City Life: new NCAD + UCD summer school this July

Delighted to share details about a new accredited international summer school we’re launching as part of the NCAD + UCD project:

City Life: A Shared Summer School

Celebrated for its rich cultural heritage and history, Dublin is at a crucial point of transition. Currently re-negotiating its approach to urbanity, the city is an exemplar of many of the most critical challenges facing the contemporary global metropolis.

In July 2015 (13th – 31st), UCD and NCAD will join forces to offer a unique summer school programme giving students the opportunity to pursue their disciplinary and scholarly interests through a creative and critical engagement with the ongoing transformation of Dublin today.

Over a three-week period, students will explore and respond to Dublin’s rich urban culture. Along with numerous tours, visits and special events, the programme will combine shared studio activity with focused workshops, seminars and lectures.

Students will be given unique access to leaders in the cultural and creative sector, meeting and working with significant practitioners, artists, museum directors, and critical thinkers. High-profile visiting speakers will also contribute to the programme.

Along with Dr Declan Long from NCAD, I’ll be coordinating one of the programme tracks:

Culture, Memory and the City:

This strand is intended for participants keen to interrogate the relationship between memory and the city, through psycho-geographic and critical writing practices. Daily sessions will explore the imprint and trace of modern Irish historical experience on Dublin’s urban spaces and institutions. Together we will track (and experience) how film, photography, commemoration, ritual, artistic practice and and urban placemaking have intersected with political, social, economic conditions over the past century.

Students will be encouraged to formulate a creative and critical response to daily topics in the form of a photo essay/blog, piece of critical writing and group presentation. Sample sessions include:

  • Institutions, Archives and Memory (National Gallery of Ireland / National Archives)

  • Making and Working: Producing Culture in the City (Temple Bar Gallery & Studios / Francis Bacon Studio, Dublin City Gallery – The Hugh Lane / Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar)

  • Public Monuments and Urban Memories (walking tour of Dublin city public monuments)

  • Film, the City, and Memory: Dublin Onscreen (film viewing in association with the Irish Film Institute, Temple Bar)

Applications are open until 1 May, and details of the programme & costs are available here: http://ncad-ucd.ie/summer-school/. Happy to answer any questions as well about the programme, just drop me an email!

Happy new year! Weathering the storms…

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Well, the recycling bins are overflowing, the tree disposal centres are looking a bit sad, but at least the storm clouds finally seem to be breaking… although perhaps not over Limerick, quite yet (oh dear…)

After a very quiet semester on the blogging front, I’ll be back with regular updates in the coming weeks, and of course, regular job postings and event announcements.

2013 was quite the rollercoaster for the arts & cultural community — we’ve had a nasty budget with bodies like Culture Ireland and National Cultural Institutions especially hard-hit; the spectacular collapse of Temple Bar Cultural Trust and the closure of the Belltable Arts Centre in Limerick (and worrying times for the Irish Architectural Archives too); campaigns highlighting the precarious position of visual artists and compensation and the need for cultural research and better policy-making processes; controversies over corporate arts sponsorships and the Arts Council Music Recording Scheme bursaries.

Amidst the gossip and gloom there have been many bright spots as well — a very successful run by Derry as City of Culture; Rough Magic and Opera Theatre Company’s fab win in the Sky Arts Ignition competition; booming times for Culture Night nationwide;The Gathering (despite its rocky start) now being hailed as a great success. In our own neck of the woods here at UCD, we launched the new Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy and are looking ahead to issue 2 very soon.

What’s in store for 2014? The fallout from the Limerick City of Culture debacle is set to continue (though a new CEO has just been announced) — and in many ways it serves as an apt distillation of the challenges ahead. The bungled initiative has thrown into painful (and public) relief what we already know: the dominant rhetoric of corporate ‘rebranding’ and clashing conceptions of what a ‘city of culture’ is actually meant to deliver; public ‘cultural management’ practices which betray no deep understanding of either term; the small, imbalanced budgets now assigned to major arts events with the expectation of high (usually non-arts) returns; and the shockingly poor control of taxpayer-funded initiatives by the government department meant to oversee them.

