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Marie Brennan MA M.IDI FRSA

I began my career in documentary film making before studying for my degree and since then I have worked in many professional arenas. As an inquisitive person who is always learning I have managed to balance an academic career alongside that of a creative industries professional. I have a broad range of interests spanning design, media, performance, visual art and illustration. My practice involves working with others to plan for culture and creativity and embraces the development of cultural places and programmes. I have worked extensively researching and producing cultural strategies for local and national governments. More recently my practice in design management involves working with emerging creative entrepreneurs and, training delivery while also advising on production, materials and costs alongside brand management and marketing.

I am passionate about the relationship between arts, design, media, architecture and the environment and am an ambassador for the marine pollution awareness organization 5 Gyres Project in the USA. I am currently researching the role of creative practice in terms of consumerism and the environment. I believe in access to high-quality arts for all and have worked in areas relating to arts and disability, diversity and social inclusion.

I believe that those studying creative subjects should be rewarded with a creative career and my approach to teaching and learning is to balance intellectual exploration with employability. I am always keen to manage live briefs with industry partners and believe that creative students benefit from a learning by doing approach. I am a keen design historian and have taught architectural and design history in Ireland and the UK and believe that social, cultural and historical contexts are always valid to contemporary practices. I am a member of the Institute of Designers in Ireland and am also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Research and Practice

  • 2014 – 2017: Shoe Design, Design Consultancy and Shoemaking Training. Set up and managed creative start up ‘Shoeniversity’ – Ireland’s only Shoemaking Centre. Professional, bespoke and leisure based training delivery in footwear branding, design development and production. Managing small scale production and semi-bespoke shoemaking and design. Winner of Special Award the National Irish Tourism Awards 2015 – Best Design in Tourism (Year of Irish Design). Finalist in the Bank of Ireland National Start-up Awards. 2015.
  • 2016: Curator: Walking Though History, Shoes of the Revolution. Exhibition of footwear from each decade of Irish Independence from 1916 -2016 as part of the Centenary Celebrations in Ireland – Ireland 2016. Kildare Retail Village Ireland.
  • 2016: Creative Programmes for Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Advising the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford- upon- Avon with regard to working with contemporary artists in heritage settings.
  • 2016: Artistic Direction of Shakespeare 400 Events. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust across Stratford- upon- Avon, UK.
  • 2014: Culture Expert – European Commission. Evaluation services to the European Commission analyzing cross-Europe funding applications under the EACEA Cooperation Funding Programme.
  • 2012 – 2014: Concert producer/programmer. Programming music events in Christ Church Cathedral Waterford, Ireland including partnerships with international musicians such as London based Indian Classical Music Festival – Darbar.
  • 2012 – 2014: Action research through arts programming. Examining issues and opportunities regarding curation of arts events in religious buildings. Christ Church Cathedral Waterford. Work included contemporary dance, poetry, traditional Irish music, rock and pop, ‘pop- up’ fine art and illustration exhibitions, alongside photography exhibitions and multi-disciplinary arts events.
  • 2009 – 2012: Operational Line Management Cultural Olympiad Project. Regional Educational Legacy for Arts & Youth Sport Universities South West.
  • 2008: Production Management of Opening Ceremony “Feile Peil na nOg” (World Gaelic Youth Games). Breifne Park, Cavan Ireland and Bui Bolg Productions, Wexford, Ireland.
  • 2006: Skateboard Park Feasibility Study, Kilkenny County Council – analyzing the potential impact and cost benefits of a new skateboard park in Kilkenny City.
  • 2003: Chair Cultural Quarter Development, Boston, Lincolnshire Cultural Quarter Development Group, Lincolnshire, UK.
  • 2001: Action Research and Arts Development : Leicester Education Action Zone. Artistic direction and choreography of youth arts and dance events with accompanying report on the benefits of creative education in areas of socio-economic deprivation
  • 2000: Sky Mirror, Nottingham Playhouse, Anish Kapoor – Visual Arts, Education and Galleries Consultant Designing gallery and education programmes with regard to the installation, public engagement and interpretation of Kapoor’s ‘Sky Mirror’ sculpture.

