Galway 2020: UK firm will assess ‘Europeanness’

Galway’s European Capital of Culture project has awarded a €200,000 contract to a British company to monitor and evaluate the 2020 artistic programme.

Galway 2020: UK firm will assess ‘Europeanness’

Galway’s European Capital of Culture project has awarded a €200,000 contract to a British company to monitor and evaluate the 2020 artistic programme.

The Audience Agency, based in London and Manchester, will work in collaboration with NUI Galway, Galway 2020 has confirmed.

The firm, which lists the London Barbican, British Museum, and English Heritage among its clients, was appointed after a public tender, Galway 2020 says.

The contract will involve an “assessment of the Euroropean dimension and how Europeanness is conveyed and understood, promoted, and celebrated through the cultural programme”. It also involves a “detailed economic impact assessment of the project”.

Arts groups involved in Galway 2020, which have already experienced budget cuts of between 30%-40%, will be required to assist.

The monitoring and evaluation contract involves conducting “sessions, workshops and professional development activity to build the capacity of cultural sector practitioners within Galway’s arts organisations to undertake their own primary research”.

The €200,000 contract is inclusive of third-party suppliers, and Galway 2020 says that NUI Galway’s involvement is a “partnership relationship”, and the value of this is commercially sensitive.

The overall value of “partnership relationships” has been quoted at €4.5m by Galway 2020. The monitoring and evaluation contract runs from late July of this year until November 2021, dependent on an agreed delivery date for a final report.

Recently, medical technology multinational Medtronic confirmed that it will sponsor Galway 2020’s volunteer programme. The project hopes the news will give a boost to potential sponsors, who backed off after last year’s confidence crisis.

That was sparked by the loss of a business engagement director, tasked with raising €7m, and the resignation of its first creative director, Chris Baldwin, less than a year into his contract.

Last summer, an EU monitoring group report warned that Galway was in “danger of losing track... and incurring further delays”.

There were further resignations in the latter part of the year, including that of chief executive Hannah Kiely, board chair Aideen McGinley, and board members including former EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn and Galway International Arts Festival chief executive John Crumlish, while the Druid Theatre pulled one of its flagship productions.

London-based performance company Artichoke, which had been involved in a joint Galway 2020 bid-book production with street theatre company Macnas, took over the creative lead in January of this year. Druid Theatre’s artistic director Garry Hynes has recently confirmed that it is “actively engaged with 2020 and fully intending to be part of the programme”.

The publication of the Galway 2020 programme is due in mid–September, and the artistic lead, Helen Marriage of Artichoke, says that next February’s opening ceremony will leave people “astonished and proud”.

It is understood that private fundraising is continuing to make up the budget shortfall, with 42% of pledges from 2016 by local businesses committed so far, along with 35 confirmed sponsors.

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