Weekly round-up: 25 May 2012

Hans Josephsohn exhibition at Lismore Castle Arts

It’s been extraordinarily busy policy-wise in the arts the last few weeks — this update will be a long one —  I’ll do my best to provide a summary! (p.s. if I’ve gotten anything wrong here, please do write in & correct me! Or feel free to add your impressions/responses in the comments…)

The second meeting of the Visual Arts Workers’ Fourm (kindly hosted by the Glucksman Gallery, UCC) last Thursday 17 May proved a lively & interesting day. So much ground was covered, it’s impossible to do justice to it all — however I found most useful the presentations by Mary McCarthy (from the National Sculpture Factory) and Sarah Glennie (new director of IMMA) providing updates on the status of the Culture Ireland, National Campaign for the Arts and the amalgamations planned for the national cultural institutions. Here’s a breakdown of some of what was discussed (supplemented by a few recent developments):

  • Culture Ireland: The expiration of Eugene Downes’ contract as Director is coinciding with a planned review of Culture Ireland; many in the audience voiced their support for the impact of CI’s contribution to the promotion of Irish culture, and praised Eugene’s contributions in particular. As yet there seems to be little public information on what exactly this review process will entail and when it will take place, with Mary reiterating the importance of remaining vigilant as to developments.
  • National Campaign for the Arts: conversations around advocacy, developing stronger links with policymakers and politicians, and better articulating a collective vision for the purpose and importance of the arts were strong themes recurring throughout the day. Differences between VAI and VAWF were clarified (the former primarily devoted to the support of individual artists, the latter an as-yet loose grouping of the many organisations and individuals broadly included under the ‘visual arts’ banner, to include arts orgs, artists, curators, educators, etc.). Mary provided details of the NCFA’s working process and current status, urging folks to become involved (a very small number of people are making a large difference here), and reiterating the very significant impact its campaigns and outreach efforts have had to date. No consensus emerged out of the day as to how collectively the visual arts community might better organise — in more casual conversations with attendees I found views varied widely as to whether more formal organisation was needed, or whether a more organic approach was appropriate. I think most were in agreement, however, that meetings such as VAWF provided a valuable opportunity for information sharing, networking and getting a sense of the many diverse views and positions active in the visual arts community.
  • National Cultural Institution amalgamation plans: Sarah spent a good deal of time discussing this, stressing that the proposals now on the table differ substantially in nature from those mooted in 2008, which garnered very strong opposition in the sector (voiced during a consultation held in IMMA)– plans that were later shelved. Very little has been made public about this process, so many in the audience were surprised to hear of the speed with which the re-vamped amalgamation plans are progressing — according to Glennie the decision to amalgamate in some form has been made by the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform, and is irreversible, with the window for working out the finer details (before a final decision by Cabinet) only about 6 weeks. The word since then is that the directors are collectively engaged in protecting the autonomy of each institution (especially in terms of curatorship and direction) to the greatest extent possible.There were very strong feelings in the audience about the importance of protecting the cultural institutions in a time of slash-and-burn approaches by civil servants with little knowledge of how these organisations actually function, and their already skeletal infrastructure. All of this has been given added momentum in the past few days with Diarmuid Ferriter’s announcement (more here too) he would be resigning from the board of the National Library in protest over the government’s ‘offensive and disingenuous double-speak’ around the cultural institutions (including but not limited to the amalgamation plans — which also have proposed merging the NLI, National Archives and the Manuscripts Commission). The amalgamation plans were further criticised yesterday by Senator Fiach Mac Conghail in the Senate session (here’s the full text of what was said). I believe all of this is extremely useful in highlighting how crucial these decisions are, and what their long-ranging impact will be on cultural institutions many of us take for granted. A lack of transparency over the terms of the proposals is worrying, and with such a short amount of time remaining to voice views on the subject, I hope developments will continue to be publicized widely (and I’ll try my best to do the same!)

Quite a number of folks approached me at VAWF to speak with me after I raised the issue of employment patterns (and specifically unpaid internships) in the arts… of further interest may be a recent report just published in the UK – Intern Culture – that has brought together a whole host of research and information on the current state of UK internships in the visual arts. It’s extremely useful and insightful, and well worth a read — I suspect we will soon reach a stage where more formalised inquiries and guidelines will have to be addressed here in Ireland as well.

