The Draft Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028

The Draft Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028

Context: Dublin City Council published The Draft Dublin City Development Plan (2022-2028) the plan  sets out how the city will develop to meet the needs of all residents, workers and visitors. You can read Chapter 12 Culture here   https://www.dublincity.ie/residential/planning/strategic-planning/dublin-city-development-plan/development-plan-2022-2028/chapter-12-culture The Culture Chapter proposes policies and objectives under the following subheadings -Protecting and Enhancing Cultural Assets, Cultural Hubs and Quarters, Supporting Cultural Vibrancy, Supporting key Cultural Activities, Culture in the Community, Supporting Irish Language and Culture, Culture in the Public Domain.

Music Alliance Ireland submitted to the Pre-Draft Public Consultation Strategic Issues paper – Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028, and acknowledge the impact our feedback and other members of the music sector has had on the plan, in particular in DCC’s commitment to a music hub space for Dublin.

Response: Responses to this draft plan are invited as  the last part of the process where public submissions might impact significantly on the final plan. See Music Alliance Ireland’s submission on the report in our next post.

What you can do: Make your submission to the plan outlining the requirements of the music sector as you see them, you may reference Music Alliance Ireland’s submission. 

Key sections: 

PG: 450

Music

Music is one of most widely engaged forms of culture in the city.
The diversity and range of music – from full orchestras to solo singer songwriters and everything in-between; the creative range and diversity of this art form is vast. Alongside the diversity in type, is the need for diversity in space for musical artists to rehearse, record and perform. Retaining music as part of the cultural landscape of the city and the musical success experienced by many artists on a global scale cannot be sustained without maintaining a wide range and scale of venues
for artists to hone their abilities and grow as performers. It is critical for the city’s music scene that existing venues for performance within the city are protected; and the Council will support and encourage the development of a new music venue (400-1,000 scale) within the inner city to support and diversify the sector.

Many rehearsal spaces and recording spaces in the city are located in former industrial estates. As these areas regenerate, it is critical that these spaces are retained within communities. Provision of affordable spaces is important particularly to younger people, and the provision of such spaces as part of Council and other public projects will be encouraged. With increased living in apartments, there are less options and spaces for people to rehearse and/or play with others, making the provision of space even more important as this form of housing increases within the city. The Council is committed to supporting the development of music hub within the city as a flagship space that will provide a range of facilities and opportunities to all (see Objective COU3).  

PG451

It is the Policy of Dublin City Council:

CU18

Music as a Key Cultural Asset

To support music as a key cultural asset of Dublin City and seek the retention and expansion of venues and facilities that allow for expression and experience of music in a wide variety of forms to enhance the cultural life of the city.

It is an Objective of Dublin City Council:

CUO29

Music Rehearsal Spaces

To seek opportunities to include facilities for music rehearsal spaces within communities to enable and encourage more people to engage with music, with a particular focus on young people.

CUO30

Industrial Estate Regeneration Areas

All large scale mixed use former industrial estate regeneration areas (over 10 ha) in the city shall include at least one studio/rehearsal space and/or venue.

CUO31

Music Venues

To encourage the development of new music venues that will provide opportunities for music artists to perform at a range of venue sizes.

  

PG453

CUO34

Noise Impacts

All applications for short or longer term residential proposals (including hotels) that seek permission adjacent to established late night uses such as nightclubs/music venues/public houses/comedy clubs, shall be required to demonstrate in their application, how, firstly through the use of good design and layout; and secondly, through increased sound insulation; they have ensured their development will not cause negative impacts on the adjoining uses in the future.

CUO35

Purpose Spaces for Evening and Night Time Activities

To encourage the opportunity presented by new larger developments within the city to provide high quality, designed for purpose spaces that can accommodate evening and night time activities, such as basement/roof level “black box” spaces that can be used for smaller scale performances/theatre/dance venues, and for flexibility in the design of larger spaces, such as conference spaces, to be adaptable for evening uses.

PG457

CUO40

Cultural and Artistic Space Audit

To aim to undertake during the life of the development plan, an audit and implementation plan for each Electoral Area of the Council to assess the current and future needs with regard to cultural and artistic spaces and to set a series of actions, policy tools and initiatives to address identified shortfalls.

CUO41

Buildings within Communities for Arts and Cultural Spaces

To seek to acquire buildings of merit within communities that can become important arts and cultural spaces; and give a new purpose to local buildings with heritage value and to promote the expansion of cultural uses within existing spaces, particularly within buildings in public ownership.

 Image courtesy of Music Network. 

Letter to Dublin City Councillors re the need for a dedicated Music Hub in Dublin City

Letter to Dublin City Councillors re the need for a dedicated Music Hub in Dublin City

Context:

 

 Music Alliance Ireland aim to establish a dedicated Music Hub in Dublin City.
Response: Responses have currently been received from 4% of Dublin City Councillors.
Update: On the 21st October 2021, representatives of Music Alliance Ireland met with theLord Mayor Alison Gilliland, and Mr Richard Shakespeare, Assistant Chief Executive of Dublin City Council.
What you can do: Sign up to the Music Alliance Ireland mailing list, where we will give further updates.
 
 
 

Letter:

Dear Councillor,

I am writing in my capacity as Chair of a recently formed group Music Alliance Ireland / Comhaontas Ceoil na hÉireann.

Music Alliance Ireland is a group of national music organisations and companies that have come together to enhance their support for the music sector in Ireland. Our membership consists of performance groups, concert promoters and resource organisations with a remit across the island and involvement in a variety of musical genres.

The current members are Music Network, Contemporary Music Centre, Improvised Music Company, Crash Ensemble, Diatribe Records, Kirkos Ensemble, Association of Irish Composers, Trad Ireland/Traid Éireann, and Journal of Music. We have been meeting since the pandemic began and are engaging in a number of advocacy initiatives to ensure that musicians and the structures that support them are supported now and into the future.

One of the chief aims and concerns that led to our establishment is the need for a dedicated Music Hub in Dublin City. A Music Hub is different to a music venue because it also contains facilities for the creation and development of music, for example, sound-proofed rehearsal facilities (for individuals and groups), a recording and post-production space, offices for administrative work, storage for instruments, 24hr use, plus a performance space, all managed by the music sector itself. This recent article, which contains interviews with some of our members, further explains the need for a Music Hub in Dublin.

Music Alliance Ireland, and individual members, recently made a number of submissions to Dublin City Council, suggesting that the Liberties Creative Campus would be an ideal space for a Music Hub, and in particular 8–9 Merchant’s Quay.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this possibility with you further, and would appreciate your support in our advocacy.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Picture credit: Kirkos Ensemble

Submission to Pre-Draft Public Consultation Strategic Issues Paper – Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028

Submission to Pre-Draft Public Consultation Strategic Issues Paper – Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028

Context: Dublin City Council is reviewing the current Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022 and preparing a new City Development Plan (the Plan) up to 2028.
Response: The DCC Chief Executives response to the issues raised in the submissions has been prepared and his report with recommendations has been submitted to the City Council for the Elected Members consideration.
Update: The pre-draft consultation ended on the 22nd February 2021 with 752 submissions being received during this first phase of the process. The DCC Chief Executives response and further information is available here.
What you can do: Sign up to the Music Alliance Ireland mailing list, where we will give further updates.

Feedback on Dublin City Development Plan 2016 – 2022

  1. The Dublin City Development Plan 2016 – 2022, states “It is a priority for Dublin City Council that the city is and will be a space to make, experience and share culture.” It states policies and objectives of as “To support existing, and encourage the growth of emerging, cultural clusters and hubs in the city, which bring together cultural activities with supporting uses such as restaurants, retail outlets etc. to create vibrant and innovative cultural experiences. “ and “To ensure that t-for-purpose, accessible, cultural facilities are considered as part of larger developments in the city, having regard to Dublin City Council’s Cultural Needs Analysis.”

We ask:

  • That Dublin City Council create a Dublin Music Hub, a venue suitable for music. Acknowledging that music requires purpose-built spaces with due attention to acoustics, sound proofing, the provision of a piano, and basic infrastructure to allow rehearsing for solo musicians and/or groups of musicians, and recording, and that general visual arts and theatre spaces are not suitable.
  • That in all future cultural developments the specific needs of music will be considered and delivered to.Including those currently in planning for cultural clusters established and emerging around Parnell Square, Heuston gateway, North and South Docklands, the Liberties and Smithfield  and the Liberties/Temple Bar.
  •  
  1. Throughout the 2016-2022 plan achievements for artforms are mentioned – visual art ( Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, The Red Stables), dance (the national dance centre, Dance House) theatre, literature (Dublin Writers Museum, The Irish Writer Centre, City Library project), UNESCO City of Literature), no-where have specific achievement for music been mentioned.

We ask:

  • It is important for the Dublin City Development plan 2023 – 2028 to state from the outset that Culture in Dublin would be unimaginable without the contribution of music and the Irish music sector. Music permeates the history and the life of Dublin City. It is therefore important that the Dublin City Council recognises music’s centrality to Dublin Culture, with a clear inclusion of provision for the music sector in future Dublin City Development Plans.
  • That Dublin City Council not shrink back from its leadership role in the life of music in Dublin and is a key part of the Irish music infrastructure, and establish a clear policy on music development in the city.
  • Lead the engagement with the Dublin music sector, with the establishment of a music advisory panel drawn from across Dublin musical life.
  • That once the Dublin City Council plan 2022-2028 has been in-acted that Dublin City Council will be able to boast achievements in music including a Music Hub Space for the city. 
  1. Achievements noted in the 2016 – 2022 plan include  “The need to support workspaces for emerging artists has been met in many cases with high quality facilities provided in the city such as the LAB on Foley Street providing exhibition space for emerging artists, rehearsal space for three theatre companies and incubator spaces. Alongside the LAB, the national dance centre, Dance House, has been provided on a public–private partnership basis and has been open since 2006. The Red Stables in St Anne’s Park provides subsidised studio spaces for artists.”  – but providing no space for music.  The  plan does acknowledge shortfalls – “Despite the vast range and the prestige of cultural facilities and institutions in the city a shortfall remains, both in the city centre and in the outer city. This deficit includes libraries, rehearsal and performance spaces, studio workshops, administrative space etc. Meeting this shortfall is a challenge for the future development and accessibility of cultural life in the city – again it does so with no specific reference to music.

We ask:

  • That any cultural development includes consideration and provision for music (see document below on details of spaces needed).
  • That such space for music include music groups and organisations as well as individual practitioners. 
  • That provision for the life cycle of a wide variety of music is provided for in the city –  workspace for its orchestras,  ensembles, choirs, quartets, music groups , labels and individual artists across a number of genres;.  Provision for broadcasts, recording, archiving, publishing, and  performance space for live music events. Live work and subsidised living spaces for its creatives and cultural workers. Potential for employment opportunities for musicians, composers and music sector workers.
  • That Dublin City Council it helps promote music festivals, concerts and amateur and professional performers.
  1. The Dublin City Development Plan 2016 – 2022, quotes as an achievement  “the proposed new City Library project culturally underpin the Parnell Square cultural quarter and the rejuvenation of O’Connell Street.” – this project has had the proposed music centre stripped from it.

We ask –

That a music hub for Dublin is made a priority in the 2023-2028 plans (see details below of proposed space requirements).

  1. Throughout the Cultural section of the Dublin City Development Plan 2016 – 2022 the value of culture to tourism is emphasised, to the lack of focus on the working lives of creatives and cultural workers – the ability to maintain practices in the city. If creatives are unable to work and live in the city there will be no culture for tourists, nor the people of Dublin city to consume.

We ask:

  • That the emphasis on the Dublin City Development plan 2023 – 2028 is on provision for creatives and the cultural sector.

What is needed in Dublin City Development Plan 2022 – 2028

Dublin Music Hub

Where is Dublin’s hub for music? Ireland is a small country with a huge tradition of music, punching way above its weight internationally. Such a vibrant national scene needs a centre – a home which nurtures the creation of music, develops its excellence and celebrates the people who make it. Dublin needs a space for music. There is currently no dedicated space.

The music community needs a space that functions as a hub space for the music community and a centre for excellence in music in Ireland. A space run by the music sector for the music sector. Supporting the musical life of the city all year around and a point of collectivity and community for the music sector. A space to provide resources, support and facilitate communication & representation for the all genres of professional practicing musicians, composers, lyricists and other music practitioners in Dublin in particular that of the non-commercial music .

Dublin needs-

  • an ambitious centre for the musical innovation and excellence
  • space dedicated to creating music
  • a space to facilitate collaboration
  • community hub for the music sector
  • a shared resource space for music

We need a well-resourced, functioning joyous space bursting with new music.

We need a home for music in Dublin.

Dublin’s hub for music would include:

  • Performance venue(s)
  • Large ensemble rehearsal
  • Individual composition / rehearsal studios
  • Recording, broadcasting and post-production
  • Music organisation offices
  • Bar/coffee shop
  • Storage

Key considerations 

  • Long lease length
  • 24 hr access / usage
  • Soundproofing
  • High Visibility – a cultural asset for the city
  • Central / with good transport links
  • Accessible for all
  • Public access

TYPES OF USAGE running concurrently –

  • Hot desks (coffee shop)
  • Bookable spaces (by the hour/day)
  • Short term –project based residencies
  • Long term – resident groups / key anchor group

SUPPORT, COMMUNICATION & REPRESENTATION:

As well as offering space and equipment the centre would act as a point of support for the music sector.

The space would find ways to bring together the local music community. Creating and maintain channels for communication, and a joint voice for advocacy for the sector. Including creating joint marketing channels and initiatives. Facilitating discussion/debates/research on the development of the music sector in Dublin.  Bringing the sector together to work for the rights of our artists and creatives.

AUDIENCE FACING ACTIVITIES 

  • Performances
  • Open rehearsals
  • Listening/screening events
  • Workshop, educations and professional practice courses

PARTNERS
National: The space would look to partner with organisations and groups across the Dublin and Irish music sector.

International: The space should act as part of a European network of organisations and centres dedicated to facilitating, researching and nurturing musical excellence in their country. With the intention of learning from and sharing learning in order to continue the creative growth of the Irish music scene.

More detail – Dublin Music Hub 

Music Alliance Ireland have devised a detailed outline of requirements the for a space for music, which we are happy to share. We are keen to work with Dublin City Council  to develop this important facet of Dublin cultural life.

Beyond the Hub – Other types of spaces for music needed in Dublin

  • Increased performance, rehearsal and office space nationally for music groups and collectives.
  • Studio spaces for musicians and composers.
  • Work/live spaces for musicians and music sector workers.

Conclusion 

The Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028 is an excellent opportunity to set out a new vision for music as part of the Cultural provision in the city. Our key message is that the Plan 2022-2028 should reflect the centrality of music to the Cultural life of Dublin City and we believe the recommendations above will achieve that.

Thank you for your attention.

Submitted by:  Music Alliance Ireland / Comhaontas Ceoil na hÉireann

 Image courtesy of Improvised Music Company. 

Input to Dublin City Council Cultural Infrastructure Study for Dublin City

Input to Dublin City Council Cultural Infrastructure Study for Dublin City

Context Notes: Dublin City Council is in the process of preparing the Dublin City Development Plan 2022 – 2028, which when adopted will guide growth and development in the city over the next decade. To ensure that culture is engrained in the future development within the City of Dublin, the City Council would like to dedicate a chapter of the Development Plan to the City’s cultural sector. This will help the City prepare for the cultural infrastructure and facilities it needs to ensure it retains its vitality and vibrancy.

Turley, alongside OBFA Architects, have been commissioned by Dublin City Council to prepare a Cultural Infrastructure Study for Dublin City. This will provide Dublin City Council with an understanding of the scope and quality of the City’s existing cultural infrastructure and facilities alongside an appreciation of the future needs of the City.

Questions

1 – How would you describe/what is your understanding of cultural infrastructure?

  • Awareness, comprehension, development of, and vision for, all aspects of the growth and protection of cultural facilities, acknowledging its dynamism, diversity and accessibility
  • Acknowledging and working with creatives and spaces. A balance in provision.
  • buildings, structures and places where culture is experienced and enjoyed, performed, exhibited, sold
  • buildings, structures and places where culture is produced — places of cultural production by artists, performers, makers, manufacturers, performing arts rehearsal spaces, music recording studios, film and television studios.

2 – What role does cultural infrastructure play in your City’s…

a. Night Time Economy (please enter your response here)

Cultural Infrastructure is critical to our overall economy

  • Critical to our overall economy, creating opportunities for pubs, shops, restaurants etc. to avail of a wide customer across a wider range of hours, catering to the changing dynamic of society and in recognition of the rise of an ‘on demand’ society which expects more flexibility across their social, leisure and enrichment opportunities. 
  • Infrastructure acknowledges, diversity, celebrates our cultural vibrance, and adequately represents society,
  • The night time economy revolves around cultural events from cinema, theatre and classical music concerts to gigs, DJ sets and street performance. The city would be dead at night without cultural infrastructure

b. City Centre Regeneration (please enter your response here)

There are multiple areas of this. Cultural Infrastructure can underpin and assist the dynamic reclassification of urban areas, asserting and reflecting their multi-dimensionality across a 24 hour period. 

This in turn creates or aids new identities for these areas, populates them, increases transit routes through them, utilising the infrastructure to its fullest, and potentially making these areas safer, cleaner while making the businesses in these spaces more sustainable. In short, it keeps people in/brings people to the city centre in the evenings

  • Reclassification of areas
  • Keeps people in/brings people to the city centre in the evenings

c. Community Infrastructure (please enter your response here)

Cultural Infrastructure is built on communities. Communities identify with physical, tangible space. Without it, identity is retarded. Therefore Culture and Community are interlinked. Cultural Infrastructure reinforces community, elevates shared identities and heritage and acknowledges current and future changes.

Cultural infrastructure also provides meaningful spaces for communities to come together both through their mainstream programming (places for people to meet: cinemas, gig bars etc.) and their specific outreach projects. In the city centre, there are precious few community spaces outside a religious context, and so the various cultural spaces and organisations which make community outreach a priority are filling a void. In many cases these efforts are focused on disadvantaged areas or communities, enhancing their social impact. Outreach projects by arts organisations usually do not cost money for members of the public to take part in and do not tend to revolve around being in a space that serves alcohol.

  • Cultural and Community are interlinked. Reinforce community, shared identity, heritage, acknowledgement
  • Cultural infrastructure provides meaningful spaces for communities to come together both through their mainstream programming (places for people to meet: cinemas, gig bars etc.) and their specific outreach projects. In the city centre, there are precious few community spaces outside a religious context, and so the various cultural spaces and organisations which make community outreach a priority are filling a void. In many cases these efforts are focused on disadvantaged areas or communities, enhancing their social impact. Outreach projects by arts organisations usually do not cost money for members of the public to take part in and do not tend to revolve around being in a space that serves alcohol.

3 – How important do you believe cultural infrastructure is to the development of your city?

Cultural infrastructure is fundamental to all development. It is critical to all facets of cultural expression, identity and space. Culture, in all forms, creates identity, underpins the economy, provides outlet and opportunity for artistic expression and audience participation. Critical to human identity and for touristic reasons.

Without sufficient cultural infrastructure, culture cannot sustain itself or thrive in a city. This has been seen, to detrimental effect, in Dublin over the past decade as ‘brain drain’ has led many talented arts practitioners to emigrate or switch to more easily sustainable careers. This is an avoidable waste of talent which essentially robs the country of the positive effects of culture. Culture can be an export. Export the art not the artists in this case. The only way to address and change this is by strategic and meaningful dialogue between those that represent art professionally and those that represent space professionally. Outwardly, cultural identity is our primary touristic selling point. Cultural Identity defines us abroad and encourages visits to our country/city to experience this culture. If the resultant experience does not match the expectation, specifically in line with other cities of the world, repeat business is unlikely.

  • Cultural infrastructure is fundamental to all development. Culture, in all forms, creates identity, underpins the economy, provides outlet and opportunity for artistic expression and audience participation. Critical to human identity and for touristic reasons.
  • Without sufficient cultural infrastructure, culture cannot thrive in a city. This has been seen, to detrimental effect, in Dublin over the past decade as brain drain has led many talented arts practitioners to emigrate or switch to more easily sustainable careers. This is an avoidable waste of talent and robs the country of the positive effects of culture. 

4 – Do you believe cultural infrastructure is important to the development of new places/the regeneration of City areas?

Cultural infrastructure (specifically buildings) can be key hubs to create a sense of community in a new area. The arts engage with the community, allow people to engage with other cultures, with an area’s history and heritage, improves the breadth of education in an area, and can create a sense of community pride. 

While pitches, playing fields, and green areas are seen as crucial to an area, the arts have as large a role to play in mental and physical health for the residents of an area. Imagine these as existing side by side. Now translate that, proportionately, to dedicated spaces for the experience, performance of cultural activity.

Regular cultural programmes attract visitors to an area and make small business more viable and sustainable. 

An arts/culture scene, along with related business in food, retail, hospitality can be an incentive for businesses to settle in a particular area, and create whole communities, rather than sleeper towns. This applies from small businesses up to multinationals.

Cultural Infrastucture can be a key element in helping to make existing residents of regenerated areas feel included in regeneration projects. Buy-in from existing residents is an essential part of keeping a cohesive community rather than simply displacing one.

  • Cultural infrastructure (specifically buildings) can be key hubs to create a sense of community in a new area. The arts engage with the community, allow people to engage with other cultures, with an area’s history and heritage, improves the breadth of education in an area, and can create a sense of community pride. 
  • While pitches, playing fields, and green areas are seen as crucial to an area, the arts have as large a role to play in mental and physical health for the residents of an area. 
  • Regular cultural programmes attract visitors to an area and make small business more viable. 
  • An arts/culture scene, along with related business in food, retail, hospitality can be an incentive for businesses to settle in a particular area, and create whole communities, rather than sleeper towns. This applies from small businesses up to multinationals.
  • Cultural Infrastucture can be a key element in helping to make existing residents of regenerated areas feel included in regeneration projects. Buy-in from existing residents is an essential part of keeping a cohesive community rather than simply displacing one.

5 – What policy measures would you put in place to better the provision of cultural infrastructure in the City?

  • Strategic re-development of unused buildings for culture/the arts 
  • Introduction of Dereliction Tax (financial penalties for buildings left unused in key areas). 
  • Provision of one major single-use hub for music in the city centre, as a priority due to lack of existing infrastructure for music
  • Simplification of “Meanwhile Use” (short-term, inexpensive lets for artists and arts organisations in properties which are unavoidably empty); incentivisation of same to make it an attractive use case for landlords
  • Legislate for inclusion of cultural infrastructure (notably performance and rehearsal spaces, artist studios and other non-commerically viable infrastructure) in all major developments, matched with a commitment to keep these things (a) affordable and (b) publically controlled
  • Panel of artists (particularly including artists in under-represented genres, artists from under-represented cultural/socio-economic backgrounds, and artists with disabilities) to work in liaison with arts offices and city development departments, consulting on the needs of the arts sector.
  • Simplify and standardise procedures and application process for performing or creating art in public spaces: currently, this is an onerous administrative task which is off-putting to individual artists and performers. 

6 – How do you see public art in new development? What value does it add?

  • Accessibility of art and regular access to participation in arts events across socio-economic backgrounds is valuable, where many arts experiences in Ireland are private and income-dependent.
  • When art is ever-present in the community, it becomes a normal and natural part of public life: see the centrality of classical music to Viennese life as an example. This can be fostered in new developments.
  • Arts events can create strong sense of community, and be an opportunity for people to engage with other cultures, and backgrounds.
  • Creativity is undervalued in the Irish school system, but can be nurtured by public art and arts participation. It is crucial to development for children and adults. 
  • Public arts events attract local, national, and international tourism and create spend in an area.
  • Public art in new development has traditionally meant one-off sculptures: while this is obviously of value, we believe it is important to recognise the ongoing value of creating cultural infrastructure in new developments.

7 – Do you feel public spaces, parks, and street art etc. form part of cultural infrastructure?

  • They CAN, but do not always. Some parks and public spaces actively work with arts/arts offices, i.e. hosting and funding workshops, exhibitions, concert series, whereas some refuse to allow public art or make it prohibitively expensive for individual artists/small organisations. 
  • Public spaces, parks etc have a wide remit. They are part of a holistic whole which encompasses quality of life and are inter generational. Successful public spaces must acknowledge all aspects of holism and provision for its regular expression. All public spaces have a profound ability to reflect cultural identity, values and expression.

8 – Is there sufficient cultural infrastructure in the City? What is missing and why?

Absolutely not. When compared and contrasted with our European colleagues, we are ‘infra structurally challenged’. Let me be clear. We have hundreds of bars and pubs. These are not suitable for the consumption and presentation of many types of music. These need to be removed from the any cultural ‘pie charts’. They do not reflect the needs of our industry. They are unsuitable.  

Practice/rehearsals paces for independent musicians. Many European cities have dedicated buildings where studios can be rented at moderate cost for development of work, while many Irish musicians totally lack anywhere to practice/rehearse if landlords (as is often the case) do not allow music.

Non-commercial venue for the development of contemporary, improvised, experimental music. Unlike visual arts/dance, or theatre, music lacks any central space which is accessible to independent musicians as a venue, hub etc. This lack of identity, critical for practitioners and audiences alike retards development of the artform, particularly when contrasted with other European cities. We have no modern 21st century identity in the form of tangible space for todays non commercial music. Music that is not suitable for our myriad pubs and bars or not suitable for larger spaces like our National Concert Hall; itself an institution burdened somewhat by time and tradition. There is no other beacon of cultural infrastructure which defines this large market. Call it homelessness because that is precisely what it is. 

The National Concert Hall explicitly made a decision to make the Kevin Barry Room (formerly accessible on a ticket cut basis to any musician who wanted to hire it) a curated space – this cut off access to the NCH for all artists who are not considered a good fit by management. There is no equivalent infrastructure in the first place for genres such as jazz, contemporary improvised music electronic music, etc.

As cultural curators, programmers and producers, it is difficult to ask audiences to attend multiple unsuitable locations with strict curfews, criminally high rental costs and other factors which makes these ongoing compromises difficult for both artists and audiences. We have been having the same conversation for over 30 years. To be honest, I have replied to surveys, such as this one for 21 years this year. And over that 2 decades not one meaningful thing has changed with regards to cultural infrastructure in our capital city.  Words on a page, are simply that; words. However, I hope that this survey finds a resonance with future planning and development of cultural infrastructure in Dublin. As a programmer I have traveled extensively throughout Europe. I’ve been to practically every EU country, some multiple times. On a prosaic level, I know firsthand, how behind we are in joined-up strategic thinking, development, and implementation of specific, dedicated infrastructure. We just do not have it. They do. 

  • Absolutely not.
  • Practice/rehearsals paces for independent musicians. Many European cities have dedicated buildings where studios can be rented at moderate cost for development of work, while many Irish musicians totally lack anywhere to practice/rehearse if landlords (as is often the case) do not allow music.
  • Non-commercial venue for the development of contemporary, improvised, experimental music. Unlike visual arts/dance, or theatre, music lacks any central space which is accessible to independent musicians as a venue, hub etc. This lack of identity, critical for practitioners and audiences alike retards development of the artform, particularly when contrasted with other European cities (for example)
  • The National Concert Hall explicitly made a decision to make the Kevin Barry Room (formerly accessible on a ticket cut basis to any musician who wanted to hire it) a curated space – this cut off access to the NCH for all artists who are not considered a good fit by management. There is no equivalent infrastructure in the first place for genres such as jazz, electronic music, etc.

9 – How does your city’s local urban planning or masterplans explicitly recognise the importance of cultural issues and resources?

  • I don’t know how to answer this question. I do not have enough information.

10 – How does your city’s local urban planning or master plans explicitly recognise the importance of cultural issues and resources?

11 – Does the city have a reference guide on “cultural impact assessments” for everyday use in urban planning policies? If not what impacts would you include for reference?

  • I don’t know how to answer the first part of this question. I do not have enough information.
  • Cultural Impact Assessments should include: …

12 – Does the local government keep an inventory of the city or region’s natural and cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible? How effective is it?

13 – Has the city subsequently established mechanisms for its preservation and conservation according to international standards?

Benchmarking (1-5 Agree/Disagree , each with space for comments)

The fourth and final part of this survey asks you to rate each statement using the Likert Scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. There is also space after each question for further comments. Once completed please click the ‘Finish Survey’ button at the bottom of the page.

14 – New cultural infrastructures are planned as part of a broader cultural ecosystem, and their potential impact is taken into account.

Yes, to a degree. However there are imbalances

15 – The local government explicitly considers the notion of ‘landscape’ in its policies, integrating both natural and cultural aspects of development.

INSERTTEXTHERE-COMMENTS

Yes, with no comments

16 – The local government recognizes public spaces like streets, squares, and other areas in the city, as key resources for cultural interaction and participation.

Neutral, Much publicity is done around this, but use of them by artists, public etc. is not incentivised or made easy (see issues around public space performance)

17 – There is a range of public spaces which, thanks to their symbolism, are considered public goods.

Agree, no comments.

18 – There are programs to promote and manage the development and preservation of public art.

INSERTTEXTHERE-COMMENTS

I don’t know.

19 – There are architectural guidelines for the renovation of existing buildings, the planning of new buildings, and the use of traditional construction techniques.

https://www.dublincity.ie/residential/planning 

20 – Policies for urban transport and mobility consider citizens’ access to cultural life, paying special attention to people residing in the city outskirts, people with infants or children, and those with other particular obstacles to accessing culture.

Strongly disagree

It’s important here to understand how cities develop over time. How old a city is. What types of generational displacements there are over time etc. We have an old historic city. However, provisions have not been put in place for the migration of communities out from its centre. Public transport is often inhospitable to those with particular access needs, small children. It is irregular to some areas of the city and greater area, particularly later in the evening. City centre parking is both too limited and too expensive to compensate for this. 

Public transport infrastructure is not well-developed enough to make attendance of evening events in the city centre feasible or attractive for many suburban residents. See point above about displacements and 21st century suburban living.

Most public transport ends much earlier than late-night culture events, and is generally more limited at the weekend even earlier on the evening. This does not compare well with other important cities. Late-night Luases are provided to shoppers at Christmas, but not to clubbers or cinema-goers throughout the year. 

  • Public transport is often inhospitable to those with particular access needs, small children etc., irregular to some areas of the city and greater area, particularly later in the evening. Parking is too limited and expensive to compensate. 
  • Public transport infrastructure is not well-developed enough to make attendance of evening events in the city centre feasible or attractive for many residents of the suburbs
  • Most public transport ends much earlier than late-night culture events, and is generally more limited at the weekend even earlier on the evening. This does not compare well with other important cities. Late-night Luases are provided to shoppers at Christmas, but not to clubbers or cinema-goers throughout the year.

21 – The local government develops policies and programs that promote people’s active participation in urban planning and regional development, such as in urban design, architecture, and public art.

Yes, no comments.

22 – The local government develops policies and programs that promote  people’s active participation in urban planning and regional  development, such as in urban design, architecture, and public art.

Yes, no comments.

 Image courtesy of Crash Ensemble

Submission to the Future of Media Commission

Submission to the Future of Media Commission

Context: The Future of Media Commission was set up by the Government in September 2020 to examine the future of the media in Ireland. This includes Ireland’s public service broadcasters, commercial broadcasters, print and online media platforms. The Commission is independent of the Government. It has 10 members, who have been chosen because of their expertise and experience across the media. The Commission is examining the challenges faced by public service broadcasters, commercial broadcasters, print and online media platforms.
Response: The first phase of the Future of Media Commission public consultation, which ran from December 12th 2020 – January 8th 2021, resulted in over 800 written submissions from stakeholder groups and the general public.
Update: Initially, the Commission is publishing submissions received from organisations, stakeholder groups and elected representatives. Submissions from members of the general public are still being processed.
What you can do: Sign up to the Music Alliance Ireland mailing list, where we will give further updates.

Submission: 

Introduction 

The Terms of Reference for the Commission state that one of the key roles of national media,  and in particular public service broadcasting, is ‘To inform, educate and entertain the Irish public  with regard to matters of Irish culture…’ and ‘To ensure that creative Irish talent gets the  opportunity to have their work reach audiences in Ireland and, where possible, further afield.’ 

It is important to state from the outset that public service broadcasting would be unimaginable without the contribution of music and the Irish music sector. Music recordings constitute the  majority of public service radio broadcasting, and music permeates every aspect of television  and online broadcasting, from music performances to music themes, soundtracks and all forms  of entertainment. It is therefore important that the Commission recognises music’s  centrality to Irish public service broadcasting. This tenet informs our submission. 

RTÉ has played a crucial role in the development of music in Ireland in the twentieth and  twenty-first century. It has done this through its broadcasting on radio and television, its  employment of musicians and composers, its use of music in programmes and broadcasts, its  orchestra, choirs, quartet, recording, archiving, publishing, awards and live music events. 

In recent years, however, RTÉ has been shrinking back from its leadership role in music. This is  evident from the following list: 

  • It no longer has a Director of Music or Head of Music
  • The role of Head of RTÉ Lyric FM has been vacant for over six months
  • The RTÉ Lyric FM Limerick studios were threatened with closure last year, a  development that was prevented only by a public outcry 
  • The Helen Boaden orchestras report from 2018 detailed a list of problems with RTÉ’s  support for the two national orchestras, with the result that RTÉ is now losing the  National Symphony Orchestra 
  • The recent cessation of the support for the RTÉ string quartet 
  • The lack of activity on the RTÉ record label and now the RTÉ Lyric FM label has  become moribund also 
  • The fact that music and arts programmes have been moved to the periphery of the  schedule on RTÉ Radio 1 (whereas in the mid-2000s Rattlebag was on at 3pm, now  Arena is on at 7pm) 
  • The lack of investment in in-depth coverage of the full range and diversity of musical life
  • A 179-page report published in December 2020 by Trad Ireland, Navigating the  Traditional Arts Sector Ireland, detailed significant dissatisfaction in the traditional arts  community with RTÉ’s coverage of music. It states: ‘Many of the traditional artists and  commentators who participated in this research discussed insufficient media coverage  as a major challenge encountered by the traditional arts sector in Ireland today.’
  • The lack of newly composed music in programming by the RTÉ NSO (less than 3% in  2019/20 Season) 
  • No clear music policy 

We recognise the value of some recent initiatives, such as the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards and  the screenings of RTÉ NSO performances on RTE Television, but the overall trend in recent  years is one of shrinkage and does not reflect, as we have stated already, the centrality of  music to public service broadcasting. 

Our recommendations, therefore, are as follows: 

  1. A new vision for RTÉ Lyric FM 

RTÉ Lyric FM is a key part of the Irish music infrastructure. Lyric’s broadcasters provide an  excellent classical and contemporary music service to the Irish public; the station broadcasts the  work of Irish artists, orchestras, music groups and labels across a number of genres; it helps  promote Irish festivals, concerts and amateur and professional choirs and orchestras; it informs,  educates and keeps at the heart of Irish culture a knowledge of the world of classical and  contemporary music among the general public; and it acts as a connector for the Irish music  community, keeping practitioners in touch with the work of their contemporaries and contributing  to the dynamism of Irish cultural life. 

In addition, Lyric has commissioned many major works from Irish composers and musicians  over two decades; its record label has been a key documenter of Irish orchestral work in  particular; it has hosted a composer in residence scheme; it provides representation for music  from Ireland internationally through its active membership of the EBU and International Rostrum of Composers; and its shows and presenters provide opportunities for Irish artists, organisations  and promoters to reach out to a wide listenership and build new audiences.  

Given the pivotal role that Lyric has established for itself in Irish musical culture over two  decades, we are extremely concerned at the current lack of direction for the station. The  threatened closure of the Lyric studios in Limerick last year was the latest in a long line of cuts  to resourcing and staff. 

We are seeking: 

(i) The immediate appointment of a new Head of Station; 

(ii) A clear statement of RTÉ’s strategic vision for the future of the station, including studio  location, programme development, music commissioning and financial resourcing; (iii) The establishment of a plan for the future management and development of the RTÉ Lyric  FM record label, which is now in stasis after the departure of producer Eoin Brady last year; and (iv) The establishment of an advisory board for RTÉ Lyric FM with members drawn from across  Irish musical life. 

Despite the fact that the station has been under-resourced in the past, it has maintained a loyal  listenership (including an increase in weekday JNLR figures from 3% to 4% in 2020; it now has  more weekday listeners in Dublin than 2FM). Now is the time to forge a new vision for the  station.  

2: The appointment of an RTÉ Group Head of Music 

RTÉ needs a thriving music sector just as the music sector needs a dynamic RTÉ. Music forms  a hugely significant part of all of RTÉ’s broadcasting output and yet there is no clear leadership  role in RTÉ driving its engagement with the sector and a vision for music output, as there is, for  example, in sports and news. 

It is not satisfactory that music is subsumed into ‘arts and culture’ or ‘music and entertainment’  in management structures. There is a Group Head of Arts and Culture, a Group Head of  Entertainment & Music, Heads of Music in different radio stations, and the position of Director of  RTÉ Lyric fm, Orchestras and Choirs is vacant. There is no clear music leadership at higher  management level in RTÉ with a well-resourced role. 

The result is that music broadcasting at RTÉ lacks leadership, investment and joined-up  thinking in programming. 

We are calling for the appointment of a new RTÉ Group Head of Music who will 

  • Lead a new vision for music programming across all of RTÉ’s television and radio  stations and online; 
  • Establish a clear policy on music and lead the engagement with the Irish music sector;
  • Ensure that in-depth coverage and presentation of the full range and diversity of music  from Ireland is at the heart of Irish public service broadcasting; 
  • Explore the establishment of quotas on-air for music by Irish artists; 
  • Re-establish the support for the RTÉ String Quartet (or alternative chamber music  group) and develop long-term support for ensembles, artists and groups from other  genres; and 
  • Set out a clear policy on commissioning by Irish composers and musicians by all RTÉ  music groups. 
  1. Relaunch of the RTÉ record labels  

RTÉ has historically had an important record label, and in recent years the RTÉ Lyric FM label  too, but both of these initiatives are now characterised by a lack of activity and investment. 

This decline is not only not regrettable, but RTÉ is missing out on a clear commercial  opportunity in the contemporary growth in income from music streaming. Although music  streaming has received negative press in recent years, a less frequently acknowledged fact is  that it is now 56% of the $20bn of revenue generated by the global music records industry.  Labels with a back catalogue (such as RTÉ has) are benefiting in particular. According to the  Financial Times (Dec 2020), almost 60% of streaming income goes to the record label and  performers. At a time of financial insecurity for RTÉ, it is imperative that it start seriously  developing its record labels again in order to grow its streaming income. 

The RTÉ record labels should therefore be relaunched. The new RTÉ Group Head of Music  should develop a plan for the relaunch of the labels, including recruitment, commissioning, A&R  and market development. This would be a significant source of employment for the Irish music  sector, and a new stream of income for RTÉ. 

  1. Establish a new training and internship programme to attract new generations of  musical talent 

Currently, RTÉ has no regular internship, trainee or graduate scheme programme. This makes it  impossible for new generations of musical talent who are interested in broadcasting to find a  clear career path into the station, and it also means that RTÉ does not develop new, diverse  talent as it should, whether it is in presenting, producing, researching or engineering. 

As part of a new engagement with the music sector, we are recommending the establishment of  an internship/trainee/graduate scheme that would attract Irish musical talent and allow them  become part of the future of the station. Increased musical expertise in the station across all  sectors would not only benefit the Irish music sector but also reflect the centrality of music to  RTÉ’s output.

Conclusion 

The Future of Media Commission is an excellent opportunity to set out a new vision for public  service broadcasting in Ireland. Our key message is that the Commission’s report should reflect  the centrality of music to public service broadcasting and we believe the recommendations  above will achieve that. Thank you for your attention.  

Submitted by Music Alliance Ireland / Comhaontas Ceoil na hÉireann  

Picture credit: Bangers and Crash. Image curtsey Music Network.