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: 17 June 2011

Rex Levitates' 'Fast Portraits' upcoming at Project Arts Centre

The updates have slowed a bit with the onset of summer, and this will be the last one until July as I’m off on holidays… however the jobs page will still be updated (lots of new opportunities added in the last few days!)

Theatre Forum knows how to throw a conference — this year’s iteration was excellent (loved Patrick Sanders’ real time illustrations of the action) but if you missed it, lots of photos, podcasts etc have now been posted on the conference website.

Presentations from the recent Visual Arts Audiences seminar held at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios have also been posted — lots of requests for these, especially Una Carmody’s run-through of recent statistics on arts participation and online engagement.

Contemporary dance may not be highest-profile art form in Ireland, but Rex Levitates is one of its best exponents — their latest production (Fast Portraits) hits the stage at Project from June 21-25: ‘inspired by the realistic observations of the true human condition by artists Bill Viola and Caravaggio… Fast Portraits explores the layers of emotion and memory that infuse captured images and transfer them into movement.’ Sounds like it will be a fantastic show!

It’s great to see how Fund It has taken off! A special mention this week of two projects: the Butler Gallery’s book What is Art? is a wonderful project that will publish children’s creative responses to the Gallery’s programme (their Solas education programme, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary). And in a timely riposte to certain Irish Times journalists who say the theatre has failed to address contemporary Ireland — the group THEATREclub and its young members are seeking to fund the production of their show TwentyTen, a six part epic responding to the turbulence of 2010.

The Dalkey Book Festival kicked off today and runs until the 19th– lots of great talks and readings taking place around the seaside village. Events are small and have the tendency to sell out, so get thee to the website if you’re interested in attending!

In honour of Bloomsday yesterday, Imagine Ireland launched a series of interesting and beautifully illustrated ‘imagined’ walks in a series of parks/landscapes in the US which mirror Stephen Dedalus’ peregrinations around Dublin.

Dublin has officially submitted its bid (entitled Pivot Dublin) to become the World Design Capital for 2014. There are 56 cities in the competition, with the shortlist to be announced June 21st! Best of luck (and huge congrats!) to the team involved in the pitch…

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is accepting submissions of interest for open positions on the boards of the Chester Beatty Library, National Archives, National Gallery, Abbey Theatre and Irish Film Board.

Congrats to Colum McCann for winning the €100,000 Impac Literary Prize for Let the Great World Spin! Although the award is based in Dublin (and is the largest literary prize in the world) it’s only been won by an Irish author twice.

Graduate shows from NCAD, IADT and DIT are on now — Aidan Dunne’s thoughtful response to some of the works will be much appreciated, no doubt! — and this is always a fine chance to sample up-and-coming artists; student shows are one of my highlights of the art year.

Dublin Contemporary’s programme will launch on the 23rd of June; lots of work & internship opportunities on offer there at the moment too.

The RHA’s annual Summer Fete fundraiser is tomorrow (Saturday the 18th)! I’m sorry to be missing out on the yummy cake sale, lucky dip draw and other great activities. Now, if they could only find the space for a bouncy dolmen… Temple Bar Gallery & Studios is also throwing a summer fundraising bash with DJs etc (Summer Lightning II) on July 2nd.

That’s it from me for now… headed Stateside to reconnect with the homeland and sample the delights of a west coast summer! See you in July…

Weekly round-up: 27 April 2011

Though I’ve been occupied stuffing myself with Easter chocolate, basking in the spring sunshine, and feeling the glow of two long weekends with a royal wedding sandwiched in the middle, it’s time for another round-up…

Jazz-heads are gearing up for a few weeks of delectable treats — Improvised Music Company’s 12 Points! European Jazz festival begins at Project Arts Centre on 4th of May, while the long-running Bray Jazz Festival is this weekend! Lots of chatter meanwhile on Jim Carroll’s recent blogpost on issues surrounding jazz promotion & attendance in Ireland, followed by an article in today’s IT by Laurence Mackin on the changing face of contemporary jazz. Some of the best gigs I’ve been to in Ireland have been jazz — Tomasz Stanko, EST, Bobo Stenson, and Marcin Wasilewski are a few that spring to mind —  and according to my extra-jazzy husband (who co-presents Jazz-o-rama on Dublin City FM), Phronesis is the hot ticket at 12 Points this year.

Mindfield (the ‘international festival of ideas’) begins this Friday in Merrion Square and runs through Sunday. Though to my mind a leetle on the pricey side (69 yo-yos for a full festival pass, or a tenner for each event) there are quite a few free workshops & family events. I’m a fan of the quick-fire Ignite concept of 10 speakers + 20 slides + 5 minutes, but there’s a whole range of interesting talks and hands-on events throughout the weekend.