Slightly buried in the story on the HEA funding crisis (which made the rounds in print and radio yesterday) was mention of ‘a review of third level creative arts and media courses in Dublin, including those at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin Institute of Technology and Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.’ I’ve heard some talk of this, with suggestions there may be plans afoot to rationalize/reduce programmes offered owing to ‘duplication’, but as of yet have heard nothing more concrete. One to keep an eye on…

Did you catch the conclusion of RTE’s ‘Masterpiece: Ireland’s Favourite Painting‘ last night? Not surprisingly, dorm room favourite ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ by Frederic William Burton at the NGI edged out the competition (with 22% of the vote, followed by the Caravaggio, Leech and Harry Clarke). No small irony that the winner is actually one of Ireland’s least seen paintings (as it’s a watercolour and only on very limited public display). Lots of grumbling amidst art historians about criteria of selection, omission of manuscript painting (and anything non-western), but it’s all been in good fun I think — as host Mike Murphy has pointed out the late night scheduling of the programme by RTE was shameful, but it was great to hear folks debating the merits of the nominated works, and the galleries have reported a noticeable increase in visitor numbers on the back of the programme.

Some very nice coverage (by Aidan Dunne in the IT, and another illustrated review on the Royal Academy site) of the Hans Josephsohn exhibition at Lismore Castle Arts, the opening of which I also attended — it’s a wonderful and eye opening show of an extremely accomplished (if little known) 92 year old Swiss sculptor, and shows off the tremendous development and ambition of this small gallery in the years since its opening.

Music Network has launched details of its nationwide love:live music programme coming up on 21 June — there will be a huge range of live (free) music events of all genres happening across the country, and they are still taking listings for groups wishing to participate in this fab day & looking to link in with their network. They also recently announced the appointment of their new director, Sharon Rollston, so it’s all go in the Carriage House these days!

The RHA’s annual exhibition and sale opens in a few short days — red sticker dots at the ready!

All this sunshine is going to our heads… but a groovy event happening in Dublin this weekend is Block T’s ‘Link Culturefest’ in Smithfield and the surrounding areas: a whole host of exhibitions, screenings, performances, and open houses of cultural organisations — a great way to herald the start of our ‘proper’ summer!

EVA International Biennial of Art also opened in Limerick last week, curated by Annie Fletcher.

The Bealtaine Festival (‘Celebrating Creativity as we Age’) is drawing to a close over the next few days, but there’s still time to catch a few remaining events, or have a look at the presentations made at their conference ‘Creating a New Old’ that were filmed & are available on their website.

Museum peeps: tomorrow (26 May) is the Irish Museum Association’s annual field trip, this year visiting Waterford… a call for submissions is also open for the annual ‘Blow Your Own Trumpet‘ day on 13 July, where museum education programmes and initiatives from across the country are highlighted — deadline is today!

IMMA’s new exhibitions open at Earslfort Terrace/NCH is next Weds (May 30th) — more details on the launch here.

A CFP has been issued for a local symposium entitled ‘Art Without Borders: Cultural Influence and and Exchange in Irish Art History‘, coordinated by a number of postgraduate students from TCD.

Applications for organisations to be involved in this year’s Culture Night are closing on May 31st! Time to get your skates on.

Galway Arts Festival (16-29 July) has launched its programme — impending birth will prevent me from attending this year, but if I were going, I’d be all over the Marina Abramovic exhibition, Druid Murphy cycle, and the West Cork Ukelele Orchestra.

UCC is offering 4-year funded doctoral studentships in digital arts & humanities — tasty — closing deadline is 31 May.

Hotel deals will soon end for Theatre Forum’s all-Ireland annual conference in Belfast on 14-15 June — this is going to be a big one, so get thee to the registrations page.

I was delighted to hear one of our programme alums Monika Sapielak (director of the Centre for Creative Practices) won an Arthur Guinness Fund award for Social Entrepreneurs! Huge congrats!!

