The Longest River event shortlisted for the Allianz Business to Arts Awards

Dr Brendan O'Connor directs the Cois Cladaigh choir

A unique partnership between Galway based Cois Cladaigh choir and the Marine Institute, who presented The Longest River - A Marine Science, Literacy and Music event in Brussels as part of the celebration of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of European Union earlier this year, has recently (24th July) been shortlisted for the 2013 Allianz Business to Arts Awards.

The Longest River is a collaboration promoting science and technology through choral music, a selection of poetry, narration, lecture, as well as marine photography and high definition video footage of the deep sea and future technologies.  This performance has enabled the Institute to highlight the importance of multidisciplinary marine research and how working across international borders is essential in achieving healthy marine ecosystems.   

 “It is a great achievement to be shortlisted for this Award as showcasing marine science, research and development through ocean literacy and music has proven to be an innovative way to engage new audiences. This is especially important in developing a better understanding of the oceans and showing how this resource is key to generating social, cultural and economic benefits nationally and internationally,” said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.  

“The Ocean is our planet’s life support system and it has been important for the Institute to ensure that key decision makers are aware that the oceans not only influence changing climates which affect our weather and land produce, but also provide significant markets in traditional activities, such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and shipping, as well as emerging ones such as offshore renewables and marine biotechnology,” Dr. Heffernan further explained. 

The EU initiative Horizon 2020 and the Irish Government’s Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth both present opportunities for sustainable economic growth in established and new marine and maritime sectors.  Earlier this year, the 'Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation' was signed at the Marine Institute by representatives from the European Union, the United States and Canada, demonstrating opportunities for strong partnerships in transatlantic cooperation, sharing information and supporting initiatives to drive forward the “blue economy” including the Atlantic Area Action plan and the EU Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic.   

The Galway Statement also highlighted the significance of promoting ocean literacy, stressing how joint cooperation between countries can increase our knowledge of the Ocean and its dynamic systems.  Ocean literacy events such as The Longest River show how the results of ocean science and observation address pressing issues facing people, the environment and the world.  It also fosters public understanding of the value of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who had attended the inaugural performance ofThe Longest River during the ESOF2012 events in Dublin, said “this event was an excellent and moving example of how to communicate about big societal issues, such as climate change.  The event showed how research and knowledge creation about our oceans is central to dealing with issues, given the key role they play in the life support system of this planet”.

Supporting the Marine Institute and the development of The Longest River, Dr. O’Connor Director of Cois Cladaigh said “creating a mutually beneficial partnership has highlighted the importance of delivering key messages through the arts. This event has enabled Cois Cladaigh to raise its profile amongst a wider audience as well as contributing to the ethos of evoking innovative arts and science literacy, offering better communication to a broader audience”.

The Longest River event was presented by John Delaney, University of Washington and was supported by Culture Ireland, Tourism Ireland.  It was also was under the patronage of both Ms Maria Damanaki and Ms Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Members of the European Commission.

A short clip of The Longest River can be seen on YouTube.

 The winners of the 2013 Allianz Business to Arts Awards will be announced on the 10th September at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.  For more information about the Allianz Business to Arts Awards 2013 see  The Business to Arts – Developing Creative Partnerships website: