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    A portrait of the Arts Centre in rural Ireland: an inter-disciplinary mix-methods approach

    Graham, Amanda Jane (2019) A portrait of the Arts Centre in rural Ireland: an inter-disciplinary mix-methods approach. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

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    This thesis sets out to assess the role of the Art Centre as a socially enriching resource in small Irish towns, and a social hub for rural societies. In order to make an assessment I drew on theory and expertise from across the humanities and the social sciences. My study makes some amendment for the lack of research in the area and counters some of the difficulties in 'measuring' the value of the arts in society. The study adds to current knowledge on the arts and culture within rural communities, a topic that rarely receives research or policy attention. It gives an encompassing panorama of the regional Art Centre, the communities that utilise it, and the stakeholders whose operational involvement enables programming and events. Two extensive case studies were conducted in two counties over an eighteen-week period. The field studies took the form of research residencies from the perspective of the visual arts. I created two new bodies of artwork that were part of three exhibitions, two solo and one group show. The artwork addressed difficult social issues. The aim was to investigate the capacity of the arts to engage people and prompt discourse and interactional exchange on difficult personal issues. The engagement with, and responses to the shows were used as an entry point to reflect on the wider role of the Arts Centre in the community. The data gathered included: (a) observation and informal interviewing of Art Centre attendees, (b) semi-structured interviews with the Art Centre and local authority staff, (c) secondary data, e.g. Arts Council of Ireland reviews and publications, national newspapers, Central Statistics Office data, historical and tourist information. The investigation into the community's engagement revealed that the Art Centre serves an important role as a social hub. Moreover, the study revealed that engagement with the arts in a local town can be socially inclusive in terms of engagement with, and through, age diversity, people with cognitive disabilities, the online community, and cross-cultural engagement. Finally, my study recommends the inclusion of arts and cultural activities in Social Prescribing programmes and the appointment of a cultural liaison coordinator to work as a linchpin between the Art Centre, the Local Arts Office and the Social Inclusion Office.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Arts Centre; rural Ireland; inter-disciplinary; mix-methods; approach;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 14856
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 11:25
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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