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Midnight in The House of Sheridan Le Fanu

category galway | arts and media | press release author Friday December 03, 2010 18:14author by Walter Pater - The Western Writers' Centre - Ionad Scríbhneoirí Chaitlín Maude, Galwayauthor email westernwriters at eircom dot netauthor phone 087.2178138 Report this post to the editors

The Arts Council's Determination to Shut Down the Western Writers' Centre is A Victorian Melodrama

The Arts Council have refused to fund the Western Writers' Centre, Galway {Ionad Scríbhneoirí Chaitlín Maude}under the Small festivals and Events Scheme, to produce the fifth Forge at Gort Literatrure festival, scheduled for March.
Sheridan Le Fanu: The Dublinocentric Arts Council now inhabit his former home
Sheridan Le Fanu: The Dublinocentric Arts Council now inhabit his former home

Expressing his frustration at the decision, the Centre's Director, author Fred Johnston, said "One may gauge the Arts Council's 'concern.' I telephoned the relevant officer and an answering machine said she'd be back on November 16th!" Fred Johnston added that it was one more a reminder of how little the Arts Council cared for art outside the city of Dublin and its development in the regions. "No recognition of Gort's role in the Celtic Renaissance through its proximity to Coole Park, for instance, would be possible in The Arts Council. They wouldn't even be able to find the town on a map. The Arts Council are determined to render the Western Writers' Centre inoperable and have been so determined for a number of years. By some in Galway, the establishment of the Centre is considered a threat. And this in spite of its being part of the City Development Plan. It would be interesting to know whether the Council have been influenced towards their stance."
He added that several Labour and one Independent Councillor had expressed support for the Centre but had refused to do so in print. "So I won't be voting Labour and I won't be voting for that particular Councillor. They all seem terrified of the City Arts Office."
Mr Johnston pointed out that at a meeting with the Arts Council at the end of 2008, when the Centre's programming grant was withdrawn apparently on foot of a tranche of press-clippings sent to them under an assumed name, he was told in no uncertain terms that the Council did not welcome criticism. "The clippings were of letters I had published in papers critical of the arts." He added that the Festival is now in serious need of sponsorship and funding if it is to take place - inquiries to 087.2178138 - and that he would welcome members of the pubic making their views felt directly to the Arts Council at 70 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 (+353 1 618200) (Photo: Farce Council housed in former home of Sheridan le Fanu, Dublin)

Related Link: http://www.twwc.ie
author by dublincentricpublication date Sat Dec 04, 2010 19:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry to hear that the Arts Council has seen fit under the 2003 Act to put the cash into the hands of
wee bureaucrats and council jobsworths, this is Fianna Fáil slowly suffocating the Arts and making
them wholly irrelevant.

Sure they gave us varieties of Ahern book deals and notional shyte such as the destruction of
Arts and culture for a few cheap TV shows, a bit of red carpet and the grape-sucking morbidities
of the luvvie set !!!!

Ireland is dug into a FF notional ideology of granny-propriety that in terms of LEGACY amounts to
cheap trash and toilet-paper drivel, but is what people seem to like : the ultimately non-threatening
chocolateboxsentimentalism of rainbows and turd-polishing.

OLÉ - the Ahern Generation of corrupted everything ! Its a brave New World Fred, sorry to hear they
stole the crumbs off the bird-table but someone's gotta pay for Cecilia's bikini-wax somehow...


Keep fighting.

author by Wally Bpublication date Sun Dec 05, 2010 00:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good point about Dublin centric stances on culture across the board. For an inside-outsider's analysis of the Dublin centric culture of RTE Television read 'Maverick' by the thoughtful decentralist cineaste, Bob Quinn.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Sun Dec 05, 2010 00:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's about the size of it. And just try to get a straight answer out of an Arts Council 'officer.' None of which are artists of any stamp, of course, mainly glorified secretaries whose job is to keep the unwashed and vulgar artists away from the people who make the decisions. I don't know how they live with themselves, frankly, but I suppose the money makes up for it.

author by The Unwashedpublication date Sun Dec 05, 2010 08:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well Said Fred , they may be an officer but they aint a gentleman & they certainly aint no Ladies
either .....Its the money u see, it makes them a cut above the rest who do not use sunlight or life buoy soap , agh well , they probably came from the ordinary workin class areas of Dublin until the lost the run o' themselves. It has been know to happen folks.

author by Wally Bpublication date Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I must disagree with the implication that working class people are less receptive to cultural creativity than those of middle class origin and schooling. Several individuals of humble social background have distinguished themselves in literature and visual art since the early twentieth century in Ireland. Think of O'Casey, Behan and Dunne for starters. Many years ago I did field work as part of a social study project in the Dolphin's Barn area of Dublin 8. I visited, half a dozen times, a youth centre where, among other things, I witnessed elocution training conducted by a man with a Dublin working class accent (Dublin and proud) who encouraged teenage boys and girls to recite Shakespearean soliloquies and selected poems. He always tempered his critical remarks about diction with warm regard for the beauty of the passages being practised, and deep concern for the educational and aesthetic development of the youngsters (I counted about twelve or more of them) attending his voluntary classes.

More likely the arts administrators who work for the Arts Council and in other areas of arts administration come from the middle class and possess university degrees. Mere possession of a degree nowadays does not inculcate a love of art and literature in the graduate. In today's universities a monetary utilitarianism has supplanted the 19th century Mathew Arnold-William Morris ideals of aesthetic, humane liberal education. Some administrators enjoy permanent pensionable jobs and are cushioned against the precarious living standards of artists, writers, actors, cineastes and composers.