There’s still time for Limerick to get its act together — and the mass turnout at public meetings and high level of publicity generated over the past few days bodes well for Limerick CoC. This matters deeply to many people, in Limerick and nationwide. However the issues underlying CoC that have fuelled this crisis have been with us for some time – and they aren’t going away. I’m looking forward to lots of discussions and debates over the coming months over how we can improve relationships between cultural policy, art practice and public funding, across all of the artform sectors. One of the benefits of working in a university is the boundless energy and enthusiasm for change and opportunity in the arts which floods through our doors every year. And as we enter into a new year, I’m taking a page from their book: perhaps we all need to adopt Woody Guthrie’s final New Year’s resolution (from his list that’s been making the rounds): Wake Up and Fight.

Artsmanagement.ie round-up: 20 August 2013

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Counting down two weeks until the new UCD term begins: autumn is upon us! Which also means the arts scene is warming up again…

The programme for Culture Night is launching today; the growth of this event is nothing short of astonishing; it’s the biggest night of the year for Dublin and many other towns who’ve adopted it. Unmissable.

The Dublin Fringe Festival also recently announced its line-up. As director Roise Goan’s swan song, it’s packed full of treats. So difficult to choose highlights, but I’ll be booking/attending Anu Productions’ Thirteen cycle (13 performances/events reflecting on the Dublin Lockout); Fit/Misfit (collaboration between Mexican and Irish dancers); Lippy by Dead Centre; for a bit of light relief, David O’Doherty and Maeve Higgins both have shows; and Brat Kids Carnival for my kiddies. For starters.

The centenary of the Dublin Lockout is receiving lots of attention at the moment – especially from Anu Productions (both at the Fringe and part of the brilliant, almost sold-out Tenement Experience) – but many other related events are listed at http://1913committee.ie. Some of the most interesting include Pallas Project’s A Letter to Lucy, a response to 1913 by a group of contemporary artists (Anthony Haughey, Deirdre O Mahony, Mark Curran, Deirdre Power, Jennie Guy, Brian Duggan) in a number of locations around Dublin (until 21 September). The Labour and Lockout exhibition at the Limerick City Gallery also looks fascinating (on until 1 October). Finally Temple Bar Gallery & Studios has issued an open call for workshop proposals for its Workers’ Cafe: from 10 October – 2 November, their exhibition space will transform into a participatory venue and cafe, hosting events and workshops connected to the subject of labour, economy and exchange.

We’re smack dab in the middle of Heritage Week – their listing of events is like a phone book! There’s something going on in every corner of the country — check in to your local museum or heritage centre to see what special programmes are on offer this week.

The most recent NCFA research colloquy in Kilkenny last week featured Dave O’Brien from City University London speaking on the evolution of evidence-based policy making in the UK, with a response by John O’Hagan (TCD, Economics). The session made for a lively debate on the pros/cons of evidence gathering methods and their use by decision-makers (some of the debate was captured via twitter – #ncfacolloquy). The next colloquy will take place in October: these are well worth attending if you’ve an interest in the arts sector, policy-making and the role of research.

Who else is worn out from all of the appeals to vote for projects that are part of the Arthur Guinness Project scheme? Their dire daily voting mechanism has been clogging up inboxes and feeds over the past few weeks, but Jim Carroll has a bigger bone to pick in his Irish Times blog. His critique of the scheme has attracted a huge number of comments: well worth a read for the range of arguments coming from all perspectives.

Temple Bar Gallery and Studios is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a forthcoming book Generation – 30 years of creativity at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, which recognizes the important contribution it has made to Ireland’s visual arts community. Its upcoming exhibition False Memory Syndrome proposes a series of alternative histories for TBG&S, touching on institutional memory, archives and materiality.

Heads up: the Arts Council is looking for new Arts Advisers in Architecture; Circus, Street Arts & Spectacle; Film; Opera; Theatre; and Traditional Arts. Applications close on 26 September.

Lots of new listings on the jobs page, but of particular interest may be the facilitator roles for the Turner Prize 2013 in Derry/Londonderry as part of City of Culture. Derry’s been playing a blinder of late, with an estimated 430,000 turning out for the Fleadh last week. Following a tumultuous summer in Northern Ireland, an interesting article on The Detail blog explores why Derry and the CoC events may hold out hope for the continuation of the peace process.

