What makes me happy? Hanging out with friends and family - lockdown has made that more precious

Kath Gorman is Head of Participation and Engagement at the Cork Midsummer Festival, which got underway on June 14 and continues until June 27
 What makes me happy? Hanging out with friends and family - lockdown has made that more precious

Kath Gorman. Picture: Leah Brown

Tell us about yourself:

I’m originally from the UK but have now been in Ireland since 2009, working in the Cork arts scene as a creative producer, arts management consultant and adviser.

I am currently Head of Participation and Engagement at Cork Midsummer Festival. This involves initiating and producing festival commissions that involve some sort of collaboration between artists and communities of interest and place.

I am also managing the festival’s involvement in Creative Europe co-operation project Be Part, Art Beyond Participation with 10 international arts partners.

For this year’s festival, I am executive producing multi-sensory art installation The Day-Crossing Farm, by visual artist Marie Brett, exploring issues of human trafficking, modern-day-slavery and drug farming. It’s been a hugely significant, eye-opening project to work on and has really raised my awareness of human rights issues and the plight of trafficking victims.


I live with my husband, Ian, and two daughters Charlotte and Rachel, just outside Kinsale. Our eldest daughter Leah is living in Cork city.

Best friend?

Although I have lots of friends, both here and still in England and further afield, I would say it is my husband Ian. As we work in the same industry, we both understand the nature of the work and are a great support to each other.

Earliest childhood memory?

I remember our bright turquoise living room carpet (it was the 1970s!), eating pickled onions, and looking out at the ice-cream van and wanting to get one!

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

I think if the current Minister for Finance backs the recommendations made by the National Campaign for the Arts for the pilot basic income scheme for artists and arts workers to be set at €327 a week, then this will have a massive positive impact on the lives of many working in the arts.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

In the summer of 2017, we took three weeks off and made a big road trip from Bavaria, Germany, through Austria and Slovenia, and ended up in Croatia, meeting up with friends. It was great to see such varied scenery, from mountains and lakes to the sea. It’s been nice to have those memories during lockdown.

Favourite TV programme:

I’ve watched a lot of TV in the last 15 months … stand out programmes are Succession and Mare Of Easttown, with Kate Winslet at her best.

Favourite radio show:

I don’t really listen to much radio, but I did listen to community radio station Lumsden Live, hosted by Be Part Creative Europe partner Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden, Aberdeenshire, as an Assembly event this May. Bringing together local communities with the wider Be Part network, the radio station sets out to explore why and how people are joining together to take action within their communities. See link here for some of the radio features: https://beyondparticipation.eu/lumsden- live/

Your signature dish if cooking:

Probably Spaghetti Carbonara is the one I can do with my eyes shut and normally everyone will eat!

Favourite restaurant:

Cork has so many great restaurants, but if I had to choose it would be Café Paradiso or The Farmgate. Further afield, it would be Spanish/Moroccan themed restaurant Moro in London.

Last book you read:

I’ve been using Cork county’s digital Borrow Box scheme which is fantastic, and have just completed The Lying Room by Nicci French, which I would really recommend.

Best book you read:

There’s probably too many to choose from as I am an avid reader.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

We have a Family Spotify account so I use that a lot.

Favourite song?

I don’t have one in particular, it’s usually anything I can dance to in the kitchen (I am really looking forward to going back to the Crane Lane for a proper dance!).

One person you would like to see in concert?

I have big regrets that I never booked tickets to see Prince at the O2 stadium in London.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, we have two, a cat and a dog. As the dog came later, as a puppy, the cat is definitely in charge.

Your proudest moment?

Where my kids have put in lots of effort to achieve something; such as my eldest daughter getting into the college of her choice.

Workwise; where I’ve worked really hard to get a project off the ground, working with great artists and production team and seeing the fruits of its labour come to life through appreciative audiences, like participatory dining project La Cocina Pública at Cork Midsummer Festival, 2019.

Spendthrift or saver?

I’d say I’m a saver but my daughters are good at spending my money!

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

We live in a small hamlet which can be a bit of a rat-run so speed restrictions would be a big improvement.

What makes you happy?

Any opportunity to hang out with friends and family somewhere nice — we are spoiled in Cork for places to go to. Lockdown has made that more precious. I’m really hoping to see my mum this summer, who is living in England. I haven’t seen her since late 2019.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone kind, loyal and good craic, who didn’t take herself too seriously.

What else are you up to at the moment?

Really, it is all systems go at the festival. Aside from The Day-Crossing Farm, I’m overseeing children’s project Star Me; A Planetary Game by Cork Puppetry Company and Outlaw Studios at Gerry O’Sullivan Park in partnership with Cork City Council’s Creative Parks initiative as part of Cruinniú na Óg.

See www.corkmidsummer.com

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