The arts, literature and music have enjoyed varying favour among low-income people in rural and urban Ireland. During the years c. 1890 - 1930 people like Douglas Hyde (Roscommon man), Augusta Gregory (Galway country lady), William Martyn (Galway), Sean O'Casey and John M Synge among others made efforts to personally connect with sections of the common people in the countryside and in the city. These artists and administrators harvested the folk culture in country and town and helped to create unforgettable work of world stature. Some of these individuals were active in popular education and the publication of alternative school textbooks (Lady Gregory) and the co-op movement (the poet George Russell also known as AE).

Don't blame bad arts funding policies on the putative low-income backgrounds of arts administrators. There is such a phenomenon as middle class nihilism, you know.

author by dublincentricpublication date Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

of course the Fianna Fáilers do lurve the intercine squabbles, whilst over-paying the Art's oficers whose schooling
is evident in their choices, i.e they do not really put the cash into infrastructure such as archives, local groups and
such cares BUT instead shovel the money into the rental carpets and canapés !!!

The question here (if I am not mistaken) is the problem of dublincentrism, bureaucracy , illiteracy and
squabbles for crumbs off the bockety table .

Squabble away it ain't art unless it is stored, heated, climate-controlled and free from pettiness, it's Fianna Fáil
sentimentalism and thus banished to death by ill-defined priorities which seek to promote 'officers' to the
realm of personal taste and pecadillo.

Wonder when the illiterate failures in Fianna Fáil will listen to :

i. The NCFA (Both regional and Urbancentric)
ii. The Archive managers from the NL/NA/OPW
iii. The Gallery owners
iv. The independent bookstores and markets/antiquarians.

I do not think they ever will, what FF appear to be going for is pedestrianism and the dilution of Arts in
favour of hyping the poor-minded idiots who believe that a flute of champers and a designer shoe upon
a febrezed moth-eaten rug denote an 'arrival' upon the jaundiced and empty art-scene (dublincentric too)

Sidenote> the poet-laureate of ireland had to hock his framed poems to aid the local national school
to pay bills , so that wee kids could receive something like a dignified education, ART does not come
from the the spawn of a Hanfin or an Ahern, it comes from something above FF's clutter of
crap and legislation designed to ethnically cleanse words from their meanings.

Sidenote > Do Arts 'advocates' discuss finance, blasphemy , censorship , bureaucracy and destruction
of archives or is it *all* about fighting for a bit a crumb and cash to further personal career choices ?


author by dublincentricpublication date Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So is everyone still fighting for crumbs from the bockety table that is Fianna Fáil mismanagement of Arts?

I do laugh when people like Gogarty come out with statements that it will take' 20 years to fix the mess' that it took
13 years to create, of course it will (and more) , as long as the Govt and its campaign of top down reward and
ossiification is endlessly repeated by people who have not one clue about the level of manipulation and reward
that occurs in the Arts.

Simples : the Arts Council advise the revenue on merit and blasphemy, this mean Govt appointees
can tip the wink with regard to naming an exemption to the high-literature od Ryan Tubridy and Bertie Ahern!

They can then mint it on the scene , be interviewed, positioned and placed to accquire more chattels
and dependency.

It's a self-perpetuating circle-jerk which denies the root of egalitarianism in Arts and will quite possibly
ensure the death of free-expression in ireland, that and the withery school marm who figure-heads
the sinking ship.

HI Mary Hanafin !!!

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue Dec 07, 2010 13:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The over-arching policy of the Arts Council is simple enough: criticise us, our regional arts officers or our policies publicly and you will be chastised financially. Keep shtum, smile when you're told to and use 'Darling' a lot and we'll see what we can do for you. DO NOT EVER create something that our arts officers or some project we are already funding should have or might have created if they'd been half-way worth our investment. DO NOT, therefore, embarrass us.

author by dublincentricpublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It really shows people for what they have become , cowed , passive and incapable of starting a national dialogue on
Arts Council failure.. Ultimately this means that Fianna Fáil policy : 'Divide and Rule' is quite sucessful at governmental
level and not alone in relation to the Arts!

(imagine taking that cynicism and moving it into health, education , environment : * its a recipe for decay* )

ho hum :-D

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 17:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are some very true things being said here. The divide-and-conquer rule has also been utilised by the Arts Office of Galway City Council, an office which is and has been for years the single greatest opponent of the Western Writers' Centre, as the Freedom of Information Act uncovered. Yet Galway City Council, though aware of all of this, are paralysed and will do nothing. The worst 'offenders' here are some Labour and Independent Councillors, some of whom made doorstep promises and got very rankled when accused of not keeping them. The Arts Council stands behind its regional arts officers come what may, it seems. This, coupled with an impotent or, more likely, couldn't-be-arsed City Council, creates situations of stasis and decay: Galway is not a place to bring your imagination to or your novel ideas. Ideas tend to get, eh, re-used, let us say, in this little town by opportunistic arts groups who can't think for themselves.

author by Fred Johnston - a linkpublication date Wed Dec 08, 2010 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This letter was circulated to every councillor in Galway City Council and appeared in today's Galway Independent.

Related Link: http://www.galwayindependent.com/section/letters/
author by dublincentricpublication date Fri Dec 10, 2010 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

it might be the bits of string and tincans that hold the PC together.

irish Times focussing on th'Arts today but there has been a lack there too, maybe they should consider relieving Ger
of her position (goes off into dreamland)

there has been a broadsheet and tabloid weakness for birds in their knickers masquerading as (er) culture
and life , wholly dispensing with the idea that people actually want Arts in this country. Irish Times has not
been immune on issues like Tara, the Pipe, Blasphemy, Dúchas, and the planning crap that is ongoing...

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