As the year comes to a close, it’s important to look back on some highlights from 2019. None of our work would be possible without the support of our funders, the Arts Council, Dublin City Council, and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. We also wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to all partners who have worked with us during the year, our dedicated board members, and of course to all of the artists and communities who we work with day to day. And thanks to you, our follower, supporter, reader, for spending time with us this year. Don’t forget to read Create’s 2019 in numbers
Create is committed to leading the development of collaborative arts practice by enabling artists and communities to create exceptional art together, and this informs all of our work and activities for the year. We spent January planning for what would be a busy year for Create, full of new partnerships, research, welcoming new staff, a new strategy, many events and professional development workshops.
February marked the first of eleven Artist in the Community (AIC) Scheme information sessions. In 2019 we met over 200 artists and community members interested in applying for the AIC Scheme. Thanks to our development work, applications from culturally diverse artists doubled in 2019.
We introduced a new AIC Scheme award in 2019, the Recent Graduate Research and Development Award (with Mentoring). The inaugural recipient was Mary Sullivan, who will research potential future work with the Bere Island Community, under the mentorship of Jesse Jones.
Issue 26 of Create News, I Am Not a Piece of Meat: Collaborative Practice and the Body, featured Anna Furse in conversation with Susanne Bosch about collaborative intersections between research and practice in theatre, performance and medical humanities. I AM NOT A PIECE OF MEAT was one of Create’s CAPP commissions launched in 2018; an immersive digital artwork, and CORPOGRAPHY, an analogue artbook published in spring 2019.
We were delighted to partner once again with www.artsandhealth.ie / Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) to present the annual arts and health networking event Arts + Health Check Up Check In, hosted in a filled to capacity Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford. We also supported a workshop with artist Marie Brett, titled “Sustaining the Self”, which shared ideas and creative strategies for a nourishing and reflective practice, fostering supportive networks and working towards sustainability. This workshop booked out in record time, and we were lucky enough to be able to host it twice to accommodate demand.
We supported artist/ curator Michelle Browne to deliver a three-day masterclass in May. The City Change Masterclass was hosted by significant international practitioners: Leticia Lozano (Mexico), Ryan Swanson (US), Kate Stewart and Pete Vance (UK), and explored ways to engage with the city to effect change. We also partnered with Irish Architecture Foundation to welcome these international practitioners to lead our first City Conversation, which explored how arts and architectural initiatives engaging with broader civic expertise can animate the public sphere and reimagine our cities, towns and neighbourhoods. We held this first City Conversation in Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, to a capacity crowd.
We partnered once again with Age and Opportunity’s Bealtaine @ Temple Bar festival in May to offer a Acouscenic Listening and Creative Soundwalk workshop, led by art/science collective Softday’s Sean Taylor. Sean led the participants in a study of listening, creative soundwalking and the meditative practices of Tai Chi and Qigong.
We welcomed two new staff members to the team. Áine Crowley joined the organisation as Programme Manager, Arts and Engagement, and Keelin Murray took on the role of Communications and Publishing Manager.
We published Field Notes: The Inaugural Summer School on Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice, which documents the Summer School, an initiative of the Arts Council’s AIC Scheme, held in July 2018. This publication features perspectives, field notes and sketches from participants alongside contributions from Ailbhe Murphy, director of Create, Áine O’Brien, co-director of Counterpoints Arts, Áine Crowley, Programme Manager, Arts and Engagement with Create, and Evgeny Shtorn, sociologist and Summer School participant.
The second AIC Scheme Summer School on Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice took place in Killary Lodge, Co Galway. We welcomed 13 artists, activists and thinkers to examine the concept of cultural diversity – how might it form an intrinsic part of the artistic, socially engaged process and act as a powerful driver for social change? The Summer School took the form of a five-day residency enabling a ‘think and do’ collaborative approach, utilizing creative workshops, critical and comparative case studies, one-to-one mentoring, international guest speakers including Isabel Lima, socially engaged artist, Mary Ann deVlieg, international consultant facilitator and trainer, and Caroline Bergvall, poet and sound artist. Participants included filmakers, photographers, activists, painters, linguists, and more, originally from Lebanon, Pakistan, Romania, Italy, Malaysia, India, Ireland, Iran, Australia and France.
Our redesigned website, www.create-ireland.ie, went live in August. The site is easier to navigate, and is more accessible in terms of design and language used. We have developed a dedicated resources section, which features video, audio, PDFs and books. This is part of our strategic goal to be a central hub for research and learning in the collaborative/ socially engaged arts. Visit the site to get exploring!
Our work to advance a new Evaluative Register and Framework for Collaborative Arts with our partners Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Bealtaine (Age and Opportunity), Fingal Arts Office (Public Art Programme), IMMA (Engagement & Learning Dept.) and the University of Limerick continued with researchers Grainne Coughlan and Léa Blanchard leading the design and development of new modes of evaluation appropriate to the practice.
