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Professor Kevin Rafter Named as Next Chair of the Arts Council
30 Apr 2019 : News Desk
Professor Kevin Rafter
The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, has announced her intention to appoint Professor Kevin Rafter as Chair of the Arts Council for a period of five years.

Professor Rafter will appear before the Oireachtas Committee for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in due course.

Professor Rafter succeeds Sheila Pratschke who completed a 5-year term as Chair of the Council earlier this year and the Minister thanked Ms. Pratschke for her dedicated service during this period. Mr. Rafter’s nomination follows the selection process operated by the Public Appointments Service for the identification of appointees to the Boards of State Agencies.

Professor Kevin Rafter is chair of the Expert Advisory Committee of Culture Ireland, which has responsibility for promoting Irish arts worldwide. Since 2008 he has held two senior academic leadership roles with significant connections to the cultural sector.

In his current role, Kevin is Head of the School of Communications at Dublin City University, which was recently rated amongst the 150-200 best globally in media, journalism, and communications in the prestigious QS World University Subject Rankings. He was previously Head of the Department of Film and Media at IADT, Dun Laoghaire.

Kevin is an experienced independent non-executive director – he is currently a member of the board of the Galway International Arts Festival and previously served on the boards of Oxfam Ireland and Dublin Bus. He is experienced in the role of Chair, including as Chairperson of the Expert Advisory Committee of Culture Ireland and Chairperson of the Compliance Committee of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. He has qualifications in company law and corporate governance from the Law Society of Ireland and the Institute of Directors.

As an academic expert in politics and media election coverage, Kevin is the editor/author of over a dozen books including Resilient Reporting: Media Coverage of Irish Elections since 1969, which was published this month.

Prior to 2008, he held senior editorial positions in a number of Irish media organisations including the Irish Times, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Tribune. With RTÉ News and Current Affairs, he worked as a presenter, editor, and correspondent primarily on the flagship radio programme, This Week. He also produced a number of radio documentaries on visual artists for RTÉ and Newstalk.

Speaking about his appointment, Professor Kevin Rafter said:

“I am honoured to be asked to become Chairperson of the Arts Council. I have a personal interest in the arts and enjoy theatre, film, opera, visual arts, and dance. I have loved serving as Chairperson of Culture Ireland and playing my part in helping Irish artists bring their work to international audiences.

“I am delighted to have this new opportunity to work with the arts community in Ireland. I look forward to working with the board and staff of the Arts Council, the Minister and also the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht to support artists to present their work, and to increase access to the arts so that the public continues to be challenged and engaged by these creative people."

Minister Madigan added: 

“I am delighted to announce the new Chairperson designate of the Arts Council. The Arts Council plays an extremely important role across all art forms – from architecture to the visual arts – in supporting individual artists and arts organisations in their work. Like all sectors, the arts sector has had a challenging time in recent years but the future is looking increasingly bright with recent funding increases for the Arts Council, the Global Ireland 2025 initiative and the government’s commitment to investment in cultural infrastructure. Professor Rafter has a wealth of experience which will benefit the development of the arts in Ireland into the future.”

The Minister also paid tribute to former Chairperson Sheila Pratschke describing her as a “passionate champion of the arts, who steered the Arts Council through a challenging period in Irish society”.

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