Talks and Conferences

  • 2015: Year of Irish Design – Delivery of Programmes entitled Developing a Career in Footwear Design. Selected as part of the Year of Irish Design 2015 Official programme of events. Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Department of Jobs and Enterprise, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland. A national initiative to raise awareness of Irish Design globally.
  • 2014: Generate Conference. Ireland’s Business Conference for Creative Professional. Conference paper Exploring Failure. Commissioned by Local Enterprise Offices of Carlow, Kilkenny & Tipperary, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Carlow/Kilkenny Skillnet, Artlinks, Retail Excellence Ireland and VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art.
  • 2014: Lecture The Power of Community Arts, National Opera House. Wexford – Wexford Community Forum Conference with Voluntary Arts Ireland.
  • 2011: Creative Interventions – Higher Education Academy. Delivery of conference workshop regarding work based learning for University Students. Creativity and Work Conference, R.I.B.A. London, UK.

Reports, Research and Writing

  • 2016: Creative Programming at the SBT. Creative Programmes Strategy. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – Stratford upon Avon, UK
  • 2015: Creative Wexford – Review of Wexford County Council’s engagement with the arts. Wexford County Council, Wexford, Ireland
  • 2014: Contributor, IFACCA Report 47: Arts Panorama: International Overview of Issues for Public Arts Administration. Submission at the 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture Santiago de Chile. Presented within the theme Creative Times: new models for cultural development.
  • 2014: Organisational Review Myriad Contemporary Dance Company/Arts Council of Ireland.
  • 2014: Review of the Irish National Crafts Awards and Travelling Exhibitions Commissioned by Royal Dublin Society and Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.
  • 2012: Having A Laugh – Comedy and Creativity. An article exploring the often problematic area of comedy and art. Arts Professional Magazine, UK. (first published 2007).
  • 2007: Evaluation Reports on disability and arts training for young adults with an intellectual disability. Written for Irish Government – Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform/POBAL. Research and Evaluation of KCAT (Kilkenny Collective for Artistic Talent)
  • 2007: Evaluation Report on training programmes in drama for young adults with autism. Written for Irish Government – Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform/POBAL. Enhancing Disability Services. Research and Evaluation of HSE/Eve Ltd/Tuiscint.
  • 2007: Toolkit for developing arts for adults on the autism spectrum. Health Service Executive (Irish Health Service) contributor.
  • 2007: Evaluation Report on Enhancing disability services – Research and Evaluation – Waterford Work Learn Project. Creative work based learning for adults with learning disabilities. Written for the Irish Government – Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform/POBAL.
  • 2007: At Our Leisure . Article calling for an end to the rigid distinctions between amateur and professional art. Arts Professional Magazine, UK.
  • 2006: Supporting the non-networked voluntary arts sector – A report demonstrating how to create a Framework for Successful Voluntary Arts Provision. Arts Council of England East Midlands, Council for Voluntary Service, Engage East Midlands. Co Author with Garry Churchill, Creative Options, UK.
  • 2006: Enterprising Arts – Socio-Economic Impact Survey of Social Enterprises and the Arts. Co-produced with Garry Churchill, Creative Options, and commissioned by Arts Council of England (East Midlands) Social Enterprise East Midlands and Engage East Midlands, UK.
  • 2003: “Big Skies” Arts Policy and Funding Strategy: Blackfriars Arts Centre. Arts Strategy for multi-purpose arts venue, Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.
  • 2002: Cultural Strategy: Love Leicestershire. Cultural Planning for Leicestershire commissioned by Leicestershire County Council and 12 District Councils for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. UK.
  • 2001: Cultural Strategy: Time for Culture – Regional Cultural Strategy Responsibility for researching and writing all content regarding youth culture for the Government Office East Midlands and Department of Culture, Media and Sport. UK.

Creative Industries Advisor

  • 2014 – 2015: Advisor to Wexford Arts Centre. Advising on organisational structure, arts programming and funding. Ireland.
  • 2007: Creative Industries Development Creative Enterprise Office, County Louth, Ireland. EU Peace and Reconciliation funded mentoring of creative businesses in the border regions of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
  • 2006: Opera Think Tank Contributor. Wexford County Council and Blackstairs Opera Trust, Ireland. Programming, development and audience strategies to develop rural opera in Ireland.
  • 2006: Marketing Strategy. Bui Bolg Street Theatre, Circus and Spectacle Production Company, Ireland.
  • 2006: Research and Mapping: Local Economic Growth Initiative. Research and mapping of socially inclusive creative enterprises – Kirklees Metropolitan Council, CIDA & Creative Industries Development Council, West Yorkshire, UK.
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Marie Brennan

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Design Consultancy 2015

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Love Leicestershire – Cultural Strategy 2002 – 2008

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Shoeniversity Course 2014