three Sisters Culture Company to deliver on the vision, aims, values and principles outlined in this Bid. This is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. It will deliver: -- a world class cultural programme for the region and for Europe -- a step change in cultural capacity and participation -- significant upturn in the regional tourism and visitor economy -- growth and innovation across the regional cultural and creative economy -- lasting economic, social & cultural legacy for the region -- an active and effective leadership role for cultural development across Ireland and Europe.

Our Regional Cultural Strategy has identified a preferred governance and investment model for shared delivery with or without European Capital of Culture 2020. In both scenarios, a shared strategic and delivery company for culture is envisaged – to ensure a coordinated, efficient and innovative approach to cultural planning and investment for the South East of Ireland. The company structure is designed to manage the rapid transition from winning the Bid to delivery of the programme. To design this, we have taken account of previous delivery and governance models for European Capitals of Culture (and other large-scale events-led programmes), and are conscious of the need for creative independence, direct management of communication and marketing, and the agility to commission artists and other contributors without the bureaucracy of public sector procurement mechanisms. The Three Sisters Culture Company will focus on five key functions: -- Strategic direction and leadership -- Creative / artistic direction, content and standards -- Development – deliver step changes and legacy in participation, tourism and the cultural and creative economy -- Marketing, communications and sponsorship; -- Evaluation – working closely with WIT to provide open access to the evaluation team team.


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q 39: How will this structure be organised at management level? Please make clear who will be the person(s) having the final responsibility for global leadership of the project? We know that from the outset we need to maintain an appropriate balance between breadth of representation and fast track decision making. The objective of ensuring community participation will be both ‘top down’ from Executive Board level, but also ‘bottom up’ via engagement with a range of stakeholder groups (including through our proposed Citizens Panel and Engagement programme. The relationship between the Three Sisters Culture Company and the three local authorities at both a policy and operational level is vital. This will be manifested as follows: -- The Executive Board will be responsible for the successful delivery of Three Sisters 2020 – inclusive of overall strategic priorities for the programme, management of the budget and funding and the realisation of the longterm legacy for the region. It will meet quarterly to review progress and set the strategic direction for the company. A senior figure from the business/cultural sector will chair the Executive Board. -- Other members of the Executive Board will include the three Chairs of the Culture Board, a representative from the Fund-raising, Marketing & communications, Education and Visitor economy panels, a senior community sector partner and a leading creative entrepreneur. National Three Sistersbodies Bid Book – e.g. Fáilte Ireland and Arts Council – will attend as advisers to the Board. Structure Diagram

9 May 2016

-- The Culture Board and Citizens Programming Platform (and Engagement Programme) will allow a blend of technical, strategic and citizen-driven input, widening ownership and democratising accountability. -- The selective integration of high quality staff teams from local authorities and others into the company (e.g. for legal and finance), plus to the technical panels, will enable us to leverage in-kind support and nurture a professional community with a shared goal to deliver a successful Three Sisters 2020. The Three Sisters Team will be led by a Chief Executive who will be directly accountable to the Board. The Chief Executive will lead on strategic direction and leadership, advocacy, overall accountability for delivery and reporting to the Board and key stakeholders. The Artistic Director will have responsible for the development of programming strategy, programme content, quality and delivery in line with the vision and structure set out in this bid book. The Artistic Director will be directly accountable to the Board. Our marketing and communications officer will be the lead on our overall marketing and communication strategy, drive our social media campaigns and manage a dedicated resource for sponsorship generation. The Lead on Development and Legacy will hold responsibility for delivering a culture-led long term legacy for the region.He/ she will develop the engagement, skills and structures of the community, cultural and business sectors to fulfil each of our four pillars, and will be the main liaison with our evaluation and audience development programmes. This will include clear and committed engagement with advisors from across

table 19: Our preferred approach to delivery and governance:

Three Sisters 2020 Executive Board Mayor/Cathaoirleach and Chief Executives of 3 local authorities | 3 Culture Board Chairs 5 Business, Community & Education Leaders (from the Technical Panels) National agencies x3 (as advisers) | Chief Executive & Artistic Director of Culture Company (in attendance)

Three Sisters 2020 Citizens Panel & Engagement Programme

Three Sisters 2020 Culture Company

Three Sisters 2020 Technical Panels (Technical Expertise & Pro-Bono Support)

Fund-Raising Panel Marketing & Communications Panel

C H A I R E D BY

Chief Executive of Three Sisters Company

PROGRAMME CO-ORDINATORS X3

ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE

Education Panel Community Panel

TO I N C L U D E :

Cultural Officers x 3 Community Sector x 6 Artists / Practitioners x 6 Businesses x 6 Elected Members x 6 Young People x 6 Minority Communities x 6

Visitor Economy Panel

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

CHIEF EXECUTIVE

EVENT MANAGEMENT

COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING

DEVELOPMENT & LEGACY INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Three Sisters 2020 Culture Board (was Culture Steering Group)

20 Leading Cultural Organisations. Artistic Director (in attendance)

The programme will also be the strategic platform for exploring issues and opportunities raised through our Citizens’ Engagement Programme.

