Weekly round-up: 4 February 2011

Blowin’ in the wind this week:

  • As seen in the last post, the Dublin Contemporary‘s appointed 2 new curators; its site has just come back online again as of today, with further details of its theme and what the heck they mean by ‘The Office of Non-Compliance’, whose explanation still sounds a bit Cheneyesque to me.
  • The director job for the National Concert Hall was featured in The Irish Times today.
  • Many were dismayed this week (not least the staff) to hear of the closure of Waterstone’s Dublin branches. I can only hope great indies like the Gutter Bookshop, Winding Stair and The Company of Books continue to thrive.
  • The new Google Art Project has been wowing everyone in these parts– more fun than ArtStor, but can the Irish museums play too? Pretty please??
  • The Model: Sligo has a great new Jack Yeats exhibition ‘The Outsider’ on show, and a talk tomorrow (5 Feb) with Brian O’Doherty and Hilary Pyle that I wish I could attend!
  • Business to Arts has published a useful evaluation of its own ‘New Stream’ project, aimed at improving development skills in the arts sector through a series of workshops and professional development activities. Our own Pat Cooke provides some of the feedback on the programme.
  • Arts Audiences has launched details of two audience development schemes: Building Your Audience focuses on cultural tourism and assisting arts organisations with attracting domestic and international visitors (in partnership with Failte Ireland), while Media Mentoring offers the opportunity to match orgs with a mentor from Google who will provide advice and guidance on using new media to best advantage. Both schemes are currently open for application by organisations large & small!
  • The Moderns has continued to attract high visitor numbers (though some mixed reviews) but an announcement that the catalogue will be AGAIN delayed until March (when a significant part of the exhibition will be closed) was deeply disappointing (and frustrating for those of us hoping to use the exhibition for teaching purposes!)
  • Alain de Botton’s provocatively titled missive ‘Why are museums so uninspiring?’ set off lots of debate & discussion in the blogosphere; personally I think Charlotte Higgins from the Guardian had the most spot-on response (and interesting comments, too).
  • In the US, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman sparked more debate over his comments that suggest American theatre was in a state of oversupply and under-demand, and should be adjusted accordingly.
  • The Observer on Sunday had an interesting piece on the death of the critic in the face of social media, but it still sounds like the funeral may be premature.

IMA Annual Conference: The Way Forward: Sustainability and the Museum

This year’s Irish Museums Association annual conference (25-27th February 2011) is now accepting registrations (full disclosure: I’m on the organising committee)! Our theme this year is ‘The Way Forward: Sustainability and the Museum‘, and we’re delighted to be headed to Drogheda, where we’ll be hosted by the Droichead Arts Centre.

We’ve a great series of events lined up– as always, Fridays will feature a selection of members’ papers (see the call for papers here) and an interactive workshop (Annette Nugent leading the group for a session entitled ‘What can the museum sector offer the visitor, and how can museums grow their visitor base?’).

Saturday will see a full roster of speakers take the podium, including:

  • RACHEL MADAN (Greener Museums and author of Sustainable Museums: Strategies for the 21st Century)
  • EAMONN McENEANEY (Director, Waterford Museum of Treasures)
  • OLE WINTHER (Head of Museums Office, National Heritage Agency, Denmark)
  • SAMUEL JONES (Policy Fellow at the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Head of Culture at DEMOS)
  • STUART McLAUGHLIN (Chief Executive, Business2Arts, Dublin)
  • IZABELLA CSORDÁS (Head of Visitor Services Department, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary)
  • GRAINNE MILLAR (Head of Cultural Development, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, Dublin)
  • DR HUGH MAGUIRE (Director, Hunt Museum, Limerick)

The Millmount Museum, Highlanes Gallery, Beaulieu House and Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre will all be welcoming conference delegates for special receptions and visits. We are offering a special 40% off concession rate this year as well.

Full details of the conference programme can be found on the IMA website. Hope to see you there!

Weekly round-up: 8 December 2010

Woe is us– budget, snow, and Jackie Healy Rae. Sigh.

Here’s what been buzzing on the wire:

* edit: Laurence Mackin had CI’s budget down by 2%; I asked him on his blog about the discrepancy in his figures versus the 71% increase cited elsewhere, and here’s his response:

According to the Government estimates (available at http://www.budget.gov.ie/budgets/2011/Documents/Estimates%20Budget%202011.pdf) Culture Ireland got €4.083 million in 2010 and will get €3.997 million in 2011 – a decrease of 2 per cent. According to the Minister for the Arts Mary Hanafin “a carry-over of €3m from 2010 will be used towards the funding of Culture Ireland’s major year-long season of contemporary Irish culture, Imagine Ireland, across the US in 2011” – hence the figure of €6,997 at Theatre Forum and elsewhere.

Basically, Culture Ireland’s budget is the €3.997 and the €3 million is a once-off payment to fund this once-off programme. You could argue that their budget has gone up by that much, but my understanding, following a phonecall to the Department, is that the €3 million must go on the US programme and isn’t transferable to other projects under CI’s aegis. Hope that clears it up.

It does… sort of. Certainly it clears up the discrepancy, and the earmarked €3 million can’t really be considered a true budgetary increase… nevertheless it’s a clear vote of confidence/investment in favour of CI’s work in a difficult climate.

Weekly round-up: 1 December 2010

Snow, snow everywhere! Thaw out and enjoy:

Wednesday round-up (3 November 10)

This week’s digest:

  • A new iteration of the RDS Art Fair makes its debut on Friday 5th November (running until Sunday). Although usually catering to popular tastes, the Fair is including this year the Collective Contemporary Art (CCA) programme in the Industries Hall, which adds an interesting curated exhibition of selected contemporary artists to the mix.
  • CIRCA has debuted its first totally online issue, themed on the subject of ‘criticism and criticality’. I will miss the glossy (alas, the glossy screen is a reluctant substitute).
  • Today saw the launch of the first of a series of reports on the state of fundraising in Ireland (authored by 2into3 consulting in conjuction with Mason Hayes Curran. Unfortunately few arts organisations were included in the study, and it isn’t available online yet, but it should yield some interesting insights…
  • A seminar on the ‘Cultural Dimensions of Innovation‘ is being held by UCD at Newman House on St Stephen’s Green on November 15th & 16th, that will ‘analyse the cultural dynamics which will shape Ireland’s economic, technological and political innovation agenda’ (natch). No doubt terms like ‘creative economy’ and ‘cultural interfacing’ will be trotted out; let’s just hope this doesn’t happen.
  • Finally, the Arts Council has announced its strategic approach for the next three years— lots to process there, but increased funding for marketing/audience development initiatives, the heightened importance of ‘value for money’ and ‘sustainability’, and the altering/concluding of some funding relationships are all signalled.