Launch of the Official Discussion Document.

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It's that time of year again - we are sharpening our pencils in preparation for the return of students to UL. 2015/16 will be the third year of the MA Festive Arts at the University of Limerick, and it has been a real adventure so far. We've been lucky to have fantastic students, and many wonderful guest lecturers. MA Festive Arts students have gone on internships throughout the country and in some exciting international locations, and have produced exciting new research on festivals and their role in culture and society - everything from the development of aerial dance and aerial circus as an art form, to the social impact of festivals in their communities.
MA Festive Arts students have also been involved in running festivals and events, from their own festive production at the Academy, to local and international events. This year, students will partner with the Light Moves Screen Dance Festival for the second time in Limerick city. Students have been developing their performance practices - exploring and pushing the boundaries of how their art form responds to and transforms the spaces and people around them, exploring new choreography, new movement or sound, and working with our tutors and faculty members in our wonderful facilities at the Irish World Academy. We've been lucky to build a partnership with ISACS, and this will continue to inform the way that we develop our performance training for festive artists into the future, as well as our research agendas. We are also part of a major EU research project on Youth and Social Circus, CIRCUS+. Our wonderful artists-in-residence, Fidget Feet, have been very busy teaching undergraduate and MA Festive Arts students (you can watch some of their work here), and are just about to launch the first ever Irish Aerial Creation Centre just beside the University of Limerick on Saturday 5th September. This is hugely exciting for us, as it means that we are going to have one of the best facilities for festive arts development on our doorstep, with a constant stream of exciting tutors and visiting artists available to students.
We've done all this, and much more besides (including our exciting award last Spring!), and look forward to the next year. Who knows what will happen next?! Many thanks to all of our internship hosts, visiting lecturers and tutors, and most of all, fantastic students for bringing the MA Festive Arts to year 3! The newsletter will resume regular service with monthly updates throughout the semester. Read on for some forthcoming events that might be of interest.

IRISH AERIAL CREATION CENTRE LAUNCH - Saturday 5th September, 2pm - not to be missed!
The day promises to be a real delight with a wallrunning performance set to a piece by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin which will be played live on the day. Solo performances will showcase the aerial arts of hoop trapeze cocoon and rope. There will be a light reception and an opportunity for people to meet with the performers and delight in Limericks newest cultural addition.

The centre has been set up by the creative directors of Fidget Feet Chantal and James Daly who have been astounding audiences for more than 15 years with their outdoor and indoor aerial displays. Fidget Feet is Irelands foremost aerial dance company and performs all over the world. They have rivalled and surpassed the successes of the best in the world.

It is a great addition to Limerick to have The Irish Aerial Creation Centre based here. It already is attracting people from all over the country for public classes and from all over the world for its training facility.

It is a unique opportunity for all the Limerick community to become involved with an artform that can fulfil so much in the area of creativity, fitness, flexibility, theatre, movement and fun.

The launch will take place at the IACC in the Old Burlington Industrial Estate, Gillogue, Corbally.

For details please contact Annette Clarke at 0894329060, or check us out at


MA FESTIVE ARTS ENGAGING WITH THE DECADE OF CENTENARIES: Conference on Designing Commemoration, 8th and 9th October (free and all are welcome). Full programme available here:
In the current conversation around the Decade of Centenaries, the emphasis has been on the historical events themselves and their larger political impact and position. This conference seeks to move beyond this narrative, focusing on the participatory, performative, visual, material and social aspects of commemoration.

‘Designing Commemoration: performance, process and participation’ will explore and reflect on the experience of designing and creating commemorative events, works of art or places, as well as the experience of participation in commemoration in visual and material culture. Moving beyond the chronological limits of the Decade of Centenaries, papers exploring a wide range of commemorative events or experiences, contemporary and historical, national and international, are invited.

Papers will cover a range of disciplinary perspectives, including historians, activists, art historians, geographers, architects, designers, artists, musicians, those involved in commissioning commemoration, dancers, festive artists, community arts practitioners and street theatre practitioners.

This conference will take place on 8th and 9th October 2015 at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick and the Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin.

Guest speakers will include: Noeline Kavanagh (Macnas), Professor Ronald Grimes, and Dr. Sighle Bhreathnach-Lynch.

For those interested in the creative ways to explore performance and museums, this may be up your street. Free to students and Irish Museums Association members - sure to book out quickly, so reserve your place here:

The first discussion document towards the National Cultural Policy for Ireland has been released, and is open for comment until the 30th September
Read the document here, and find out more about commenting here - I'll be sending in a response which focuses on the festival and street and performance arts sectors in Ireland. Interesting times!

A free event being organised for events management students and professionals - with a fantastic line-up! I'm delighted to be included in this, as it looks like a wonderful project, with plans to publish an ebook in the future too. The brainchild of one of our great guest lecturers, Mark Breen at Cuckoo Events. Find out more here!

Pretty fantastic arts marketing digest for Fringe Festival shows!
Social media guru @darraghdoyle (organiser of the @ireland account) and@niamhnic posted this guide to promoting your event on Facebook, and it is absolutely fantastic - get it here!

And finally - do yourself a favour, make a cup of tea and take time to listen to thiscompletely fantastic documentary on the Trip to Tipp, the infamous and magnificentFéile. The image of the Honda 50 going across the sage to 'I used to love her' will banish all of your back-to-school blues!
Listen to it here. A fantastic piece of research on an important part of festival history in Ireland!

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