The technical panels have already been set-up and members include CEO of WLR Radio, CEO of Wexford Chamber of Commerce, CEO of Glanbia Plc Property, CEO of Waterford Glass, CEO of Three Mobile, Head of Humanities in Waterford Institute of Technology, CEO of Waterford/Wexford Education & Training Board, Chairperson of Kilkenny Tourism, Director of Sales & Marketing of Mount Juliet Estate.


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Europe. Our finance and administration will ensure the professional management of accounts, procurement and programme funding. Our Three Sisters Programme Coordinators will share responsibility for outline programme development, partnership (local and European) and executive production. We will have an Event Management Team to provide professional and technical support for large scale events and the delivery of some events will be outsourced to Event Partners. We will also build on our existing team of interns and volunteers to develop in-house capacity and skills to deliver events across the region. Our International Relations Officer will continue to develop our International and European connections, building relationships and networks, learning pathways and facilitating internships and residencies, particularly with other ECoC's and large scale international festivals and events. The core team will be supported by a suite of technical panels, each of which will provide technical and advisory support on marketing/communication, fund-raising/financial management, visitor economy, community support, education. These panels will bring expertise from the public and private sector, in-kind support, strong connections into their wider networks and will act as strategic partners to the Three Sisters 2020. Significant progress has already been made in recruiting these partners.

q 40: How will you ensure that this structure has the staff with the appropriate skills and experience to plan, manage and deliver the cultural programme for the year of the title? To ensure we assemble a high quality team, we will adapt the recruitment and tendering policy of Waterford City and County Council. This will ensure detailed due diligence on the qualities we need, a commitment to fairness and equal opportunity, and effective management of the recruitment process. The key positions will be advertised widely and circulated through National and European cultural networks. In addition, we will continue to take guidance from our Bid advisers – who have worked on the development of effective governance and staffing structures for European Capitals of Culture in the past. A resource plan has also been prepared for the development and delivery of Three Sisters 2020 based of the experience of recent similar scale ECoC programmes.

q 41: How will you make sure that there is an appropriate cooperation between the local authorities and this structure including the artistic team? The Local Authorities have played a key role in the development of the bid and key members of the bid team will continue to be involved with the Three Sisters ECoC Company. The Chief Executives of the Local Authorities will sit on the Executive Board, the Cultural Officers will sit on the Citizens Programming Platform (which will involve panel meetings) and Officers from the Tourism, PR, Health & Safety and Arts Sections will sit on the appropriate Technical Panels and Culture Board.

q 42: According to which criteria and under which arrangements have the general director and the artistic director been chosen – or will be chosen? What are – or will be – their respective profiles? When will they take up the appointment? What will be their respective fields of action? The Chief Executive will be responsible for: -- Co-ordination of the programme between the cultural and administrative functions -- Driving collaboration with key stakeholders at Regional, National and European level -- Liaising with the chair of the Executive Board, Culture Board and technical panels to ensure: -- The delivery of a world class programme -- That adequate funding is generated to support the programme -- That the marketing and promotion programme maximises the potential of the ECoC locally and across Europe. -- Managing resourcing for the programme -- Delivering of the long-term strategic objectives set by the Executive Board (and enshrined in the Bid Book and Regional Cultural Strategy). This post will be undertaken by a highly experienced individual with at least 10 years experience in large-scale programme management, preferably in the cultural sphere. This post will be advertised in September 2016. The Artistic Director will be responsible for: -- Continue the development of the cultural and artistic concepts for the programme -- Development and implementation of the 2020 programme -- Work with the Cultural Board to enhance and approve the concept and mobilise a regional approach -- Drive collaboration with national & European organisations -- Co-ordination of the programme across the region. This post will be for an internationally recognised innovator in cultural programming, with a track record in excellence, innovation, flair and inclusive practice. Perferably this individual will have a track record of collaborative programming in different parts of Europe, plus the ability to develop bespoke, engaging programming that connects local cultures to audiences across Europe. This post will be advertised in September 2016. Both appointments will be in place by January 2017 at the latest.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

