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

Happy 2017! 50+ new Irish arts jobs/internships listed

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Here’s to a brighter 2017…

Happy new year to all of my readers! In what must be a record, I’ve just added more than fifty new posts to the jobs page — looks like recruitment in 2017 is on the rise again, which is good news for organisations and jobseekers. Tons of plum roles across artforms, including senior posts at the National Gallery, NCAD, Royal Irish Academy, Galway 2020, EVA International — and plenty of mid- and entry-level posts across the country too. More than 4,000 subscribers get notifications from this blog, so do keep sending in any openings you’d like listed (it’s always free, and I update bi-weekly in general).

Other arts and cultural news that may be of interest:

The Arts Council’s conference on local government & the arts – Places Matter – is taking place tomorrow (12 January) at Dublin Castle (I’ll be there, come say hello!). Unfortunately it’s booked out, but it’s been announced the conference will be live streamed.

Gotta dance?? Dublin Dance Festival is looking for all and any to help perform one of the most famous dance sequences ever produced – Pina Bausch’s ‘Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter’ from her 1982 piece NELKEN. Instructions for filming & uploading your version are on its website: DDF played a blinder last year (for my money, it had the highest hit rate of any arts festival) and this looks to be a great opener.

Business to Arts has just announced the first round of recruitment for its Fundraising Fellowships, with Helium Arts and Fishamble. These posts (the first 2 of 4) will offer training and mentorship in addition to salaried posts — great opportunities all!

Maria Balshaw has been appointed as new Director of the Tate, replacing Nick Serota. Maria has directed the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery for the last decade, and spearheaded Manchester’s cultural revival to great acclaim; she also recently delivered the Irish Museums Association’s James White annual lecture.

The Irish Museums Association’s annual conference is 3 and 4 March, on the subject of cultural tourism – time to get booking! In positive funding news, the annual grant to the IMA from the Department was recently raised to its former level – cause for celebration for this vital support organisation that delivers a huge programme on a tiny budget.

In case you missed it before Christmas, the government launched Creative Ireland 2017-22, the follow-up legacy programme of the 2016 Centenary. It’s a very sophisticated mix of declaration and aspiration, fuelling hopes that its various initiatives will be matched with adequate resourcing. If it’s realised, it’ll be brilliant and the most expansive acknowledgment of the diversity (and importance) of arts and culture we’ve ever had as a nation. However, as with most cultural plans, we will have to wait and see whether actual investment follows the splashy launch.

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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Artsmanagement.ie round-up: 20 August 2013

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Counting down two weeks until the new UCD term begins: autumn is upon us! Which also means the arts scene is warming up again…

The programme for Culture Night is launching today; the growth of this event is nothing short of astonishing; it’s the biggest night of the year for Dublin and many other towns who’ve adopted it. Unmissable.

The Dublin Fringe Festival also recently announced its line-up. As director Roise Goan’s swan song, it’s packed full of treats. So difficult to choose highlights, but I’ll be booking/attending Anu Productions’ Thirteen cycle (13 performances/events reflecting on the Dublin Lockout); Fit/Misfit (collaboration between Mexican and Irish dancers); Lippy by Dead Centre; for a bit of light relief, David O’Doherty and Maeve Higgins both have shows; and Brat Kids Carnival for my kiddies. For starters.

The centenary of the Dublin Lockout is receiving lots of attention at the moment – especially from Anu Productions (both at the Fringe and part of the brilliant, almost sold-out Tenement Experience) – but many other related events are listed at http://1913committee.ie. Some of the most interesting include Pallas Project’s A Letter to Lucy, a response to 1913 by a group of contemporary artists (Anthony Haughey, Deirdre O Mahony, Mark Curran, Deirdre Power, Jennie Guy, Brian Duggan) in a number of locations around Dublin (until 21 September). The Labour and Lockout exhibition at the Limerick City Gallery also looks fascinating (on until 1 October). Finally Temple Bar Gallery & Studios has issued an open call for workshop proposals for its Workers’ Cafe: from 10 October – 2 November, their exhibition space will transform into a participatory venue and cafe, hosting events and workshops connected to the subject of labour, economy and exchange.

We’re smack dab in the middle of Heritage Week – their listing of events is like a phone book! There’s something going on in every corner of the country — check in to your local museum or heritage centre to see what special programmes are on offer this week.

The most recent NCFA research colloquy in Kilkenny last week featured Dave O’Brien from City University London speaking on the evolution of evidence-based policy making in the UK, with a response by John O’Hagan (TCD, Economics). The session made for a lively debate on the pros/cons of evidence gathering methods and their use by decision-makers (some of the debate was captured via twitter – #ncfacolloquy). The next colloquy will take place in October: these are well worth attending if you’ve an interest in the arts sector, policy-making and the role of research.

Who else is worn out from all of the appeals to vote for projects that are part of the Arthur Guinness Project scheme? Their dire daily voting mechanism has been clogging up inboxes and feeds over the past few weeks, but Jim Carroll has a bigger bone to pick in his Irish Times blog. His critique of the scheme has attracted a huge number of comments: well worth a read for the range of arguments coming from all perspectives.

