Weekly update: 10 October 2011

The new WorldIrish.com site, one of the diaspora initiatives launched last week

Feedback on the arts/culture dimension of the recent Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle has been buzzing since  Saturday, with a subsequent article in the IT on corporate sponsorship & the arts (also predated last week by an article on foreign bank subsidizing of recent arts activity). I admit to some scepticism regarding the notion of a mass ‘homecoming’ event (will there be cheerleaders & tailgates?), but it was heartening to see the cultural agenda as a central part of the discussions. (on a side note, it’s a pity that the live feed of the event hasn’t been archived!!)

More than 350 people have signed the petition launched by IVARO to urge full implementation of the Artists’ Resale Right (as it currently can be availed of by living artists, the petition seeks for the resale rights to extend to deceased artists whose work is still in copyright, thus bringing Ireland in line with EU conventions). Consider clicking through the link & adding your name in support??

To coincide with Dublin Contemporary, Noone Casey are offering a mentorship award worth €10k of sponsorship, financial & strategic planning advice to an emerging arts collective, organisation, etc. (the brief is pretty open!) Deadline is 12th of October.

The Arts Council has recently announced its list of new artform advisers — the folks tasked with viewing & visiting shows/exhibitions/etc. across the country, and assisting with funding applications and grantmaking decisions.

Calling all arts marketers: Una Carmody, director of the Arts Audiences project, is seeking feedback from marketers with respect to the Target Group Index Report (to be released this month)… quite a lot of relevant information and data about arts participation is contained in this report, and Una & co are taking requests for report analysis.

We’ve entered the final week of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival… My own viewings have been mixed, from the great (Rian) to the meh (Peer Gynt), but bookings have been very solid and it’s been difficult to source tickets for many shows. The box office has been releasing 10 euro rush tickets the same day as some performances, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their twitter feed or facebook page to snag a deal! (a few interesting and provocative write-ups in the Guardian and Saturday Irish Times, as well)

The annual architectural bonanza known as Open House Dublin began last weekend; if the queues at sites in our neighborhood were representative at all, it’s been a busy launch! So many great programmes and events along with the architectural tours, it’s a must-see.

One helluva white elephant: following accusations of mismanagement the €44 million Niemeyer arts centre in Spain is set to close after opening only 6 months ago. One of our current PhD students in the department is likewise investigating the effects of ‘starchitecture’ in the Rioja region; it would seem the ‘Bilbao effect’ is not all it’s been cracked up to be…

The UK think-tank Demos have recently released a report into the creative industries sector entitled ‘Risky Business‘, suggesting that creative business have proven to be lower-risk than non-creative/cultural ventures, and calling for greater levels of government attention to fostering their growth.

Following its enormously successful application call for its BA in Acting in 2011, the new Lir (Nat Academy for the Performing Arts) has announced it’s accepting applications for its BA In Acting 2012 / Diploma in Stage Management and Technical Theatre 2012.

We knew it was coming, but, alas, IMMA will be closing its main building for refurbishment on 1 November until December 2012. What a buzzkill for all the enthusiasm generated by Dub Contemp 😦 😦

Booking has opened for the International Puppet Festival in the south county Dublin & Wicklow area… a series of free street events will also be taking place in Temple Bar, Bray and Dun Laoghaire on the 23rd of October– it looks like a great programme!

…and if you live in South Dublin, take a moment to complete a public survey on usage of its library systems.

It’s still a few weeks away (9 November), but consider booking in for the Irish Museum Association’s annual lecture — this year featuring Dr Penelope Curtis, Director of the Tate Britain — the tickets generally get snapped up!

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: 1 June 2011

March 1966 - the theft of Nelson's head (image from the Evening Press)

Last night on the telly Whose Art is It Anyway? hosted by Joe Duffy explored public art in Ireland (catch it on RTE player). I found it disappointing and very narrow in its coverage of the range of work produced across the country, though people keep telling me I should be grateful they had any programme on the subject at all. Balderdash — we should (and I do!) expect more from our national broadcaster.

Still on the public art tip — on the back of last night’s programme I was sent a link to artist Sean Lynch’s online piece on a few of Dublin’s dismantled public monuments (written to accompany his public artwork Me Jewel & Darlin’) — some fantastic images there (including the one above)!