Contingency Planning q 43: Have you carried out/planned a risk assessment exercise? Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny are cities which enter into projects in a fully considered and measured way. Our track record of delivering multi-million Euro projects – from the national Opera House to the Tall Ships Race – is built on a combination of the cities historically having to live with modest resources, our project management expertise developed over many years, and an instinctively realistic approach to risk. For European Capital of Culture 2020 we have engineered risk management into all our thinking from the start. We have a six point plan: -- Realistic budgets and income targets – including contingency sums throughout and synchronisation of commitments in tandem with the securing of resources -- An accelerated programme of securing funding and sponsorship -- Tight project management guaranteed -- Flexible programming – based on sensitivity analysis of all programme and project options -- A core bid and programme narrative – to avoid any scaling up/down undermining our programme shape and scope -- An emphasis in our programme of building on existing successful activities and events and a dovetailing of the Three Sisters 2020 programme with our new Shared Cultural Strategy. As part of our contingency planning, we have considered the impact on the programme of 20% less funding being available. While there will be some reduction in both Admin & Salaries and in Marketing & Communications activities the main reduction will be on the programme. To achieve the reduction we will flex the scale of some events and we will curtail the scope of cultural activities on a prioritised basis. This contingency planning will be incorporated into the initial developed stage of the programme. Our scaled down position is reflected in Table 20 below showing a total spend of €24.7m.

table 20: Scaled Down programme Budget €m

Reduction €m

Programme

17.5

-5.5

-24%

Marketing & Communications

3.7

-0.3

-8%

Admin & Salaries

3.5

-0.5

-13%

Total

24.7

-6.3

-20%

The Three Sisters approach will be to manage strategically across programmes and not just projects. This will ensure we can still deliver across our programme themes but on a reduced scale. If selected as European Capital of Culture, a priority will be to develop and detail our approach at the scaled down level of funding and work with this as the guaranteed core programme. This will be our ‘first base’ and it will give the European Commission the comfort of knowing we have a programme that still meets our quality thresholds and is deliverable. In both scaled up and down options, our choices will be informed by prior sensitivity analysis on a range of programme and project scenarios to assess likely changes in social and economic impact. This will be done ‘hand in hand’ with the expertise available to us via our evaluation. The sensitivity analysis will take account of a number of programming and spend variables including: -- Management and staff -- Marketing and communications

-- Scale -- National/international impact

-- Location -- Development work

-- Audience reach -- Frequency

However, it is our assessment at this stage that a scaled-up scenario is more likely than one which is scaled-down. This is because the regional offer means we can share resources and efficiencies, leverage the investments made and the connections to funders and sponsors which the Local Authorities have nurtured over many years. This gives us additional capacity – in infrastructure and people; there will be no shortage of expertise and energy; and we plan to conclude funding and sponsorship discussions with partners as a priority to ensure there will be no time wasted in seeking budget certainty.


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q 44: What are the main strengths and weaknesses of your project? Our greatest strength is our regional dimension and our overarching passion for re-imagining the possibility of the non-metropolitan region for Europe. The scale, diversity and collaborative potential enabled by a regional approach are what excite us the most.

Strengths – We Need It; We Want It; We Can Deliver It. -- Our bid is an innovative new partnership between the public and private sector, cultural organisations and creative businesses, and our citizens – as we seek to survive and thrive in a non-metropolitan region. It is based on both reason and passion. -- The model we are creating will be applicable to and shared with other regions in Europe – as a pathfinder in an age of social, cultural, technological and economic transformaton -- For a small region we have a diverse cultural offering with world class organisations which will lead the development of an inspirational cultural programme -- We have experience of successfully delivering major events while nurturing a diverse ecosystem of micro, voluntary and cooperative activities.

