Arts Festivals in the Kerry-Cork Region to Benefit from Mentoring!

KY.CK Arts
Festival members and funding bodies at a recent workshop with Arts Council, county councils and mentors. Photograph: Darragh Kane

 When teams in Kerry and Cork clash, sparks usually fly, but what happens when they collaborate?

Shared learning and experiences is proving to be very exciting for six key arts festivals in Kerry and Cork County and City.

A creative mentoring project for arts festivals is currently underway as a partnership between Kerry, Cork City and Cork County Local Authorities.

Invitation to Collaborate

The project is funded by the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaborate fund. The project is designed to provide practical guidance and strategic support to each festival through creative mentoring.

The arts festivals include: Listowel Writers’ Week; KFest in Killorglin; Cork Puppetry Festival; Midleton May Festival; Mallow Arts Festival and Cork Folk Festival.

“Each festival is unique and is a significant generator of a valuable creative and economic return to their communities. They are committed to improving opportunities for artists, audiences and enthusiasts to engage with creative content and arts programming,” said Kate Kennelly, Arts Officer at Kerry County Council.

One Day in Sheila's: Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich and Philip King fuelling up for the road to Scartaglin at Sheila Prendiville's Bar and Grocery for the shooting of the Sé mo Laoch programme on Paddy at Tom Fleming's Bar. ©Photograph: 19-6-2002
One Day in Sheila’s: Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich and Philip King fuelling up for the road to Scartaglin at Sheila Prendiville’s Bar and Grocery for the shooting of the Sé mo Laoch programme on Paddy at Tom Fleming’s Bar. ©Photograph: 19-6-2002

A Very Established Team

Mentoring the festivals is a very established team led by cultural sector expert Dermot McLaughlin and includes producer and broadcaster Philip King as well as cultural and business development consultant Una Carmody.

“Our challenge is to ensure that the capability and experience of each festival is shared meaningfully and that the energies in the room can impact positively on all those involved,” Dermot McLaughlin explained.

Greater Artistic Ambition

“The goal of the programme is to assist each festival to develop its creative approach to programming so that an even greater artistic ambition and audience engagement can be achieved.

“Finding ways to ensure that the mentoring process will assist start up festivals and re-energise older festivals is key,” Dermot explained.

“Central to this is how each festival will develop as a sustainable cultural organisation, increasing its audiences and its capacity to grow in artform expertise.

Attending and Celebrating

“This all makes for enjoyable festivals on the part of the audiences and the artists who share their work with us through the festival format. Attending and celebrating a good festival is something we Irish are good at, and the catchphrase ‘that was an excellent event’ is what we want more and more in the delivery and promotion of the arts locally.

“One thing is obvious in the approach the Local Authorities and Arts Council involved are following with this project, is that we are certain to continue to enjoy very good arts festivals in these regions for a great many years to come,” said Mr. McLaughlin.


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