That Friday feeling: new jobs & and other announcements

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UCD has just announced its 2017-18 Artists in Residence: this programme has gone from strength to strength, and we are delighted to be welcoming these folks to campus soon!

Jobs have just been updated with a new crop of listings; I’d also like to highlight the following opportunities:

  • The Arts Council is sponsoring a Jerome Hynes Fellowship for 2017/18, as part of the Clore Leadership Programme. This is a prestigious opportunity to access leadership training in the UK; deadline is 13 Februrary
  • The Irish Museums Association Board of Directors is recruiting! We have 3 board positions open: this is a hard-working and energetic voluntary board that represents the interests of museums, north and south. Deadline for expressions of interest is 24 February!
  • The Thomas Dammann Junior Memorial Trust awards are open for applications until 10 March; grants up to 5k are offered for projects and research related to the visual arts in Ireland.
  • The Centre for Creative Practices in Dublin (set up by one of our past MA grads Monika Sapielak) has recently launched a new resource, Artconnected, that lists call-outs for creative talent, venues, arts professionals, service & equipment providers — well worth bookmarking & signing up to their newsletter for notifications.

Arts jobs, events, and publication announcements

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

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

A few updates, in any event:

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

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

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

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

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

Who chooses cultural management as a career, and why?

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Today’s Arts Management Network newsletter carries a very interesting review of the French sociologist Vincent Dubois’ new book Culture as a Vocation: Sociology of career choices in cultural management.

Based on interviews with 654 students in MA courses in cultural management in France, it yields some intriguing insights on the demographics and aspirations of those seeking to become cultural managers (emphases mine):

Dubois examines, on the basis of his survey, the social factors and characteristics of the aspirants for an occupation in cultural management. In doing so he finds that these persons are mainly female, in the majority have a comparatively secure social background, often originate from families of academics and are equipped with a high educational capital. On top of that they frequently come out of an environment in which they early had the opportunity to socialize in a cultural way, as for example by getting private teaching lessons in music instruments or by being member of a theatre group.

This resonates strongly with my experience working in UCD’s Arts Management & Cultural Policy MA for 13 years. Given that arts management is often an economically precarious and competitive career, Dubois’ research into individual motivations for pursuing this path is intriguing:

Finally, Dubois points out further reasons for a career aspiration in cultural management – resulting from a broader social context. Thus, many of his study participants understand cultural work as an expression of self-fulfillment, freedom and satisfaction, because it gives them the feeling of doing something for the public welfare and acting for a higher purpose in life. Thereby, at the same time, they distance themselves from pure economically orientated occupational fields. A career in cultural management by that becomes a personal self-realization project, all in the sense of the central concepts of neo-capitalism.

Whether or not you agree such aspirations are an expression of neo-capitalist ideologies (and I would be more doubtful of aspects of this analysis), the descriptions Dubois offers are very compelling. To date, most research on the arts labour market deals with artists’ careers, incomes and training. Given the expansion and development of arts management as a specific career path (something I am directly involved with), this type of research is very valuable in thinking through the challenges of arts management training, and consequences for the sector as a whole. The overwhelming dominance of entry-mid level arts management positions by women, for example, is often remarked upon, but we understand little about the effect this actually has on careers, progression, and the functioning of arts organisations themselves.

One of the insights I found most interesting is Dubois’ description of the relationship between the social backgrounds of arts management and audience development agendas:

Dubois’ findings make it clear that the diversification of the audience required by cultural institutions can hardly be successful if the majority of their staff originates from academic families with a (high) cultural education. They simply cannot put themselves in the position of the living conditions of socially disadvantaged people or groups of society belonging to minorities and therefore in their work they reflect – as it is also criticised again and again – especially their own expectations of culture and cultural mediation.

This is a problem further exacerbated by the prevalence of unpaid internships in the arts, which creates a significant barrier to a diverse work force — a paradox not fully acknowledged by arts organisations that may run outreach programmes, but be structurally closed off for professional entry by individuals from similarly challenged backgrounds.

There are so many questions raised by this study — I look forward to reading the full text at length — and discussing whether they apply (or not) to the Irish experience.

 

Symposium on Artist/Academic Collaborations: Uncomfortable Encounters, Disruptive Pedagogies (10 December)

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I’m pleased to share details of an event I’m helping to co-organize in Dublin on 10 December, led by my colleague Dr Alice Feldman (UCD Sociology).

Uncomfortable Encounters, Disruptive Pedagogies is a symposium funded by the UCD+NCAD Alliance project (organized by a team of artists and academics from NCAD, UCD, UCD Parity Studios and Create – the National Development Agency for the Collaborative Arts) that will explore collaborative teaching and research practices between academics, artists and activists in Ireland.

We are delighted to welcome guest speaker Marina Gržinić (University of Vienna) who will introduce and discuss her own transdisciplinary conceptual work. An artist and academic, her work concerns neoliberal global capitalism and necropolitics (eg the politics of death and technologies/modes of power), and its manifestations in post-socialist transformations within Eastern Europe.

Her presentation will be followed by three mixed panels of Irish researchers and practitioners who will discuss how their work relates to the symposium’s three central strands of aesthetics, knowledge and pedagogy.

The purpose of the overall project (and this event) is to cultivate collective understandings and vocabularies surrounding this sphere of work in Ireland; to support an evolving network and community of practice; and to locate Irish practice internationally. It will be followed in the new year by additional workshops focused on networking and funding opportunities to support future research endeavours.

All are welcome! This event is free, but please register your attendance.

Download: press release/event info (pdf)

New Research Centre: UCD & NCAD Centre for Creative Arts & Critical Cultures

UCD Artist in Residence Dominic Thorpe, working with students from the Visual Arts Society (Drawsoc), Spring 2015

UCD Artist in Residence Dominic Thorpe, working with students from UCD’s Visual Arts Society (Drawsoc), Spring 2015

As many of you know I’ve been working for the past year as part of the NCAD + UCD Strategic Alliance project. I’m delighted to share today that we’ve received the green light from UCD to officially establish the UCD & NCAD Centre for Creative Arts & Critical Cultures, of which I will be Co-Director (along with Prof. Jessica Hemmings, Visual Culture, NCAD).

This is the first research centre at UCD to be formally co-hosted with another higher education institution. Its aim is to promote, initiate and coordinate cross-institutional academic activity in the domain of creative arts and critical cultures, across NCAD and UCD’s schools, colleges and disciplines. Here are a few more details of our ambitions:

The Centre for Creative Arts & Critical Cultures supports a cross-institutional, creative academic community whose work bears an affinity of interest in the arts, culture and critical studies — amplifying the impact and reach of this work across both institutions, and beyond to wider society. It will achieve these aims by developing new teaching and research initiatives, promoting and supporting the activities of its affiliated members, and facilitating collaborations between the two institutions.

Our population includes undergraduate and postgraduate students, postdoctoral scholars, academic faculty and staff, and associated artists, critics/writers, designers, architects, and cultural producers. From music to theatre, visual arts to literature, to architecture and design — researchers at NCAD and UCD are nationally and internationally recognized as experts and innovators in the creative arts. However, the Centre’s mission is not constrained to any single discipline, or limited to the arts and humanities. What connects our community is a spirit of intellectual openness and the belief that imaginative thinking and approaches can transform scientific, social scientific, and humanistic enquiry.

By creating this community of scholars we seek to explore alternatives to traditional disciplinary canons; collectively propose new theoretical frameworks; and inspire in each other new forms of artistic and intellectual practice. The Centre will promote cross-disciplinarity and the scholarly ambitions of the community at its core, by:

  • Hosting symposia, conferences, exhibitions and joint events
  • Supporting joint publications and creative dissemination of research
  • Encouraging and sharing information about funding and training opportunities (national, international, European), with the aim of developing joint applications
  • Developing opportunities for staff exchange, mentorship and career development (postgraduate and staff)
  • Developing ‘research clusters’ that will bring together groups of researchers working across both institutions on related themes
  • Promoting the co-supervision of PhDs and funding applications to support them
  • Informing the development of UCD and NCAD’s strategic research objectives
  • Promoting the vision of an interlinked creative campus which welcomes and supports cultural activity, and innovative, cross-disciplinary thinking

The Centre will be discussed further at the NCAD Academic Council meeting on 17 June. We’re looking forward developing a full programme and formal launch event for the autumn semester (lots more details to come) — and announcing the outcome of our recent €30,000 seed funding call — but for now, I’m really excited about this new challenge ahead, and the possibilities it will create for students and staff!

More details are also available here: http://ncad-ucd.ie/project-strands/creative-arts-critical-cultures/