Weaknesses & Mitigation -- As a small region made up of small cities and rural areas, we have limited resources for major cultural infrastructure projects. Our priority is to building capacity within the cultural sector and maximising the use of existing infrastructure. However, we think that an approach which seeks to innovate within our limited resources which is the reality for most parts of Europe and will offer significant learning for other regions. -- We are in the early stages of working collaboratively through culture – we lack a long term track record of working across the Local Authorities and cultural community. However, we have the political support; we have the passionate backing of the cultural sector; we have reached out and built trust with so many citizens; and we have shaped an approach which feels both local and European, embedded and connected, authentic and radical. The journey has begun and 2020 will be an important staging post in the culture-led transformation of the region and other like it. -- Like all of Ireland outside Dublin and perhaps Cork, we do not have a high profile at a European level and will need to work hard to attract the gaze of visitors, investors and strategic partners. Our structured approach to everything from communication to tourism development, and our serious and committed approach to partnership with national and international organisations, are mitigating factors here: we are transitioning toward being a much more active, visible, connected and accessible region.


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

q 45: How are you planning to overcome weakness, including through the use of risk mitigation and planning tools, contingency planning?

With a regional approach come different risks. These are, broadly, political (we need to maintain and grow support), financial (we need to ensure a level of core funding is reached to enable reach and depth of programming across the region), and cultural (we need to work with passion and openness so that the people of the Three Sisters co-own the narrative and feel absolutely part of it). These risks and more are introduced below:

table 21 Proposed Mitigation

Likelihood

Impact

1: unlikely 5: highly Likely

1: low impact 5: high impact

Funding – don’t achieve ‘most likely’ core funding of €31m

2

3

Funding already secured from City and County Councils. Agree minimum core programme. Accelerated strategy to determine funding levels early. Expertise in Three Sisters Culture Company to pursue additional funding streams.

Political support lapses

2

5

Our bid is underpinned by a rock solid commitment by the three local authorities and was approved by the Councils in May 2016. The establishment of a culture company will enable programme development to proceed without political interference. The 3 chief executives will sit on the Executive Board which will ensure consistency of objectives with LAs

Failure to attract & retain key staff

2

5

Offer competitive salaries. For key staff defer part of the salary until the completion of the project. Seek secondees from the local authorities and partner organisations.

Low attendance / engagement from ‘harder to reach ‘groups

2

4

Major marketing and engagement campaign. Direct engagement with schools, community sector & the public. Deliver of our audience development plan.

Strategic and delivery partners not fully engaged

2

5

Partners already have key strategic relationships with the Three Sisters 2020 and are committed. Ongoing engagement activities through the Culture Board will identify opportunities for shared benefits. Delivery partners will have contracts with delivery measures.

Challenges in delivering impacts & legacy for the region

2

5

Strong programming and impact evaluation from the outset – providing real-time assessment as part of the programme. Programme lead on Development and Legacy will challenge and oversee legacy.

Challenges in delivering a programme for Europe

2

5

We have positioned connection to and collaboration with Europe throughout our programme. We have prepared an audience development plan which addresses a European audience by focusing on countries and people with a strong interest in culture and Ireland. Our evaluation methodology will focus on European dimension as a key outcome.

Difficult attracting priority international artists

2

4

We have already established agreements with a range of cultural organisations across Europe, which will enable us to open dialogue with priority artists and we are in advanced discussions with a number of internationally acclaimed artists who have strong ties with the region. We have an impeccable track record on international commissioning.

Reduced visitor numbers

2

4

For 2019-20, we will be the lead cultural brand for Ireland and Three Sisters 2020 will be complemented by a region wide cultural marketing and communication programme led by Fáilte Ireland. We are developing a regional Tourism Promotion plan in partnership with the port and airport, which will target key locations in Europe.

Risk


95

Marketing & Communications Q 46: Could your artistic programme be summed up by a slogan? Three Sisters 2020 represents the Re-imagining the European Region: Culture, community & sustainability beyond the urban. Our Bid can be captured by the slogan:

Better Together Ní Neart go Cur le Chéile’ Q 47: What is the city’s intended marketing and communication strategy for the European Capital of Culture year? The Three Sisters 2020 has developed an integrated approach to communications designed to highlight our cultural capital and innovation potential, engage our communities, drive new audiences and build momentum for the European Capital of Culture title which was initially considered a pipe dream. Our communications process focuses on realising this dream in the regeneration of a region which has been relatively overlooked in favour of large city development. The South East has long struggled to develop a clear and attractive brand narrative. The bid process for Three Sisters 2020 has catalysed the development of a new brand identity for the region – built from consultation across the partner region with key stakeholders from citizens to business, tourism and culture, alongside external stakeholders such as inward investors, national agency partners, broadcasters and journalists, and politicians. Our marketing and communications strategy has been designed to achieve the core objectives of the European Capital of Culture, providing a cohesive and coherent message to aligned partners, stakeholders and relevant communities about the Three Sisters ECoC 2020. The strategy focuses on audience and key stakeholder engagement with specific public relations plans for identified stakeholders. It includes both a macro and micro environment analysis ensuring that current market trends are considered and built upon, and that potential for additional market share is leveraged. The Three Sisters has already committed to this process by engaging a public relations specialist to work with the Bid Team at this early stage of development. Our communications strategy commenced in 2015 with an awareness-building programme centred on our inclusion in the selection phase. With the award of the title our marketing and communications strategy will come firmly into focus with the engagement of a dedicated marketing resource as part of the delivery team. Our plan builds year on year highlighting our development to 2020. Post 2020 it focuses on legacy outcomes maximising the impact on our economy and the potential for continued connectedness with other ECoC title

