Government efforts to save the Science Gallery fail

The Science Gallery is set to close on February 28

Science Gallery Dublin is to close on February 28, after government efforts to save the nonprofit exhibition space have failed.

The closure was first announced in October by the Business Post. Trinity have since confirmed this closure, explaining that it no longer considered the Gallery financially viable, with the impact of the pandemic contributing to the decision.

“Due to a sharp decline in grants and philanthropic income since 2017, the Gallery incurred substantial deficits in each of the last four financial years,” a press release said. 

It said that the accumulated deficit stood at €1.65m, as of 30 September 2021. 

“Trinity remains committed to the Science Gallery Network and intends to consult with members on how best to re-imagine Science Gallery Dublin in the future,” the release concluded.

The news was followed by public outcry, and a petition was launched in October by Senior Sophister student Cúnla Morris to save the Science Gallery. The petition currently has 5233 signatures. 

In November, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) passed a motion to formally oppose the closure of the Science Gallery, citing the space as “an important part of the [Trinity] campus and of the larger culture of Dublin”. 

The closure was also discussed by College’s Board in November. 

The Board said that they “cannot continue to sustain these losses”, and “a sustainable way of running and operating the Gallery” “can only happen through securing sufficient funding from government”. 

College was reportedly engaged in “ongoing discussions” about the Science Gallery’s future with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. 

However, the Business Post reported today that the Gallery’s closure will proceed in February. 

Earlier this month, staff at the Science Gallery received notice of redundancy or redeployment in College. 

A staff member told the Business Post: “The mood is appalling. The worst bit is the way everyone has been treated. The provost [Linda Doyle] hasn’t spoken with us, we haven’t heard from her.”

“Every day I have to break the news to people that I’m losing my job, people don’t realise it is closing,” they added. 

“Nobody has been in touch with us. The way that it has happened and been handled, it feels like the college just wants it to die and not say anything about it. It has been awful for the staff, every day we are being re-traumatised.”

Trinity News has asked College for comment.  

The Science Gallery reopened in October, as Covid-19 restrictions on cultural attractions were lifted. 

The current exhibition, BIAS: Built This Way, will end on January 31, with the Gallery to permanently close its doors on February 28. 

Sarah Emerson

Sarah Emerson is currently a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Sophister English Literature and Jewish and Islamic Civilizations Student.