Change Makers Conference

Change Makers Conference

The transformative power of festivals
A partnership between The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon
and MA Festive Arts (University of Limerick)

Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, V94 NCF8
Friday 14 February 2020

The Arts Council in partnership with the MA Festive Arts (University of Limerick) presents Change Makers conference, the first national gathering of festival makers and festival stakeholders in Ireland to map, measure and gather intelligence about arts festivals and better understand their scope and impact in civic society.

The event will bring together professional and voluntary festival creators, artists, funding agencies, policy makers and academics that have a vested interest in this domain to: evaluate current practices, network, assess the contribution of the festival sector's contribution to the cultural life of contemporary Ireland and support festival capacity building.

We will be joined by festival maker, Jude Kelly CBE, Founder of the Women of the World festival (WOW), former director of the Southbank Centre and theatre creator who will deliver our keynote address along with both international and Irish festival practitioners..

The conference will be the first of its kind to be hosted by the Arts Council and has been developed as a response to Festival Policy commitments and objectives arising from the Arts Council's Strategy, Making Great Art Work 2016-2025.

The conference programme outline is below along with details of how to book your place.

Conference Programme

9.30am Registration Tea & Coffee
10.00am Welcome Professor Helen Kelly Holmes, Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Issues, UL
Orlaith McBride, Director, Arts Council Ireland
10.30am Key note address Jude Kelly CBE
11.15am Panel discussion The transformative power of festivals.

Panellists: Floriane Gaber, Dr Anne-Marie Ryan (UL) Lorraine Maye(Cork Midsummer Festival) ,Dr Billy Magfhloinn (Pagan Rave, Féile Na Bealtaine). Panel Chair: Dr Aileen Dillane

12.30pm Networking lunch  
1.45pm & 2.30pm Festival Toolkits* Topics
  • Way to engagement (audiences, volunteers, participation)

  • Community development and local heroes

  • Your mission, what do you do and how do you achieve it

  • The act of collaboration (ways of working together)

Toolkit facilitators: Madeline Boughton, Dr Tara Byrne, Rosemary Collier and Dr. Ali Fitzgibbon. 

1.45pm - 3.15pm Pop Up Clinics** One to One — 15 minute sessions

Clinic organisations: Creative Europe, Association of Irish Festivals

3.15pm Presentation & Discussion Keeping Going…
  • The Irish arts festival landscape

  • What is left and lost? Building a national festival archive

  • What do we need and who's going to do it?

Presenters: Karl Wallace, Head of Festivals and Events, Arts Council Ireland, Dr Lucy Collins UCD Archives, Ursula Byrne Head of Development and Strategic programmes, UCD. 

Facilitator: Dr Emilie Fitzgibbon, UCC.

4.30pm Commitment to Actions  
4.45pm End  



*Delegates will register for two of the four toolkit sessions at registration.

**Pop Up Clinics run at the same time as the festival toolkit sessions. Each clinic runs for 15 minutes as a one to one session. Places are allocated on a first come first serve basis and must be booked in advance by 7 February 2020. Please email Adrian Colwell at: to book your place.(Please note: due to limited availability spaces are restricted to one festival per clinic)

Details correct at time of publication


Conference tickets are available from the 8 January 2020 from the University Concert Hall, University of Limerick box office on +353 61 331549 or

Please note: Lunch is included with your conference ticket. If you have particular dietary requirements please inform the box office when booking your tickets so that your preference can be registered.


Accessible lifts and ramps are available to all conference locations and seating and is accessible for wheelchair users and those with impaired mobility. Access to and from the Irish World Academy building is via the main entrance doors facing the living bridge.

All conference events take place in the Irish World Academy with the exception of the Pavilion restaurant. This is situated facing the World Academy and can be accessed by both steps and a ramp. Entrance for all users is via the main entrance which is fully wheelchair accessible.

There are 17 designated parking spaces located in the Pavilion Car Park next door to the Irish World Academy

The Irish World Academy welcomes Assistance Dogs. If you have an assistance dog, please advise the Arts Council on 01 618 0284 or

Conference brochure material is available by digital download but we are happy to provide specific materials for those that require them (Braille, Larger or specific print). A signing/subtitle facility will also be made available to those patrons with impaired hearing.

If you have a particular requirement please or need more information please contact the festivals team at the Arts Council on 01 618 0284 or and we will be happy to provide assistance.



14 Feb 2020


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