holders and our European partners for sustainability. A key focus of our strategy is our use of multiple digital platforms ensuring global reach and reflecting the way that people currently access information. Our citizens are opening up to and are excited by the possibility that their region could become the ‘European Capital of Culture. Their ideas, energy and commitment are being shown through engagement with our social media platforms. This engagement has created a valuable dialogue and culturally-strong content. We will continue to utilise this content to educate people about the European Capital of Culture and the European Union’s major cultural initiatives. In the past six months we have grown our facebook audience by 230% (7,602 likes) our twitter followers by 87%, our instagram followers by 151% and our website views by 350% (114,972 site views). We will continue to build on this momentum in the coming years. Continued development and ongoing management of our online platforms is fundamental to our success in building user-generated content and visibility online for the year and will be effectively managed through our implementation phase. Our digital channels will drive users to our dedicated website, which acts as the central information point for the Three Sisters ECoC Year. It will continue to be used as a tool for ongoing information and communication as well as the ‘go to’ space to volunteers, funding and engagement with the programme for 2020. Our offline marketing is equally important in highlighting the Three Sisters ECoC 2020to intended audiences. Our off-line presence provides local citizens and stakeholders an opportunity to actively participate in the development towards 2020 and our Engagement Strategy and Citizen’s Council (Openness/Flúirse programme element) will continue to support this input over time. Initiatives to date have included attendance at our public meetings, World Café idea generation sessions, online submissions, visits to our Culture Cabin and through a myriad of communications channels from libraries and schools through to local, regional and national media exposure. In addition we will develop the Three Sisters TV (threesisters.tv) web TV channel that will run for the duration of the European Capital of Culture year. Its aim is to make a range of the cultural activities available to viewers across Europe and globally. Content will be developed on a continuous basis with a selection of highlights of video recordings of events to be published on a weekly basis for 40 weeks. Duration of each video element being 3-7 minutes. One key event per month from our programme will be live streamed onto the site. Typically this will be an outdoor event, concert, theatre, sport or some other ‘live’ attraction – dependent on programme activity at any given point in the ECoC year and across the entire Three Sisters region. We will work with our 2020 partners in Rijeka, Croatia to developing simulcasts with them. Brining the two European Capitals Of Culture 2020 together in a unified voice and coordinated European message. for our live web streaming events. Our content will continue to have a global reach and


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RE-IMAGINING OUR REGION

ta b l e 2 2 : m e d i a pa r t n e r s h i p s television

RTÉ TV

Ireland’s national broadcaster – development of a monthly magazine programme featuring highlights and outline upcoming events for the year and regular news items.

TG4

Irish Language television – Broadcast of specific programme elements relating to traditional culture, language and community through the Irish language.

Sky Ireland / Sky Arts

A proposed series of programmes profiling artists and creatives from the region and their collaborations with international practitioners .

Rijeka 2020

Inclusion in international magazine programmes with ECoC title holders in Croatia. Live streaming of key events and simulcasts with the Reijka 2020 programme. Other opportunities include specific programme development for an education programme which includes a national / international poetry SLAM under the banner of the Three Sisters 2020.

d i g i ta l m e d i a

TED Talks

Inclusion of specific talks from key symposia in advance of and during the 2020 year to global audiences.

Bloggers

Working with Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, we will deliver familiarisation trips to the region for targeted audiences and specifically for bloggers ( innovation, tourism) and international tourism trade in advance of and during the ECoC year.

@Ireland

Curation of the @Ireland Twitter account as regular intervals in advance of and during the European Capital of Culture Year.

radio

RTÉ LyricFM

To promote the classical music elements of our programme – including the recording and broadcast of events to multiple audiences in other locations during the year.

