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.

Weekly round-up: 25 May 2012

Hans Josephsohn exhibition at Lismore Castle Arts

It’s been extraordinarily busy policy-wise in the arts the last few weeks — this update will be a long one —  I’ll do my best to provide a summary! (p.s. if I’ve gotten anything wrong here, please do write in & correct me! Or feel free to add your impressions/responses in the comments…)

The second meeting of the Visual Arts Workers’ Fourm (kindly hosted by the Glucksman Gallery, UCC) last Thursday 17 May proved a lively & interesting day. So much ground was covered, it’s impossible to do justice to it all — however I found most useful the presentations by Mary McCarthy (from the National Sculpture Factory) and Sarah Glennie (new director of IMMA) providing updates on the status of the Culture Ireland, National Campaign for the Arts and the amalgamations planned for the national cultural institutions. Here’s a breakdown of some of what was discussed (supplemented by a few recent developments):

  • Culture Ireland: The expiration of Eugene Downes’ contract as Director is coinciding with a planned review of Culture Ireland; many in the audience voiced their support for the impact of CI’s contribution to the promotion of Irish culture, and praised Eugene’s contributions in particular. As yet there seems to be little public information on what exactly this review process will entail and when it will take place, with Mary reiterating the importance of remaining vigilant as to developments.
  • National Campaign for the Arts: conversations around advocacy, developing stronger links with policymakers and politicians, and better articulating a collective vision for the purpose and importance of the arts were strong themes recurring throughout the day. Differences between VAI and VAWF were clarified (the former primarily devoted to the support of individual artists, the latter an as-yet loose grouping of the many organisations and individuals broadly included under the ‘visual arts’ banner, to include arts orgs, artists, curators, educators, etc.). Mary provided details of the NCFA’s working process and current status, urging folks to become involved (a very small number of people are making a large difference here), and reiterating the very significant impact its campaigns and outreach efforts have had to date. No consensus emerged out of the day as to how collectively the visual arts community might better organise — in more casual conversations with attendees I found views varied widely as to whether more formal organisation was needed, or whether a more organic approach was appropriate. I think most were in agreement, however, that meetings such as VAWF provided a valuable opportunity for information sharing, networking and getting a sense of the many diverse views and positions active in the visual arts community.
  • National Cultural Institution amalgamation plans: Sarah spent a good deal of time discussing this, stressing that the proposals now on the table differ substantially in nature from those mooted in 2008, which garnered very strong opposition in the sector (voiced during a consultation held in IMMA)– plans that were later shelved. Very little has been made public about this process, so many in the audience were surprised to hear of the speed with which the re-vamped amalgamation plans are progressing — according to Glennie the decision to amalgamate in some form has been made by the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform, and is irreversible, with the window for working out the finer details (before a final decision by Cabinet) only about 6 weeks. The word since then is that the directors are collectively engaged in protecting the autonomy of each institution (especially in terms of curatorship and direction) to the greatest extent possible.There were very strong feelings in the audience about the importance of protecting the cultural institutions in a time of slash-and-burn approaches by civil servants with little knowledge of how these organisations actually function, and their already skeletal infrastructure. All of this has been given added momentum in the past few days with Diarmuid Ferriter’s announcement (more here too) he would be resigning from the board of the National Library in protest over the government’s ‘offensive and disingenuous double-speak’ around the cultural institutions (including but not limited to the amalgamation plans — which also have proposed merging the NLI, National Archives and the Manuscripts Commission). The amalgamation plans were further criticised yesterday by Senator Fiach Mac Conghail in the Senate session (here’s the full text of what was said). I believe all of this is extremely useful in highlighting how crucial these decisions are, and what their long-ranging impact will be on cultural institutions many of us take for granted. A lack of transparency over the terms of the proposals is worrying, and with such a short amount of time remaining to voice views on the subject, I hope developments will continue to be publicized widely (and I’ll try my best to do the same!)

Quite a number of folks approached me at VAWF to speak with me after I raised the issue of employment patterns (and specifically unpaid internships) in the arts… of further interest may be a recent report just published in the UK – Intern Culture – that has brought together a whole host of research and information on the current state of UK internships in the visual arts. It’s extremely useful and insightful, and well worth a read — I suspect we will soon reach a stage where more formalised inquiries and guidelines will have to be addressed here in Ireland as well.

