No better day than St Patrick’s Eve for a weekly round-up!
Yesterday was a busy day for arts folk… Theatre Forum held a large members’ meeting at the National Concert Hall to present its analysis of the recent Arts Council funding decisions to its membership. I’m not sure if/when aspects of their analysis will be made publicly available, but in any case the review’s been sparked by the unexpected extent of the cuts for many organisations, including indications from the Council that the move away from funding companies is being accelerated. The overall picture for music or the visual arts is more unclear, as no information has yet been aggregated to my knowledge. As negotiations and consultations continue, more developments will undoubtedly follow… (** UPDATE: TF has made available notes from the meeting and the presentation made that day; these are freely available, but to download the full report you must be a TF member.)
Same day, same place — Business to Arts held a briefing on their upcoming collaboration with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., which will roll out a version of its highly successful organisational capacity-building programme here in Ireland. Details are being finalized, but the programme will soon be open to application (with around 20 participants envisaged). Delivered by BtoA and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management (based at the Kennedy Center), the programme will consist of a number of focused training sessions, working groups and one-on-one mentoring (conducted over a two year period) between programme coordinators and senior managers from the selected arts organisations. More details will emerge soon — and will be publicised here and of course on Business to Arts‘ own website. (**UPDATE: A short pdf publication by the DeVos Institute entitled ‘The Cycle: Planning for Success in the Arts‘, summarised during the briefing, provides an overview of their philosophy and approach toward capacity building; download it here.)
The Irish Film Board and FÁS Screen Training Ireland are also sponsoring the participation of two Irish film executives or producers in the Inside Pictures Initiative, which provides professional development and further networking/training in the international film industry. Deadline for applications is today (16 March)!
Gerry Godley’s letter to the Irish Times this week (on behalf of the National Campaign for the Arts) on the proposed ‘rationalising’ of Culture Ireland (stripping it of its independence as an agency) mirrored widely held views in the sector that this is a foolhardy move… no better day than St Patrick’s to reflect on the contribution of the arts to enhancing the Irish reputation abroad, and consider seriously the effect that these ill-considered measures will have on the arts sector’s capacity to deliver high quality artistic experiences.
In related news — tomorrow (17 March) at the RHA, Leviathan Political Cabaret will host a panel discussion on ‘CultureShock: Irish Identity in Crisis?‘ featuring Eugene Downes, Dylan Haskins, Sinead Gleeson, and Rowena Neville as speakers.
Artbeat, Dublin City FM‘s weekly arts magazine programme, is looking for an enthusiastic person to join its team of keen volunteer broadcasters. Artbeat covers all aspects of the arts in Dublin city and county. They’re looking for someone with a finger on the arts pulse, a voice to go with it and a willingness to give an hour on Wednesday evenings over to the live programme. This volunteer role offers great experience with writing, producing, sound mixing and presenting for radio. If interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org outlining previous arts related experiences and what you would like to do on such a radio show. (*UPDATE*: applications are now closed for this role)
Dublin Dance Festival is also looking for volunteers for its May programme in a number of diverse project areas; applications are being accepted until 11 April.
Irish musical theatre (not the most well-developed of genres here!) is coming into its own this month, with the re-staging of Rough Magic’s wonderful Improbably Frequency at the Gaiety (13-24 March), and THISISPOPBABY’s Alice in Funderland coming to the main stage at the Abbey (30 March – 12 May). A lively Cork vs. Dublin debate will be one of the events accompanying Alice’s production — I’m determined not to miss the show this time around!
On 22 March, Dublintellectual is launching a new 10-part series of events (‘City Intersections’) structured around the question ‘What does it mean to be urban in Dublin?’ The initial event offers an intriguing list of speakers (Maeve Higgins, you’re making the rounds!) and I look forward to hearing more about future plans…
On 4 April the Society for Musicology in Ireland is sponsoring a symposium at UCD on the present state of Irish musicology within (and without) the academy.
Two excellent new books on Irish visual culture have been published — Catherine Morris’ Alice Milligan and the Irish Cultural Revival, and Fintan Cullen’s Ireland on Show: Art, Union and Nationhood. Looking forward to getting stuck into both… and congrats to Catherine and Fintan!!
The National Craft Gallery has unveiled a lovely new website — a great counterpart to the wonderful shows at the Kilkenny-based gallery itself.
The Crawford Art Gallery in Cork recently announced that 39 works from AIB’s art collection (donated to the State) will be joining their permanent collection — press release with full details is here.
CoisCéim Broadreach and Dublin City Council are running a drop-in dance programme for over-50s, featuring lessons delivered by choreographers from CoisCéim Dance Theatre. The programme ‘Wild and Wonderful‘ continues now through April, connected also to the Bealtaine Festival 2012 taking place in May.
The Flaneur arts & culture blog (which bills itself as ‘An Illustrated Blog of Global Culture’) is looking for new contributors – although I don’t think a mustache is required, and absinthe is probably optional!
The Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network featured an encouraging story of a recent arts graduate’s search for employment — well worth reading during these days of otherwise gloomy outlooks!
Arts management & policy research is on the brain this week: the HERAValue project blog (‘Measuring the societal impacts of universities’ research into arts and the humanities’) has a very interesting series of posts on valuation methods applied to the arts and humanities; Dave O’Brien (lecturer at City University, London) also recently posted an excellent essay on ‘Economics and the cultural sector: can they achieve a more diplomatic relationship?’ on Opendemocracy.net – well worth a read if economic valuation studies are your thing!