RTÉ Radio na Gaeltachta

Irish language radio station – magazine programme inclusion, news items, vox pop opportunities and programme coverage for specific multi-cultural language events.

Community Radio

Will provide a key focus for participation and engagement of audiences and ongoing activity throughout 2020.

print media

Irish Times

Irish Times – Ireland’s premier National Newspaper. We will affect a media partnership with The Irish Times which will promote the European Capital of Culture to global audiences through their epaper online (culture page) and a special feature edition and programme pull out in advance of the 2020 Opening Ceremony.

Irish Independent and Irish Examiner

Irish Independent and IrishExaminer – media partnerships focusing on our regional and community agenda. These partnerships will also include the potential for reader’s offers competitions for programme tickets etc.

Local and regional media partnerships

Local and regional media partnerships will also be further developed and will link to specific programme elements to continue to build engagement with local audiences.

to u r i s m pa r t n e r s

Tourism Ireland

www.ireland.com. We will work to promote the ECoC 2020 message as part of Ireland’s Global Greening Programme in March 2020. We will have an ECoC element as a feature page on www.ireland.com, focussing on international markets (Europe) and culturally curious / design and heritage visitors in particular. We will also deliver targeted ezines for Three Sisters 2020 to key market segments in identified countries across Europe as well as a significant international audio-visual marketing campaign for Three Sisters 2020.

Fáilte Ireland

Delivery of a year-long marketing campaign and associated public relations activity as an element of the Ireland Ancient East brand roll out, creating a distinct cultural identity for the Three Sisters within this new strategic marketing concept.

general

Three Sisters Festivals

Existing festival partner media relationships will be enhanced and further developed for our seminal year. We will work with our festivals to ensure proactive awareness building of the European Capital of Culture as part of all festival communications.

Culture Ireland

Exposure of specific practitioners to European audiences and in EU exhibitions in advance of ECoC year to highlight Ireland’s hosting of the title. Opportunities to maximise connectivity with Culture Ireland’s core audience.

An Post

National Postal Agency Design competition – Development of a unique postage stamp for the ECoC Year.


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q 47 continued

q 48: How will you mobilise your own citizens as communicators of the year to the outside world?

is an important element in driving inclusion and participation for young people, minority groups and disadvantaged communities across our region. Investment in an appealing programme for 2020 is fundamental to our approach to building user-generated content and word of mouth for the year. Locally, we have secured continuous coverage in both print and radio across the region on a weekly basis. We have established strong relationships with all local media, which will continue to strengthen in coming years. The focus so far has been to inform and to promote local culture initiatives and events. As we move towards 2020 and beyond, this will develop into a more discursive communication on how culture will be used as a tool for regional regeneration. On a national and international level, we have created an information pack which has communicated our vision for 2020 and set out the central strands of our cultural programme. This has been issued to national and European cultural institutions and organisations. These relationships will continue to be developed over time increasing our connectivity across a wider European media. We will continue to invite journalists to the region and provide them with media packs, interview opportunities and media sessions relating to cultural regeneration. The Three Sisters 2020 identity and vision highlight our ambition and our European agenda at home and abroad. People and place are at the core of our message. Marketing and communications both in Ireland and across Europe will be significantly enhanced via partners and collaborators websites and social media platforms and viral messaging across these platforms between 2016 and 2019, we will coordinate our communications strategy around flagship European cultural initiatives with the respective European Capital of Cultures. We will also embark on a shared media relations programme in 2020 with Rijeka, with whom we have already established a very positive relationship. Our Ambassador Programme enables us to communicate through individuals who have a genuine and credible link to the year of celebration but who are not working directly with the programme development and delivery itself. Their representation of the vision of the programme provides authenticity and their endorsement of the year will be vital in relating our message to those who would not generally access culture. Our plans include collaboration with a range of media partners to ensure programme awareness to all identified markets (see table 22). Our media partners are as likely to be Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and new social media platforms that will emerge in the coming years, as well as established traditional media including national and international press, television, radio, tourism agency partners and targeted tourism titles such as Conde Nast Traveller and Monocle. In most cases development of these partnerships has already commenced. All media partner relationships will be finalised in 2016. A sample of these media partnerships is outlined in table 22.