Temple Bar Gallery and Studios is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a forthcoming book Generation – 30 years of creativity at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, which recognizes the important contribution it has made to Ireland’s visual arts community. Its upcoming exhibition False Memory Syndrome proposes a series of alternative histories for TBG&S, touching on institutional memory, archives and materiality.

Heads up: the Arts Council is looking for new Arts Advisers in Architecture; Circus, Street Arts & Spectacle; Film; Opera; Theatre; and Traditional Arts. Applications close on 26 September.

Lots of new listings on the jobs page, but of particular interest may be the facilitator roles for the Turner Prize 2013 in Derry/Londonderry as part of City of Culture. Derry’s been playing a blinder of late, with an estimated 430,000 turning out for the Fleadh last week. Following a tumultuous summer in Northern Ireland, an interesting article on The Detail blog explores why Derry and the CoC events may hold out hope for the continuation of the peace process.

In the category of you-couldn’t-make-it-up, last week the DUP’s Peter Robinson published a rambling open letter on the subject of the controversial re-development of the Maze prison and its proposed ‘Peace Centre’. The satirical website Loyalists Against Democracy were on fine form with a swift response.

Once again, Dublin City Council has announced plans to redevelop Dublin’s Victorian fruit market (located between Capel St and the Four Courts). We’ve heard this plan before over the years — there’s widespread agreement this is a fantastic idea, but with a proposed opening date of 2015, the proof will be in the pudding.

It’s been a bumper summer for Irish Architecture, and both the Irish Architecture Foundation and the Irish Georgian Society have moved into new digs: the former to Hatch Street near the NCH, the latter in the old Civic Museum on South William Street. In related news, Dublin Civic Trust is sponsoring a conference on the future of Dublin’s Georgian Squares (13 September), to be held appropriately in the ballroom of the former Assembly Rooms of the Rotunda Hospital on Parnell Square.

Finally, some great news in the world of open access: the Getty Museum in LA has joined the Rijksmuseum in The Netherlands as one of the world’s major museums now offering open access to a massive number of images of its collection, free of restriction. As the Rijksmuseum’s head of digital collections has remarked, “If they want to have a Vermeer on their toilet paper, I’d rather have a very high-quality image of Vermeer on toilet paper than a very bad reproduction.” Words to warm any art historian’s heart!

Artsmanagement.ie round-up: 22 July 2013

Clearly there’s nothing else clogging up your news feed this morning, so how about some arts & cultural goodness?

Check out Patrick Lonergan’s new blog ‘Scenes from a Bigger Picture’ (Dept of English, NUI Galway): very thoughtful, extended pieces on issues connected to contemporary Irish theatre, well worth a read.

Eleonora Belfiore – a prolific academic from University of Warwick who researches cultural value and social impact – is looking for new contributors to her #Cultural Value online initiative: proposals for short essays, blog posts, etc are welcome.

The Upstart campaign’s looking to transform a derelict space in North Dublin city into a pop-up cultural space for the summer — full deets on plans & how you can pitch in are here.

Keen on finding a vacant space yourself for an arts/cultural project? Dublin CC is taking applications for use of two empty buildings on Cork St. in Dublin for a nominal fee – suitable for use as studios, by organisations, etc. Applications are due 31 July.

The Galway Arts Festival’s apparently a stunner this year – Aidan Dunne’s review of the visual arts programme certainly whets the appetite.

Dublin Fringe Festival has issued its annual call for Willing Workers – a list of volunteers willing to pitch in & assist with Fringe productions coming to the Festival, in all areas of production, advertising, design, tech, admin etc.

The inaugural Festival of Curiosity is kicking off in a few days, with lots of events spanning culture & science planned around the city from 25-28 July. An outgrowth of Dublin City of Science 2012, hot tickets will no doubt include Dara Ó Briain’s BBC Science Club on 26 July at the Mansion House and the free, family-oriented Curiosity Carnival at Smock Alley Theatre from 26-28 July.

Michael Dervan, I feel ya: on why the rebranding of classical music as easy listening (I’m looking at you, Lyric FM) is problematic.

The RAISE project (run by the Arts Council and managed by consultancy 2into3) is looking to fill five major fundraising posts in Ireland — for the Irish Film Institute, National Chamber Choir, Royal Hibernian Academy and Wexford Festival Opera. Salary of €70k is disproportionate by Irish standards, though not unusual by international ones; expectations will be high.

Half of this year’s Stirling Prize architectural shortlist are Irish! My money’s on Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre.

The LAB on Foley St has an upcoming group exhibition entitled NINE – a family-focused exhibition on what it’s like to be nine years old, and a child in Ireland. Puts me in mind of Sandra Cisnero’s much-celebrated short essay Eleven from her collection Woman Hollering Creek – beautifully capturing the voice and feeling of that age.

The Arthur Guinness Projects is a new vehicle for supporting initiatives in Irish arts, music, sports and food. Project submissions are being taken until the 9th of August, with public voting taking place until the 23rd, and final selection by an expert panel will offer bursaries up to €50,000! A fantastic opportunity, and the projects submitted so far are impressive & inspiring in their range.