Arts Emergency

Mary McPartlin

Festival Director / Producer

I’m the Director of Kinsale Arts Festival, Ireland, and also work as a freelance curator, programmer and producer.

In 2008, I co-founded London Word Festival, which won a Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Grant for outstanding cultural entrepreneurship.
I went to a comprehensive school in Harlesden, London, the first in my large family to do A-Levels. I studied English at Oxford, where I worked for the Oxford Access Scheme, promoting entry to higher education to those of untraditional backgrounds. So I’ve always had an interest in the issues Arts Emergency exists to address.

After graduating, I worked as the Unsigned Band Promoter for Mean Fiddler Music Group, before taking over as Live Music Programmer at the Spitz venue in east London. As part of the Cultural Leadership Programme, I was appointed Associate Programmer Contemporary Music at the Barbican and was lucky enough to do a four-month secondment with Sydney Festival, Australia.

As a freelancer, I’ve collaborated with a lot of brilliant people over the years including the Roundhouse, Frieze Art Fair, CREATE and the National Trust. Without my arts degree, I wouldn’t even have known work like the work I do existed. And that’s why I’d like to volunteer.