Galway Arts Festival and NUI Galway Announce New Partnership

Monday, 27 June 2011

Galway Arts Festival and NUI Galway this morning announced details of a new partnership. The University will support the 34th Galway Arts Festival through development of the Festival’s Volunteer Programme and Selected, a new artist development strand of the Festival for emerging artists and producers.

Galway Arts Festival takes place from July 11-24 and features an international programme of artists from Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe with a strong focus on Irish work and home-grown productions.

NUI Galway has provided a breeding ground for the development of artistic talent in successive generations of students. Flagship programmes in Theatre, Performance and Creative Writing at undergraduate level, together with Masters Programmes in Drama and Theatre Studies and Writings, have established NUI Galway’s reputation in the Creative Arts field. Now, through this partnership NUI Galway and Galway Arts Festival are coming together to form a partnership that supports the development of the Performance Arts of the region.

The SELECTED strand will see five NUI Galway students and graduates join five other artists in this unique initiative which will allow them full access to every aspect of the Festival. This ’two-week academy’ will offer students the opportunity to see how a Festival of this magnitude is put together while also attending shows, post-show talks and getting a hands-on experience from performers and organisers.

Commenting on the new partnership, NUI Galway President James J. Browne said, “NUI Galway is delighted to be involved with this well-established, international Festival. The Volunteering aspect of the partnership re-enforces our place at the forefront of pioneering models for civic engagement. The SELECTED strand will provide our Theatre and Performance students an excellent opportunity to develop their careers.”

Festival CEO John Crumlish added, “NUI Galway have been at the forefront of developing volunteerism at 3rd level in Ireland through its Community Knowledge Initiative and the partnership with the longstanding Festival programme will introduce a new generation of volunteers to the Festival experience while also helping shape that experience for the future. Volunteerism plays a key role in Galway Arts Festival and has been hugely important in the success of the event and provides volunteers with the opportunity to engage with many aspects of staging a large Festival, from involvement with the Macnas Festival Parade, the Festival Big Top, and the Festival’s online television channel, GAFTV. These elements are very varied and provide hugely positive experiences for those who partake.” Both Paul Fahy and John Crumlish recalled their initial experience with the Festival as volunteers in the late 1980s and the Festival continues to play a leading advocacy role in the advancement of careers in the arts. 2011 is also the European Year of the Volunteer.

Commenting on the Selected Programme, Galway Arts Festival’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy said, “Selected is a really exciting development for the Festival in partnership with NUI Galway. Selected will allow participants immerse themselves in all aspects of Galway Arts Festival and will benefit NUI Galway’s MA in Drama and Theatre Studies and BA Connect in Theatre and Performance in addition to a number of individual artists living and working in Galway. Selected will offer participants free access to key elements of the Festival Programme facilitated by a wide variety of international and Irish arts professionals.”

Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator for NUI Galway’s volunteer programme, ALIVE says the new partnership will enhance the University’s excellent volunteering reputation, “The Arts Festival is an incredible volunteer opportunity for NUI Galway students who are seeking to give their energy and enthusiasm while gaining valuable experience and skills from engaging with the city’s creative, fun and vibrant community.”

The James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway is home to the Galway Arts Festival Archive. The archive contains an excellent collection of materials from the Galway Arts Festivals since 1980. NUI Galway’s impressive archival collection was enhanced in the last year with the addition of two collections which will provide a rich source of research material. The archive of director, writer and actor John Huston’s papers and recordings and the Thomas Kilroy Archive. The James Hardiman Library is home to a range of other theatre, literary, historical and political archives. Collections include the archives of the Druid and Lyric Theatres and of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe; the literary papers of John McGahern; and original documents relating to the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Northern Ireland ’Troubles’.

Applicants interested in applying for the Volunteer Programme can contact Susan McKenna, Galway Arts Festival Volunteer Programme Manager volunteers@galwayartsfestival.com.

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