Finally… one of the (recurring) cultural events of our time airs tomorrow — I am, of course, talking about the Eurovision Song Contest Final in Azerbaijan. Who will prevail? The Russian grannies? The Jed and their unexpectedly horizontal hair? Don’t pretend you won’t be watching.

Weekly round-up: 30 March 2012

I’m headed off to Australia on Sunday for three weeks’ research, so round-ups will resume in late April/early May (I’ll try to keep the jobs board updated as much as possible.)

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The legend that is Tania Banotti has bid farewell to Theatre Forum, after eight years at its helm (while also leading the National Campaign for the Arts) — a lovely farewell video (see above) was put together for her leaving do yesterday evening. She’s transformed that organisation and will be very much missed!

Applications are open again for various postgraduate programmes in arts management, both here and in the UK. Here at UCD we’re accepting applicants for the 2012-13 MA in Arts Management degree— and further to this, a new scholarship scheme supporting MA/MLitt degrees in the College of Arts & Celtic studies is available– deadline for our programme is 16 April; deadline for UCD scholarships is 24 August. The University of Warwick’s highly regarded MA in Intl Cultural Policy & Arts Management is also offering bursaries; and there’s a PhD fellowship on offer in the Museum Studies dept of the University of Leicester, on the subject of ‘Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values’.

Following on from the very popular visit to the Little Museum of Dublin and the Freemasons’ Lodge, the Irish Museums Association is hosting another museum visit to Rathfarnham Castle and the Berkeley Toy & Costume Collection — they’re meeting tomorrow (Saturday) morning, so email the administrator ASAP if you’re interested in attending.

If that’s not your bag, there’s a public seminar at NCAD tomorrow (Saturday 31 March) entitled ‘What Do You Stand For: Who’s Afraid of Solidarity?‘ looking at alternative/subversive approaches to artistic practices, curation and exhibition in Ireland over the past few decades; Vaari Claffey & Francis Halsall are convening.

The Heritage Council has invited applications to be part of a new Irish National Consultation Panel on Cultural Heritage  — the deadline is today!

The Goethe Institute’s been hosting a series of events on the subject of migration — next up is a panel discussion on culture and migration, on the 26th of April.

Applications are being accepted for the Kennedy Center/DeVos Institute of Arts Management international fellowship programme (deadline 15 April); a number of Irish folks have been selected to be on this programme in the past, and apparently it’s a fantastic opportunity.

In a similar vein — keep your eyes peeled for Business to Arts’ announcement on 9 April for applications to its partnership programme with the DeVos institute, which will be offered to 15-20 organisations here in Ireland — more on this in the last round-up.

Lots of interesting tips on the live chat record at the Guardian Careers Blog, on the subject of finding a job in theatre.

Details of IMMA’s upcoming programme (which will be installed in Earlsfort Terrace while the Royal Hospital undergoes building work) have been announced — work by Alice Maher, Garrett Phelan and a film installation by Neil Jordan all feature.

Last week a fascinating article in the New York Times reviewed cuts to arts funding across Europe, and the impact this has made in touring etc. within the U.S.

Michael Dervan in the Irish Times has offered an overview of new Irish opera productions in the pipeline.

Lismore Castle Arts reopens for the season tomorrow — the first major show opens on 12 May (solo show by Hans Josephsohn) — this space has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to heading down myself in May.

The Crash Ensemble has a groovy concert (‘Free State 7‘) coming up in the National Concert Hall on Thursday 5 April, featuring the work of 11 young Irish composers, and a special appearance by the Dublin Laptop Orchestra!

Finally… thanks to everyone who applied for the Assistant Editor post for the new arts management journal (applications are closed now) — I was really overwhelmed with the response, and the high calibre of the folks who contacted me. More anon…

Weekly round-up: 9 February 2012

Mad about 'The Artist'? Check out a new site dedicated to Irish silent film legend Rex Ingram!

This will be the last post for a few weeks while I’m away in California (hooray for the homeland, family & Mexican food!)

News that Dublin County Council is creating a registry of vacant properties for creative use met with many a hurrah today! Owners are urged to get in touch with the Council to be added to the registry and be put in touch with folks looking for short term leases for cultural & creative purposes.

