15 February 2013: Tender for Commissioner Venice Architecture Biennale 2014

Call for expressions of interest: Ireland's participation in 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice, 2014

Interested parties are invited to submit expressions of interest to act as the Commissioner for Ireland's national representation at the Venice Biennale in 2014. Ireland's representation at the Venice Biennale is a Culture Ireland initiative, in partnership with the Arts Council.

Culture Ireland and the Arts Council are committed to Ireland's participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale, with the aim of increasing opportunities for and the profile of Irish architects abroad. The Venice Architecture Biennale, as well as serving as a global showcase for architecture, offers the opportunity for Irish architects to engage with international audiences, influence future trends and explore their practice.

The Architecture Biennale is evolving the way it is organised and attention is drawn to the opening remarks of the Biennale President and the Biennale Curator regarding the new approach and schedule which will involve a longer exhibition period opening in early June. Ireland has a provisional reservation on space in the Arsenale for 2014.

Applicants should note that a tour of the exhibition in Ireland must take place following the Biennale. 

Role of Commissioner

The Commissioner will work to support the delivery of the project and will lead on project management, management of budget (including fundraising), contract for venue, communications and press, and liaison with the Biennale office, as well as providing administrative support. The Commissioner will provide support for the creative process in the delivery of the project, as required by the Curator, and will be available to assist the Curator in the development of the exhibition concept through to presentation stage.

The Commissioner may act as the Curator of the exhibition or may choose to work with a Curator. In the latter case, the Curator should be identified and be party to the submission being made. In both cases the creative idea and those being represented in the exhibit should be identified.

The Commissioner will manage and deliver the national tour of the Venice Biennale exhibition.


A core budget has not yet been set for the 2014 Biennale.  While the 2012 budget of approx €300,000 may be used as a guideline, the current public and private funding climate may require that a lesser sum is available.  A financial management and reporting structure will be set up by the Commissioner in agreement with the selected Curator.

Stages for Selection

Interested parties should forward a submission as per the attached brief.  A shortlist will be invited for interview by the selection panel.

Brief of submission

The term "Commissioner" is used informally in this brief to designate the author/s of the proposal. Proposals are invited from an individual, collective, or organisation with the knowledge and skill to manage and deliver a presentation appropriate to the context of the Venice Biennale.   The Commissioner for the Irish presentation will be chosen on the strength of skills including organisational capacity and the ability to meet the criteria.


Applicants must have a proven record in the architectural and/or broader cultural sector and will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Detailed knowledge of current trends in architecture and architectural exhibition, nationally and internationally
  • Response to the Fundamentals Biennale's theme Absorbing
  • Modernity 1914-2014 and its focus on architecture not architects
  • Knowledge of and/or experience in research and exhibition delivery
  • Experience in project management including liaising with stakeholders
  • Budget management and reporting
  • Organisational capacity and availability to meet time and travel commitments
  • Proven capacity to manage and deliver a project of this scale
  • Reporting and editorial skills for documentation and dissemination
  • Networking skills and international connections
  • Level of proposed fee costs

It is desirable that applicants have experience of:

  • Developing audiences
  • Research and presentation
  • Working with constituencies (architecture and the arts)
  • Working with a range of international contacts and networks, relevant to the arts and cultural sectors, which will be of use in disseminating information and generating profile for the exhibition
  • Generating additional funding
  • Experience of working with the media and stakeholders in the promotion of arts and cultural projects

Submission Requirements: Stage 1

  1. Applicants must submit no more than 2 x A4 pages in PDF format outlining their approach and capacity to deliver a presentation of Irish architecture within the platform of the Biennale and its subsequent presentation in Ireland.   The applicant must also indicate a proposed project management fee structure.
  2. This submission must demonstrate how the applicant fulfils the eligibility criteria above and must be accompanied by all relevant biographies.

Stage 2: Interview

From the information provided in the submission one or more candidates may be invited to present in person to the selection panel in March 2013. 

Terms and Conditions

  • The Commissioner may act as Curator of the exhibition but may not be a participant in it.
  • This call for submissions is open to Irish individuals, collectives or organisations based in Ireland or abroad, or to those, of any nationality, resident in Ireland.
  • Submissions will not be returned.
  • No fees or expenses will be paid for either submission stage.
  • The receipt of all proposals will be acknowledged.
  • All applicants will be informed in writing of the outcome of each stage of the process in which they were involved..
  • Culture Ireland and the Arts Council reserve the right to invite a potential Commissioner if the open submission process does not lead to a successful outcome.
  • The selection process will consist of:
    - Short-listing by Culture Ireland and the Arts Council
    - Interview by Culture Ireland, the Arts Council and two external panellists
  • The selection panel’s decision is final.  

Deadline for proposals

Submissions should be emailed to catriona.ryan@cultureireland.gov.ie and must be received by 5pm on 4 March 2013.

Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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