THE interim chairperson of the newly formed Limerick Arts and Cultural Exchange is “hopeful” of seeing cultural representation on the steering group established to oversee Limerick’s bid for European Capital of Culture in 2020.
The steering group for the bid currently consists of the region’s third level presidents, chamber of commerce chief, the chair of the LEDP and port authority, Tim O’Connor and Pat Cox, plus the Shannon Airport Authority and representatives of Limerick City and County Council.
This group, plus newly appointed outreach co-ordinator Dominique Bouchard and an intelligence unit, comprising of academics from the region - who will conduct independent research in June into cultural activity and feed it back into the bid proposal – will work alongside the bid team of Mike Fitzpatrick, Sheila Deegan and Kathy O’Grady.
Monica Spencer, co-interim chair of LACE, a revitalised version of the pillar system that worked so effectively for City of Culture, said that the group, which launches officially on Monday, will be “working with the local authority on all projects that relate to arts and culture, so obviously 2020 is the huge one at the moment.
“We still have to work all of that out and structures haven’t been completely tied down as yet – so there will be representation from the cultural community. Precisely how many and where that fits in, is to be worked out in detail,” she explained.
“We have asked for representation on the steering group, but there is another layer underneath that, a management group and we think we are going to be on that with other very serious stake holders as well.”
Asked if she felt there should be representation from the arts and culture community on the steering group - as there was for City of Culture - Ms Spencer said: “There should be cultural representation on that. I can’t speak for City Hall but we are in negotiation with them around that at the moment.”
A spokesperson for the local authority said that the launch of LACE was “an outcome of Limerick 2020 working with the pillar groups from 2014 to strengthen the cultural sector.
“This group have nominated two representatives to work with us in relation to 2020 and separately will form part of an advisory group,” she added.
Mike Fitzpatrick, who must oversee the completion of the 80-page bid document by the October 17 deadline, said that the team “hope to produce a very comprehensive, competitive bid”.
The council has allocated the “cohort of staff in Culture House”, plus “overheads and a working budget” to the project, said the spokesperson, but declined to outline the level of funding.
With regard to the programming team that will be brought in to devise a programme for the bid - a host city for which has never had a budget less than €20m - the spokesperson said that there would be a “creative team led by a creative consultant”.
The local authority has now advertised for the creative consultant position as of this Thursday.
The outcome of an earlier tender process to secure specialised consultancy services to complement the bid team was largely unsuccessful, the Leader understands, with just a handful of applicants, none of which were deemed suitable.
“We were not satisfied with the tenders received and have agreed a negotiated tender as is allowed in the tender process,” said the council spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson also confirmed that accounts for City of Culture are “currently being finalised and will be presented at a board meeting, at a date to be agreed”.