My Department through Culture Ireland supports Irish artists to present their work worldwide. This serves to raise the global awareness of the strong reputation of the Irish arts sector, generate new career opportunities for Irish artists and develop new audiences abroad for Irish artists.
My Department continues to work with the Global Irish Network which has to date made many significant achievements in relation to highlighting Ireland's creativity on the world stage. I consider that this is the most appropriate vehicle in which to highlight the achievement of Irish creativity – as part of a wider cross sectoral partnership. Most notable in terms of this collaborative approach have been Irish Design 2015, with which my Department had a significant engagement in relation to the international programme, and the Imagine Ireland programme in 2011.
Imagine Ireland, launched following the strategic focus on culture at the first Global Forum in 2009, was a special year-long initiative by Culture Ireland, showcasing Irish arts and culture in the US throughout 2011. Its objectives to help rebuild Ireland’s reputation, renew the unique cultural relationship between Ireland and America, showcase a new generation of contemporary Irish creative talent, build long-term US market share and opportunities for the Irish cultural sector and creative industries, expand the reach of Irish culture to new US audiences and provide a strategic platform to promote Irish tourism, trade, investment and innovation were largely achieved.
This model of supporting major arts initiatives internationally continues this year with the I am Ireland programme – the international arts element of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme which includes over 550 separate performances and exhibitions with a special focus in key territories - United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia. This programme reflects that interest in Irish artistic excellence continues to grow internationally and recognises that this centenary year offers a unique opportunity to build on Ireland's cultural connections and share the talents of Irish artists through many special and diverse events around the world.
I am satisfied that following the success of these initiatives that a global forum for the arts is best achieved through the broad based Global Irish Network.