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!

Weekly update – 19 September 2011

Back on the grid… and a heck of a week ahead:

The Absolut Dublin Fringe Festival charges into its second (and final) week… I’m looking forward to smooshing in as much as I can over the next few days (and maybe even darning a few socks)!

Culture Night is the other massive event this week – Friday 23 September. The scale of the ever-expanding arts & culture bonanza is truly mind-boggling, and it’s not just Dublin — 30 other regions across Ireland are participating this year. Put on some good walking shoes, plan ahead, and plan for alternatives (since many events get packed out early)!

Nosey nellies will have their prayers answered with the Irish Museum Association’s upcoming members’ trip to the new storehouses of the National Museum in Swords on 24 September. These are new state-of-the-art collections management facilities totaling more than 200,00 sq. feet. Book soon, this is bound to be a popular visit!

The National Campaign for the Arts has a series of key events happening this week: on Wednesday the Minister will be addressing a session of the Seanad (members of the public may attend but must request admission); on Thursday constituency coordinators are meeting in the National Concert Hall to discuss next steps, and on Friday the NCFA is hosting a presidential hustings in the IFI (attendance is free, but arrive early!) Details of all these events (and contact information) is located on the NCFA’s website.

The Contemporary Music Centre’s new music series New Sound Worlds begins Weds. 21 September in the National Concert Hall, the first of eight concerts curated by Siobhan Cleary.

Anyone watching Craft Master on RTE? I’m not usually one for reality shows, but this is a canny way of getting exposure for new craft practitioners (beyond the cheesy Nationwide profile). It started on 6 September but runs until 11 October on Tuesdays at 7 pm.

Taking a page from the UpStart‘s creative General Election poster campaign, Fire Station Artists’ Studio (in collaboration with the Danish collective Kuratorisk Aktion) has commissioned a project and poster campaign entitled ‘Troubling Ireland‘, ongoing in Dublin City Centre until the 23rd of September.

Keep your eyes peeled… Open House Dublin 2011 (themed ‘The Architecture of Change’) runs from 7-9 October; this season’s brochures are scattered round the city & are beautifully designed.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth saying twice… The Irish Writers’ Centre is launching its Novel Fair Competition on Wednesday 21 September, which will give unknown novelists a chance to compete for big-time exposure and possible contracts.

Lots of interesting board positions have opened up in the North — Northern Ireland Screen (23 Sept deadline), the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (30 September deadline), and the Northern Irish Museums Council (7 October deadline, seeking a Director) are seeking expressions of interest/applications from potential candidates.

The Friends of the National Collections of Ireland have a new website! Founded by Sarah Purser in 1924, the Society still works to donate works of special importance to public collections in Ireland.

MOMA’s increasing its admission price from $20 to $25 — yeowch! Good debate follows in the comments on the NY Times’ opinion piece.

Per Cent for Public Art‘ is the title of an upcoming forum on public art in Ireland on 14 October in Wexford, presented by Articulate (a very motivated & accomplished group of former UCD MA students), and sponsored by the Arts Council, OPW, Wexford local authorities, UCD & others. The keynote speaker is Sara Reisman, director of NYC’s Percent for Art scheme, and the programme of participants looks fantastic for anyone interested in Irish public art.

CREATE (the national development agency for the collaborative arts) is looking for a new director, but they’re also running an upcoming symposium on the Arts and Civil Society at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork on 20-21 October. Again lots of great speakers, although it’s lamentable a more affordable concession offer is not available, especially given the subject of the event.

Weekly round-up: 5 May 2011

Photo: Irish Times Online

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! We’ve been up to our ojos interviewing for next year’s MA in arts management class — but here’s the weekly dose of arts goodness:

I was very excited to hear that UCD’s former gaff has been selected as the venue for much of the Dublin Contemporary. Curators will be pulling a PS1 on Earlsfort Terrace and utilising the existing fabric of the building, its long history as an institutional (and indeed exhibition space) becoming a palpable presence in the installations. Of all the news that’s circled round the DC over the past few months, this is by far the most promising! Can’t wait to see what emerges…

What are you doing this evening? First Thursdays at Temple Bar has been expanding, with a great list of venues opening their doors from 6-8 pm tonight.

The Fourth Wall’ programme of events on architecture and film began today at the IFI and continues until the 16th — quite a number of interesting screenings will take place over the weekend, and a fab-sounding academic symposium tomorrow.

I missed it last week, but the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork has reopened after a period of refurbishment. Part of the project involved the establishment of a new Theatre Development Centre, of which Corcadorca is the first occupant (a nice feature in Irish Theatre Magazine has details on the company’s recent developments).

An short opinion piece in the Telegraph bemoaned the lack of homegrown senior arts managers in the wake of Martin Roth’s appointment to the helm of the V&A Museum (he’s German)… apart from having the slight whiff of xenophobia, strangely enough this is also a common complaint in the US (ie the very small pool of experienced and available museum directors). It would seem to me the problem is less a British one than an international issue, especially given the natural (and correct) international mobility of folks at this level of seniority. Furthermore it points perhaps to the very demanding number of responsibilities (and often low remuneration) now required of a museum director — perhaps it is now a less appealing position than ever it was.

There was a lovely feature on artist Michael Craig-Martin in the Guardian yesterday… I like his thinking: ‘… making art is about making particulars, and that particular something can be the generator of a generalisation.”

How to support two arts organisations at the same time? Go see Pygmalion (just opened at the Abbey to great notices) and let those royalties from GB Shaw roll in to the National Gallery… there, don’t you feel better now? 🙂

An excellent chance to hear a world expert on intellectual copyright and the Creative Commons is coming up at The Science Gallery: Professor James Boyle from Duke University will be speaking on Thursday the 12th of May, and is unmissable if you’ve an interest in arts law & anything to do with creative copyright!

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! 🙂