FRIDAY, September 20 has been a very important date on my calendar for several months now. It may be simply one day out of 365 in the year, but this brief evening will encapsulate the multi-faceted cultural landscape of our beautiful city.
This is what Culture Night is all about; showcasing the multitude that Cork has to offer in terms of entertainment, the arts, science, technology and more, and ensuring that the people of the city enjoy it most.
My position at Cork City Council is hugely intertwined with the ethos that forms the foundation of Culture Night, namely re-imagining spaces, prioritising community engagement, and overseeing a strong working relationship between the private and public sectors, as they engage with communities to maximise shared value. I am incredibly fortunate to work within an arena that nurtures these relationships and creates positive change, while we are very lucky as a population to live in a city that equally cherishes continued development, particularly in the areas of cultural integration and our rich history with the arts. This is engrained in the fabric of our city and it is integral for us to carry on this tradition as we evolve and move with the times.
Many people are curious about the ‘Placemaking’ element of my role, which again can be intrinsically linked to Culture Night and what it stands for. Placemaking involves creating, reinventing or reimagining spaces for community members to utilise and feel welcome in. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking strengthens the connection between people and the places they share, while facilitating creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.
2019 events at the People’s Parklet, Cork Community Art Link and Linkpoint Knochnaheeny are perfect representations of placemaking and it is a joy to see these form an important part of this year’s programme. Aside from community centered events such as the aforementioned, this year’s programme features hundreds of events that will appeal to a broad range of tastes, from those with a particular love for Irish music and the Irish language, to avid art fans in search of a contemporary experience. It was a difficult task to select specific highlights given the wealth of amazing events on offer, but there are five that I feel deserve a special mention.
‘Around the World in 80 Games’ will see Cork City Hall transform into a Cultural Playground as Cork’s status as a playful city takes centre stage. Culture vultures are invited to enjoy a variety of intergenerational experiences as they engage in physical play, card games, board games and street games. The event also provides an opportunity for diverse communities and groups to come together to demonstrate and play games from the many cultures living in our city.
Cork City Culture Night will reach a literal high note at Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, with the Choral Evensong commencing at 6:15pm. A distinctive part of the Cathedral’s almost 700-year-old musical tradition, this historic and peaceful act of worship will be followed by a short performance by the Cathedral Choir at 7:45pm.
Guided tours will also be available at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm, during which time visitors can view the cannon ball, the historic Cathedral organ, stained glass and mosaics, plus over 1,500 sculptures and carvings and the intricate chancel ceiling.
Pitch’d Circus Arts Festival returns this year with circus acts and street performances to captivate the Cork City Culture Night crowds. A teenage circus club at Skiddy’s Plaza on North Main Street will attract the younger culture club, while all ages will be enthralled by the explosive highlight of the Inferno Fire Show, which will light up the skies over the famous Coal Quay.
UCC’s Halla Uí Riada will play host to a celebratory evening with sean-nós singer and winner of Corn Uí Riada 2018, Máire Ní Chéilleachair, who will be joined by staff and students of the UCC Music Department for a special evening of music, song and dance in honour of the renowned performer. The event, entitled Spleodar!, will welcome audience members of all ages for what promises to be a memorable evening of entertainment.
Those with an interest in art should be sure to make their way to Dali, as the city-centre venue’s resident visual engineers bring you an immersive audio-visual experience that will bring the walls and ceiling to life! Those attending can expect dark, murky visuals at every turn, accompanied by mad electronic sounds. The event will kick off at 6:30pm and is open to over 18s only.
To view the full programme of events, which showcases all activities taking place over 100+ venues, visit culturenightcork.ie. Keep up to date with programme additions by following the conversation online #CorkCultureNight and #LOVECulture. Check out Facebookcorkcityarts or Twitter @corkcityarts. Culture Night is brought to you by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Cork City Council.