Culture Night/Open Church
Churches in Dublin and Glendalough are encouraged to open their doors for Culture Night 2023 as part of the United Dioceses ‘Open Church’ initiative. Culture Night 2023 invites everyone, everywhere, on one joyful night to discover and celebrate all that our culture is today and will take place on Friday 22 September 2023.
Every church in the dioceses will be invited to open their doors and welcome local people, pilgrims and visitors to discover the treasures that are often on their doorsteps. This is a way of inviting the public to explore the dioceses’ rich and fascinating architectural, and cultural history. Open Church is also an opportunity to reach and engage with people who might have lived in the area for years, have walked past every day and have never been inside. It seeks to give confidence to visitors, so that they can enter a church, and discover that it is both a surprising and an interesting place to visit.
Launching ‘Open Church’, Archbishop Michael Jackson said: “The Open Church initiative is one that I wholeheartedly commend. We all too often take our churches for granted, but frequently they are repositories of local history and community engagement. Open Church is a warm hearted invitation to come and see and to come and enjoy”.
Being open outside of worship and planned events does not mean that you must do lots of additional activities or dramatically change your place of worship. There are some simple things you could consider to help encourage more people to visit and engage with the building. In–person events during Culture Night may consist of tour, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, craft workshops or other interactive activities. Digital project formats may vary from online talks or exhibitions, to videos, podcasts, presentations or blogs.
Once you have a clear idea of the range of interesting features, stories and connections your place of worship may have, this can help you start thinking about how this information could be presented to visitors, and importantly how you can use it to encourage people to visit. You can get in touch & share your idea by filling in the ‘expression of interest’ form here: https://culturenight.ie/get-involved/. More information about Culture Night can be found here: https://culturenight.ie/about/.
As part of Dublin and Glendalough’s Open Church initiative financial supports are available to support participating parishes in publicising their events; for example through promotional posters, leaflets and social media marketing. Funding for hospitality for visitors can also be provided.
If you would like advice on planning or promoting your Open Church event for Culture Night or information about financial supports please contact Caoimhe Leppard firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Tips for event organisers
· Consider how your Culture Night project can include participants or audiences of different age groups.
· If you have made the decision to open up, you need to think about how people will find out about you, and encourage them in. Pre–visit information – what people can find out in advance of their visit – for example websites, leaflets, social media, signage. On–site information – what people find out when they arrive – for example, notices and information signs
· Local organisations in the area may be willing to have some of your leaflets at their venue, or a poster to encourage a visit.
· When promoting your event consider what is your accessibility for visitors. Make sure to also provide clear directions to your venue.
· If you have a visitor book, you may find that this contains an excellent source of information you can draw upon. However, remember to be mindful about GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation) if you are collecting any personal information.
· The Culture Night Organiser Toolkit can be found here: https://culturenight.ie/organiser-toolkit/