Weekly update: 10 October 2011

The new WorldIrish.com site, one of the diaspora initiatives launched last week

Feedback on the arts/culture dimension of the recent Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle has been buzzing since  Saturday, with a subsequent article in the IT on corporate sponsorship & the arts (also predated last week by an article on foreign bank subsidizing of recent arts activity). I admit to some scepticism regarding the notion of a mass ‘homecoming’ event (will there be cheerleaders & tailgates?), but it was heartening to see the cultural agenda as a central part of the discussions. (on a side note, it’s a pity that the live feed of the event hasn’t been archived!!)

More than 350 people have signed the petition launched by IVARO to urge full implementation of the Artists’ Resale Right (as it currently can be availed of by living artists, the petition seeks for the resale rights to extend to deceased artists whose work is still in copyright, thus bringing Ireland in line with EU conventions). Consider clicking through the link & adding your name in support??

To coincide with Dublin Contemporary, Noone Casey are offering a mentorship award worth €10k of sponsorship, financial & strategic planning advice to an emerging arts collective, organisation, etc. (the brief is pretty open!) Deadline is 12th of October.

The Arts Council has recently announced its list of new artform advisers — the folks tasked with viewing & visiting shows/exhibitions/etc. across the country, and assisting with funding applications and grantmaking decisions.

Calling all arts marketers: Una Carmody, director of the Arts Audiences project, is seeking feedback from marketers with respect to the Target Group Index Report (to be released this month)… quite a lot of relevant information and data about arts participation is contained in this report, and Una & co are taking requests for report analysis.

We’ve entered the final week of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival… My own viewings have been mixed, from the great (Rian) to the meh (Peer Gynt), but bookings have been very solid and it’s been difficult to source tickets for many shows. The box office has been releasing 10 euro rush tickets the same day as some performances, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their twitter feed or facebook page to snag a deal! (a few interesting and provocative write-ups in the Guardian and Saturday Irish Times, as well)

The annual architectural bonanza known as Open House Dublin began last weekend; if the queues at sites in our neighborhood were representative at all, it’s been a busy launch! So many great programmes and events along with the architectural tours, it’s a must-see.

One helluva white elephant: following accusations of mismanagement the €44 million Niemeyer arts centre in Spain is set to close after opening only 6 months ago. One of our current PhD students in the department is likewise investigating the effects of ‘starchitecture’ in the Rioja region; it would seem the ‘Bilbao effect’ is not all it’s been cracked up to be…

The UK think-tank Demos have recently released a report into the creative industries sector entitled ‘Risky Business‘, suggesting that creative business have proven to be lower-risk than non-creative/cultural ventures, and calling for greater levels of government attention to fostering their growth.

Following its enormously successful application call for its BA in Acting in 2011, the new Lir (Nat Academy for the Performing Arts) has announced it’s accepting applications for its BA In Acting 2012 / Diploma in Stage Management and Technical Theatre 2012.

We knew it was coming, but, alas, IMMA will be closing its main building for refurbishment on 1 November until December 2012. What a buzzkill for all the enthusiasm generated by Dub Contemp 😦 😦

Booking has opened for the International Puppet Festival in the south county Dublin & Wicklow area… a series of free street events will also be taking place in Temple Bar, Bray and Dun Laoghaire on the 23rd of October– it looks like a great programme!

…and if you live in South Dublin, take a moment to complete a public survey on usage of its library systems.

It’s still a few weeks away (9 November), but consider booking in for the Irish Museum Association’s annual lecture — this year featuring Dr Penelope Curtis, Director of the Tate Britain — the tickets generally get snapped up!

Weekly round-up: 22 August 2011

Heritage Week 2011

It’s Heritage Week! There are special events happening at museums & cultural sites across the country — you can download a free iPhone app to keep track of them all, and plan outings until the 28th…

Speaking of iPhone apps.. Irish developer Justin McKeown asked me to have a look at his ArtWorker app, designed to help visual artists in valuing their work, time spent delivering workshops and other services, etc. It’s pretty nifty all right, especially the ability to help folks calculate a daily rate/hourly rate. I think the calculation of artwork value is a little fuzzier (as you’re meant to input your ‘level of recognition’, which can be pretty hard to assess, and has an important impact on price), but no doubt further improvements & refinements will be implemented. Worth a look/download if you’re figuring out how to value your work or time! I’m sure Justin would appreciate any feedback from artists on what other features they’d like to see..

