Category: VAI News Northern Ireland

Belfast Open Studios | Saturday 21 October 2017


Belfast Open Studios, now in its sixth year, is an opportunity for the public to come and see how artists work and to take a glimpse into their creative processes.

Belfast is home to over 250 professional artists; painting, drawing, performing, filming and creating. A public open day on Saturday 21 October will enable you to see behind closed doors, in nooks and crannies of the city, artists are at work developing the seeds of ideas that result in artworks often shown in galleries, museums, art centres, artist-led spaces and various venues.

Fifteen studios across the city are opening their doors from 14 October to 5 November for this unique, free event. We’re delighted to welcome four new studio groups to the Open Studios portfolio: Belfast Bankers in the East, Duncairn Arts Centre in the North, Studio Souk in the city centre and Embrace Studios in the West, who will be launching their brand new space and programme during Belfast Open Studios. Other participating studios include: Array Studios, Artists at the Mill, Cathedral Studios, Creative Exchange, Digital Arts Studios, Flax Art Studios, Lombard Studios, Orchid Studios, Platform Arts, Pollen Studios and QSS Bedford Street.

Accompanied by an extensive workshops and events programme, including a Visual Artists’ Caf’ which introduces the different spaces and initiatives to the public and peers, a series of talks, Speed Curating and Clinics events; this is the most packed programme to date. Belfast Open Studios is delighted to partner with Belfast International Festival for the sixth year in a row and to represent its primary visual art programming. All event tickets can be purchased through the Festival website.

Sponsored by local artisan tea makers Suki Tea, Belfast Open Studios events offer a warm welcome to all with a cup of Belfast Brew on arrival before they take a relaxed and informative stroll around the various studios, open from 11am to 5pm.

Belfast Open Studios is grateful for the support of Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Belfast International Festival, The British Council and Arts & Business NI.

Additional information is available at

Mark McGreevy Wins Suki Tea Art Prize 2017

Visual Artists Ireland, Suki Tea and Business NI Investment Programme are delighted to announce Mark McGreevy as the winner of this years Suki Tea Art Prize.

As winner of the Suki Tea Art Prize Mark will have a two month, fully-funded, artist residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, including flights, accommodation, studio space, a monthly stipend, and superb networking opportunities. The prize is worth over £4,000 and aims to provide artists with an opportunity to respond to a new environment and develop new work.

Mark McGreevy studied at the University of Ulster, Belfast (BA Hons Fine and Applied Art 1994-1999 and Masters in Fine Art 2001-2003).

To date he has exhibited in numerous exhibitions both in Ireland and Internationally notably ‘Between two Worlds’, F.E. McWilliams, 2013. ‘The Fold- A Painting Show’, VISUAL, Carlow, 2011. Solo exhibitions, The Third Space Gallery, Belfast 2010/06. ‘Resolutions’, Katzen Arts Centre, Washington DC in 2007, ‘There Not There’ in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 2008 and ‘A Gap in the Bright’, the Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown in 2008. He has received Bursary Awards from The Arts Council of Ireland in 2012 and 2009, was short-listed for The AIB Award, 2004 and the BOC emerging artist award, UK, 2004. Residencies include Temple Bar Gallery+Studios, Dublin, 2007-2010, Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s New York research residency, 2008 and Artist Residency Programme in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin in 2005.

Courtesy of Suki Tea, and facilitated by the Arts and Business NI Investment Programme, Visual Artists Ireland initiated the prize in 2015. The prize is open to all professional artists resident in Northern Ireland and all Visual Artists Ireland members in the Republic of Ireland working in all visual art forms at all career stages.

Belfast Open Studios 2016 | Open Call for Artists To Get Involved

vai niDeadline: 14 September 2016

Belfast Open Studios
Belfast Open Studios 2016 kicks off on Thursday 6 October with a Studio Fair from 1pm – 4 pm at The Black Box. Whether you’re an artist, a student or recent graduate, an aspiring collector, or if you simply want to find out more about the visual arts in Belfast, this is a chance to meet studio groups, artists and arts organisations and pick up a copy of the new Belfast Art Map to point you in the right direction.

