Arts Council - Show Up Campaign

Arts Council launches ‘Show Up’

Arts Council launches Show Up – A campaign encouraging young people to ‘Show Up’ for the art that connects them to community

*Link to video Show Up promotional video available here.

The Show Up campaign has been informed by two years of audience insights research that found a drop-off in young people attending arts events in 2022 and while follow up research in 2023 shows a moderate increase in attendance, there has been a decline in positive sentiment among young people towards the arts  – suggesting that young people don’t feel as though they ‘belong’ in arts spaces. 

Monday, 19th January: The Arts Council has today launched an online campaign to encourage young people to Show Up for the arts, inviting them to connect with their sense of self and to find community.

This campaign has emerged from the Arts Council’s 2023 ‘Arts Insight’ research, which indicated a decline in positive sentiment among young people towards the arts and arts spaces. In addition, the 2022 ‘Arts Insight’ findings showed a drop-off in attendance among all age groups post Covid, but particularly among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The research suggests that fewer young people are forming a habit in terms of attending arts events. Young people have not had many opportunities to build connections or a sense of belonging in arts spaces. The expense associated with engaging with any form of the arts was seen as prohibitive. The cost-of-living crisis is also cited as a barrier for young people engaging in and with cultural events, where paid entrance is required – however many free or affordable events take place in a vast range of spaces and centres. 

The Show Up campaign will run online throughout February and early March across the Arts Council’s social media platforms and it will feature young artists and creators from around the country inviting their peers to Show Up for the art that resonates with them, and to find their tribe in spaces that connect them to art and culture.

Aaron Carey Sunderland, Resident Artist at Axis Ballymun said: “It’s not always easy to Show Up to arts spaces – they can sometimes feel intimidating to young fellas like me – but there are amazing arts centres in communities all around the country that welcome young people in and encourage them to make and participate in art. I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my work as an artist without community spaces and without my family, my ma, and my community all showing up to support me”.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, said: “The Show Up campaign leans into all of our aspirations for young people. Finding and engaging with the arts, in any style, is a valuable part of the human experience. Showing Up is one of the most valuable things a person can do. It means so much to the performer, the musician, the artist and that lived participation, that shared moment has such wonderful lasting benefits. While attendance costs can be a deterrent, this campaign will focus on exploring the creative spaces that are open for free or at nominal entrance costs. Looking back at the success of Culture Night, we know there is a vibrant young audience eager to engage with and express themselves through the arts. With the additional investment in strengthening the Nighttime Economy, the department is thrilled to support such a positive campaign. The message here is, when possible, Show Up, for the song, Show up for the story, Show Up for your friends and Show Up for yourself”.

Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, said: “In the wake of COVID-19, young people have had less connections in arts spaces. Let’s make it a habit to reclaim those spaces, by embracing the abundance of free cultural events and making sure that people know what is available in their locality.  Explore the richness of our cultural landscape, housed in captivating spaces, and celebrate the brilliance of talented young artists who continue to thrive despite external pressures – some great examples of creativity in Ireland can be seen through projects such as the MidNight Collective at Theatre Royal in Waterford, the Young Curators Programme facilitated by the NASC Venue Network and Gorm Media’s WideShot Programme which gives young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds the skills to tell their own stories through media and film. Together, let’s ignite a new era of engagement and empowerment through the transformative power of the arts.”

The Show Up campaign features callouts from creatives and artists, including Eadaoin Fitzmaurice (TG4, Fia Creative), Zeinab Elguzouli (FM104, Six O’Clock Show), Christian Figuera (Higo Visuals), Bill Oshafi, Robyn Courtney and artists including Tobi Balogun (Go Dance for Change), Ellie Dunne (NCAD) and Aaron Carey Sunderland (Artist in Residence, Axis Ballymun).

The campaign aims to reach as many young people online as possible over the coming weeks, with plans for further engagement over the next 12 months, working with a wide range of stakeholders.