I love finding new academic online resources, and Ruth Barton (TCD lecturer) has set up a fascinating site devoted to Irish silent film pioneer Rex Ingram.

I am indeed sad not to be making the launch of the Science Gallery’s ‘Edible’ show tonight (although the pics are slightly grossing this preggo lady out!), and I know I mentioned it already last week, but SERIOUSLY: the SG has outdone itself. Go see (and eat) it.

The annual Irish Museums Association conference is fast approaching! This is always one of the highlights of my year — have a look at the programme and consider joining us in Limerick from 24-26 Feburary for great speakers, networking & museum visits (this year includes the Hunt Museum and Glenstal Abbey).

If you’re a dancer about to graduate in 2012, the Step Up Dance training programme sponsored by Dance Ireland, the Arts Council and University of Limerick sounds like a great opportunity. Deadline is 5 April…

In the meeja this week the disposal of Anglo Irish Bank’s art collection met with a resounding ‘meh’; of greater interest perhaps was IMMA’s acquisition of its headquarter’s signage (although surely the National Museum might have been a more appropriate destination?)

Breathing some new life into Belfast’s cultural scene, the newly unveiled MAC arts centre has announced its first programme of events in theatre and the visual arts.

Just this week Ireland’s creative crowdsourcing site Fundit.ie passed €500k in pledges from nearly 9,ooo peeps! Seriously, you guys (all the punters pledging & the crew from B2A running the joint) are awesome. I just funded their first craft project to celebrate — go on, have a look at all the fab projects currently listed 🙂

Dublin Youth Theatre is staging a groovy-sounding fundraiser in Project Arts Centre on 19 February — the 24 Hour Play Project challenges six directors, six writers and a whole heap o’well known thesps to write, direct and stage a play in a 24 hour period! No doubt this will be a sell-out..

The Thomas Damman Award from the Royal Hibernian Academy offers funding to folks working on academic and creative projects in the visual arts… it’s a great source of support that many colleagues & friends have accessed in the past; application deadline is 2 March.

Notre Dame University has announced the theme and content of its annual Irish Seminar (run in Dublin during June and July): it’s on contemporary Irish theatre! The programme looks great, and bursaries are available to help fund attendance.

One of our MA alumnae has contacted me from her new home in Perth where she’s working with the non-profit FORM — they’re launching an ambitious campaign to secure a $12 million grant that will fund a new digital media hub (‘The Foundry’) in Western Australia, and are seeking any and all expressions of support. With many graduates emigrating to sunnier climes it’s great to stay connected to the wider diaspora of arts management folks — so if you’re interested do sign their online petition!

Weekly round-up: 20 January 2012

Congratulations to Raymond Keaveney on his retirement: 23 years' service to the National Gallery of Ireland!

A busy week on the arts scene with lots of news & goings-on:

My colleague Dr Maeve Houlihan (UCD School of Business & a long term lecturer in our MA Arts Management) is co-convening a session at the upcoming World Congress of the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management — being held this June at University of Limerick! Her session is entitled ‘Services, Events and Arts Management‘ and paper abstracts will be accepted until 31 January.

Lots of news on the Director front… long-serving Director of the National Gallery Raymond Keaveney retired on 11 January, and Sarah Glennie was announced as the new Director of IMMA.

NUIG has announced its new 4-year BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, in collaboration with Druid, Galway Arts Festival and Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe.

Ni hao, Dublin Chinese New Year Festival! This is a month traditionally light on festival-type activities, so the New Year Festival’s launch today will provide some cheer in January’s gloom. May be time to break out my rusty Mandarin…

Three new positions coordinating Music Generation projects in Laois, Cork and Wicklow have been announced (the first two have been posted in the Jobs section of this site; the third has yet to be advertised).

The ever-interesting THEATREclub at Project Arts Centre is hosting a new series of discussions and workshops to accompany its latest production ‘The Family’, reflecting on contemporary Irish family life & related social issues.

The Limerick City Gallery of Art launched its snazzy newly refurbished building this week — by all accounts it’s a fabulous space.