In the category of you-couldn’t-make-it-up, last week the DUP’s Peter Robinson published a rambling open letter on the subject of the controversial re-development of the Maze prison and its proposed ‘Peace Centre’. The satirical website Loyalists Against Democracy were on fine form with a swift response.

Once again, Dublin City Council has announced plans to redevelop Dublin’s Victorian fruit market (located between Capel St and the Four Courts). We’ve heard this plan before over the years — there’s widespread agreement this is a fantastic idea, but with a proposed opening date of 2015, the proof will be in the pudding.

It’s been a bumper summer for Irish Architecture, and both the Irish Architecture Foundation and the Irish Georgian Society have moved into new digs: the former to Hatch Street near the NCH, the latter in the old Civic Museum on South William Street. In related news, Dublin Civic Trust is sponsoring a conference on the future of Dublin’s Georgian Squares (13 September), to be held appropriately in the ballroom of the former Assembly Rooms of the Rotunda Hospital on Parnell Square.

Finally, some great news in the world of open access: the Getty Museum in LA has joined the Rijksmuseum in The Netherlands as one of the world’s major museums now offering open access to a massive number of images of its collection, free of restriction. As the Rijksmuseum’s head of digital collections has remarked, “If they want to have a Vermeer on their toilet paper, I’d rather have a very high-quality image of Vermeer on toilet paper than a very bad reproduction.” Words to warm any art historian’s heart!

Artsmanagement.ie round-up: 22 July 2013

Clearly there’s nothing else clogging up your news feed this morning, so how about some arts & cultural goodness?

Check out Patrick Lonergan’s new blog ‘Scenes from a Bigger Picture’ (Dept of English, NUI Galway): very thoughtful, extended pieces on issues connected to contemporary Irish theatre, well worth a read.

Eleonora Belfiore – a prolific academic from University of Warwick who researches cultural value and social impact – is looking for new contributors to her #Cultural Value online initiative: proposals for short essays, blog posts, etc are welcome.

The Upstart campaign’s looking to transform a derelict space in North Dublin city into a pop-up cultural space for the summer — full deets on plans & how you can pitch in are here.

Keen on finding a vacant space yourself for an arts/cultural project? Dublin CC is taking applications for use of two empty buildings on Cork St. in Dublin for a nominal fee – suitable for use as studios, by organisations, etc. Applications are due 31 July.

The Galway Arts Festival’s apparently a stunner this year – Aidan Dunne’s review of the visual arts programme certainly whets the appetite.

Dublin Fringe Festival has issued its annual call for Willing Workers – a list of volunteers willing to pitch in & assist with Fringe productions coming to the Festival, in all areas of production, advertising, design, tech, admin etc.

The inaugural Festival of Curiosity is kicking off in a few days, with lots of events spanning culture & science planned around the city from 25-28 July. An outgrowth of Dublin City of Science 2012, hot tickets will no doubt include Dara Ó Briain’s BBC Science Club on 26 July at the Mansion House and the free, family-oriented Curiosity Carnival at Smock Alley Theatre from 26-28 July.

Michael Dervan, I feel ya: on why the rebranding of classical music as easy listening (I’m looking at you, Lyric FM) is problematic.

The RAISE project (run by the Arts Council and managed by consultancy 2into3) is looking to fill five major fundraising posts in Ireland — for the Irish Film Institute, National Chamber Choir, Royal Hibernian Academy and Wexford Festival Opera. Salary of €70k is disproportionate by Irish standards, though not unusual by international ones; expectations will be high.

Half of this year’s Stirling Prize architectural shortlist are Irish! My money’s on Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.

The LAB on Foley St has an upcoming group exhibition entitled NINE – a family-focused exhibition on what it’s like to be nine years old, and a child in Ireland. Puts me in mind of Sandra Cisnero’s much-celebrated short essay Eleven from her collection Woman Hollering Creek – beautifully capturing the voice and feeling of that age.

