Guinness unveils new €3m cultural innovation funding scheme

Project will allocate money to ‘great ideas’ in arts, sports, music and food

Dylan McGrath, Jim McGuinness and Chris O’Dowd at the launch of Arthur Guinness Projects, a major new cultural initiative that will champion Ireland’s talent and creativity. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Dylan McGrath, Jim McGuinness and Chris O’Dowd at the launch of Arthur Guinness Projects, a major new cultural initiative that will champion Ireland’s talent and creativity. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Thu, Jun 27, 2013, 14:08

Guinness has unveiled a €3 million funding scheme for innovative Irish projects in arts, sports, music and food.

The Arthur Guinness Projects will offer funding of between €5,000 and €50,000 to projects in the four categories across three years. It hopes to reward innovative and creative ideas that have a solid chance of success, with up to 20 projects selected each year.

Applications are made on arthurguinessprojects.com, and a public vote will select the top 10 per cent of entries. These are then reviewed by a panel of four experts in each area, who select the winners. Each award comes with a mentoring and support package from the panellists, who will also select a wild-card entry for each sector outside of the public vote.

The project was launched yesterday at an event at the Guinness Storehouse featuring a live performance from The Script, who are on the music selection panel. Other panellists on hand to discuss the project’s aims included actor Chris O’Dowd, broadcaster John Kelly, Donegal football manager Jim McGuinness and chef Dylan McGrath.

“It sets out to champion the innate talent that exists to a huge extent in this country,” said John Kelly. “A lot of people in the creative side of our society are struggling at the moment and this initiative will certainly help. It can help build a better future for those people and for our society.”

Guinness’s Stephen O’Kelly said the inspiration came from people out there who are innovating and creating and developing ideas. “These are the people who believe in Ireland. They see it as a brilliant place to live and wor,” he said, adding that the project will “champion the brilliance and ingenuity” of regular people with great ideas.

“It has to start with a fairly original idea, something that’s innovative, creative but it has the ability to work,” said Dylan McGrath. “It’s a huge opportunity; there’s a lot that can be done with that sort of finance. I think it’s brilliant that in all the different categories we are reinvesting in Ireland.”

Projects will be judged on four criteria: innovation and creativity; reach and scale; cultural impact; and sustainability. The project organisers say that projects could include a product or service, the development of an innovative approach or solution, or a new application of an existing approach or technology.

Chris O’Dowd leads the arts panel, which also features Roise Goan, director of the Dublin Fringe Festival, Ben Readman, artistic director of the Block T arts organisation in Dublin, and fashion stylist Angela Scanlon.

John Kelly’s music panel includes The Script, promoter and band manager Brian Spollen, and Stuart Clark, Hot Press’s deputy editor.

Jim McGuinness, along with Sarah O’Connor, chief executive of the Federation of Irish Sport, broadcaster Matt Cooper, and Rob Hartnett, head of Sport for Business, will choose the sports winners.

And Dylan McGrath will lead the food panel, which includes 3FE coffee shop founder Colin Harmon, food writer and Cake Café owner Michelle Darmody, and Barry Broderick of Broderick’s Brothers.

Applications are now open, with the deadline for this year of August 9th. The winners will be announced on September 23rd, with some winners being showcased as part of the Arthur’s Day celebrations.