The board of Trinity College has decided to continue talks with the Government to see if funding can be secured to save the Science Gallery on Pearse Street in Dublin from closing.
It is understood that staff were informed of the decision earlier today.
According to a statement from the university, Trinity’s board was briefed on Science Gallery Dublin’s finances at a meeting on Wednesday. As of 30th September, 2021, the gallery had an accumulated deficit of €1.65 million due to a sharp decline in grants and philanthropic income since 2017.
A statement from the college said: “Trinity remains committed to the Science Gallery Network and intends to consult with members on how best to re-imagine Science Gallery Dublin in the future.”
Provost Linda Doyle and other Trinity officials had on Tuesday met officials from the Department for Further and Higher Education, led by the Minister, Simon Harris, and from the Department of Arts, which provides about €280,000 in funding annually to the gallery and is led by Catherine Martin.
Mr Harris’s department is believed to have taken the lead in the talks. Trinity’s statement said these discussions would continue.
Last week it emerged that Trinity planned to close the gallery due to mounting losses. However, in a tweet on Friday, Trinity provost Linda Doyle said she had “just had a really productive call with @SimonHarrisTD and we both agreed to sit down together next week, with other departments and stakeholders, to discuss the future of” the gallery”.
Trinity’s financial statements for the year to the end of September 2020 show the gallery earned income of €552,000, down from €592,000 a year earlier.
The Trinity gallery reopened from lockdown restrictions with an exhibition called Bias, which began on October 22nd. It is described as an “interactive, thought-provoking exploration of preferences, prejudices and digital equity” and is due to run until February 28th.
First opened in 2008, the Science Gallery is described on its website as a “living experiment” that “ignites creativity and discovery where science and art collide” and encourages young people to learn through their interests. A team of 16 employees is listed on the website, led by acting director Gerard McHugh.
Reacting to news of the gallery’s closure, its first chairman Chris Horn, an Irish Times columnist, expressed his “extreme disappointment” at the decision. In a post on Twitter, another early contributor, Prof Aoife McLysaght, said closing the gallery was an “awful mistake”.
Dr Patrick Prendergast, who is chairman of Science Gallery International, an offshoot of the Trinity gallery involving seven other universities – in Atlanta, Bengaluru, Berlin, Detroit, London, Melbourne and Rotterdam – said the closure would be a “terrible loss” to Dublin.