We’re following the Studio Fair with Late Night Art Belfast, where over a dozen galleries open their doors from 6pm – 9pm for an evening celebration of the vibrant visual arts scene in Belfast. There is plenty more in store throughout October, with a Visual Artists Cafe: Preparing For Studio Visits workshop on Thursday 13 October and a Public Open Day on Saturday 22 October. In November, we will be holding a Speed Curating event where ten curators from across Ireland will come together to hear your ten minute pitches. We’ll outline soon how to go about securing your place at this event, but in the meantime please visit for more information on the programme.

Calling all artists!
If you’re an independent visual artist or creative who is not a part of a collective or organised studio group, we would still like to involve you! We will be updating the Belfast Open Studios website to include a list of independent artists based in the Belfast area. The public and any invited curators / galleries for the festival will be encouraged to view the site before any visits for the Belfast Open Studios. We’d also like to feature information about your practice and projects at the Studio Fair on 6 October, so if you have business cards, flyers or programmes please do drop them at our Northern Ireland Office, 109 – 113 Royal Avenue before the fair.

If you would like to feature on the BELFAST open Studio website, please email with the he subject heading BELFAST OPEN STUDIOS 2016 and the following information:
– an updated link to a website you use
– one JPG image with a max size of 2MB

POSTPONED | Sustaining Your Practice: Reflective Writing Workshops, Bangor

VAI NIWorkshop Postponed in Bangor. Sustaining Your Practice: Reflective Writing Workshops due to take place on 3, 17 September and 1 October at Project 24 have been postponed until further notice. New dates will be posted on the VAI website, if you would like to receive email notification when the workshops are rescheduled please email

Reflective Writing Workshop
Project 24, Bangor

£30 (VAI Members)  / £60 (Non Members)  – For all 3 workshops
Max 8 Participants

Writing for, about, or around your practice: A workshop in Reflective Writing

As artists are more and more required to articulate the underpinning of their work, writing has become an essential aspect. This workshop will consider writing as a way of exploration, beyond explaining one’s work.

Over three sessions, the workshop will look at the possibilities of how reflective writing can help you explore new perspectives of what it is you do as an artist. Through presentations, reading of artists’ writings, discussions, and group feedback sessions, it will aim to give you the inspiration, the confidence and the tools to start writing, and to further use this material for various purposes, be it inspirational, promotional, or conceptual.

The workshop is open to all visual artists interested in further understanding their practice through the method of reflective writing. Those new to writing are particularly welcome.

Visual Artists Ireland (NI) response to NI Executive draft Programme for Government 2016-2021 consultation

advocacyOn 22nd July 2016, as part of our ongoing advocacy activities, Visual Artists Ireland submitted a response to the Northern Ireland Executive’s consultation on the draft Programme for Government 2016-2021. Our response included contributions from Tracy Marshall-Elliott (Belfast Exposed) and John Duncan (Source Photographic Review).

We feel that the arts can contribute towards many of the stated outcomes, but there is only one indicator and measure that addresses culture of any kind. We are also concerned that the programme limits each indicator to one measure and we feel that the arts are not represented by those current measures.

Given this is the case, we are concerned that the Arts will not be a high priority for the new Department of Communities and will not receive adequate funding as it’s success cannot be effectively measured by the standards outlined in the draft programme.

View the full VAI NI Response to the Draft Programme for Government here:
VAI Response to Draft Programme for Government

We also encourage all artists to support and get involved with the #ArtsMatterNI campaign where the broader arts community in Northern Ireland has come together to have a united voice in support of our sector.

VAI remain committed to the support of visual artists in Northern Ireland

vainewsIn light of the UK referendum result to leave the EU, we would like to let our visual artists in Northern Ireland know that we will be working hard to ensure that there is little or no impact on our work and on our office in Belfast. We will be constantly monitoring the changes and remain completely committed to the support of all visual artists in Ireland.


Head Office
Central Hotel Chambers,
7/9 Dame Court,
Dublin 2
T: +353 (0)1 672 9488

Northern Ireland Office
109 – 113 Royal Avenue,
Belfast, BT1 1FF
Northern Ireland
T: +44 (0)28 9587 0361

ACNI Funding for Individual Artists: SIAP Information, Belfast

ACNI-squareACNI Funding for Individual Artists: SIAP information
Monday 4th July
10am – 12pm
Visual Artists Ireland, Belfast Office

Open to all artists, this meeting aims to provide information on the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Support for Individual Artists Programme.

