Culture Company 2013, the body tasked with delivering Derry’s City of Culture year, has made two appointments to its management team.
Martin Melarkey, the Director of the Nerve Centre, has been appointed Senior Cultural Programmer for Communities and Education and writer and broadcaster, Garbhan Downey, has been appointed as the new Director of Communications and Marketing.
Both men are natives of the city and will take up their new posts in the coming weeks.
They join new Chief Executive Shona McCarthy, the former Director of the British Council in Northern Ireland, who took up office recently.
Former Journal reporter Garbhan Downey is a seasoned commentator on the arts.
A former BBC news producer and editor of the Derry News, he also edited Verbal and the Northern Ireland Literary Review.
He has also published six novels and is co-author of two anthologies: City of Music –Derry’s Music Heritage; and Creggan–More than a History.
Mr Downey said he was very much looking forward to the challenge of his new role: “2013 gives us a unique opportunity to showcase the huge cultural wealth of our city on a national and international stage. I am delighted to be playing my part in it.”
Martin Melarkey is the Director of the award-winning Nerve Centre and under his new position will have special responsibility for delivering educational and community-based programmes, including the Unlocking Creativity programme, the Creative Classroom and the City as a Creative Campus.
A founder member of the North West Musicians’ Collective in 1988 which evolved into the Nerve Centre, Mr Melarkey is also a successful film and multimedia producer.
His projects include the King’s Wake, which won Best Animated Film at the Celtic Film Festival in 2001, and the Virtual Museum of Colm Cille.
Since 2003, he has served as CCEA’s Chief Examiner of Moving Image Arts GCE, which is currently being taught in over 80 schools in Northern Ireland and England.
Mr Melarkey said: “This city is already playing a leading role in pioneering new creative approaches to education that put culture and artistic practice into the driving seat of learning. 2013 presents us with the opportunity to do this on an international stage.
Culture Company chief executive Shona McCarthy welcomed both men to the management team: “We have a real chance to establish this city – which is already world-renowned as a city of saints, scholars and peace-makers – as an international centre of artistic excellence. And it is a legacy we hope will endure for generations to come.”