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: 16 May 2011

I’m late this week (or early, depending on your perspective), but exam marking is finished for the year – woo hoo! Lots on the wire over the past few days (and not all Eurovision or Queen-related):

Most intriguing was the news at the weekend that the state is keen to take back Bank of Ireland’s College Green buildings ‘for cultural uses’ on foot of its bailout arrangements with the bank. Apparently the Minister wishes to turn the historic building into a ‘tourist attraction’ of some kind: ‘His plans, which are at a preliminary stage, envisage the conversion of the building into a centre celebrating Dublin’s literary heritage, incorporating an exhibition space and reading rooms as well as a cafe and meeting rooms. Mr Deenihan’s spokeswoman said he was examining a number of venues for a “world literature centre”, but that no decision had been taken yet on a location.’ An interesting proposal — but can or will the government actually stump up for such a large potential development? Such ‘grand gestures’ of the capital kind have been a feature of every government, but it’s the ongoing investment in the arts (and provision of programming, administrative overhead, etc) that’s proven more difficult to source over the years. It will take some delicate negotiation to ensure such a project doesn’t wind up another white elephant, another unsustainable or irrelevant ‘arts centre’, or a further drain on already meagre resources. And frankly, publishing a range of fairly daft public suggestions  in the Irish Times (eh, they’re not knocking it down, folks) — and the short-term memories which appear to have forgotten there WAS an arts centre there until recently! — isn’t quite the discussion this project needs. The prospect exercises me greatly because in my view, this is the most magnificent civic complex in Dublin city centre, and we haven’t a great history of being sympathetic to our architectural heritage.

In further NAMA-related developments, the National Gallery is receiving the gift of a Lavery painting ‘Return from Market’ (cheeky choice!) as a thank-you from the agency for storing works to be resold from Derek Quinlan’s collection. The rest of the collection is supposedly being offered first to the NGI/IMMA/OPW (although their acquisition budgets are tiny, so I’m not sure how this will pan out!) before going to public auction. Note to NAMA: I have a very secure, dry attic, and a Roderic O’Conor would do nicely for our living room wall.

Dublin Dance Festival began on Friday, and continues until May 28th. I’m quite taken with the description of Hiroaki Umeda’s Haptic & Adapting for Distortion (and the graphics remind me of a Peter Kogler exhibition I saw at MUMOK some years ago – most groovous).

Today the National Campaign for the Arts coordinated a series of 40+ ‘meet & greets’ between arts folks and local TDs — Tania Banotti (head of Theatre Forum) was likewise recently profiled in the Irish Times on her involvement with the campaign. It’s great to see ongoing enthusiasm for the campaign — and significant fundraising achieved for their efforts.

Temple Bar Gallery & Studios recently launched its new website — very snazzy — and I’m looking forward to attending their symposium on Visual Arts Audiences on Wednesday.

The Irish Architecture Foundation has launched Architecture Tours Ireland, offering five new ongoing public tours: ‘Dublin Docklands’,’Georgian Dublin’, ‘Temple Bar’, ‘The Living City’, ‘Children’s Activity Tour’. Hopefully they’ll find great success with this initiative; with so much fascinating architectural history condensed in the city centre, it seems a natural fit!

Good news that imprisoned Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei was finally allowed a family visit, although his situation still looks far from encouraging — the amount of public pressure and denouncement of his detention has been quite astonishing, and the Chinese government’s lack of response even more so.

The Contemporary Music Centre will be staging its last new music salon until the fall — the final performance on 25 May sounds intriguing:  ‘a music theatre piece based on the diaries and poetry of Sir Ernest Shackleton and Bill Manhire’.

I received a link today to a new blog focused on studio visits throughout Ireland — From the studio of… — sounds like a great idea, and a promising theme — I’ve got ya bookmarked!

Loughlin Deegan will be leaving the helm of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival to take up the juicy post of Director of the Lir, the new national academy for the performing arts envisaged as the RADA of Ireland.

Gemma Tipton in today’s Irish Times wrote on grassroots/artist-led initiatives in a time of recession (a subject of one of last year’s MA theses, and another this year as well) — in related news the collectively-run space The Complex avoided eviction in the ill-starred Smithfield development this week thanks to the intervention of Minister Deenihan, as reported in Le Cool.

And finally… big congrats to Jessica Fuller, who’s currently upgrading her MA with us — she was the driving force behind the first project to be awarded funding under the National Music Education Programme — known as ‘Music Generation‘ (sponsored by U2 and the Ireland Funds and managed by Music Network), the most important scheme funding music education in the country. Three years of development are now ahead for the Sligo Music Education Programme (SMEP) in partnership with Music Generation — looking forward to great things ahead!

I’m off this weekend to visit Cork, avoid the Queen and check out new stuff at the Glucksman, Triskel and Lismore Castle Arts — may not be back with another update until next week, so behave yourselves in the meantime.