Seriously digging the idea of Druid staging The Cripple of Inishman on, well, Inis Meáin. Locals have first dibs on tickets for the 26 July performance (sales opened yesterday to Aran Islands residents), with the remainder going on sale to the public on 23 May.

Yesterday’s Irish Times carried a special supplement featuring the programme for the Bealtaine Festival (‘Celebrating Creativity in Older Age’) which begins this Sunday. They’re also currently recruiting for Cultural Companions, a programme which matches seniors with folks interested in accompanying them to cultural events (applications are being accepted for North Dublin and Cork).

On the other end of the age spectrum, Sheila Wayman in the IT wrote yesterday about involving children in arts activities from an early age, citing the importance of introducing them to arts experiences outside of school structure. As the mama to a 18 month old little guy, I found the list of available activities very useful — with the baby boom in Ireland still in full flush, young families will be an important market & audience for arts organisations for some time…

I’ll be popping in to the Science Gallery’s new exhibition HUMAN+ tomorrow — Director Michael John Gorman recently penned a piece on the Guardian’s Science blog about the show that’s sold it to me!

The Galway City Museum is set to be re-furbished; it will be closed until early June to facilitate work, presumably in time for the Galway Arts Festival in July!

A quirky news item in the Independent last week noted that several roadside public sculptures from Kildare and Kerry have been stolen (presumably melted down for scrap). Obviously this is a distressing issue for the county councils and artists involved — though I must admit given the state of some of our public sculptures, these thieves might be doing us a roundabout favour (pun intended).

Temple Bar Cultural Trust is calling for interested participants for Culture Night 2011; deadline for expressions of interest is the 27th of May.

In an expected but warmly welcomed move, Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan issued a call for interested applicants to apply for board positions at the National Concert Hall, IMMA, Irish Architectural Archive, Arts Council, and Heritage Council. This is part of efforts by the Department to increase transparency as regards governance and recruitment, and to avoid the sinkhole of political appointee-ism that’s plagued some of our cultural institutions. There’s no guarantee appointees will be drawn from this open application process, nonetheless it’s a great step in the right direction. Applications are due May 13th, so get cracking!

The Fundit website’s done extraordinarily well in its first month, raising about 40k! Quite a number of projects have reached their funding targets — but I’d love to see the Irish/Polish Film Project and the Open House Dublin Book Project make it over the line (their funding target has to be met for them to receive any moola) — have a look & consider sending a few euro their way??

The worst news of the past 2 weeks? The closure of the Lighthouse Cinema, after the failure to reach an agreement with the current landlords and the appeal for mediation rejected. I still have difficulty believing there’s no alternative in this case; it makes me physically sick to think of that wonderful facility lying empty. Will this be the final death knell for the Smithfield redevelopment dream?

Weekly round-up: 6 April 2011

Photo from the Irish Times, 5 April 2011: Rob Dunne and Antoinette Emoe prepare Diego Rivera's Landscape with Cacti for hanging at Imma. Photograph: Alan Betson

A sooper-dooper bumper round-up for today, to make up for my absence over the past 2 weeks (travelling for conferences & wrapping up MA course for 2010-11!) I’ve made a few sub-headings to make navigating this update easier; I promise not to stay away so long next time!

Jobs / internships

Want to work for the Arts Council? Now’s your chance… currently hiring a new Director and 15 (!) new arts advisors across all disciplines, so dust off the CV….

I’ve been following news on changing practices around internships/work placements in the UK (see previous post): just yesterday the Guardian reported on Nick Clegg’s admission of the advantage conferred to him via a placement in his youth arranged by his father.  There’s been a recent push in government (as part of a ‘social mobility’ campaign) to increase application transparency, fair remuneration, and access to internships in desirable professions — an issue of importance here in Ireland as well, though this has yet to be addressed in any substantial way. Groups/blogs like Intern Aware and Interns Anonymous have formed in the UK to push for reform and improve access (although I would disagree with their distinctions drawn between ‘interning’ for a company and ‘volunteering’ with a charity as neglecting/mis-characterising the non-profit sector); is it time for similar action here in Ireland?

Awards Season

Congratulations to the Science Gallery for its recent Shorty Award (for the best Cultural Organisation) at the ‘Oscars of Twitter’, and to Vulgo.ie for its triumph as best Arts & Culture blog at the Irish Blog Awards in late March!

