L-r – Claire Doyle, Head of Architecture, Arts Council, Ailbhe Murphy, Director Create, Stephanie O’Callaghan, Arts Director, Arts Council; Keynote speaker, Jon Garbizu, TXP, Katherine Atkinson, Professional Development, Create
Over the last years, and with three key initiatives, the Arts Council has been working to nurture and sustain the relationship between architecture and society and architects and the public. In 2008, the Council published Public Engagement with Architecture in Ireland (PDF, 0.70 MB) the first piece of research that aimed to map the infrastructure, actors and activities in this area of architectural and cultural practice in Ireland. Secondly, in 2010, the Council established the Engaging with Architecture Scheme which by the end of 2016 will have provided over €400,000 in support for individual artists, collectives, resource organisations and local authorities working to deliver innovative and exciting projects.
Now, the Arts Council has introduced Extending Architecture, to provide training for architects and other cultural practitioners with an interest in programming, exploring and sharing the cultural and artistic value of architecture with the public. Building on knowledge and experience gained in practice with the first two initiatives, it became clear that training and support are now needed to further develop and sustain this form of nascent practice and to build an active and informed network and infrastructure across Ireland.
Kicking off on Friday evening of 5 February in the beautiful Sean O'Casey Community Centre in Dublin, Todo Por La Praxis from Spain delivered a public and engaging and stimulating keynote lecture, focusing on their socially engaged and collaborative projects in Spain and around the world. The following morning, and as part of the training, Jon from Todo discussed his work further in an informal setting and then the attendees - a mix of architects, curators, artists, and programmers – got to talk directly to the architect about the work of the practice. Indeed this is a key feature of this training – each of the three sessions is flavoured with the perspective of three distinct practitioners, highlighting both the diversity of this form of architectural practice and offering attendees an opportunity to directly engage, learn and talk to practitioners face to face at small round-table discussions. Underpinned by precedent, case studies, a guide to legislation and policy and finishing with a workshop in which participants worked together to imagine future projects, (and fueled by food by artist Jennie Moran at Lunchonette), this first session was in itself engaging and stimulating.
The public talks are open to all and limited places are left on the second and third workshops, with Kate Goodwin (Galway) and Cruz and Forman (Cork), details of which can be found on Create’s website who are managing this training on behalf of the Arts Council, so book now!