Last week the  impressive programme for the upcoming Belfast Festival was also launched… I’d love to see Cuban ballet sensation Carlos Acosta, the Shipwrecked theatre piece (based on the wreck of the Spanish Armada), and the intriguing-sounding Woyzeck on the Highveld (a collaboration between artist William Kentridge and the Handspring Puppet Company, famed for their London-based War Horse production). The hubs will no doubt make a beeline for Jan Garbarek & the Hilliard Ensemble (one of his favourite pairings). The Festival takes place 13-20th October but many of these events will undoubtedly sell out quickly!

The festivals are still coming thick and fast… this upcoming weekend sees the grassroots effort the Kilmainham Arts Festival, with a great range of music, visual arts, and literaryactivities in the Dublin 8 area on Saturday and Sunday. Here’s the full programme!

Boardmatch.ie has just relaunched its website… if you’ve an interest in joining the board of a nonprofit arts & cultural organisation, it’s a good place to start…

In news that’s received a mixed response (given the impending rise in energy charges), Bord Gáis has struck a naming/sponsorship deal with the Grand Canal Theatre. At least it will be an easy walk from their new premises on Warrington Place

UCD, TCD and the NLI have announced joint plans to develop new preservation & storage spaces to address their collection challenges, sparked by a $50k grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. As a frequent user of all these collections I hope the government will see fit to prioritise this initiative, which is absolutely essential for the support of research and public accessibility of these marvellous resources.

Uh oh… the former owners of Bewley’s on Westmoreland Street are in trouble over damage to the historic Joshua Clarke windows (father of Harry) located in the former cafe. It’s terribly sad to see that space still shuttered… I remember many a rainy afternoon ensconced in its gloomy interior when I first moved to Dublin!

Reports of The Gloaming (Irish trad supergroup of Thomas Bartlett, Dennis Cahill, Martin Hayes, Iarla Ó Lionaird & Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh) are, well, glowing… following their concert last Saturday at the National Concert Hall is a range of dates across the country…  you’d be nuts to miss it if they’re coming to your area!

News that BBC4’s schedule and budget will be pared back came as unhappy news to Irish viewers lucky enough to access its fantastic arts programming… there’s nothing on TV like it! Since we don’t pay the license fee it’s difficult to have a direct impact, but you can still sign one of the online petitions to protect its place in the broadcasting schedule.

Missed last night’s live stream of Britten’s opera ‘The Turn of the Screw’ direct from Glyndebourne? By all accounts it was smashing, and still available to view from the Guardian’s website until 12 September.

A lovely article on the United Arts Club on Upper Fitzwilliam Street is in the Irish Times… sounds like a club I’d love to belong to (and membership rates are quite reasonable) — looks like quite a step up from the UCD Faculty Club! 🙂

Finally, CAO offers to first year students have gone out today following release of Leaving Cert results. The annual news rush of stories about subject points gains & declines(arts/business down, science/tech/ag up), the inequities of the Leaving Cert, and what lies ahead for this year’s new student crop has already begun… I’ve already seen a few newbies (and often parents) wandering around the soon-to-be-busy halls of Belfield, and although I won’t be teaching next year, I wish all of them the very best start to their university career!




Weekly round-up: 19 January 2011

I need a lie down– far too much happening over the last week! Here’s the skinny:

  • In a (relatively) surprising announcement, Fionnuala Croke (head curator at the National Gallery) was named new director of the Chester Beatty Library, replacing the outgoing legend Michael Ryan. Croke had been tipped as a potential replacement for Raymond Keaveney as Director of the NGI following his retirement this year, so her appointment to the CBL has led to much speculation about future leadership at the Gallery.
  • The word on Fundit.ie, Business to Arts’ new crowdsourcing site (check out the video above!), was leaked to a wider audience this week, with a formal launch coming in February. If you aren’t familiar with crowdsourcing, have a look-see at established sites like www.kickstarter.com— this project has major potential for Ireland’s creatives.
  • Music Generation, the new music education programme managed by Music Network and set to be rolled out nationwide, has received major sponsorship from U2 and the Ireland Fund which will allow it to be realised over the next three years (speaking of Music Network, they’re looking for an intern— deadline is Friday!)
  • Yesterday’s Irish Times ran an article by Gemma Tipton detailing pressure artists face to make ends meet: sobering first hand accounts strike a sharp contrast with critiques of the income tax exemption in recent months.
  • The Jameson International Film Festival has announced a screenwriting competition and issued a call for volunteers.
  • Why have I not seen this blog before? Diane Ragsdale (pursuing a PhD in cultural economics in Amsterdam), has written a great series of pieces on cultural management & policy (attracting many excellent & insightful comments).
  • The shortlist for the Irish Times Theatre Awards has been announced– according to the article, the Gate has refused its productions to be allowed for consideration (apparently last year was the same). I’ve yet to discern the logic behind this? In other theatre news, The Company is looking for a last-minute, eager assistant for its production ‘As You Now Are So Once We Were at The Abbey.
  • ACE cuts are to be announced in 2 weeks’ time… meanwhile the Guardian has made the excellent move of centralising information about UK arts funding on its Culture Cuts blog.
  • The VIP Art Fair is set to go live in 2 days — a groovy new model of an online-only art fair that’s attracted the participation of major international galleries, features high-tech means of viewing the work available and offers the ability to chat live with dealers in a suite of innovative features. Will have to check out and ogle the functionality, ummmm.
  • I’ve shied away recently from posting event announcement (as I receive so many!), but I always have a soft spot for projects run by programme alumni: tomorrow is the launch of ‘Haiti Lives – One Year On‘, a photography exhibition run by TCD’s International Development Initiative, on view at Trinity until Wednesday Februrary 9th.