Slightly buried in the story on the HEA funding crisis (which made the rounds in print and radio yesterday) was mention of ‘a review of third level creative arts and media courses in Dublin, including those at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin Institute of Technology and Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.’ I’ve heard some talk of this, with suggestions there may be plans afoot to rationalize/reduce programmes offered owing to ‘duplication’, but as of yet have heard nothing more concrete. One to keep an eye on…

Did you catch the conclusion of RTE’s ‘Masterpiece: Ireland’s Favourite Painting‘ last night? Not surprisingly, dorm room favourite ‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ by Frederic William Burton at the NGI edged out the competition (with 22% of the vote, followed by the Caravaggio, Leech and Harry Clarke). No small irony that the winner is actually one of Ireland’s least seen paintings (as it’s a watercolour and only on very limited public display). Lots of grumbling amidst art historians about criteria of selection, omission of manuscript painting (and anything non-western), but it’s all been in good fun I think — as host Mike Murphy has pointed out the late night scheduling of the programme by RTE was shameful, but it was great to hear folks debating the merits of the nominated works, and the galleries have reported a noticeable increase in visitor numbers on the back of the programme.

Some very nice coverage (by Aidan Dunne in the IT, and another illustrated review on the Royal Academy site) of the Hans Josephsohn exhibition at Lismore Castle Arts, the opening of which I also attended — it’s a wonderful and eye opening show of an extremely accomplished (if little known) 92 year old Swiss sculptor, and shows off the tremendous development and ambition of this small gallery in the years since its opening.

Music Network has launched details of its nationwide love:live music programme coming up on 21 June — there will be a huge range of live (free) music events of all genres happening across the country, and they are still taking listings for groups wishing to participate in this fab day & looking to link in with their network. They also recently announced the appointment of their new director, Sharon Rollston, so it’s all go in the Carriage House these days!

The RHA’s annual exhibition and sale opens in a few short days — red sticker dots at the ready!

All this sunshine is going to our heads… but a groovy event happening in Dublin this weekend is Block T’s ‘Link Culturefest’ in Smithfield and the surrounding areas: a whole host of exhibitions, screenings, performances, and open houses of cultural organisations — a great way to herald the start of our ‘proper’ summer!

EVA International Biennial of Art also opened in Limerick last week, curated by Annie Fletcher.

The Bealtaine Festival (‘Celebrating Creativity as we Age’) is drawing to a close over the next few days, but there’s still time to catch a few remaining events, or have a look at the presentations made at their conference ‘Creating a New Old’ that were filmed & are available on their website.

Museum peeps: tomorrow (26 May) is the Irish Museum Association’s annual field trip, this year visiting Waterford… a call for submissions is also open for the annual ‘Blow Your Own Trumpet‘ day on 13 July, where museum education programmes and initiatives from across the country are highlighted — deadline is today!

IMMA’s new exhibitions open at Earslfort Terrace/NCH is next Weds (May 30th) — more details on the launch here.

A CFP has been issued for a local symposium entitled ‘Art Without Borders: Cultural Influence and and Exchange in Irish Art History‘, coordinated by a number of postgraduate students from TCD.

Applications for organisations to be involved in this year’s Culture Night are closing on May 31st! Time to get your skates on.

Galway Arts Festival (16-29 July) has launched its programme — impending birth will prevent me from attending this year, but if I were going, I’d be all over the Marina Abramovic exhibition, Druid Murphy cycle, and the West Cork Ukelele Orchestra.

UCC is offering 4-year funded doctoral studentships in digital arts & humanities — tasty — closing deadline is 31 May.

Hotel deals will soon end for Theatre Forum’s all-Ireland annual conference in Belfast on 14-15 June — this is going to be a big one, so get thee to the registrations page.

I was delighted to hear one of our programme alums Monika Sapielak (director of the Centre for Creative Practices) won an Arthur Guinness Fund award for Social Entrepreneurs! Huge congrats!!

Finally… one of the (recurring) cultural events of our time airs tomorrow — I am, of course, talking about the Eurovision Song Contest Final in Azerbaijan. Who will prevail? The Russian grannies? The Jed and their unexpectedly horizontal hair? Don’t pretend you won’t be watching.

Weekly round-up: 16 March 2012

St Patrick's Day by James Mahony, Illustrated London News, 13 March 1847

No better day than St Patrick’s Eve for a weekly round-up!

