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Dublin Port Company cultural strategy

We consulted on Dublin Port Company’s cultural strategy to re-engage the public with the port with a series of artistic commissions.

The Brief

Dublin’s port and docklands serve a vitally important role in the life of the city, yet they rarely cross the mind of the average city dweller. The goal was to find unique and compelling ways to address the disconnection between the port and the city that has made it very difficult to get public buy-in for essential development at the port.

Our Process

We worked closely with Dublin Port Company to inspire, broker and project manage a number of different arts activations over five years. The aim of the project was for Dublin Port to be recognised by local, national and international audiences as being a cultural destination with award-winning entertainment and attractions, and a positive brand that enhances Dublin city’s culture and heritage.

In 2015/2016 we worked with Dublin Port Company and the National Concert Hall to commission a new work, Starboard Home, as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. Twelve leading names in contemporary music including Paul Noonan (BellX1), James Vincent McMorrow, Cathy Davey, Duke Special, Gemma Hayes, Jape, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Lisa O’Neill, Declan O’Rourke, John Sheahan (The Dubliners) Paul Cleary (The Blades) and novelist Caitriona Lally were invited to compose and perform new songs inspired by the relationship of the Port with the City at the National Concert Hall. Dublin Port Company also sponsored the NCH’s International Concert Series in 2016.

In 2017, the ‘Port Perspectives’ programme began as a series of innovative public art installations by Cliona Harmey and aemi, Sheelagh Broderick, and Silvia Loeffler, as well as the sponsorship of the Eugeen Van Mieghem exhibition ‘Port Life’ at the Hugh Lane Gallery.

‘Port Perspectives’ later became the umbrella programme for DPC’s cultural outputs, which included public engagement and education programmes, sponsorship of Ireland at Venice Art Biennale 2017: Jesse Jones, brokered by Business to Arts, and a series of theatre commissions in association with The Abbey, The Lir Academy, and Bitter Like a Lemon Theatre Company.

Business to Arts worked directly with Dublin Port Company to scope, manage, deliver, and evaluate these commissions and engagement programmes, supporting the agreed strategy and enhancing DPC’s reputation as a key contributor to Ireland’s cultural activities.

Outcomes

  • 10 multi-disciplinary commissions delivered
  • Over 750,000 attendees and participants (71,411 in Dublin)
  • Editorial earned-media valued at over €3 million generated
  • ~ €920,000 invested between 2015 - 2019
  • Starboard Home: 12 new compositions, two sold-out live shows at the National Concert Hall, a critically acclaimed number-one album, and a TV broadcast, Starboard Home gave Dublin Port significant brand exposure. The sponsorship went on to win the Jim McNaughton Perpetual Award for Best Commissioning Practice in the Business to Arts Awards 2017.

Impact

  • Created curiosity and generated conversations with the public that Dublin Port Company could not have had if they had approached them solely on the basis of statistics and financial numbers
  • Established Dublin Port Company as a significant arts and culture supporter
  • Embedded arts and culture across Dublin Port Company as a compelling way to support corporate strategy
Eamonn O Reilly Dublin Port Company Headshot
Dublin Port has turned to the arts to provide a more effective and powerful means to convey the story of the port. Business to Arts is our essential partner across the wide and growing range of our initiatives.”
Eamonn O'Reilly, Former Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company

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