Although I missed the Queen in Cork, a visit to the new Triskel Arts Centre more than compensated — a beautiful exhibition by Vivienne Roche was there consisting of drawings, photographs, projections and some delicate glass pieces — we also ogled the new Christchurch performance space (fab!!) and envied folks attending the Cork Midsummer Festival (11-26 June) who will be able to see Laurie Anderson and Brad Meldhau there (in addition to the other great acts on the programme). We wrapped up the weekend with a wet and windy visit to the Glucksman Gallery at UCC , and finally a trip to Lismore Castle Arts in Waterford. LCA is such a stunning day out — wonderful art space, amazing gardens and public sculptures (missed the David Nash piece last time I was there, and the temp installation by Richard Wright was groovy). They’ve now taken over a small disused church in the village centre (St Carthage Hall) where we viewed a hypnotic and lyrical video piece by Martin Healy — one of the best days out we’ve had in a while (and even my toddler loved it)!

The Irish Pavilion at the 54th annual Venice Biennale featuring artist Corban Walker is opening to the public on 4 June. Looks like a stunning installation — I’m looking forward to hearing back from the lucky ducks headed over this summer.

The juggernaut that is Imagine Ireland rolls onward, with the new programme launched in the wake of Obama’s visit to Ireland (that’s me! By the Thomas Davis Statue! Did you see me waving Barack??) Plaudits for the management, scope and delivery of this initiative have been loud & plentiful — it is probably the most significant cultural initiative of the last year, and a major achievement for the lean machine that is Culture Ireland.

The programme for the 2011 PhotoIreland festival (now in its second iteration) has been announced. Aside from the great list of exhibitions & talks, I’m hankering after the workshops teaching collodion photography & other 19th c techniques (I have a weakness for 19th c. photography, especially stereoscopy!)

The unresolved saga of opera in Ireland continues with the news that the ‘Irish National Opera Company’ has been wrapped up; it was meant to be filling the shoes of dearly departed Opera Ireland, and pushing forward the production of operas nationwide. Although the remit for opera has now been returned to the Arts Council, it’s unclear who (if anyone) will be picking up the gauntlet.

Following on from two recent conferences on museums & new technology attended by lots of Irish folk (MuseumNext and Rethinking Technology in Museums) — a backlash against social media ‘gurus’ here and here?

The recent session in TBG&S on the subject of visual arts audience development was very interesting (especially the presentation from Pete Gomori, the Tate’s marketing manager ) — what also intrigued was the proportion of the day devoted to discussions of social media. A few days later Una Carmody from Arts Audiences summarised some of the latest data about Irish social media usage – lots of interesting tidbits there (84% of Irish internet users utilize social media, for example).

The RHA’s annual show is on — always one of my favourite arts outings of the year!

Tickets for the Dublin Contemporary have also gone on sale.

Next week is Theatre Forum’s annual conference! More than 250 people already signed up to attend — including me! Meanwhile the conference blog has been posting interesting links (on the recent report from Edinburgh on its festivals’ economic impact, which uses metrics beyond the hackneyed multiplier — Anne Bonnar’s blog has additional commentary).

‘The Art Books of Henri Matisse’ has opened at the Chester Beatty Library — I’ve written a piece on the exhibition for forthcoming Irish Arts Review as well — a great chance to see some brilliant, rarely-exhibited works in Ireland.

IMMA’s left its difficult teenage years behind… a full day of events took place on May 27th for their 20th birthday, but the celebrations continue with their exhibition Twenty, and the Forbidden Fruit festival this weekend (not sponsored by IMMA, but taking place on their grounds).

Finally… on 12 June the Dublin City Gallery – The Hugh Lane will be hosting a public conversation with feminist art icon Judy Chicago — bound to be packed, so get there early!