Weekly round-up: 4 March 2011

Finally catching my breath today — here’s the skinny:

  • Tomorrow’s World Book Night! I’m going to be at Starbucks Blackrock from 11 am tomorrow (Saturday) handing out 48 free copies of Beloved by Toni Morrison– come on down!
  • Some choice jobs in the listings this week — positions at Project, Audiences Northern Ireland, South Dublin County Council, etc.!
  • The Dublin Contemporary released the first list of artists who will be participating in the exhibitions– some great names there, including James Coleman, Lisa Yuskavage, and Richard Mosse. I was tickled to see another Peruvian name added to the list (Fernando Bryce) — as a half-Peruvian lady myself (one of my cousins was Miss Arequipa a few years ago in the Miss Peru paegant, hey hey!)  I’m astonished at the sudden influx led by the DC crowd! O’Brien’s will start having to stock pisco next…
  • However in one of the most upsetting announcements this week, a post on CIRCA’s website indicated that the magazine will likely disappear from March onwards. After suffering a disastrous 56% funding cut from the Arts Council last year, the magazine limped on ahead with online publishing. However this doesn’t seem sustainable any longer– it seems hard to believe that we will be without a significant contemporary art publication for the first time in 30 years.
  • Culture Northern Ireland is hosting an event entitled *Showcase on 22nd March, with the juicy theme ‘entrepreneurship and new business models in the cultural industries.’
  • I missed this last week, but Anne Enright authored a great piece in the Economist on Irish artists’ perseverance (and perhaps flourishing?) in the face of the recession.
  • I was delighted to see one of our former students in the Irish Times this week, promoting the Vantastival festival in Co Louth (early bird tickets are on sale now! I do so covet a VW campervan of my own).
  • Don’t forget the the closing date for the Clore Fellowship for cultural leaders from the Clore Foundation/Arts Council is next Friday!
  • The RDS show ‘Dearc 150‘ is ongoing but closes on the 20th of March; the exhibition is celebrating 150 years of the RDS Taylor Art Award by staging a retrospective of past winners, including Walter Osborne, Sir William Orpen, Seán Keating, and more contemporary recipients like James Hanley.
  • I was greatly saddened to hear of the passing of artist TP Flanagan — a marvellous artist who will be much missed!

Weekly round-up: 24 February 2011

  • The Dublin Book Festival begins next Wednesday — a great line-up of events and talks! In my own small corner of the universe, I’m going to be giving away 50 copies of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as part of World Book Night: swing by Starbucks in Blackrock Village from 11 am on Saturday 5th March to snag a free copy, first come first served (just mention the blog!).
  • The Irish Museums Association’s annual conference begins tomorrow in Drogheda; do join us for 2 full days of presentations, visits and discussion amongst the Irish museum community.
  • Project Arts Centre is looking for a few good bloggers — dangled carrots include free tickets, opportunities to interview artists and performers, use of a spiffy blogger-phone (sounds positively Batman-esque), etc… apply for the My_Project scheme by 7 March!
  • The First Thursdays initiative by TBCT carries forward the enthusiasm of Culture Night into a regular late-night opening of galleries and arts spaces in Temple Bar. The Clyne Gallery, Exchange Dublin, Gallery of Photography, Graphic Studio Gallery, Monster Truck Gallery & Studios, NGG / No Grants Gallery, Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios will all extend opening hours until 8 pm during the first Thursday of every month.
  • Shona McCarthy has been appointed Chief Executive of the company managing (London)Derry’s City of Culture programme for 2013. First task: nomenclature decision??
  • Whilst on the subject of Northern Ireland — our annual MA trip this year is to Belfast, where we’ll be visiting a number of cultural institutions & meeting with managers and policy-makers. If you have any suggestions of groovy places/people to add to our itinerary, please email me!
  • The OPW has begun recruitment for its seasonal heritage guides at sites around the country; this is a popular summer job for many of our current and past students, and online applications will only be accepted from 24 February – 3 March, so get cracking!
  • They speak! Newly appointed Dublin Contemporary curators Jota Castro and Christian Viveros-Fauné have recorded an interview available on CIRCA’s website. A recent press release from the DC also notes they will be giving a talk at the Armory Show in NYC next week on the subject of ‘Biennials As Barometers of Social Transformation? Dublin Contemporary 2011: Art, Crisis, Change & The Office of Non-Compliance‘. One would hope a podcast will be made available??
  • Eamonn O’Doherty will be one happy camper: the Anna Livia fountain (the ‘Floozie in the Jacuzzi’) is finally being re-installed in Dublin city centre after more than a decade in storage; eyewitnesses from the National Museum noted it being lowered into position today in Croppie’s Acre. Hopefully she will receive better treatment than her last respite on O’Connell St, although over on the online Vulgo zine Ciarán Mac Gonigal gives a fairly pessimistic view of the state of Irish public sculpture.
  • Some really thought-provoking debate is over on Diane Ragsdale’s blog on the subject of ‘failing’ arts organisations and the theatre ‘oversupply’ issue raised previously by NEA chariman Rooco Landesman. I agree that it’s very easy to pontificate on the (somewhat specious) claim of oversupply, far harder to suggest ways this would actually be dealt with (if even proven!). On her blog, Shoshanna Fanizza examines the claim of oversupply against her own community in Boulder, Colorado. I can only imagine the wars that would be started should someone claim that Irish theatre is oversupplied (although recent funding decisions by the Arts Council certainly have had the whiff of rationalization, and one of the keynote address at last year’s Theatre Forum conference addressed this very issue of a sustainable theatre economy).

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.