Bere Island to benefit from a three-year €450,000 arts programme

Ardnakinna Lighthouse, Bere Island
Ardnakinna Lighthouse, Bere Island, Co. Cork. Photo Joleen Cronin

Bere Island, are one of seven island communities in West Cork who are set to benefit from a three-year €450,000 programme to develop and sustain new creative opportunities for all age groups, through the Arts Council’s ‘Creative Places Programme’.

‘The Creative Places, West Cork Islands’ programme is an innovative development and community engagement project that will be rolled out over a three-year period on Bere Island, Dursey Island, Whiddy Island, Heir Island, Long Island, Oilean Chleire and Sherkin Island. The programme aims to strengthen existing local contemporary and traditional arts practice and create long-term community-led engagement in the arts.

Reacting to the announcement, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan said,

“We are delighted to receive a ‘Creative Places’ designation for West Cork and its inhabited Islands.  Our island communities are very important to us in Cork County Council.  Although, our Islands may be subject to certain economic pressures and are more remote in terms of geography, they are also innovative and resilient.  The Arts Council’s commitment to sustain investment through the Creative Places Scheme over a three-year period will allow the necessary time to develop and deliver a range of initiatives to support sustainable artist and community engagement on each of these islands. Cork County Council has undertaken a considerable amount of Arts development work in West Cork and on the islands and this ‘Creative Places’ award will enable us to work with our local partners to bring this work to an entirely new level.”

Cork County Council is heading a consortium of local arts and development agencies that includes Bere Island Projects Group, Sherkin Island Development Society, Comharchumann Chléire and Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre.

The programme’s ambitions include strengthening the interconnectedness of the islands, supporting creative community engagement with climate adaptation & digital technology and giving expression to what it is to be an islander focusing on the lived experience of inhabitants, which is governed to a large extent by nature, tides, weather and climate change.

A key part of this programme will be creating opportunities for artists and communities to work together through socially engaged practice that positively impacts on islanders’ ongoing cultural participation and the preservation & promotion of unique island cultures.

John Walsh of Bere Island Projects Group expressed his delight to hear that the West Cork Islands have been chosen to be a ‘Creative Place’,

“This project has the potential to make the islands off West Cork creative places for our communities and for national and international artists.  We look forward to working with our other partners and the County Council on this exciting development”