Growth Hub was delighted to host Miriam Dunne, School of Business Executive in Residence in Entrepreneurship, when she shared her experience of Cultural Entrepreneurship with students. Revealing some key insights into the cultural sector she laid bare the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector in Ireland.
A founder member of Waterford Spraoi, Miriam is currently working as Programme Director, on a freelance basis. Miriam has extensive experience in project management, consultancy and managing in the arts. Specialising in street arts and outdoor spectacle, she is also involved in theatre and festivals such as Cat Laughs and Kilkenomics. Miriam spoke of the need for entrepreneurial people in the cultural sector, people who like to solve problems and have the capacity to act upon opportunities to create value for others.
She spoke about how the arts culture is funded and split into two sectors which are voluntary and professional sector funds. Miriam has outlined how difficult it is for artists to solely make a living from voluntary sector funds, due to the uncertainty of arts culture business. Ireland has one of the lowest arts funding in whole of EU. Since the pandemic, 30% of arts workers have left the industry to seek other career opportunities with more stable incomes. The arts council budget, however was €71 million but due to the pandemic it in fact, has doubled to €142 million. “People are beginning to appreciate the arts more since the pandemic” says Miriam. She believes that artists must be paid for all the work they do right from the very start.
In relation to the value in comedy sector she told us how important it is to have a connection between the artist and audience at a concert. “How we communicate with our audience and how they communicate with us back is crucial”. However, Miriam emphasised the need to change/innovate on your offering over the years to stay relevant to your customers.
Miriam hopes the arts and cultural entrepreneurship will get greater recognition and receive financial support in the future. This sector relies heavily on Miriam, she also told us how important it is to look after volunteer workers and that most of the workers at these events are aged between 16-18. “The key with volunteers is to look after them, you have to value your volunteers”.