Visual Artists Ireland’s Laboratory for Visual Arts Research & Practice

Visual Artists Ireland’s Laboratory for Visual Arts Research & Practice is a pilot project for 2020 which brings together a variety of strands of VAI’s existing work, and seeks to investigate how this can be expanded to broaden supports for visual artists and the visual arts sector.

The programme for 2020 includes four new initiatives:

  1. Experiment! – a residency programme that goes beyond the bounds of traditional location specific residencies and provides both funding and support for artists who wish to experiment in areas of their practice. Experiment! is open to all members of Visual Artists Ireland. The application process is designed to be as open as possible, and is focused on evidence of how taking time out will assist artists or artist groups expand their understanding of their practice or develop it in a new way. Successful recipients will be asked to share their findings as part of VAI’s publications.
  2. Public Art Commissioning – VAI is undertaking research into how Public Art Commissioning is delivered and how this can be improved to ensure the widest range of artists benefit from opportunities. This project forms part of VAI’s initiative #EqualOpportuntiesForAllArtists This project will be a combination of desk research and findings on scalable models developed through our delivery of Public Art projects.
  3. Equitable Treatment of Artists – In continuation of the Advocacy campaign for Artists’ Payments, undertaken by VAI since 2011 with the research into The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artist in Ireland, VAI is undertaking research into the next level of detail so that visual artists at all stages of their career can benefit from policies developed at a national and local level.
  4. Research Support for Curators and Artistic Directors – In continuation of our work bringing curators and artists together, VAI is now developing a detailed service which allows Curators and Artistic Directors request information on Irish visual artists working in specific areas of practice or subject matter areas. Since 2013, VAI has hosted international visitors in a series of events that have introduced to them to Irish artists. This is supported at a local level through VAI’s Speed Curating, Portfolio Reviews, and Peer Critique events. Visiting curators can request information on Irish artists and VAI will conduct a detailed search amongst the membership to ensure the broadest range of artists have an equitable opportunity of meeting with curators. Interested curators or artistic directors can contact us on for more information on this free service. The programme also delivers a number of funded visits during the year, which international curators and artistic curators can apply for.

The programme will also look at detailed research into the current status of Advocacy areas in which VAI works. These include:

  • The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artist in Ireland;
  • Social Welfare;
  • Health & Safety Practices;
  • Artists Rights & Justice: Censorship; Copyright, Artists Resale Right;
  • Artists & Education, Arts in Education: STEAM;
  • Working Environment: Studios & Non-Studio;
  • Public Art Commissioning & Delivery;
  • Artist Supports in Urban and Rural Development;
  • Payment Guidelines for Visual Artists in Ireland;
  • Best Practice Guidelines for Internships;
  • Communicating the Visual Arts to Media and to a general audience.

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