Galway (Men's) Arts Festival?
Madam, – As a group of NUI Galway academics in women’s studies, social sciences and humanities, we are concerned about the underrepresentation of female creative talent in the Galway Arts Festival, a nationally promoted and publicly funded event.
Having reviewed the 2010 programme, we note that, as in 2009, the overwhelming message conveyed is that the Galway Arts Festival is, apparently, dedicated to showcasing male creativity. While the quality of the featured acts is not in dispute – it must be asked, why so few women?
Of the 21 music acts, none are headlined solely by women. Indeed only five include female performers – the remaining 16 are strikingly male dominated, featuring acts and ensembles of one to 10 male performers. 100 per cent of the public talks are by men. 100 per cent of the comedy acts are male. The theatre events are a bit better, but still far from gender balanced; just one in 10 plays is written and directed by a woman; another three are written or directed by a woman while the majority (75 per cent) are written and/or directed by a man.
In the category of “family events”, two out of three plays are written, directed and performed by men, while one stands out as being directed by a woman and featuring the story of a young girl. The visual arts programme also falls short in this regard – of nine films or exhibits just two showcase the work of women artists.
With men comprising more than 85 per cent of this year’s featured artists and performers, perhaps it’s time to change the name to the Galway Men’s Arts Festival? Or, in the interests of creative diversity, widening the appeal of the festival and basic fairness, organisers and sponsors could simply ensure inclusion of more excellent female artists in future? – Yours, etc,