CITY FUSION : Arts Project
By: Susan Kirby
City Fusion is St. Patrick’s Festival’s flagship arts participation project, celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion (for those aged 18+), an innovative platform for often marginalised groups to participate in the one of Ireland’s national celebrations. On March 17th City Fusion explodes onto the streets of Dublin as part of the festival Parade in colourful, collective celebration.
About the Project
CITY FUSION: The vision of St. Patrick’s Festival is to create a distinct world-class celebration of Ireland at home and abroad and promote the celebration of Ireland and its people globally during the Irish national holiday, by presenting a unique event that is accessible to and inclusive of all cultures.
City Fusion is the St. Patrick’s Festival’s flagship arts participation project, celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion and integration through a high-quality artistic project. City Fusion aims to;
- Involve local Irish communities, groups from diverse backgrounds, marginalised groups and new communities in a significant arts participation experience.
- Provide access to and foster an interest in the arts.
- Encourage creativity and self-expression.
- Learn skills in performance and theatre.
- Create a synergy among the chosen groups, embracing understanding, personal learning and development
City Fusion team: St. Patrick’s Festival Creative Director: Susanna Lagan Director: Muirne Bloomer Designer: Sabine Dargent & Artists
Innovation & Creativity: The groups, who vary each year, produce a totally original piece of street theatre for the festival parade. To do this they work with a highly-skilled team of artists to develop concepts, share ideas and produce their pageant. Groups begin by meeting with artists and brainstorming ideas around the parade thematic. From January to March groups participate in workshops where they learn and rehearse their routines and assist in the making of their costumes and props. A full-time team of workshop artists work alongside the participants. It is fair to say that no other arts participation project offers the performance platform which City Fusion offers.
Reach & Scale: We do not believe that the arts should exist only in theatres and galleries and so on March 17th City Fusion explodes onto the streets of Dublin as part of the festival Parade in colourful, collective celebration and creates an uplifting powerful experience for participants witnessed by millions. It is estimated that the pageant is performed in the Parade for a live audience of 550,000 in Dublin, and engages with over 1.6 million people annually. The parade is broadcast live on RTE and features scripted commentary on each pageant, the festival is also supported by an extensive 360 degree marketing campaign. We passionately believe that in an inclusive society we are better together and that it is a poignant and bold statement to parade that belief as part of our annual celebrations.
Cultural Impact: City Fusion is innovative in that it provides an opportunity for often marginalised groups to play a central role in the most important event of Ireland’s national celebrations and to showcase their talents on a national and international stage.
Through working with communities that often have little experience of the arts, City Fusion allows a variety of groups the experience of an in-depth artistic process. Groups experience dance, performance and interaction with a live audience. They see artistic concepts and ideas for costumes, props and floats taken from the brainstorming stage, through storyboarding, prototyping, making and finishing. This gives a wide ranging and comprehensive understanding of the artistic process and the work that goes into it to creating a piece of art.
Testimonials from City Fusion Participants
‘The bonus is that you get to meet lots of different types of people and see them at play.’
‘I had my fears about integrating because you feel you are so different, but when you do things like this, you realize you share a lot of things in common. You might even turn out to be the best of friends.’
Sustainability: St. Patrick’s Festival manages stakeholder relationships which over its almost 20 year existence solidifies it position as a sustainable and best-practise operation and event.