Weekly round-up: 14 April 2011

The good folks at Arts Audiences were kind enough to give me a preview of their new online training programme (fully launched on Tuesday!) on digital arts marketing — the skinny is that this is a cost-effective (€20 for each module or €95 for all seven) and focused way for folks to up-skill in the following areas:

Search Engine Optimisation ~ Beginners
Search Engine Optimisation ~ Advanced
Best Practice Web Design
Web Analytics
Social Media Marketing
Online Advertising
Email Marketing
Universal Access

Funded by the Arts Council, Temple Bar Cultural Trust and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, it’s delivered by Susan Hallam and includes case studies of the ABSOLUT Fringe Festival, the Abbey, Balor Arts Centre in Donegal, Éigse Carlow Arts Festival, and the National Concert Hall. This looks to be a great resource for enhancing your online chops; other offerings from Arts Audiences have been jumped on like office candy, so let me know if you’re liking the look of these too…

Business to Arts also held a reception Tuesday night to mark the many new initiatives they’ve recently launched — Fundit (which just had its first project reach 100% funding), New Stream Project, Arts Fund for Ireland, etc. Culture Minister Deenihan was also on hand to say a few words — my notes from his short speech read ‘cultural broker’ ‘private philanthropy’ and ‘Kerry’ (the first two refer to the aspects of his pre-election Arts Plan that have been identified as objectives for the new department; the third was the term of highest spoken frequency). The BtoA core team of Stuart, Rowena and Andrew have done amazing work over the past few years and deserve all the kudos coming their way! I was delighted as well to see Mason Hayes & Curran’s lovely collection of artworks in their offices — particularly the Corban Walker piece in the atrium (he’s the next featured artist for the Irish Pavilion at Venice) and the Rowena Dring textile work I spotted on the first floor (she had a fab exhibition at the Rubicon a few years ago I wrote about).

The third big honking thing to launch on Tuesday was Dublin City Council’s Public Art Programme, detailing plans and themes for the upcoming round of public art projects. The four strands of the programme are (1) Dublin, (2) Interaction with the City, (3) Connecting with the Public, and (4) City Contexts; a call for proposals for Strand 2 is open until 27 June. The launch document also includes a striking series of pinhole photographs taken by young Dubliners, the result of a commission from the Gallery of Photography.

The Art Fund in the UK (the largest public endowment for the arts in the UK, established in 1903) has announced it’s increasing its funding available to museums to purchase new works of art by 50% — that’s in addition to its launch of the ‘National Art Pass‘, which for an annual subscription of £35 (and less for students etc) will offer free admission and discounts to exhibitions in museums across the UK (*wipes drool from keyboard*).

Dublin Contemporary is hiring for five temporary positions — deadline is 22 April (has also been added to the jobs page).

Don’t forget about the Visual Arts Workers’ Forum (‘Work It’) at Project next Weds (20 April) — the schedule & session descriptions have now been posted.

There’s a conference on contemporary cultural policy (with a specific German focus) coming up on 6-7 May: ‘Contemporary German-Irish cultural relations in a European Perspective: Exploring issues in cultural policy and practice‘. The conference is co-organized by the Goethe Institute Dublin and The Centre for Irish-German Studies at the University of Limerick; attendance is free!

NCAD and UCD have entered into an ‘academic alliance‘ (yeah, I wasn’t sure at first what that meant either)– we’ve been having a series of discussions with folks from both institutions about new research strands, collaborative projects, new cross-listed modules, and the possibility of joint MA programmes — the six themes are (1) the studio: from process to product; (2) the expanded academy – college and communities; (3) text and image; (4) the city: urban cultures; (5) culture and institutions; (6) arts and healthcare. I’m particularly keen on numero (5) — lots of enthusiasm and great ideas at our last meeting — on to the achievable objectives, what ho!

I’m currently working on the idea of developing a new upper-BA course on photography (history, development & theory) for UCD in 2012-3; I’ve been in lots of interesting conversations in the past week over directions it could take & possible collaborators/opportunities for cross-listing. Hugh Campbell (prof of architecture over here at the Big B) has been running an MA level module in architecture, space and photography — I’ve been inspired by their class blog ‘Space Framed’ and would be interested to see any other examples of Irish 3rd level class blogs that make good use of the online medium (Blackboard, I’m looking at you.)

I was be/amused yesterday to be contacted by a journo from the Irish Independent researching an article on ‘erotic Irish art’ (!) After ascertaining this was in fact a serious request, I was surprised by how many examples my colleagues and I were able to rustle up (ah, St George Hare of Limerick, we didn’t forget you!) Now I’ve *another* module to start developing… :p

As a coda… thanks also to everyone over the past few weeks I’ve run into who have had nice things to say about the blog! It’s nice (and a little creepy) to think how many of y’all read this every week… hope you find it useful, and I always welcome notices, job announcements, press releases, constructive critique, and chocolate.

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!