Next Week: Visual & Material Culture of Famine Conference

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Just a wee note about a conference I’m co-organising next week (14-16 March), hosted by Maynooth University and organised/funded as part of the NWO-funded International Network of Irish Famine Studies (of which I’m a core member).

Registration is free! If you’ve an interest in Famine studies, visual/material culture, or historical memory, please feel free to register and come along.

We’ve a fantastic programme that includes seven panels of top-notch papers, five keynote speakers (including me, speaking on Evidencing Eviction: the Visibility of Irish Poverty, 1870-90 on Weds.), and a range of special events, including:

  • A reading by acclaimed Irish author and Aósdana member Evelyn Conlon, whose most recent novel, Not the Same Sky (2013) draws on the social and material history of the Earl Grey-assisted emigration scheme, reimagining the story of three young women from amongst 4,000 Irish girls sent to Australia between 1848-50.
  • A presentation by Moonfish Theatre Company, whose stage adaptation of Joseph O’Connor’s Famine novel Star of the Sea has been on a sell-out national tour.
  • A talk by screenwriter and playwright Hugh Travers, Maynooth University’s Screenwriter-in-Residence who has been commissioned to write a sitcom on the Famine for Channel 4.
  • A special tour by curator Donal Maguire of the National Gallery of Ireland’s forthcoming exhibition The Pathos of Distance, a collaboration with artist Sarah Pierce exploring the visual history of Irish emigration.

All details (including travel, accommodation, and full schedule) are on the conference website.

Weekly round-up: 16 March 2012

St Patrick's Day by James Mahony, Illustrated London News, 13 March 1847

No better day than St Patrick’s Eve for a weekly round-up!

Yesterday was a busy day for arts folk… Theatre Forum held a large members’ meeting at the National Concert Hall to present its analysis of the recent Arts Council funding decisions to its membership. I’m not sure if/when aspects of their analysis will be made publicly available, but in any case the review’s been sparked by the unexpected extent of the cuts for many organisations, including indications from the Council that the move away from funding companies is being accelerated. The overall picture for music or the visual arts is more unclear, as no information has yet been aggregated to my knowledge. As negotiations and consultations continue, more developments will undoubtedly follow… (** UPDATE: TF has made available notes from the meeting and the presentation made that day; these are freely available, but to download the full report you must be a TF member.)

Same day, same place — Business to Arts held a briefing on their upcoming collaboration with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., which will roll out a version of its highly successful organisational capacity-building programme here in Ireland. Details are being finalized, but the programme will soon be open to application (with around 20 participants envisaged). Delivered by BtoA and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management (based at the Kennedy Center), the programme will consist of a number of focused training sessions, working groups and one-on-one mentoring (conducted over a two year period) between programme coordinators and senior managers from the selected arts organisations. More details will emerge soon — and will be publicised here and of course on Business to Arts‘ own website. (**UPDATE: A short pdf publication by the DeVos Institute entitled ‘The Cycle: Planning for Success in the Arts‘, summarised during the briefing, provides an overview of their philosophy and approach toward capacity building; download it here.)

The Irish Film Board and FÁS Screen Training Ireland are also sponsoring the participation of two Irish film executives or producers in the Inside Pictures Initiative, which provides professional development and further networking/training in the international film industry. Deadline for applications is today (16 March)!

Gerry Godley’s letter to the Irish Times this week (on behalf of the National Campaign for the Arts) on the proposed ‘rationalising’ of Culture Ireland (stripping it of its independence as an agency) mirrored widely held views in the sector that this is a foolhardy move… no better day than St Patrick’s to reflect on the contribution of the arts to enhancing the Irish reputation abroad, and consider seriously the effect that these ill-considered measures will have on the arts sector’s capacity to deliver high quality artistic experiences.

In related news — tomorrow (17 March) at the RHA, Leviathan Political Cabaret will host a panel discussion on ‘CultureShock: Irish Identity in Crisis?‘ featuring Eugene Downes, Dylan Haskins, Sinead Gleeson, and Rowena Neville as speakers.

Artbeat, Dublin City FM‘s weekly arts magazine programme, is looking for an enthusiastic person to join its team of keen volunteer broadcasters. Artbeat covers all aspects of the arts in Dublin city and county. They’re looking for someone with a finger on the arts pulse, a voice to go with it and a willingness to give an hour on Wednesday evenings over to the live programme. This volunteer role offers great experience with writing, producing, sound mixing and presenting for radio. If interested please email artbeat@dublincityfm.ie outlining previous arts related experiences and what you would like to do on such a radio show. (*UPDATE*: applications are now closed for this role)

Dublin Dance Festival is also looking for volunteers for its May programme in a number of diverse project areas; applications are being accepted until 11 April.

Irish musical theatre (not the most well-developed of genres here!) is coming into its own this month, with the re-staging of Rough Magic’s wonderful Improbably Frequency at the Gaiety (13-24 March), and THISISPOPBABY’s Alice in Funderland coming to the main stage at the Abbey (30 March – 12 May). A lively Cork vs. Dublin debate will be one of the events accompanying Alice’s production — I’m determined not to miss the show this time around!

On 22 March, Dublintellectual is launching a new 10-part series of events (‘City Intersections’) structured around the question ‘What does it mean to be urban in Dublin?’ The initial event offers an intriguing list of speakers (Maeve Higgins, you’re making the rounds!) and I look forward to hearing more about future plans…

On 4 April the Society for Musicology in Ireland is sponsoring a symposium at UCD on the present state of Irish musicology within (and without) the academy.

Two excellent new books on Irish visual culture have been published — Catherine Morris’ Alice Milligan and the Irish Cultural Revival, and Fintan Cullen’s Ireland on Show: Art, Union and Nationhood. Looking forward to getting stuck into both… and congrats to Catherine and Fintan!!

The National Craft Gallery has unveiled a lovely new website — a great counterpart to the wonderful shows at the Kilkenny-based gallery itself.

The Crawford Art Gallery in Cork recently announced that 39 works from AIB’s art collection (donated to the State) will be joining their permanent collection — press release with full details is here.

CoisCéim Broadreach and Dublin City Council are running a drop-in dance programme for over-50s, featuring lessons delivered by choreographers from CoisCéim Dance Theatre. The programme ‘Wild and Wonderful‘ continues now through April, connected also to the Bealtaine Festival 2012 taking place in May.

The Flaneur arts & culture blog (which bills itself as ‘An Illustrated Blog of Global Culture’) is looking for new contributors – although I don’t think a mustache is required, and absinthe is probably optional!

The Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network featured an encouraging story of a recent arts graduate’s search for employment — well worth reading during these days of otherwise gloomy outlooks!

Arts management & policy research is on the brain this week: the HERAValue project blog (‘Measuring the societal impacts of universities’ research into arts and the humanities’) has a very interesting series of posts on valuation methods applied to the arts and humanities; Dave O’Brien (lecturer at City University, London) also recently posted an excellent essay on ‘Economics and the cultural sector: can they achieve a more diplomatic relationship?’ on Opendemocracy.net – well worth a read if economic valuation studies are your thing!

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!