Analysis: The importance of College’s partnership with Creative Ireland

Trinity has recently announced a partnership with the government-funded Creative Ireland programme that is set to revolutionise the manner in which climate action is approached

  • Creative Ireland is a programme sustained by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Established in 2017, Creative Ireland comprises a series of multimillion-euro, state-funded projects to “ensure every person can discover their creative potential.”

At its core, Creative Ireland believes transformation occurs through the creative process. On 14 July 2023, College announced they will lead a new Creative Climate Action Fund II project, headed by Mary Colclough, Trinity’s community engagement manager.

The “House on the Beach” project is aimed at raising awareness of climate change, specifically targeting discussions on rising sea levels. College and Creative Ireland plan to achieve this through art installations depicting the dangers of climate change. Sculptures of two houses will be built on the coast, visible to the public as the tides rise and engulf the houses each day.

Why Art?

Various questions arise from this announcement, most notably: why art? Creative Ireland operates on the premise that creative, unconventional projects are the key to solving challenges related to climate, health, culture and other pressing matters. Therefore, the aim of the organisation is widespread.

Although not all of Creative Ireland’s projects are directly related to physical artistry, College’s project certainly is. With the coastal house sculptures (one on each side of the North/South border) being completely flooded each day, this project seeks to promote climate action by showcasing urgency through an embodiment of something most have a physical connection to: home.

In this way, the sculptures of a house represent far more than the mere structure of a building. Rather, the houses also represent various layers of what one identifies as a home: a house, a city, and even Earth. Through a visual representation of what the future without immediate climate action holds, the partnership between College and Creative Ireland hopes each community and person will take steps to prevent environmental destruction from becoming a reality.

Broader Goals

Through projects targeting a variety of societal shortcomings and challenges, Creative Ireland believes changes in public policy can be achieved. With creativity being the driving factor of the organisation, they believe ingenuity and unconventionality are the keys to progress.

Trinity’s “House on the Beach” project serves to promote climate literacy and interest in preserving the Earth. Although such a task only has the potential to impact Irish law and politics directly, any advancement(s) to come from the project can influence other jurisdictions to take similar measures.

A tangible demonstration of the very real future evokes a stronger response than simply a word-of-mouth recitation of facts. To see and feel is a far different experience than to be told. With this comes a greater drive to join together and create change, no matter how drastic.

Thus, creative projects, research and measures can better reach and interact with the general population of Ireland. In doing so, more profound public policy development can be achieved.

From another perspective, any successes from the project will further influence local Irish communities and individual people to engage with creativity across a wide range of disciplines, benefitting the organisation directly.

What Comes Next?

Once the construction of the art installation by College is completed and the public begins to engage with the project officially, the question remains as to how Irish citizens can take the proper action envisioned by Creative Ireland. A call to action without clear guidance limits the potential impact of the project. Suggestions as to what measures citizens can take to support matters of climate action best would be beneficial to the overall strength and efficacy of the project.

Although the partnership between College and Creative Ireland is more focused on targeting the general population of Ireland, there is only so much that can be done without the inclusion of higher authorities. Creative Ireland is in-and-of-itself an extension of a government organisation. While efforts from the people of Ireland are necessary to create effective change, the most change can be made at the hands of the government itself.

It is not news that both people and the government need to work together in order to make lasting, positive differences in the way we live and care for society and the environment. Creative Ireland may be the avenue for such unity.

Creative Ireland will continue to advocate for pushing boundaries and challenging traditional operations. With Mary Colclough partnering with the organisation, it can be observed that College itself will continue to endorse and push for creativity amongst its staff and student body. Although this is not a new attitude from the university, any steps taken by College to elevate the importance of the arts in societal practices allows for a more interdisciplinary rather than orthodox approach to global issues.

There is currently no set date for when “House on the Beach” will be installed and available for the public to visit. 

Gabriela Gazaniga

Gabriela Gazaniga is the Deputy Editor of News Analysis and is currently in her Junior Sophister year earning a degree in Law.