The Arthur Guinness Projects is a new vehicle for supporting initiatives in Irish arts, music, sports and food. Project submissions are being taken until the 9th of August, with public voting taking place until the 23rd, and final selection by an expert panel will offer bursaries up to €50,000! A fantastic opportunity, and the projects submitted so far are impressive & inspiring in their range.

Weekly round-up: 8 May 2012

It’s been a while! Things are getting hairy in these parts with lots of travel and impending deliveries (book and baby!) but I’ll try to keep to schedule as much as possible. Jobs, as usual, are updated weekly.

The big news of the past few days is the departure of Eugene Downes as head of Culture Ireland at the end of the month, when his current contract expires. Eugene has been central to the formation and success of Culture Ireland, both during his 5 years of leadership, and several more in CI’s planning and development stages. His presence will be much missed, and I know many folks join me in wishing him well… The impending leadership gap at CI is no small matter of concern: the National Campaign for the Arts has posted a statement in response to the announcement, expressing its concern on the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform’s plans for CI, and the potential impact on the national institution amalgamation proposals.

Theatre Forum has announced its new director — and it’s Anna Walsh, one of our recent MA programme graduates! Warm congrats to Anna in her new role! Looking forward as well to the annual conference in Belfast next month (the first all-Ireland TF conference, 14-15 June) — bookings have just opened.

Cork Midsummer Festival (under the steady hand of director Tom Creed) launched its super-strong programme last week (the festival runs from 21 June – 1 July) — a great chance to catch Rian (if you missed it in the Theatre Festival), or check out the special Argentinian collaboration strand Ciudades Paraleles, which looks fascinating.

In other festival news… Kilkenny Arts Festival will be featuring a special staging of ‘As You Like It’ by the Shakespeare Globe Theatre — it’s not all about London in 2012! Sure to be a very popular ticket.

Don’t forget too that the Dublin Dance Festival begins in 4 days! With all the recent launches and press coverage it feels like the festival season is properly underway (even if the weather isn’t cooperating).

For a historian of Famine/migration memory & culture, news of a Tom Murphy revival is exciting stuff! Looking forward to the multiple plays hitting the Druid and Abbey stages over the coming months (p.s. – it’s just been announced the DruidMurphy cycle will be staged as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival – huzzah!)

The Irish Architecture Foundation has issued an ‘Open Call’ for proposals from past & current architecture students to contribute to the exhibition ‘We Had a Dream about the Future‘, to be staged in the environs of Earlsfort Terrace. Deadline is today (8 March!)

Arts Audiences (in conjunction with Theatre Forum and Failte Ireland) is coordinating a unique Audience Development Programme aimed at art directors and senior managers at arts organisations — the six month part-time programme is being delivered in conjunction with University of Ulster and will lead to a Certificate in Management Practice. The deadline for applications is 10 May — more details are available here as well.

Researchers rejoyce! The National Library of Ireland announced today they’ve placed all of their Joyce manuscripts online — many are at a rudimentary stage at the minute, but access, imaging and indexing is all set to improve over the coming months.

Irish Film & Television Network have posted an interesting interview with film historian Dr Kevin Rockett, giving insight into his research practice and scholarship.

RTÉ, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Scotland have announced a joint broadcast commissioning scheme — the first of its kind — which will target independent production companies: ‘Production companies will be asked to submit proposals which reflect the cultural, geographical and historical connections between the three regions. The aim is to encourage creative ideas around story-telling, which will cater for audiences across the three areas.’

The Atlantic Philanthropies is offering an intriguing series of paid summer internships in philanthropy and grantmaking at their various international offices, including Bermuda, Hanoi, New York City, Johannesburg, and (wait for it) Belfast and Dublin. Closing date isn’t listed, but get CVs in quickly – this sounds like a great opportunity.

Finally I’m looking forward this weekend to the launch of Lismore Castle Arts’ new exhibition by Hans Josephsohn — the shows to date in that lovely space have been top-notch — and a discussion with Thomas Houseago, Matthew Day Jackson, Rashid Johnson, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Iwan Wirth, chaired by Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith this Saturday should be a real highlight.