Budget woes & money matters

The Lighthouse Cinema is embroiled in a rent dispute with its landlord, who recently doubled the rent from 100k to 200k. The future of the cinema is of great concern to its patrons, local residents in Smithfield and taxpayers (especially since the government invested €1.75 million in its development). The petition by the landlord to wind up the lease has been adjourned to allow for board discussions; it’s also been suggested that the Cultural Cinema Consortium (formed by the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board) who initially invested in the project might take it over as a going concern… Certainly I’d be of the view it’s the best arthouse cinema in Dublin (sorry IFI!), although the decline of the Smithfield development and its failure to secure lasting tenants is obvious to anyone visiting, and a clear obstacle the cinema’s struggled to deal with. Will keep you posted…

As the Arts Council England finally sent out funding notifications to organisations,  the scale of cuts was wide enough to warrant massive coverage in all the UK dailies (I follow the Guardian mainly) and even feature on a Newsnight segment. 206 organisations had their funding cut completely, and supporters of various organisations and artforms fumed. The Arts Council itself recently came in for strongly worded criticism and an order to sell off big chunks of its collection, whilst the CEO of ACE answered tough online questions about funding decisions. It’s almost too much to digest, especially at a distance, but my impression is that ACE was in an impossible situation, with nearly every commentator convinced of his/her view that decision X or decision Y was a travesty of judgment — I would have more sympathy with Charlotte Higgins’ view that

… ACE’s behaviour is only a sideshow. The real story here is the gradually corrosive effect of a government that, while paying lip-service to the importance of the arts, seems intent on sleepwalking the nation towards cultural impoverishment. The cuts to ACE cannot be seen in isolation from the removal of public funding for humanities tuition in higher education; the absence of arts subjects from the English baccalaureate; the unstable situation among local authorities, some of which are bravely protecting cultural provision while all too many are cutting it off; the starvation of libraries.

Northern Ireland news

An Arts Hustings for Northern Ireland will be hosted by Arts Audiences NI, Arts & Business, and Voluntary Arts on 19 April at the Grand Opera House in Belfast; representatives from the various political parties will be in attendance, and Declan McGonagle will also be speaking.

Have to give a shout-out to all the fab folks who hosted our MA class recently during our visit to Belfast… thanks to Stephen Douds from BBC NI / Lyric Theatre, Ciara Hickey at the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Kabosh Theatre Company & Paula McKetridge, and Trevor Parkhill at the Ulster Museum for their fabulous hospitality — we had a marvellous time!

New research resources

I was recently alerted to the DHO:Discovery portal, one of the outcomes of the Digital Humanities Observatory project. It provides online access to digitised images, text, and sound recordings from a range of Irish cultural institutions, including the Chester Beatty Library, Irish Traditional Music Archive, and lots of material from TCD’s archives. The interface is clunky, but it’s wonderful to be able to access all of this material so easily, and will prove very useful for researchers.

I heart Ciaran Benson and his lovely writing, and I don’t care who knows it. The Irish Review of Books recently published his review of recent texts on Brian O’Doherty/Patrick Ireland — would that more Irish art criticism (including my own) flowed so beautifully!

The much-anticipated book Ireland, Design and Visual Culture : Negotiating Modernity 1922-1992, edited by Linda King and Elaine Sisson, has just been published. With The Moderns catalogue from IMMA also finally available, I’m looking forward to an imminent immersion in new Irish visual culture research  🙂

If new Irish art historical research is your bag (as it’s certainly mine), check out the annual Irish Association of Art Historians’ Study Day, taking place this Saturday (9 April) at IMMA from 10-5. It will be showcasing new research (spanning all periods/geographies of art history) by folks working on this island, and we’re delighted to have three PhD students from our own School presenting as well: Louis Funder, Jessica Fahy and Silvia Guglielmini (download the full programme).

Launches / event announcements / calls for participation

After lots of hard work and enthusiasm Business to Arts formally launched Fundit.ie, a new crowdsourcing platform for funding Irish arts and cultural initiatives. Crowdfunding as a phemomenon recently received a nice write-up in the Irish Times, and already there’s a great clutch of projects seeking funding on Fundit.ie: so far I’ve helped fund Monster Truck’s new digital screen in Temple Bar, IMMA’s efforts to purchase new Bea McMahon drawings, the publication by Conor & David for Open House Dublin, and an Irish/Polish Film Project. One of the caveats of crowdfunding is that organisations don’t receive funds unless their target is reached — so get over there, register, and contribute what you can to what catches your fancy!!

I am gutted I missed last night’s opening at IMMA for the Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera exhibition (complete with tequila and mariachis! In Dublin!! More exclamation marks necessary!!!!) Looking forward to seeing the show in any case (although as an Angelena I’ve seen my fair share of Kahlo & Rivera — and Siquieros and Orozco, who make up the holy trinity of Mexican muralistas). Sure to be a massive crowd-pleaser… (p.s. Aidan Dunne’s reflections on 20 years of IMMA’s history last week made for a nice recap!)

The second meeting of the Visual Arts Workers Forum (WORK IT) is taking place in Project on April 20th — the discussions and planned presentations look great, and are aimed at folks across Ireland working in the visual arts.