For Business and Investment Our aim is for Three Sisters 2020 to re-orientate and attract investors, both international and domestic, to do business with Ireland via Three Sisters 2020. Funders, sponsors and commercial interests also form part of our strategy. Businesses across the region have pledged their commitment to supporting our bid, as have the local Chambers of Commerce. Building on these relationships, in 2020 our festival and conference activities will provide increased networking opportunities on a regional, national and international level. The region currently lacks strategic networking opportunities for creative businesses. Our development work to 2020 and our programme during 2020 will change the focus of the region to a creative and cultural place of business, providing multiple conference, specialist fora, networking opportunities, and festival activity for regional, domestic and international audiences. Our strategy also includes working relationships with the communications teams in our national agencies; the Arts Council, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Development Agency (IDA) and our regional partners Waterford Institute of Technology and regional Chambers of Commerce and local Government. It ensures that professional and business organisations will continue to be proactively engaged and supplied with relevant and timely information about the ECoC year. Their input provides reach to additional markets as well as the potential for development of bespoke marketing initiatives with commercial partners as appropriate and as determined by programme and audiences. We have already commenced this process through our current Stakeholder Engagement Process.

For Tourism We need to work harder to capture a larger share of the tourism economy. We have moved from an era of mass communication – with passive audiences, to increasingly tailored interactive communications where audiences have an active role in the process. We will work with Fåilte Ireland to ensure maximum connectivity via their marketing campaigns, with Tourism Ireland in promoting the South East to international visitors, via their teams across Europe and with Culture Ireland in raising international awareness of the European Capital of Culture via their programming across Europe in the years leading up to 2020. We will support the mobilisation of large audiences from our own expertise in the region in high-quality festival development, alongside learning from successfully communicated and internationally-acclaimed events including The Gathering 2013 and the Global Greening in particular. We will work with key agencies and organisations to maximise exposure of the ECoC programme and our 2020 year to a global audience.


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q 48 continued

q 49: How does the city plan to highlight that the European Capital of Culture is an action of the European Union.

For our communities

For Europe

Getting behind a concept and developing a call to action for visitors and local communities alike is an area where the Three Sisters region already excels, from recent largescale international and national programmes such as Fáilte Ireland’s ‘The Gathering’ and our ‘Tall Ships’ events. We will focus on audience engagement, active participation and sustainable culture-led development as key ingredients for legacy beyond 2020. This will be leveraged by our Citizen’s Engagement Panel and activities for engagement before, during and after the year. We will work to engage with EU institutions to convey key messages and will communicate specific messages about the European Capital Cultural being an action of the European Union. In addition our website, social media platforms and elements of our programming – such as Bring Your Own Chair – will continue to engage audiences and create an appeal for them to design, develop and deliver their own cultural interventions for Three Sisters 2020. Our schools and community programmes provide opportunities to place the European Capital of Culture year as part of the ‘kitchen-table’ language of our people. Making it central to their home through connectivity with their familial activity and engagement

Three Sisters 2020 is all about Europe. It is a commentary, living lab, performance and demonstration of the contemporary European experience in a non-metropolitan region. Our European element is pervasive and tangible. Below we outline the core elements of our bid which highlight the Three Sisters 2020 as an action of the European Union: -- In culture-led regeneration: The ECoC core actions are cemented into our Regional Cultural Strategy, our regeneration projects our communications, programming and planning for the ECoC title year. -- In branding and positioning: We will adopt the guidelines of the European Union on the use of appropriate logos for all marketing collateral, ensuring all written materials (digital and analogue) include statements which refer to the European Union as a key partner and provider of the title. This includes references to specific EU policies and actions – connecting us to the broader EU strategic landscape. Our audience reach will amplify the ECoC value and message to a global audience. -- In programming: All elements will have a European dimension. Linking to key European themes, policy priorities and events, to amplify the EU message and that our regional interventions are part of a wider EU policy and cultural landscape. We will promote EU events and activities as additional programming elements and publish commentary on wider EU activities in our written communications. -- In partnership and collaboration: Every element of our programme will involve an intercultural dimension, collaboration with European artists, programmes, cities and regions. Some supported through EU investment. All offering opportunities to explore notions of Europeanness, the role of the EU and how we can collaborate to build a better future. -- In engagement: Our community outreach work, schools activities, and partnerships with organisations and businesses across the region, enables dialogue on the role of the European Union and the Three Sisters 2020 as an action of the EU. -- In strategic partnership, research and advocacy: Our Creative and Cultural Knowledge programme will measure, evaluate and commentate on the full breadth of activities linked to Three Sisters 2020. This will include a focus on the European dimension with learning generated through this Programme communicated in part as a reflection on being European and the role of the EU. -- In working with local and national Government: We will communicate the Three Sisters 2020 as an action of the European Union and articulate wider strategic opportunities enabled through the EU – e.g. via structural funds, Creative Europe etc and the range of cultural and social agendas it champions and coordinates. Three Sisters 2020 will vastly increase and improve the profile of the EU across all areas of governance and civil society in Ireland.


