Welcome back to our Meet the Team blog!
Today we’d like to introduce to you Sinéad White, our Engagement Coordinator who’s also a singer songwriter and musician – read about Sinéad’s work with Dublin City Council Culture Company, her other activities, interests and more below…
Tell us a little about your role with Dublin City Council Culture Company and the kind of things that you do
My job involves meeting and connecting with the people of Dublin. I go out into community settings and sit down face to face and talk to people. We talk about their lives, their role in their community, how connected they feel to culture, what changes they would like to see in their communities and what culture means to them. The conversation usually starts somewhere around there but can go anywhere. We do this over a cup of tea to make things more civilised. The themes of these conversations are relayed back to a team of project managers who use them to identity specific needs in particular areas and inspire cultural projects there.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of my job is some of the characters I have met. People who are tough as nails on the outside but have a heart of gold on the inside. People who have overcome great hardships but you would never know because they prefer to smile and laugh it off. I am constantly surprised by people. I love sitting down and creating a space where people can share things about themselves that they haven’t told anyone in years, that they think no one would care to hear. I often feel like I am hearing a secret monologue from a person who doesn’t often get a chance to talk about themselves.
What is your favourite / most inspiring programme or project at Dublin City Council Culture Company?
The Your Tenement Memories Project is my favourite and the most inspiring to me. We’ve heard stories of people’s childhoods, when they had nothing but the clothes on their backs. Stories of family life, of people being raised by grandmothers, single mothers and fathers, of how everyone pooled together and got on with things. I’ve heard of romance blossoming in the tenements and stories of dates to the cinema and sharing a bar of chocolate walking along the canal. All of these stories told with such resilience, a sense of humour and a ‘sure we didn’t know any different’ kind of attitude. It’s great to get the opportunity to document this and it really puts things in perspective.
Who was one of the most inspirational persons you have met in your work with Dublin City Council Culture Company or Dublin’s Culture Connects?
Apart from the people who shared their stories in the Your Tenement Memories project, I loved getting to meet Kaethe Burt O Dea, urban anthropologist, artist, entrepreneur and owner of Bí-Urban. She made a beautiful and inspiring presentation at one of our Engage the City Labs and won us all over with her passion.
Why do you like working in the area of culture, heritage or the arts?
I think it’s a privilege to work in this sector. The idea that our work has contributed to preserving heritage or connecting people to culture makes me extremely happy.
What does culture mean to you?
Culture is the fairy dust on top of regular life. It’s all the things you can’t quite put your finger on, what people say, how they say it, certain smells and tastes that bring you back to one specific place. It feels like a big hug from the place you are in.
What are your favourite cultural venues and events?
I love gigs and shows of any kind. I love going to museums and parks. I love people watching while eating a cheese sandwich in Simon’s Place (one of Dublin’s finest cultural venues in my opinion).
What is your favourite book?
I couldn’t pick a favourite but I’m currently reading Christy Brown’s biography which is class. I like thrillers and some classics. At the moment I’m mainly reading non-fiction and recently finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, which is all about listening to your initial gut reaction.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
Outside of my work with Dublin City Council Culture Company I am a singer songwriter. I play gigs and festivals, run some choirs and also teach piano. A few months ago we had great intentions of starting up a 14 Henrietta Street choir with all of the Dublin City Council Culture Company staff, but due to conflicting schedules we had to go on a brief hiatus! We’re looking to make a comeback in the not too distant future..