The Arts Council and Local Government host Places Matter Conference at VISUAL - VISUAL

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art &
The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

The Arts Council and Local Government host Places Matter Conference at VISUAL

Places Matter Conference Visual 1520x890

The Arts Council and Local Government will jointly host its third biennial conference, Places Matter, in VISUAL, Carlow. In what will be one of the first in-person conferences to take place in over two years, we will take a deep dive into how the Arts Council and Local Government can invest more creatively in people and places.

Over the past few years, opportunities to invest in the enhancement of urban and rural spaces, cultural and digital hubs and place based arts development has increased.

Asking questions such as; how has the impact of the pandemic influenced the importance of the places where we live and their creative potential? Who is part of our place based conversations and are all voices included? Does where we live matter for opportunities to engage in the arts? The conference will provoke and inspire public sector organisations, policy makers, arts organisations and artists to understand how we can creatively collaborate for a better future for people and places.

Maureen Kennelly Director of the Arts Council said, “We are thrilled to be working closely with our partners in local government in delivering our third biennial conference, Places Matter. The conference programme highlights the variety of local, national and international approaches and perspectives that inform how and why we invest in people and places and the role the arts has in inspiring new ways of working together. We will be launching the Arts Council’s new Spatial Policy at the conference, which states our vision for a country where everyone has the opportunity to create, engage with, participate in and enjoy the arts and culture, regardless of who they are or where they live”.

Speaking on behalf of the County and City Management Association, Moira Murrell, Chief Executive of Kerry County Council said “The partnership between Local Government and the Arts Council, spanning over 30 years has come a long way from embedding the arts into towns and townlands around Ireland to working more strategically to progress our shared objectives and priorities. Our third Places Matter Conference comes at a critical time; post pandemic the importance of investing in the places where we live and ensuring the arts are part of the local fabric in a sustained way, has never been more important for our communities”.

Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive Carlow County Council “We are delighted to be hosting this major conference between local government and the Arts Council of Ireland in Carlow. Carlow has been at the forefront of local arts development for more than 23 years and we have created innovative ways to support and develop place-based practice with our artists and communities, led through our county arts service. We are delighted that the conference is being hosted in VISUAL Carlow which showcases the very best in contemporary arts practices.”

Key note contributors include Valerie Mulvin (architect and author of the book, Approximate Formality, the Morphology of Irish towns and Emmanuel Pratt from the Sweet Water Foundation in Chicago, who will join remotely.

Other contributors include Galway2020 (learning from one of the largest cultural place based investment in recent years), Irish Architecture Foundation (spatial and social justice in access to safe and attractive built environments), Create (Creative Places programme), Glucksman Gallery (informing the Cork City Development Plan), SOA architects (artists led regeneration programmes), UCD, TUDublin, Common Ground, artists working in place based contexts and many more.

With over 50 speakers taking part in 15 sessions, in person, online and live streamed there is a rich wealth of experience to learn from, be inspired by and to challenge how we might make new ways of working better together.

With the event taking place in VISUAL Carlow, there’s a focus on local programmes and artists such as Take A Part Carlow, Clifton Redmond, Tadhg O’Sullivan alongside Tom de Paor and Felispeaks.

For more details on the programme please see

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