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Cultural Heritage, Creativity and Education

01 July 2019

The Royal Irish Academy recently held a workshop on Cultural Heritage, Creativity and Education to mark the launch of the Academy’s Culture and Heritage Working Group’s discussion papers on creativity.

The Academy’s Culture and Heritage Working Group acts as a facilitator for discussion of opinions and ideas on contemporary Irish cultural and heritage policy and practice. It works in partnership with other cultural and heritage bodies and groups and has strong links to the Government’s Creative Ireland programme and Heritage Ireland 2030. For example, in January 2019 the Academy held a consultation forum on Heritage Ireland 2030 in conjunction with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

In the light of government’s Culture and Creativity Capital Plan, which details an intent to fortify investment in a range of cultural activities and enterprises, the Academy’s Culture and Heritage Working Group has recently produced a set of position papers highlighting modes of creativity associated with public culture, public institutions and vernacular culture. Written by senior academics with strong ties to many of the state’s cultural institutions, these papers constitute a set of reflections regarding the necessity for and social benefits of supporting enhanced attention to the creativity of Irish life. These discussion papers, explore aspects of Creativity in the Sciences, Music, and the Gaeltacht, the Irish Language, Folklore and the Vernacular.

To mark the launch of the Academy’s Culture and Heritage Group’s discussion papers on creativity, a workshop on Cultural Heritage, Creativity and Education was held at Academy House. The workshop included a speech by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr. Joe McHugh, TD, an address from Dr Mary Canning, the Royal Irish Academy’s Senior Vice President and Chair of the Culture and Heritage Working Group, and a discussion with a high-level panel of experts moderated by Prof Mary O’Dowd, the Academy’s Polite Literature and Antiquities Secretary. The three panel speakers were:


Panel Speakers Tania Banotti, Helen O'Donoghue, and Virginia Teehan


Common themes that emerged from the discussions were:

  • the need to develop connectivity between institutions,
  • the need for evaluation,
  • impact analysis, and research in this area
  • the importance of sustainability.  

Papers on Museums and on Archival Depositories and Libraries are currently in development. The Academy has already held a forum to facilitate discussions on library and archive issues in relation to heritage and culture, and a similar forum will be held in relation to museums in autumn 2019. Please direct any queries to policy@ria.ie 

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