Happy 2017! 50+ new Irish arts jobs/internships listed

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Here’s to a brighter 2017…

Happy new year to all of my readers! In what must be a record, I’ve just added more than fifty new posts to the jobs page — looks like recruitment in 2017 is on the rise again, which is good news for organisations and jobseekers. Tons of plum roles across artforms, including senior posts at the National Gallery, NCAD, Royal Irish Academy, Galway 2020, EVA International — and plenty of mid- and entry-level posts across the country too. More than 4,000 subscribers get notifications from this blog, so do keep sending in any openings you’d like listed (it’s always free, and I update bi-weekly in general).

Other arts and cultural news that may be of interest:

The Arts Council’s conference on local government & the arts – Places Matter – is taking place tomorrow (12 January) at Dublin Castle (I’ll be there, come say hello!). Unfortunately it’s booked out, but it’s been announced the conference will be live streamed.

Gotta dance?? Dublin Dance Festival is looking for all and any to help perform one of the most famous dance sequences ever produced – Pina Bausch’s ‘Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter’ from her 1982 piece NELKEN. Instructions for filming & uploading your version are on its website: DDF played a blinder last year (for my money, it had the highest hit rate of any arts festival) and this looks to be a great opener.

Business to Arts has just announced the first round of recruitment for its Fundraising Fellowships, with Helium Arts and Fishamble. These posts (the first 2 of 4) will offer training and mentorship in addition to salaried posts — great opportunities all!

Maria Balshaw has been appointed as new Director of the Tate, replacing Nick Serota. Maria has directed the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery for the last decade, and spearheaded Manchester’s cultural revival to great acclaim; she also recently delivered the Irish Museums Association’s James White annual lecture.

The Irish Museums Association’s annual conference is 3 and 4 March, on the subject of cultural tourism – time to get booking! In positive funding news, the annual grant to the IMA from the Department was recently raised to its former level – cause for celebration for this vital support organisation that delivers a huge programme on a tiny budget.

In case you missed it before Christmas, the government launched Creative Ireland 2017-22, the follow-up legacy programme of the 2016 Centenary. It’s a very sophisticated mix of declaration and aspiration, fuelling hopes that its various initiatives will be matched with adequate resourcing. If it’s realised, it’ll be brilliant and the most expansive acknowledgment of the diversity (and importance) of arts and culture we’ve ever had as a nation. However, as with most cultural plans, we will have to wait and see whether actual investment follows the splashy launch.

Milestone for Irish museums: Irish Museums Survey 2016 launched

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Launch of the Irish Museums Survey 2016 / LAMN 1916 Exhibition. From left: Liam Bradley (Curator, Monaghan County Museum); John Rattigan (Chair, Local Authority Museum Network); Minister Heather Humphreys; Brian Crowley (Chair, Irish Museums Association); Dr Sandra Collins (Director, National Library of Ireland); Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald (UCD School of Art History & Cultural Policy). Photo by Gary O’Neill.

It’s out! Yesterday more than 100 museum professionals gathered at an event in the National Library of Ireland for the launch of the Irish Museums Survey 2016 by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

This survey is indeed a milestone: it’s the first comprehensive study of the Irish museum sector in a decade. Funded by the Irish Research Council’s ‘Engaging Civic Society’ scheme, it’s the product of a collaboration between the Irish Museums Association and UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy.

I was the Principal Investigator and author of the report (along with the research team Gina O’Kelly, Dr Colleen Thomas, and Fernando Sanchez), and I’m delighted it’s now available as an online publication.

The results are alternately fascinating, encouraging, and worrying. Here are a few highlights:

  • There are approximately 230 museums in Ireland (north and south); 118 participated in the survey (ranging from independent/community museums to national cultural institutions)
  • 6.1 million visitors were welcomed by Irish museums in 2014: on average museums reported 35% international and 61% domestic visitors.
  • The positive effects of the Museum Standards Programme of Ireland (run by the Heritage Council) over the past decade in enhancing museum practice nationwide were widely observed
  • Provision of educational services has increased from 31% in 2005 to 60% of museums in 2016
  • Digital engagement has risen sharply: museums reported growing levels of collection digitisation, and high levels of engagement on the web and on social media: 98% of museums have a website; 78% are on Facebook; and 40% are on Twitter

… however …

  • 46% of museums have experienced budget decline from 2005-15; this contrasts sharply with 2005 data (when only 7.4% reported a decrease).
  • Museums have experienced drastic reductions to the labour force and increasing reliance on volunteers, interns and community employment schemes: 41% indicated they are ‘very dependent’ on voluntary/unpaid labour, and 17% of museums have no paid employees at all. The majority of museums (77%) are staffed by fewer than 10 paid employees.
  • Comments from participants extensively detailed problems with infrastructure and basic facilities, affecting museums across the country. Cutbacks on every aspect of museum provision (education, programming, conservation, security, etc.) indicate the broad and deep impact of budget reductions and hiring freezes.

The report is chock-full of information and analysis, covering all aspects of museum activity. We hope this report will help inform future programming and planning for museums at national and regional levels. This is especially critical for institutions (large and small) which reported serious problems with infrastructure and facilities in a severe state of disrepair.

Our primary recommendations? In a nutshell:

  1. Establish a research unit to enhance quality and regularity of data collection, based at the Irish Museums Association, the Heritage Council, or the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
  2. Improve museums’ data collection practices by developing training opportunities for Irish museums, to better support advocacy efforts.
  3. Prioritise, in future policies and programmes, the primary resource needs as identified by museums: (1) capacity (staff, volunteers, time); (2) funding and fundraising support; (3) buildings and storage.
  4. Enhance support of community and independent museums, including a review of supports and the development of a national strategy concerning the needs of small museums.
  5. Offer additional training and resourcing in the areas of digitisation and the development of digital and online strategies.
  6. More detailed research is needed on museum outreach and education, to be further correlated with policy developments such as the Arts in Education Charter.
  7. Low rates of improvement in disabled access since 2005 should be addressed by museums as a priority.

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(version for web viewing)

(version for printing)

Arts jobs, events, and publication announcements

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Places Matter The Umbrella Project by Rhona Byrne, commissioned by Fire Station Artists’ Studios and supported by Dublin City Council

Like most scholars of memory & Irish history on this island, I’m wiped – 2016 has been a crazy busy year due to centenary-related events (nine conference papers/presentations since Sept, plus an exhibition opening!) Apologies for the relative blog silence as consequence.

A few updates, in any event:

Jobs have recently been refreshed — lots of great ones in there: CEO for the Irish Baroque Orchestra; General Manager of Macnas; Collections Registrar for the National Trust NI; Heritage Officer for Westmeath Co. Council; etc.

Registrations are now being taken for Places Matter: what happens when we invest in the arts? on 12 January 2017, Dublin Castle, a one-day conference on local arts engagement organised by the Arts Council of Ireland in collaboration with Local Government. The speaker list looks very interesting (esp. keynote by Geoffrey Crossick), and I’m looking forward to seeing Emmett Kirwan in a new setting!

The Irish Museums Association’s Annual Lecture is next week (28 November) and this year features Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museums. The lecture will be taking place in the special surroundings of the newly renovated Courthouse at Kilmainham Gaol. Tickets are only €5 and this lecture regularly books out, so do register to avoid disappointment.

Next week will also see the launch of two big projects, long in development:

  • The Irish Museums Survey 2016, the first major survey of Irish museums in more than a decade, will be launched at the National Library of Ireland on 30 November by Minister Heather Humphreys. I was the Principal Investigator on this project, which was funded by the Irish Research Council and executed in collaboration with the Irish Museums Association. I’ll be publishing a separate post after the launch, detailing some of our key findings, which will be of interest to anyone working in the heritage or museum sector on the island!
  • We’re very pleased as a School to announce the publication of After Francoise Henry: 50 Years of Art History at UCD (1965 – 2016), part of our current anniversary celebrations. arthistorybookIt features scholarly contributions from members of the staff, past and present. The book will be launched on Thursday, and will be available soon for purchase.

Just published: Vol. 3 of Irish Journal of Arts Management & Cultural Policy

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I’m delighted to announce we’ve just published the latest volume of the Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy. It’s a special issue featuring the edited proceedings of the 2014 summer conference on ‘Mapping an Altered Landscape: Cultural Policy and Management in Ireland‘. Guest edited by Dr Niamh NicGhabhann from University of Limerick, it features contributions from a range of speakers on the day, who offer candid and contemporary views of the cultural sector and public finance, the role of local authorities, policy, the working lives of artists, and a range of other topics. The journal also features introductory essays by Niamh and conference organisers Pat Cooke and Kerry McCall, as well as a postscript by former Minister for Education Ruari Quinn.

You can download the entire issue here, or visit the www.culturalpolicy.ie to download individual contributions by:

  • Gerry Godley (Principal & Managing Director, Leeds College of Music)
  • Clare Duignan (Independent Director & Business Advisor)
  • Peter Hynes (Chief Executive, Mayo County Council)
  • Alan Counihan (Artist)
  • Mary Carty (Entrepreneur, Arts Consultant, Author)
  • Conor Newman (Chair, Heritage Council)
  • Ruari Quinn (Minister for Education and Skills, 2011-14)

 

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.