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Q 50: In a few lines explain what makes your application so special compared to others?

Closing Words To close our Bid, we would like to remind the reader of our passion, our commitment and our vision:

Tabharfaidh An Triúr Deirfiúr, Príomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa 2020, deis dúinn ár gcomhuaillmhian chruthaitheach a dhíriú isteach ar fhorbairt ár réigiún atá eolasach agus inbhuanaithe agus treoraithe ag ár gcultúr ársa. Trí thógaint ar an gcumas comhoibritheach, comhoibríoch agus cruthaitheach úd atá inár limistéir uirbeacha agus thuaithe, cothóimid slite nua oibrithe a cheanglóidh, a thacóidh le agus a athróidh ó bhonn saoil ár saoránaigh, chun cur ar ár gcumas glacadh go fonnmhar lenár gcomhoidhreacht agus ár dtodhchaí san Eoraip. Three Sisters European Capital of Culture 2020 will enable us to focus our collective creative ambition to delivering an informed and sustainable cultureled development for our region. Harnessing the cooperative, collaborative and creative potential of our urban and rural areas, we will foster new ways of working that connect, support and transform the lives of our citizens and embrace our shared European heritage and future.


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Special thanks / buíochas to all the people of the Three Sisters. t hree sister s 202 0 b i d t e am : Michael Quinn, Katherine Collins, Mick D’Arcy, Annette Fitzpatrick, Cornelia McCarthy, Julie McGuirk, Sarah Codd, Jane O’Reilly, Emma Haran, Sara Zabalo, Grace Quinn, Ann Marie Laffan, Rosemary Grant. t hree sister s 202 0 e x e c u t i ve b oa rd: Michael Walsh,

Colette Byrne, Tom Enright, Dr. Richard Hayes, Evelyn McNamara, Ben Barnes, David McLoughlin. bid advice: Karan Thompson, Karan Thompson Consulting

Limited; Dr Tom Fleming, Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy; and Mary McCarthy, Director, National Sculpture Factory. bid s uppor t: Una Carmody, Roise Goan, Susie Horgan

and Springboard PR, Stephen Ledwidge and Zero-G. c ult ur al steer ing gro u p : Mary Butler, Eugene Downes, Miriam Dunne, Mary Grehan, T.V. Honan, Colm Lowney, Irial Mac Murchú, Eamonn Maxwell, David McCoy, Fiona McHardy, Ann Mulrooney, Conor Nolan, Naoise Nunn, Margaret Organ, Anna O’Sullivan, Catherine Power, Caroline Senior, Mairéad Stafford, Elizabeth Whyte and the staff of their organisations. int ernal suppor t g ro u p : Jane Cantwell, Josephine Coyne, Gráinne Doran, Bernadette Guest, Fionnuala Hanrahan, John Hawkes, Aisling Hayes, Maura Hickey, Dearbhla Ledwidge, Ger Mackey, Eileen Morrissey, Celestine Murphy, Siobhan O’Neill, Dorothy O’Reilly, Rosemary Ryall, Máire Seo Breathnach, also, Lynn Cahill, John Carley, Carolyne Godkin, Tony Larkin, Rupert Maddock, Maria Melia, Mary Mulholland, Eamonn McEneaney, Lar Power and many more staff of the local authority partners. t hank you:

All who assisted with developing the Three Sisters 2020 Cultural and Artistic Programme, our Bid Ambassadors and Champions, our Demonstration Project facilitators and participants, staff of WIT, IT Carlow and Kilkenny Campus and the businesses and business representative groups across the region our supportive Councils of Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford and our ECoC colleagues across Europe. Thanks to our wonderful Three Sisters volunteers. d esign: Stephen Ledwidge & Pierce Cunnane at Zero-G d rawings: Lorna Chan p rinciple ph otogr a p hy: Al Higgins ad d itional photog rap hy: Ros Kavanagh p rinting: Impress Printing Works


Comhairle Chontae Chill Chainnigh Kilkenny County Council


www.threesisters2020.ie

Profile for Waterford Cultural Quarter

Re-imaging Our Region  

Three Sisters 2020 Bid Book

Re-imaging Our Region  

Three Sisters 2020 Bid Book

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