DCAL has announced details of a £5,000 Culture Tech grant open to organisations and individuals based in Derry, aimed at projects combining cultural endeavours and digital technology — deadline is 17 February.

The Lighthouse Cinema reopened to the public today under the new management of Element Pictures (yay!) and I’ve just been alerted to VOLTA, a new on-demand Irish indie film & video service… very tempting (and great name, by the way)!

According to a recent RTE press release, its spring schedule includes “‘Masterpiece: Ireland’s Most-Loved Painting’, a major new programme that will kick off a five-week RTÉ-wide campaign to find Ireland’s favourite painting.” Hmm….

The Irish Museums Association’s latest members’ field trip is on the 28th of January to the Little Museum of Dublin and the Freemasons’ Hall… bound to be a popular one! Book in by emailing Gina at office@irishmuseums.org.

The Irish Times Theatre Awards nominee list was announced on Saturday; here’s the full list and some reflections of the jury.

Unfortunately news came this week of the untimely death of the wonderful artist Paddy Jolley, who died unexpectedly in India. A fund has been set up to assist his family in the immediate aftermath; please contribute if you can.

Weekly round-up: 12 December 2011

South Dublin County Council's new public art site

The big news last week was of course the budget… the National Campaign for the Arts and Laurence Mackin of the IT have provided the details of cuts to the budget (and full details are available from the Department)… a few key points:

  • Gross funding in 2012 for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be €267 million (plus an extra €8.6 million in funding for the National Gallery.) Note that it’s not possible to assess, strictly speaking, how this compares with previous years, due to the shifts in department make-up.
  • However, overall 49% of the department’s budget (€129.6 million) is being allocated in 2012 to Arts, Culture and Film programme areas. Arts current funding is down 6%: from €124 million to €117 million.
  • The Arts Council is down 3.2%, from €65.16 to €63.1 million.
  • Arts capital funding is the most severely hit — down 34% from €32 million to €21 million. Most of this (13.2 million) is allocated to the Irish Film Board, and constitutes their annual funding (despite the ‘capital’ label)- although their funding is down overall by 14.9%.
  • Culture Ireland will be down 11%.
  • How did the national institutions fare? National Archives (-5%); IMMA, CBL, NCH and the Crawford (-4%); NMI (-5%); NLI (-7%). However these figures don’t count huge drops in capital budgets, which will severely affect the national institutions’ plans for developing infrastructure and other crucial projects.

Although the overall funding picture appears to be better than expected, the national institutions will be hard hit, and there will be other financial implications from ancillary budget measures for arts organisations (the increase in VAT, for example, as well as the decrease in CE funding which many organisations rely upon).

In other news…the Arts Council has announced its 2012 project grant recipients — an interesting look at work which lies ahead!

The new director of the National Gallery was finally announced — and it’s Sean Rainbird, current Director of the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, who also worked for many years at the Tate. Word has it that current staff are delighted with the appointment — I think it will be a much-needed breath of fresh air into the gallery, and look forward to his tenure!

South Dublin County Council has unveiled a new public art website — searchable and snazzy — and very useful for students of public art projects.

Fintan O’Toole has blasted the Abbey’s latest production of The Government Inspector, and decried (again) what he perceives is the national theatre’s failure to actively engage with the current breakdown of Irish society.

The Music Generation programme is being expanded to Laois, Wicklow and Cork City — no doubt news of new opportunities will soon follow…

The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival has announced its call for volunteers.

An interesting article in the Guardian (‘Should the arts be more selective about sponsors?‘) canvassed reactions to the withdrawal of two poets from the TS Eliot prize competition over their objections to the award’s sponsorship by a hedge fund.

I’m really digging all the posts at the Guardian’s Culture Professional Network blog… tons of interesting and useful posts there to anyone working in the field.

Not strictly arts-related, but if you are a researcher check out the new British Newspaper Archive project from the British Library (lovingly reviewed by the fantastic Bioscope blog) — it’s gonna rock your world.

And finally… congrats to our fantastic 2011 class of Arts Management & Cultural Policy MA graduates! It was wonderful to see them in the glad rags last week at commencement 🙂 🙂

Hope everyone is enjoying all of the holiday activities across town — such a busy time of year!