Wednesday round-up (3 November 10)

This week’s digest:

  • A new iteration of the RDS Art Fair makes its debut on Friday 5th November (running until Sunday). Although usually catering to popular tastes, the Fair is including this year the Collective Contemporary Art (CCA) programme in the Industries Hall, which adds an interesting curated exhibition of selected contemporary artists to the mix.
  • CIRCA has debuted its first totally online issue, themed on the subject of ‘criticism and criticality’. I will miss the glossy (alas, the glossy screen is a reluctant substitute).
  • Today saw the launch of the first of a series of reports on the state of fundraising in Ireland (authored by 2into3 consulting in conjuction with Mason Hayes Curran. Unfortunately few arts organisations were included in the study, and it isn’t available online yet, but it should yield some interesting insights…
  • A seminar on the ‘Cultural Dimensions of Innovation‘ is being held by UCD at Newman House on St Stephen’s Green on November 15th & 16th, that will ‘analyse the cultural dynamics which will shape Ireland’s economic, technological and political innovation agenda’ (natch). No doubt terms like ‘creative economy’ and ‘cultural interfacing’ will be trotted out; let’s just hope this doesn’t happen.
  • Finally, the Arts Council has announced its strategic approach for the next three years— lots to process there, but increased funding for marketing/audience development initiatives, the heightened importance of ‘value for money’ and ‘sustainability’, and the altering/concluding of some funding relationships are all signalled.


guerrillaLast night’s Guerrilla Girls event at NCAD was lively and entertaining– their take on feminist art-world protest certainly draws some strong reactions, and I was interested to hear comments from the crowd assembled… one of which was the opinion that Irish women contemporary visual artists are perhaps more prominent/successful than their male counterparts (a statement which set off ripples of murmurs, mainly in disagreement I surmised?) As another audience member pointed out, 80% of the student body at NCAD is female (is this true? I have no idea.) Still another noted that while this was the case, women did not figure as prominently on selection panels and other positions of power within the Irish art world. I added the observation that nearly all of the directors of the National cultural institutions of Ireland were also male (which is certainly true– out of the nine institutions who make up the CNCI [Abbey, Chester Beatty Library, Crawford Art Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Archives, National Concert Hall, National Gallery of Ireland, National Library, National Museum], only two are directed by women– this statistic goes down if you split out the satellites of the NMI). However both the Chair and the Director of the Arts Council are women, the Council itself is 50/50, and its staff is overwhelmingly female. Added to this, my experience with the MA programme and folks in positions at lower and mid-managerial levels in the arts management sector is that they are also overwhelmingly female.

What does this tell us? Anything? Nothing? What is the relationship between gender and compensation, and does that change whether we’re talking about non-state organisations or government/civil sector posts? Have women in more senior positions within arts and culture experienced a ‘glass ceiling’, or is there a generational shift waiting to happen? Should we be worried about the shrinking number of men entering arts management as a profession? In the art historical sphere there’s lots of activity at the moment focused on re-establishing women within Irish art history and visual culture (see an upcoming conference at TRIARC and also a recent book edited by UCD Postdoc Dr Karen Brown)– however I don’t know of any current research focused on cultural management or more contemporary sociological takes on the Irish arts sector (any suggestions welcome!) The term ‘feminism’ continues to provoke strong negative reactions amongst undergraduates, both male and female, in my experience at UCD– so whilst some of the Guerrilla Girls’ actions might seem a little tame (or outdated?), I have found their performances a good starting point for discussion in some undergraduate classes– I don’t think there’s a convincing argument for hanging up the gorrilla masks just yet!