Poetry Ireland is pleased to announce the appointment of Niamh O’Donnell as the new Director of Poetry Ireland.
She will step down from her current position as Artistic Director of Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre to take up the role in mid-August 2020. Her appointment sees her take on the position previously held by Maureen Kennelly.
Commenting on the appointment, Poetry Ireland Chair, Prof Ciarán Benson said:
“The appointment of Niamh O’Donnell as our new Director is wonderful news for the Poetry Ireland team. Through a keenly competitive recruitment process, Niamh impressed us all with her sensitivity to artists and her passionate commitment to further enhancing Irish cultural life. As Poetry Ireland faces into its next period of growth with the ambitious development of No 11 Parnell Square (with its partner The Irish Heritage Trust), we look forward to Niamh’s vision and leadership in connecting people and poetry across the entire island of Ireland, and beyond.”
Commenting on her new appointment, Niamh O’Donnell said:
“It is an incredible honour to be given this opportunity to work with the team in Poetry Ireland, and to play a part in further enhancing its contribution to the image, reputation, health and cultural wealth of the country.
“We live in such uncertain times. All over the world, artists have taken to social media to connect with and console us. In Ireland, during this current crisis, our politicians have drawn repeatedly on the strengthening words of our poets, while our poet-president has written a poem of reassurance for his citizens. Poets, as artists, are noble observers. In the face of uncertainty, art offers potential paths through difficult and complex issues. In return, we must ensure we fully value our artists.
“We have an opportunity now to think deeply about what is important to us, to consider what is essential. As we heal, art offers hope, an essential component in any recovery. The arts unquestionably enrich and enhance our lives during the good times but in times of crisis, they can play a vital role in our restoration and revival.”
Niamh O’Donnell Biography
With over 25 years professional experience in the arts sector, Niamh has worked with many leading organisations including; Project Arts Centre as Executive Producer and General Manager, The Gallery of Photography, Black Church Print Studio (an artists’ resource organisation for Fine Art Print), and Arthouse Multi-media Centre.
Niamh is presently Chair of the Board of Dublin Fringe Festival and is an advocate for the sector serving on many boards over the past years including; Theatre Forum Ireland and The National Campaign for the Arts.
In her most recent role at Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre, Niamh programmed with the Mermaid team, a diverse multi-disciplinary programme across genres and in the past seven years has grown artists supports, residencies and art form development initiatives, building the profile of the centre as a space for the creation of new work and a centre of community.
Photo credit: Ste Murray