Exploring Cross Border Cultural Policy in Practice

The Garage Theatre, Monaghan Education Campus, Armagh Road, Monaghan
Fri 9 November 2018
10:00am – 4pm

Those engaging in the amateur, voluntary, commercial and publicly-subsidised cultural sector gathered together to explore a range of questions on cross border exchange in an informal, conversational setting such as:

  • Where do working relations across the border happen, how, why and in what conditions?
  • What implications does this have for cultural policy making on the island?
  • Who / what would benefit from a more joined-up approach to cultural policy on the island and how might this work?
  • What negotiations might be involved to take this to fruition?


While conscious that cultural policy in the North and South of Ireland can involve political overtones, historical hangovers and difficult reflections on cultural identity, citizenship or territory, the geographical proximity of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, can also provide opportunities for thinking productively about cultural policy as an all-island endeavour.

Cross-border working is a particular area in which these issues are addressed. For instance, there are already precedents in well-established links in the fields in sport, health, arts, education and justice where North-South policy alignment and shared working, frequently take place to the benefit of all.

While Brexit was not the focus of our discussion, it has become the inescapable backdrop for future working relations, practices and policies in relation to the cultural sector on the island of Ireland, and is thus an inevitable and important context we took into account.

Participants included Prof. Cathal McCall, Queen’s University Belfast; Prof. Daire Keogh, Deputy President, Dublin City University; Monika Sapielak, Director at the Centre for Creative Practices and ArtConnected Opportunities; Dick Gleeson, (former) City Planner, Dublin City Council; Raquel McKee, Spoken Word Artist, Independent Arts Manager and Performer, with sessions hosted by Tania Banotti, Director Creative Ireland, and Cathy Bennett, Public Representative, Monaghan County Council and Operations Manager, The Garage Theatre.

Organised by the North South Social Innovation Network and Cultural Policy Observatory Ireland