The SIAP Programme includes the following strands:

General Arts Awards
Artists Career Enhancement Scheme
Major Individual Award
Artists’ International Development Fund (Individuals)
Self Arranged Residencies

SIAP will be opening for applications soon and can be made online at

Developing Creative Proposals with Annette Moloney, Belfast | 9 July

VAI Professional DevelopmentDeveloping Creative Proposals with Annette Moloney
Saturday 9th July
10am to 5pm
Visual Artists Ireland, Belfast Office

This workshop is ideal for people applying for ACNI SIAP funding.

Preparing proposals can be a challenging and time consuming exercise for artists. It’s not always easy to communicate an unrealised idea and it can take time and effort to transform some blank A4 paper into a clear and creative proposal that will, hopefully, capture the imagination of a selection process or panel. The day will include a presentation and conversation on best practice and some group discussions on examples of recent artist’s proposals.

EVENT POSTPONED, Visual Artists Cafe at North Down Museum, Bangor

vai cafeDue to unforeseen circumstances, this event has been postponed. Please email if you wish to be notified of the new date when confirmed

Visual Artists Cafe: Artists Speak
Saturday 11th June, 11am to 4pm | VAI Members £3 / Non Members £5
North Down Museum, Bangor

This event will introduce you to three artists working in a range of visual arts disciplines. You will get a chance to hear Charlotte Bosanquet, Liam Crichton and Susan Connolly talk about their work and how they created and took opportunities to establish their professional career as an artist. The talks will be followed by a panel discussion with the artists to answer your questions. After lunch you will get a chance to share your work in our Show & Tell, followed by a chance to discuss what you have seen throughout the day.

North Down Museum
Town Hall, The Castle, Bangor, BT20 4BT

Walking Tour Introducing Belfast Galleries With Free Bus From Dublin

NI-online-sqWalking Tour Introducing Belfast Galleries
Thursday 6 August, 2015
Visual Artists Ireland invite you to attend this one day event to find out more about the visual arts exhibition spaces in Belfast. We will have a guided walking tour of the exhibition spaces in the city. This networking and information event will be an excellent opportunity to meet other artists and arts organisations in an informal setting with a free bus from Dublin.

11am – Golden Thread Gallery
11:45 – The Mac
12.30 – PS2
1.15 – Lunch at VAI Office
2.15 – Belfast Exposed
3.00 – Platform Arts
3.45 – Catalyst Arts

Catalyst Arts – Performance from current artist in residence Paul Gwilliam
Golden Thread Gallery – In the same city, under the same sky… by Anna Konik, 6-8pm
Belfast Barge – Contemporary Sketchpad, 6-9pm
The MAC – Paddy McCann: Black Quarter, 6-9pm

Other galleries open during Late Night Art include:
PS Squared, 6-9pm
Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery, 6-9pm
Please note that the Golden Thread Gallery closes at 8pm

This event is free and open to professional visual artists.
Free bus from Dublin
Leaves Dublin from Laughter Lounge on Eden Quay at 8.45am
Return journey leaves Belfast from Golden Thread Gallery at 9pm

Further information:
To Book the Walking Tour Only, CLICK HERE
To Book the Free Bus from Dublin and the Walking Tour, CLICK HERE

Visual Artists Ireland is proud to announce our new corporate sponsor Standard Utilities.

Standard Utilities provides its clients with cost effective telecoms solutions and deliver a high quality on-going support network in the UK and Ireland. If your organisation is looking to reduce your costs then give them a ring and let them know that Visual Artists Ireland sent you. Our move has given us significant savings.

A donation to Visual Artists Ireland’s support programme for artists will be made for every arts organisation that signs up for their service.

Call SU – UK 028 9051 1266 RoI 01 893 4922 Email

Call for Applications for the position of Northern Ireland Manager (Contract Part Time)

VAI-Logo-BW-Words-MediumVisual Artists Ireland is now advertising for the contract position of Northern Ireland Manager.  Full details of the position, the application process, and documentation required are given below.





