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EPIC and the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce

With the new Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce announced last week, EPIC working group has confirmed that two of their members have been granted seats. Here’s what to expect
James Vincent McMorrow rehearsing ahead of “Songs From An Empty Room” in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber

Despite the apparent lack of representation for the Event Production Industry Covid-19 Working Group (EPIC) on the new Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce announced late last week, two members have been granted seats. 

EPIC Chair, Sophie Ridley, has just confirmed that since EPIC and AIST are members of the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) which has been granted two seats on the Taskforce, EPIC will be represented.

“Pearse Doherty, Vice Chair of EPIC, is one of these two representatives,” she said, “and Liam Fitzgerald of AIST and EPIC has been appointed Acting Chair of the Event Industry Alliance to replace Elaine O’Connor who is the second representative.” 

In this way, there is a very clear path to have EPIC’s voice heard on the Taskforce. 

Among the other members will be the Arts Council, the National Campaign For the Arts, the Department of Health, the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, and the Department of Social Protection. Clare Duignan will be the Chair of the Taskforce. 

The first step of the Taskforce will be to prepare a report and a set of recommendations on how best the arts and culture sector can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage of the pandemic.

The Taskforce will then adopt a solution-focused approach, identify goals for recovery and sustainability in the sector, and report to the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht by 31 October 2020 in order to provide the Government with an action-plan for the sector.

James Vincent McMorrow rehearsing ahead of “Songs From An Empty Room” in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber

“Identifying ways of preserving and re-establishing this once-vibrant, heart-warming and magical sector will be a mammoth task,” said Minister Martin in the statement for the press release announcing the Taskforce. “The membership of the Task Force that I am appointing holds a wealth of experience and talent and I have no doubt that collectively they will rise to the challenge.” 

As for EPIC’s individual goals? According to Sophie Ridley, the immediate path is to represent the industry’s needs and concerns in the Taskforce, to agree on a roadmap back to live events when appropriate, and to keep campaigning for the financial support they have asked for in their pre-budget submission.

“The #ThisIsWhoWeAre was very successful we feel,” she said. “The second seat on the Taskforce was granted immediately after it, we had very substantial media coverage even given the announcement of the new Living with Covid plan and the following Dáil suspension. The TDs campaign was highly successful – 80,000 emails were sent by 12,000 people.”

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