Vol. 4 of Irish Journal of Arts Management & Cultural Policy published

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I’m delighted to announce that our latest issue of the Irish Journal of Arts Management & Cultural Policy has been published! It’s a bumper issue, with four excellent research articles — covering placemaking, precarity in theatre work, cultural property legislation in Ireland, and a review of JobBridge and the cultural sector — as well as four book reviews.

We’ll be sharing news soon of the new CFP for the next journal issue, as well as some changes to the format which will be announced shortly! Here are some shortcuts to the various articles, or you can find the entire journal here.

Art practice, process, and new urbanism in Dublin: Art Tunnel Smithfield and social
practice placemaking in the Irish capital
CARA COURAGE

‘Just about coping’: precarity and resilience among applied theatre and community
arts workers in Northern Ireland
MATT JENNINGS, MARTIN BEIRNE, AND STEPHANIE KNIGHT

Exporting Art from Ireland: The Alfred Beit Foundation and the Protection of
Cultural Property
TED OAKES

A view from the bridge: institutional perspectives on the use of a national internship
scheme (JobBridge) in Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions
GRÁINNE O’HOGAN

REVIEW: Communities of Musical Practice (Ailbhe Kenny: Routledge, 2016)
FRAN GARRY

REVIEW: The Cultural Intermediaries Reader (Jennifer Smith Maguire and Julian
Matthews, eds.: Sage, 2014)
JANE HUMPHRIES

REVIEW: The Great Reimagining: Public Art, Urban Space and the Symbolic
Landscapes of a ‘New’ Northern Ireland (Bree T. Hocking: Berghahn, 2015)
ANDREW MCCLELLAND

REVIEW: Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain (Robert Hewison:
Verso Books, 2014)
CLAIRE POWER

New curatorial internship at Chester Beatty Library

800px-ChesterBeattyLibaryFrountI’m happy to share news that The Chester Beatty Library has launched a new curatorial internship scheme, which is part-funded by the American Friends of the Arts in Ireland (AFAI). From the Library:

The objective of this new initiative is to offer practical museum training experience to a recent graduate or postgraduate interested in pursuing a career in the arts and museum sector. The programme will start by offering a short internship (part-time) of 4 months working with the Curator of Western Collections. The exact focus of the project will be dependent on the successful applicant’s academic background, professional skills and interests, however the intern will be expected to assist with the on-going cataloguing of the Library’s Western print collection.
Deadline for applications is 2 June.

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.

Milestone for Irish museums: Irish Museums Survey 2016 launched

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Launch of the Irish Museums Survey 2016 / LAMN 1916 Exhibition. From left: Liam Bradley (Curator, Monaghan County Museum); John Rattigan (Chair, Local Authority Museum Network); Minister Heather Humphreys; Brian Crowley (Chair, Irish Museums Association); Dr Sandra Collins (Director, National Library of Ireland); Dr Emily Mark-FitzGerald (UCD School of Art History & Cultural Policy). Photo by Gary O’Neill.

It’s out! Yesterday more than 100 museum professionals gathered at an event in the National Library of Ireland for the launch of the Irish Museums Survey 2016 by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

This survey is indeed a milestone: it’s the first comprehensive study of the Irish museum sector in a decade. Funded by the Irish Research Council’s ‘Engaging Civic Society’ scheme, it’s the product of a collaboration between the Irish Museums Association and UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy.

I was the Principal Investigator and author of the report (along with the research team Gina O’Kelly, Dr Colleen Thomas, and Fernando Sanchez), and I’m delighted it’s now available as an online publication.

The results are alternately fascinating, encouraging, and worrying. Here are a few highlights:

  • There are approximately 230 museums in Ireland (north and south); 118 participated in the survey (ranging from independent/community museums to national cultural institutions)
  • 6.1 million visitors were welcomed by Irish museums in 2014: on average museums reported 35% international and 61% domestic visitors.
  • The positive effects of the Museum Standards Programme of Ireland (run by the Heritage Council) over the past decade in enhancing museum practice nationwide were widely observed
  • Provision of educational services has increased from 31% in 2005 to 60% of museums in 2016
  • Digital engagement has risen sharply: museums reported growing levels of collection digitisation, and high levels of engagement on the web and on social media: 98% of museums have a website; 78% are on Facebook; and 40% are on Twitter

… however …

  • 46% of museums have experienced budget decline from 2005-15; this contrasts sharply with 2005 data (when only 7.4% reported a decrease).
  • Museums have experienced drastic reductions to the labour force and increasing reliance on volunteers, interns and community employment schemes: 41% indicated they are ‘very dependent’ on voluntary/unpaid labour, and 17% of museums have no paid employees at all. The majority of museums (77%) are staffed by fewer than 10 paid employees.
  • Comments from participants extensively detailed problems with infrastructure and basic facilities, affecting museums across the country. Cutbacks on every aspect of museum provision (education, programming, conservation, security, etc.) indicate the broad and deep impact of budget reductions and hiring freezes.

The report is chock-full of information and analysis, covering all aspects of museum activity. We hope this report will help inform future programming and planning for museums at national and regional levels. This is especially critical for institutions (large and small) which reported serious problems with infrastructure and facilities in a severe state of disrepair.

Our primary recommendations? In a nutshell:

  1. Establish a research unit to enhance quality and regularity of data collection, based at the Irish Museums Association, the Heritage Council, or the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
  2. Improve museums’ data collection practices by developing training opportunities for Irish museums, to better support advocacy efforts.
  3. Prioritise, in future policies and programmes, the primary resource needs as identified by museums: (1) capacity (staff, volunteers, time); (2) funding and fundraising support; (3) buildings and storage.
  4. Enhance support of community and independent museums, including a review of supports and the development of a national strategy concerning the needs of small museums.
  5. Offer additional training and resourcing in the areas of digitisation and the development of digital and online strategies.
  6. More detailed research is needed on museum outreach and education, to be further correlated with policy developments such as the Arts in Education Charter.
  7. Low rates of improvement in disabled access since 2005 should be addressed by museums as a priority.

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(version for web viewing)

(version for printing)

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.