Yesterday was a busy day for arts folk… Theatre Forum held a large members’ meeting at the National Concert Hall to present its analysis of the recent Arts Council funding decisions to its membership. I’m not sure if/when aspects of their analysis will be made publicly available, but in any case the review’s been sparked by the unexpected extent of the cuts for many organisations, including indications from the Council that the move away from funding companies is being accelerated. The overall picture for music or the visual arts is more unclear, as no information has yet been aggregated to my knowledge. As negotiations and consultations continue, more developments will undoubtedly follow… (** UPDATE: TF has made available notes from the meeting and the presentation made that day; these are freely available, but to download the full report you must be a TF member.)

Same day, same place — Business to Arts held a briefing on their upcoming collaboration with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., which will roll out a version of its highly successful organisational capacity-building programme here in Ireland. Details are being finalized, but the programme will soon be open to application (with around 20 participants envisaged). Delivered by BtoA and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management (based at the Kennedy Center), the programme will consist of a number of focused training sessions, working groups and one-on-one mentoring (conducted over a two year period) between programme coordinators and senior managers from the selected arts organisations. More details will emerge soon — and will be publicised here and of course on Business to Arts‘ own website. (**UPDATE: A short pdf publication by the DeVos Institute entitled ‘The Cycle: Planning for Success in the Arts‘, summarised during the briefing, provides an overview of their philosophy and approach toward capacity building; download it here.)

The Irish Film Board and FÁS Screen Training Ireland are also sponsoring the participation of two Irish film executives or producers in the Inside Pictures Initiative, which provides professional development and further networking/training in the international film industry. Deadline for applications is today (16 March)!

Gerry Godley’s letter to the Irish Times this week (on behalf of the National Campaign for the Arts) on the proposed ‘rationalising’ of Culture Ireland (stripping it of its independence as an agency) mirrored widely held views in the sector that this is a foolhardy move… no better day than St Patrick’s to reflect on the contribution of the arts to enhancing the Irish reputation abroad, and consider seriously the effect that these ill-considered measures will have on the arts sector’s capacity to deliver high quality artistic experiences.

In related news — tomorrow (17 March) at the RHA, Leviathan Political Cabaret will host a panel discussion on ‘CultureShock: Irish Identity in Crisis?‘ featuring Eugene Downes, Dylan Haskins, Sinead Gleeson, and Rowena Neville as speakers.

Artbeat, Dublin City FM‘s weekly arts magazine programme, is looking for an enthusiastic person to join its team of keen volunteer broadcasters. Artbeat covers all aspects of the arts in Dublin city and county. They’re looking for someone with a finger on the arts pulse, a voice to go with it and a willingness to give an hour on Wednesday evenings over to the live programme. This volunteer role offers great experience with writing, producing, sound mixing and presenting for radio. If interested please email artbeat@dublincityfm.ie outlining previous arts related experiences and what you would like to do on such a radio show. (*UPDATE*: applications are now closed for this role)

Dublin Dance Festival is also looking for volunteers for its May programme in a number of diverse project areas; applications are being accepted until 11 April.

Irish musical theatre (not the most well-developed of genres here!) is coming into its own this month, with the re-staging of Rough Magic’s wonderful Improbably Frequency at the Gaiety (13-24 March), and THISISPOPBABY’s Alice in Funderland coming to the main stage at the Abbey (30 March – 12 May). A lively Cork vs. Dublin debate will be one of the events accompanying Alice’s production — I’m determined not to miss the show this time around!

On 22 March, Dublintellectual is launching a new 10-part series of events (‘City Intersections’) structured around the question ‘What does it mean to be urban in Dublin?’ The initial event offers an intriguing list of speakers (Maeve Higgins, you’re making the rounds!) and I look forward to hearing more about future plans…

On 4 April the Society for Musicology in Ireland is sponsoring a symposium at UCD on the present state of Irish musicology within (and without) the academy.

Two excellent new books on Irish visual culture have been published — Catherine Morris’ Alice Milligan and the Irish Cultural Revival, and Fintan Cullen’s Ireland on Show: Art, Union and Nationhood. Looking forward to getting stuck into both… and congrats to Catherine and Fintan!!

The National Craft Gallery has unveiled a lovely new website — a great counterpart to the wonderful shows at the Kilkenny-based gallery itself.