Friday is Love : Live Music / National Music Day, coordinated by Music Network — get thee down to one of the many events happening nationwide (the hubs will be hitting the town with junior in tow, seeing how much music he can take til he pops!)

Cinemagic Dublin is currently seeking kids and teenagers 10-18 years in age to sit on its film review jury — if you have any budding film critics knocking about the house, here’s your chance!

The Heritage Council is hosting an  EU Funding Information Event for Heritage Organisations on 13 April at its offices in Kilkenny, which will provide information for individuals and organisations on how to access EU pots o’cash — an underutilised source of funding in Ireland!


Aosdána recently added John Arden, Joseph O’Connor, John Tuomey, Corban Walker and Daphne Wright to their midst… @RositaBoland ‘s twitter reporting of their annual general meeting on April 4th was particularly entertaining (gardening wha?)

The Irish Times debuted its first Culture Podcast yesterday, featuring Fintan O’Toole, Jim Carroll, Rosita Boland and Shane Hegarty.

Puh-lease: 6 hours a week? Explaining what Irish academics do (and justifying the weirdness of our working patterns / heaviness of workload) continues to be the bane of my existence, especially as we’re now meant to conform to the Crazy Croke Park Agreement that’s arbitrarily imposed a demand of an extra hour spent teaching every week, across all levels of education (although I pause in my rant to spare a thought for Queen’s University in Belfast, where colleagues are facing drastic budget measures that will have a terrible impact on working conditions and consequently student experience). Much of the interesting debate on this subject has taken place over on ex-DCU president Ferdinand von Prondzynski’s University Blog (who’s since moved over to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen). The folks over at DublinIntellectual (particularly Dr Marisa Ronan) are taking matters into their own hands, making efforts to broaden awareness of research conducted by third level academics, by hosting a series of accessible ‘salons’ — the first takes place tonight at 8.30 at the Shebeen on South Great Georges Street.


I’m sure I’ve forgotten something… but gotta get back to the day job! 🙂




Weekly round-up: 10 February 2011

  • Anyone looking for a good intern? Some of our MA in Arts Management & Cultural Policy students are still seeking 8 week work placements this spring/summer in cultural organisations of all stripes (in Ireland/the UK/Europe/US). If you have a special project underway in need of assistance, and/or would like to welcome one of our students into your organisation, email me with details.
  • In a similar vein, the Digital Hub has also issued a call for interested organisations and companies to participate in its ‘Best in Show’ competition, which judges student work & offers placements in Digital Design, Film/Video, Multimedia,Animation, and Audio/Music.
  • Lots going on infrastructurally in the North: the new arts centre in Downpatrick, Co Down has broken ground, and the Lyric Theatre in Belfast’s major new theatre by architects O’Donnell & Tuomey is set to be finished in May; a slew of new jobs have also just been advertised for the venue. I heard a presentation a while back by the architects on the proposed design, and the final result looks to be fab.
  • The Arts Council of Northern Ireland continues its campaign (‘A Fair Deal for the Arts‘) to protect the cultural sector from devastating cuts in the forthcoming budget; a recently published report on the effect of the economic downturn on its regularly funded organisation details the damage that’s already been done.
  • The Department for Education in the UK has published a report on Music Education in England; one would hope its impact will be greater than the much-lauded but little-implemented Points of Alignment (2008) report in Ireland.
  • Culture Ireland’s ‘Imagine Ireland‘ year-long programme of events in the US has received lots of press recently, but on Monday the Irish Times had an interesting profile of the lesser-known Solas Nua center in Washington D.C., dedicated to showcasing contemporary Irish art.
  • The Contemporary Music Centre’s been busy: next Tuesday (the 15th) they’re hosting a day to introduce their ‘Artist in the Community‘ scheme to aspiring composers and musicians; and the 23rd of Feb and 30th of March sees their Nights of New Music programme at the National Concert Hall.
  • An upcoming one-day workshop.seminar on academic blogging is coming up on 4 March at TCD: Honest to Blog: A symposium on web legitimacy is part of an ongoing series on the subject of blogging in the humanities.
  • I’m loving LeCool Dublin’s coverage of arts events and their snazzy website; worth a look-see if you’re not familiar with it already.
  • The National Campaign for the Arts has created a new Twibbon to add to Facebook/Twitter avatars & show your support during the general election campaign.
  • Not arts related, strictly speaking, but one of the best articles I’ve read on the Irish economic crisis was recently published in March’s Vanity Fair.
  • World Book Night is coming up! One million books will be given out during the first week of March in Ireland and the UK, and I’m thrilled to be one of the lucky folks chosen to give out 48 copies of Beloved by Toni Morrison! I’ll be posting details of my master giveaway plan next week if you’re interested in snagging a copy.
  • And just to keep your day sweet… all hail John Mackintosh, the Toffee King. I can assure you in advance you will like it. It is delightful.