Waterford as a port city that has always been influenced by diverse cultures and nationalities from the Vikings, Huguenot settlers to Penrose, Malcolmson and Whyte shipbuilders. Things such as Waterford Glass, the Waterford Blaa and many of the things that are celebrated as Waterford are the products of its diversity. Diversity has formed so many of the important aspects of Waterford’s history and heritage. Diverse Creatives showed in a relevant, contemporary and engaging way that new ideas and cultures have the potential to bring social, creative and economic value.
Diverse Creatives’ a Creative Ireland Waterford project and a partnership between Waterford Libraries, Waterford Integration Services, Europe Direct Waterford and Imagine Arts Festival was unveiled as part of the 2021 Imagine Arts Festival. Diverse Creatives is a showcase of arts celebrating the rich culture and experience of migrants who have made Ireland their home. These cultural performances include short films featuring dance from the Igbo Community Waterford, music from singer-songwriter Minnie Marley, the unveiling of an Intercultural Quilt created by the women of the Shakti Programme and music from Murka Murcury who is an Artist, DJ, and Producer.
An accompanying Diverse Creatives Exhibition ran at The Index Gallery, Central Library, Waterford City from 11 October – 5 November and was viewed by approximately 800 visitors per week. The exhibition featured portraits of the Igbo Community Waterford, singer and songwriter Minnie Marley, Artist, DJ, and Producer Murka Murcury and the women of the Shakti Programme and their stunning Intercultural Quilt. Portraits by Davi Matheson (DGM Photographic).
The project and exhibition featured on the RTE news promoting the Imagine Arts Festival 2021and Minnie Marley performed live at the launch of the festival. DJ Murka Murcury ran a DJ workshop in the festival programme and was offered a role as a facilitator on a pilot music project run from the Theatre Royal Waterford with Music Generation Waterford, Waterford Integration Services and Waterford Library Services.
A photo of the Igbo Community Waterford taken by Patrick Browne, featured as one of the Irish Times Images of the Day on 8 Sept 2021: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/images-of-the-day-1.4668620
Sinead O’Higgin’s from the Waterford City & County Services stated that ‘These cultural performances and the four short films we produced featuring dance, music and crafts are the first step in our Diverse Creatives journey. We hope that this pilot project (the first of its kind in Waterford) will have the potential to grow and incubate future creative partnerships and grow friendships and networks within the arts community in Waterford to the benefit of our migrant communities and a more diverse richer cultural experience for audiences and artists.’The project aimed to create a collection of four short films showing the potential of the arts to celebrate the richness of culture and experience of migrants who have made Ireland their home. These would be commissioned, filmed and showcased with the help of our project partners Waterford Integration Services, Waterford Libraries Europe Direct Waterford and the Imagine Arts Festival and filmed by Davi Matheson from DGM Photographic. This core aim has been surpassed and had shown the potential for future collaboration:
During 2022, it is envisaged that they will collect feedback from the initial four artists and groups and evaluate what worked and what is the best next step for Diverse Creative. Potential plans include commissioning a piece of original work, an open call as well as beginning to address gaps as identified by our artists and Waterford Integration Services (becoming part of local festivals, networking and mentoring sessions, PR and social media presence).
Both Waterford Libraries and Imagine Arts Festival are advocates of the importance of participation and public engagement in the arts – and will continue to focus on programming that reflects all sections of the community. They intend to continue to work with their partners in the community to help create robust supports to bring participation in the arts to as wide an audience as possible with the aim of bringing innovate and relevant arts programming to Waterford.
The Diverse Creative Videos can be viewed in full below.
Igbo Community in Waterford
South African singer-songwriter Minnie Marley
Artist, DJ and Producer Murka Murcury
The Shakti Programme