The Crawford Art Gallery in Cork recently announced that 39 works from AIB’s art collection (donated to the State) will be joining their permanent collection — press release with full details is here.

CoisCéim Broadreach and Dublin City Council are running a drop-in dance programme for over-50s, featuring lessons delivered by choreographers from CoisCéim Dance Theatre. The programme ‘Wild and Wonderful‘ continues now through April, connected also to the Bealtaine Festival 2012 taking place in May.

The Flaneur arts & culture blog (which bills itself as ‘An Illustrated Blog of Global Culture’) is looking for new contributors – although I don’t think a mustache is required, and absinthe is probably optional!

The Guardian’s Culture Professionals Network featured an encouraging story of a recent arts graduate’s search for employment — well worth reading during these days of otherwise gloomy outlooks!

Arts management & policy research is on the brain this week: the HERAValue project blog (‘Measuring the societal impacts of universities’ research into arts and the humanities’) has a very interesting series of posts on valuation methods applied to the arts and humanities; Dave O’Brien (lecturer at City University, London) also recently posted an excellent essay on ‘Economics and the cultural sector: can they achieve a more diplomatic relationship?’ on Opendemocracy.net – well worth a read if economic valuation studies are your thing!

Weekly round-up: 12 December 2011

South Dublin County Council's new public art site

The big news last week was of course the budget… the National Campaign for the Arts and Laurence Mackin of the IT have provided the details of cuts to the budget (and full details are available from the Department)… a few key points:

  • Gross funding in 2012 for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be €267 million (plus an extra €8.6 million in funding for the National Gallery.) Note that it’s not possible to assess, strictly speaking, how this compares with previous years, due to the shifts in department make-up.
  • However, overall 49% of the department’s budget (€129.6 million) is being allocated in 2012 to Arts, Culture and Film programme areas. Arts current funding is down 6%: from €124 million to €117 million.
  • The Arts Council is down 3.2%, from €65.16 to €63.1 million.
  • Arts capital funding is the most severely hit — down 34% from €32 million to €21 million. Most of this (13.2 million) is allocated to the Irish Film Board, and constitutes their annual funding (despite the ‘capital’ label)- although their funding is down overall by 14.9%.
  • Culture Ireland will be down 11%.
  • How did the national institutions fare? National Archives (-5%); IMMA, CBL, NCH and the Crawford (-4%); NMI (-5%); NLI (-7%). However these figures don’t count huge drops in capital budgets, which will severely affect the national institutions’ plans for developing infrastructure and other crucial projects.

Although the overall funding picture appears to be better than expected, the national institutions will be hard hit, and there will be other financial implications from ancillary budget measures for arts organisations (the increase in VAT, for example, as well as the decrease in CE funding which many organisations rely upon).

In other news…the Arts Council has announced its 2012 project grant recipients — an interesting look at work which lies ahead!

The new director of the National Gallery was finally announced — and it’s Sean Rainbird, current Director of the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, who also worked for many years at the Tate. Word has it that current staff are delighted with the appointment — I think it will be a much-needed breath of fresh air into the gallery, and look forward to his tenure!

South Dublin County Council has unveiled a new public art website — searchable and snazzy — and very useful for students of public art projects.

Fintan O’Toole has blasted the Abbey’s latest production of The Government Inspector, and decried (again) what he perceives is the national theatre’s failure to actively engage with the current breakdown of Irish society.

The Music Generation programme is being expanded to Laois, Wicklow and Cork City — no doubt news of new opportunities will soon follow…

The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival has announced its call for volunteers.

An interesting article in the Guardian (‘Should the arts be more selective about sponsors?‘) canvassed reactions to the withdrawal of two poets from the TS Eliot prize competition over their objections to the award’s sponsorship by a hedge fund.

I’m really digging all the posts at the Guardian’s Culture Professional Network blog… tons of interesting and useful posts there to anyone working in the field.

Not strictly arts-related, but if you are a researcher check out the new British Newspaper Archive project from the British Library (lovingly reviewed by the fantastic Bioscope blog) — it’s gonna rock your world.

And finally… congrats to our fantastic 2011 class of Arts Management & Cultural Policy MA graduates! It was wonderful to see them in the glad rags last week at commencement 🙂 🙂

Hope everyone is enjoying all of the holiday activities across town — such a busy time of year!