Baboró International Arts Festival for Children
October 3, 2018
Outline the vision and mission of the Organisation
Baboró was originally conceived and nurtured under the auspices of Galway Arts Festival which first presented a Baboró programme during its summer festival in Galway in 1994. By 1996, to address the needs of children who may not usually be included in cultural events, it was decided to become independent of Galway Arts Festival, offering a fully formed creative arts programme to schools and families during the month of October in Galway and surrounding areas.
One of the cornerstone’s of Baboró’s foundation is the right of each child to enjoy arts and culture, as stated in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the rights of the Child which was ratified by Ireland without reservation in 1992. It reads, ‘The child has the right to rest and to engage in leisure, play and recreational activities and to participate in cultural and artistic activities’. Hence, at the heart of Baboró’s ambitions is access to the arts for all children, regardless of geographic, economic, physical, intellectual or cultural status.
We feel that this is important because at Baboró we believe that children are full human beings at every age, and that it is their right to experience art and culture in all its forms.
We recognise children and young people as individuals in their own right and to encourage their access to, and participation in, the creative arts.
We strive be an advocate for children and young people’s right to participate in cultural and creative activities and to celebrate and articulate the transformative power of the creative arts.
We want to promote the study, appreciation and understanding of all forms of the creative arts throughout Ireland and to provide guidance and expertise to educators, enabling them to them to develop frameworks for engaging with the creative arts.
How has the Organisation developed and tackled issues?
Baboró has developed to become one of the most important children's arts festival at a global level. We welcome over 18,000 children, their schools and families, to the Festival every year. Along with our international artists, we also welcome some of the most highly respected international delegates and arts programmers in the TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) sector.
Our two most significant challenges over the last two decades have been funding and access for children.
Funding: We are now regularly funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, but we have to apply for this funding on a yearly based. Outside of this funding, we have to raise 50% of our yearly budget through grants, corporate sponsorship and fundraising. To really focus our efforts in this area, in the last 2 years we have added a part-time Development Executive position to our core team, so that we can develop long-term, key relationships and partnerships for the organisation.
Access: Moving Baboró to the school year was done so that more children could access the Festival through their schools. This has been an amazing success, but there are still children and schools who are restricted due to financial circumstances, rural location or additional needs. Baboró has put these issues at the heart of everything we do. We have developed a suite of solutions in our access programme, which include but are not limited to, school bus subsidies, highly subsidised school tickets, free teacher and SNA tickets, Baboró on Tour (shows travelling to county locations), outreach activities to local libraries and the Children's paediatric unit.
What has the overall impact of the work been?
The children, schools and families in the west of Ireland are so fortunate to have a world-class, internationally celebrated children's arts festival on their doorstep. Baboró's audience figures have steadily increased over the last 22 years. Our schools audiences have always been strong, but our public audiences have increased by over 50% in 8 years. In 2009 our total audience was 9,150 and in 2017 our total audience was 18,333. Our schools audiences decreased during the height of the recession, so Baboró put a Culture for Schools programme in place where individuals and businesses could sponsor a call or school to attend Baboró, which proved very successful - showing the strong community support for the organisation.
A testimonial from a local business sponsor of ours:
Stewart Construction are delighted to once again show our support for an extremely well run organisation that does Galway City and County so proud, never going below an established and high quality benchmark and encouraging new generations to experience the transformative power of the arts. Stewart Construction began supporting Baboró in 2016 due to recognising the quality of their offering to arts in the city for children of all ages and above all facilitating increased access to the arts and innovation with a wider reach.
The Baboró organisation truly engages with all, families, kids, communities, schools and its sponsors and remains year on year at the cutting edge of arts and culture. The Baboró shows and workshops have impact and encourage innovation and positive role models for children. The Baboró festival stimulates innovation in kids from an early age and across genders.
We want to share our positive experience of the innovation through the "ages" through the welcome opportunity of aligning with the like minded, professional and inclusive organisation that is Baboró.
What makes this Organisation unique?
There are many incredible organisations in Ireland that help children and families in a variety of ways. We need to be able to provide food, shelter, health and warmth to very family in Ireland.
In Ireland however, we wouldn't be Irish without our rich cultural heritage of literature, drama, music and storytelling. These are the ingredients to create a diverse and full life, and we want to make sure that every child gets to experience their full life.
One of the cornerstone’s of Baboró’s foundation is the right of each child to enjoy arts and culture, as stated in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the rights of the Child which was ratified by Ireland without reservation in 1992. It reads, ‘The child has the right to rest and to engage in leisure, play and recreational activities and to participate in cultural and artistic activities’.
"It is of critical importance that, during the formative years of childhood, everybody be given not only the exposure to a diversity
of art forms, but also as many chances as possible to explore firsthand various ways of searching for and expressing meaning."
- Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, Patron of Baboró International Arts Festival for Children
We believe that Baboró stands out because of the ground breaking work we are doing around arts in education. We are also heavily focused on integrating all communities in the west of Ireland through the power of art, and we work tirelessly to make sure that every child gets an equal opportunity to access a creative, cultural and magical experience.
How can the public support this work?
The best way the public can support Baboró is by attending the Festival every year, whether with your family, through your school or community group.
Baboró hugely relies on volunteers every year. Without a strong team of approximately 80 volunteers, the Festival would not be able to go ahead. Baboró also hires Front of House Venue Manager and Stewards in paid positions. A lot of our volunteers are people from the arts community, students and people who love working with children. Baboró has some of the most respectful, well trained and professional volunteers of any festival, which makes Baboró so welcoming to schools, families and our international visitors.
We have 3 donor circles, one for individual donors (Birdie Hero Circle), one for small businesses (Business Hero Circle) and one for our corporate sponsors: https://www.baboro.ie/support/ways-to-support. The public is able to support Baboró through these channels but also by supporting our yearly and one-off fundraising events. Every year we hold a fundraising 'Throwback Table Quiz' and a 'Festival Fundraising Raffle', which are both generously supported with fantastic prizes from local supporters. In 2018 we will be holding our first ever 'Game Design Workshop' fundraiser, sponsored by SAP and facilitated by Romero Games.
How is the Organisation transparent and accountable?
Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is a registered trading name of Baboró Galway International Children’s Festival Limited and is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors.
Baboró is a registered charity and is committed to complying with the principles of good fundraising.
Baboró is a company limited by guarantee not having a share capital and no members and governed by a voluntary Board of Directors.
The organisation keeps detailed books and records of accounts and maintains strict financial controls. The organisation is transparent in its audited financial statements, with the most recent statements are available on our website.
Baboró complies with the rules of the Charity Regulator and Codes of Governance.