  • Title Northern Ireland Manager
  • Functional Area Northern Ireland
  • Reports to Chief Executive Officer/Director
  • Employment Status Part Time [Contract]
  • Interview Process Preliminary Interviews will be held in Northern Ireland.Shortlisted candidates will be asked to prepare and deliver a 10 minute presentation to VAI staff on their view on current visual arts affairs in Northern Ireland and a vision for current and future VAI services. We will offer a £75 stipend to short listed characters to assist them prepare and to pay for journey costs.
  • Hours 2.5 Days per week


  • Visiting local artists groups, studios and exhibitions to raise awareness of VAI and our services as well as to keep us up to date on current activities across Northern Ireland;
  • Working with Visual Artists Ireland’s staff and partners to generate opportunities for professional visual artists;
  • Planning and coordinating Visual Artists Ireland events in Northern Ireland;
  • Planning and delivery of Visual Artists Ireland’s Professional Development programme in Northern Ireland in consultation with Visual Artists Ireland’s Professional Development Manager;
  • Planning and co-ordination of Local Area Community Groups in consultation with Visual Artists’ Ireland’s Advocacy Officer;
  • Provision of regular articles and bi-monthly column to The Visual Artists News Sheet in consultation with Visual Artists Ireland’s Publications Manager;
  • Attending conferences, events and meetings on behalf of Visual Artists Ireland;
  • Assessing, Recording and Reporting of achievements of projects and programmes (Monthly Written and Monthly Meeting with All VAI Staff);
  • Increasing Visual Artists Ireland Membership in Northern Ireland.


  • Communication
    • Excellent verbal and written skills
    • Ability to communicate to a wide range of individuals and organisations.
  • Team work
    • Self-motivated with ability to be part of a close-knit team of dedicated professionals
    • A positive frame of mind tempered with realism.
  • Problem solving & Self Management

    • Ability to build unique solutions based on Visual Artists Ireland’s ethos of placing the visual artist first;
    • Ability to listen, offer advice, and to utilise the knowledge and expertise of Visual Artists Ireland to the benefit of artists in Northern Ireland.
    • The position is at a senior level so the expectation of self-management and self-motivation is key;
    • The position requires a strong sense of direction with the ability to plan;
    • The position requires flexibility in terms of time and travel.
  • Planning and organising
    •  Forward planning is a must;
    • The position requires the ability to be able to organise at a local level and to feed into Visual Artists Ireland’s delivery at a national level;
    • The position requires the planning and delivery of existing services and is open to new ideas that are strongly supported by identified visual artists’ needs;
    • The position requires a planned number of regular visits to our partner organisations to develop projects and services for artists in all parts of Northern Ireland.
  • Technology
    • Standard applications skills include: Word Processing; Spreadsheets; Presentation Software
  • Initiative and enterprise
    • The role requires strong initiative and the ability to communicate this both to Visual Artists Ireland’s management and staff as well as to our key stakeholders;
    • A key requirement will be visibility and the ability to gain the trust of visual artists and visual arts organisations in Northern Ireland;
    • The role will require the incumbent to draft proposals for VAI responses to policy and consultation requests.


  • Knowledge, Skills & Experience:
    • Strong knowledge of the visual arts sector in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland;
    • Strong knowledge and relationships with the key players of the visual arts sector in Northern Ireland;
    • Strong knowledge of current issues and cultural policies in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the Republic of Ireland


  • Reports to: Chief Executive Officer/Director
  • Manages: Local area groups
  • Internal Contacts: Advocacy, Advice & Membership Officers; Information Officer; Publications Manager; Professional Development Manager; Office Manager; Accounts
  • External Contacts: VAI Partners in Northern Ireland


Employees are responsible and accountable for:

  • Compliance with workplace policies and procedures for risk identification, risk assessment and risk control
  • Active participation in activities associated with the management of workplace health and safety
  • Identification and reporting of health and safety risks, accidents, incidents, injuries and property damage at the workplace

7. Office

  • The role is currently based one day per week in Belfast in the offices of our partner organisation, Digital Arts Studios;The role requires a monthly visit to Visual Artists Ireland’s headquarters;The role requires the ability to travel to all parts of Northern Ireland to meet artists in their local area as well as to meet with Visual Artists Ireland’s partner organisation.

Deadline for Applications: 20 February 2014 @ 5:30pm
Applications should include a comprehensive résumé, a letter indicating suitability for the position, and outlines of any potential conflicts of interests.

Candidates must be available for interview the week of 24th February 2014

It is the responsibility of each candidate to ensure that their applications arrive before the deadline above. Late applications will not be considered.

Applications should be sent to:

Northern Ireland Manager Advertisement
Visual Artists Ireland
Central Hotel Chambers
7/9 Dame Court
Dublin 2

or by email to: