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Councils work together to deliver North West Culture Exchange

17 July 2020

Derry City and Strabane District Council have teamed up with Donegal County Council to present the North West Culture Exchange, beginning today, Friday 17th July.

The event is part of the Earagail Arts Festival and encourages venues to join up virtually for a week of free learning and insights, specifically tailored for the arts, culture and heritage sector.

There will be four different events as part of the North West Culture Exchange – starting with '10 Things You Didn't Know About North West Audiences' today, followed by 'Future Trends in Tourism', 'The Future of Events' and 'After the Interval: Act 2' next week.

Helen Marriage, Director of Artichoke – the company who brought Lumiere to Derry in 2013 and the Burning Man Temple in 2015 - will bring her experience in events as part of 'The Future of Events' programme.

Focused on the areas of audiences and industry, the North West Culture Exchange, as part of the Earagail Arts Festival, aims to facilitate a collaborative planning approach to programming, delivery and evaluation across the arts, culture and heritage sector in the North West of Ireland.

The festival invites local, national and international arts and culture industry leaders, artists and creators to come together to share learning, research, opinion and plans to strengthen the sector moving forward.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, said the North West Culture Exchange will focus on a number of important topics.

"The North West Culture Exchange represents an exciting cross border collaboration between Derry City & Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, and their respective cultural partners.

"The current crisis has hit our cultural sector particularly hard and the challenges are unprecedented. In such circumstances it is vital for us to talk, to discuss and to plan collectively, and to seek the knowledge that will enable us to do this effectively.

Mayor Tierney continued: "The North West Culture Exchange will focus on a range of topics critical to our cultural sector at this time, including audience behaviours, visitors' trends and what festivals might look like in the future.

"Our Councils are focused on providing our cultural partners with the knowledge they need to adapt to this new environment and we hope that this event will help in this endeavour. We are most grateful to the Earagail Arts Festival for agreeing to host this Culture Exchange as part of their overall programme this year, and we trust that this represents the start of an ongoing collaborative conversation."

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Rena Donaghey, welcomed the variety on offer as part of the North West Culture Exchange.

"Donegal County Council is delighted to partner with Derry City & Strabane District Council to co-present the North West Culture Exchange symposium, as part of the 32nd annual Earagail Arts Festival.

"The symposium invites local, national and international cultural leaders and practitioners to come together to strengthen our cultural and tourism sectors and deal with current and future challenges and opportunities.

"We welcome audience research company Thrive who will share and analyse the results of two of their most recent cultural engagement surveys, and we look forward to the director of renowned UK arts production company Artichoke sharing her views on the future of cultural events, especially that of large scale public arts events. 

Cathaoirleach Donaghey continued: "With cultural tourism such a vital component of our region's economy, we are delighted to welcome a range of speakers to discuss and speculate on current and future trends in cultural tourism in the North West.  

"We are privileged in the North West to have a strong and vibrant cultural sector, attracting tremendous levels of public engagement across all our communities. We hope that this symposium will provide a stimulating and encouraging exchange of experiences, ideas, opinions and advice which will help sustain our sector and guide it through this most challenging phase of its development."

The Earagail Arts Festival takes place from 9th – 26th July and the four virtual events for the North West Culture Exchange take place from 17th July – 24th July.  Places are free for the NWCE events, but must be booked.  Book a place by visiting https://www.derrystrabane.com/nwcultureexchange