Strong constitution: new ideas for Bunreacht na hÉireann
Eight people involved in the Irish arts have come up with eight ideas for a new Irish Constitution, from protecting artists from poverty to making sure the best artists get funded and supported
Bunreacht Na hÉireann
Dylan Coburn Gray
Ireland is at a point in its history where fundamental questions are being asked about how it is run, how it is shaped, and how its identity will change in the future.
As a country, we make great play of our cultural heritage, yet successive governments have a poor historical record of listening to our artists and our creative communities when it comes to matters of policy, governance or leadership. We asked a selection of people to give us an idea or article that could make up a new constitution for Ireland.
Creative director of Offset
Ambition, risk-taking and success in shaping the creative landscape should be rewarded or at least acknowledged for the cultural, social and economic benefits they add to the country.
There is a need for a robust system of support to facilitate DIY cultural entrepreneurs. All parties must invest their own time, effort and money in fine-tuning their concept, learning about their market and finding a commercial audience, no matter how small or niche.
There is a need to avoid spending the first years of development filling out funding applications and manoeuvring through fields of red tape, and being forced to prove a concept works before they start looking for help.
No more talking. There needs to be a complete cessation of all meetings throughout the country hosted by, and for, the many “stakeholders”. No more expert panel discussions. No more invite-only “what next?” events. No more debating the need for inclusive initiatives. Identify who is doing the right things and see what support they need.
Musician, film-maker and broadcaster, and the founder of Other Voices. His film Moment to Moment, about The Gloaming, is now on the RTÉ Player
What is needed in Ireland now is a collective imagination and determination, a uniting of all aspects of our society and all strands of our economy: a pulling together.
Creativity and imagination must be at the centre of it all: they must be expressed in our policies and strategies; they must be a means of engaging with industry, education and culture, and as a polity and a public. A never-before-demonstrated determination to set a path for the long term and a new role for the State in our response to profound global changes cannot happen soon enough. The future is already here.
A huge migration of structures is happening, a focus on a sort of frigid “convenience” (but for whom and for what purpose?). Alongside that you still have these things called “people” or even “citizens” who really matter more than the systems/machines that they create or that are created “for their benefit”.
So what’s our insurance policy against that encroaching blandness? Where is the nourishment? What will keep us different and alert?
Intelligence and imagination. It is inside and among us, our creativity, culture and mind power. The challenge is how to put that at the centre of Ireland: where you have creativity, you tend to have collaboration, kindness, and you can still have healthy and ruthless competition.
The 21st century is our defining moment. Our creativity, our distinctiveness, our capacity for self-expression is at the heart of the path we must take forward with a courage we’ve never shown before.
We have some advantages. Climate change is likely to have a less severe impact here than elsewhere, leaving our productive capacity more intact.
We have a tourism product that is profoundly experiential, and a relatively robust food-producing and exporting capacity. We have a profound capacity for self-expression and creativity. This is captured in things as diverse as Coder Dojo, Other Voices and more.
Our small size means we can be agile. Our collective mood matters, and it is infectious. And our diaspora means we have a global cultural influence that is disproportionate to our size.
To survive as a cohesive, viable nation and society, we need to achieve outlier status. We need to beat the odds. We need to win where most others will lose. We will have to draw on every asset we have and overcome the constraints we have laboured under for generations.
Chief executive of First Music Contact
The State and its statutory agencies shall make provision so that every citizen should have access to and experience of all art forms.
An artist has a right to produce. The State, recognising this right, shall exercise a duty of care to its artists, including the provision of material supports to those artist in pursuit of their vocation.
Political rhetoric is full of references to the value of our creative industries and to our great artists enhancing the reputation of Ireland, yet successive governments continue to cut funding to the agencies we have established to nurture, develop and support this very creativity. Cutting arts funding in the name of austerity is the wrong approach.