Galway International Arts Festival and University of Galway announce new five-year strategic partnership

Pictured are University of Galway Vice-President for Engagement Dr Paul Dodd, Galway International Arts Festival Artistic Director Paul Fahy with some of the cast of The Pulse by Gravity & Other Myths at the Quad on the University of Galway campus to announce the new five-year partnership between the festival and University of Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes
Jul 26 2023 Posted: 10:15 IST

With the 45th annual festival in full flow, Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF) and its long-time education partner University of Galway have announced a new five-year partnership that will see the partners work even more closely together. 

University of Galway marked 13 years as Galway International Arts Festival Education Partner this year, with the last five-year partnership seeing the introduction of a new course in creative arts management; the development of SELECTED, the professional development programme for emerging artists, theatre makers, curators and producers studying at University of Galway, and the Festival Volunteer Programme, which has welcomed 3,248 participants over the last five years from an average of 41 different countries each year.

Over the course of the last partnership, 121 events have taken place on the University of Galway campus, with 128,727 people brought on to campus to see musical greats, symphony orchestras, exhibitions, installations plus great Irish and international theatre.

The festival provided creative and cultural opportunities for graduates, with more than 50% of the productions at GIAF 2021 featuring University of Galway graduates, provided opportunities for key academic staff who took part in the First Thought Talks and Backstage talks series and saw the development of alumni events at the festival.

The new partnership will see a further expansion of this work, plus a University association with the festival’s First Thought Talks programme; further development of the GIAF archive housed in the University library, with the creation of a new oral festival histories section; GIAF and University of Galway exploring how the partnership can help to develop the creative industries in the West to foster career pathways for University of Galway graduates; and further development of GIAF’s hugely successful volunteer programme, where the university will continue to operate as title sponsor, facilitating extensive outreach to an even more diverse range of communities.

With close to 20% of GIAF events now held on campus, GIAF and University of Galway have also agreed to work more closely together on the delivery of more sustainable festivals year on year, building event best practice across the programme and in particular around those events taking place on the campus. In addition, University of Galway and GIAF will also work together as part of a European consortium over the next two years, examining how cultural entrepreneurship can be used to support climate transition.

Commenting on the new partnership, University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to further extend our strategic partnership with GIAF. The partnership speaks to the values of our University – respect, openness, excellence, sustainability - and to our status as a university for the public good and of the creative city that is Galway. I look forward to working with GIAF over the coming years through increased collaboration on events, research, civic engagement and learning opportunities for our students.”

CEO of Galway International Arts Festival John Crumlish said: “This is a hugely exciting development for GIAF and a potential game changer for a number of areas of the festival’s work. The partnership will allow the organisation to further progress its EDI ambitions, progress its discussion platform First Thought, further support artist development, explore development opportunities in the Creative Industries, support the festival’s transition to a sustainable future and support programming.”

GIAF and University of Galway will also work together on the delivery of on-campus alumni gatherings during the festival and will develop collaborative activities around the festival’s touring periods.

University of Galway Vice-President for Engagement Dr Paul Dodd commented: “From learning opportunities to alumni events, our communities benefit hugely from having GIAF on our campus. Creative technologies continue to be a strong research focus for us and this partnership will provide more opportunities for our talented students, staff and alumni to learn and grow through collaboration with GIAF staff and performers over the coming term.”


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