A bumper month for Create! In partnership with Crawford Art Gallery, Cork City Council Arts Office and Heart of Glass, we held our National Networking Day, welcoming 150 attendees – academics, artists, and representatives from arts and community organisations and local authorities – to a compelling day of presentations, discussions, and breakout sessions across the city. World-renowned socially engaged artist Tania Bruguera was our keynote speaker. She discussed her work on the Tate Modern Turbine Hall Hyundai Commission with Áine O Brien, Co-Director Counterpoints Arts, before participating in a panel with Dr. Cara Courage, Head of Tate Exchange, and Tate Neighbours Natalie Bell, Shamus Dark, Debra Reis and Charles Yassin. See video below of the keynote discussion.
Our strategy, Connect Create Change: Leading Collaborative Arts in Ireland 2020-2025, was launched by Independent Senator Colette Kelleher, with contributions from Deirdre Figueiredo, MBE, Chair of the Create board, Ailbhe Murphy, Director, and artist Tania Bruguera. This strategy provides a framework to support the ecology, resources and relationships that will develop discourse, policy and next practice. Our five strategic goals are designed to increase the reach of collaborative arts, enhance its value and ensure its ongoing sustainability. Our actions will create key focal points for the sector over the coming years. You can read the strategy in the resources section of our website, or find it linked on this page.
Whilst in Cork, we also hosted a Learning Lab – a conversation focusing on who and what makes a city, in partnership with Counterpoints Arts and Crawford Art Gallery Cork, and we supported Cork Printmakers in delivering a lecture and discussion on Arte Útil with Tania Bruguera and Miguel Amado.
Our work in Europe continues with participation in the Voices of Culture initiative. We were pleased to be a contributor to the Brain Storming and Dialogue sessions on Gender Balance in the Arts in 2019, presenting the report to the OMC in September. We’re looking forward to contributing to the upcoming sessions on Arts in Rural Areas in February 2020.
We were delighted to welcome Javier Rodrigo, a Barcelona-based art educator, cultural worker and researcher to Dublin to lead our second City Conversations event on the 29th October. Javier’s talk was titled: The Right to the City and Cultural Ecosystems: From Unbranding the City to Cooperative Neighbourhoods, and was a compelling presentation of ongoing arts activism in Barcelona.
Create is delighted to partner with A4 Sounds to deliver an Exhibition Award and two new Residencies, to be delivered as part of A4 Sounds’ 2020 Programme We Only Want The Earth. A partnership between A4 Sounds and Create, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland), MERJ (Migrant and Ethnic Minorities for Reproductive Justice) and Dublin Central Housing Action, We Only Want the Earth seeks to interrogate the goals and strategies of social change: what kind of society do we want and how should we get there?
With our partner VISUAL Carlow we presented a workshop with artist Fiona Woods, on the Politics of Context. This workshop considered the field of practice within which socially engaged artists operate, and explored some of the tools that can be used to critically assess and navigate its various and sometimes conflicting interests.
We were delighted to partner with Dublin Fringe Festival this year to offer the 2019 AIC Bursary, themed on Collaborative Arts and Theatre, which was awarded to Aisling Byrne, a theatre artist with a practice in socially engaged & inclusive theatre making.
As part of our ongoing artists’ project support, we have worked with art/ science duo Softday throughout 2019 on a collaborative sound art project about contested water issues in Ireland. November 27th saw the world premiere of Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) a unique sound composition sonifying and vocalising the River Liffey, developed during this project. This composition, led by Softday, was created by computer software programmes, with water samples supplied by scientists, citizen scientists and environmentalists. The work was performed live to over a hundred audience members in Liberty Hall by the Irish Chamber Orchestra in combination with the “Softday Citizen Scientist Ensemble”, a public laptop orchestra, the Uisce Salach Choir and guests. A new choral composition ‘If I fall in the Liffey” was performed by the Uisce Salach Choir.
We are delighted with the response to our October callout for new board members. We sought those who are passionate about engaging people in the arts, both nationally and internationally, and ensuring collaborative arts practice can play a key role in Ireland’s creative sector, to join our board members in supporting the Create team to deliver on our mission and strategy. We are busy processing applications and meeting potential new members.
We partnered with the Irish Architecture Foundation to offer the third and final event in the City Conversation series. Daisy Froud specialises in ‘community engagement’ and participatory design, structuring communication and learning between architects, public sector and communities in the fields of design, planning and urban renewal. We are grateful to the Grangegorman Development Agency and TU Dublin for partnering on this event.
Members of Create will have received the latest issue of Create News in the post by now – issue 27 features a conversation between world-renowned socially engaged artist Tania Bruguera and Dr. Áine O’Brien, Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts, taken from our Networking Day in September. You can now read Create News online.
2020 will be another calendar year full of professional development workshops, networking events, research, support and engagement, offered in collaboration with our partners. We want to extend our thanks to all the partners, artists, colleagues and members of the public who made 2019 such a great year.