2015 SPARK Artists’ Residency Programme

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Leitrim Arts Office seeks interest from artists who wish to participate in the 2015 SPARK artists’ residency programme at Mohill Enterprise Centre. SPARK is a partnership project of Leitrim County Council Arts Office and the Local Enterprise Office Leitrim with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland.

About Spark

SPARK is a partnership project of Leitrim County Council Arts Office and the Local Enterprise Office Leitrim with the support of the Arts Council. It is aimed at artists who are interested in working in new environments and companies who are interested in collaborating with artists and promoting creativity within their organisations. As part of Spark, artists take on the dual roles of artist and collaborator spending an average of two days per week with the company over the course of six months. In both roles, there are no pre-determined outcomes and the journey the residency takes will define its own path.

In the course of the programme the resident is provided with the opportunity to undertake work inspired by the environment, materials, staff or working practices of a company. As collaborator, the artist can propose new and different creative and innovative paths, and serve as a catalyst for reflection and new thinking within the company. The artist can develop new projects or programmes or address areas where benefit to the company could accrue such as adoption of new attitudes towards creativity in the workplace or adoption of new attitudes towards service users, customers or the wider society. The work undertaken should serve to benefit both the artist and the company. From the outset, or as the project progresses, these two strands may remain separate, merge after a time, or be one single programme or line of enquiry from the outset which serves the needs of the artist and the needs of the company equally.

Spark responds directly from within a company, developing a platform for collaboration appropriate to that context, providing alternatives to the current view, and making connections and linkages where they may not have existed previously. Spark takes from international models of best practice which have shown that there is a real demand not only by companies wanting to be more creative, but also by artists wanting to interact in broader fields than strictly within their artform. The programme is important for developing ideas about creativity and it is essential that the exchange carries equal benefit for both parties.

About Mohill enterprise centre

Against a backdrop of rural depopulation, Mohill Community Development Association developed Mohill Enterprise Centre (MEC) in 1996 and now comprises industrial units, a fully equipped administration service and an ICT Training Centre which operates as Mohill Computer Training (MCT). 

MEC and MCT provide a unique resource in the Mohill area. The overall aim of the centre is to foster a culture of self growth and opportunity for marginalised and disadvantaged individuals and groups providing a combination of training, up-skilling and personal development programmes. It provides onsite business expertise in areas such as Lean business models, creativity and operational management and provides tailored business advice. MCT provides a wide range of ICT courses prioritising marginalised members of the local community such as people in receipt of social welfare payments, the long-term unemployed, refugees, lone parents, members of the travelling community and people with disabilities. The Full-Time Computer Applications course in partnership with Solas has been running for over 15 years and the centre offers a wide range of other computer courses including Back to Education programmes in conjunction with MSLETB. 

Since 1998, the industrial units have provided a base for 16 different small businesses encompassing manufacturing, retail and service areas. Training suites are also available for use by local community and commercial interests to run their own courses and in the last year they have been used by Jobs Clubs run by Leitrim Development Company, Local Enterprise Office Leitrim, Leitrim Sports Partnership, local IFA and ICA groups, Skillnets groups as well as a number of local companies. 

Through the Spark Programme Mohill Enterprise Centre hopes to encourage the creation of a more innovative and creative environment for people to learn, work and grow and to physically transform the facility as part of a wider sense of cultural transformation within the centre and the wider Mohill community.

How to apply

Artists wishing to apply for Spark should email Leitrim County Council Arts Office to declare their interest in the programme. A site visit will be arranged and artists who have declared their interest will be invited to visit the company, talk with management and staff and come to a better understanding of the programme and the company involved. While attendance is not essential it is strongly advised that applicants do attend the site visit.

Following the site visit, artists are invited to prepare a proposal (or proposals) for a residency with the company. The proposal is not a definite “in stone” document but rather an indication of how you would complete the residency if your course did not alter during it. It is essentially an indication of your methodology as an artist, a demonstration of your understanding of the company, and your capacity to develop innovative concepts through to conclusion.

However as it is only based on a short site visit, while the original proposal may serve as a useful starting point, it would be expected that the residency itself would dictate how the work would progress and that it would, in the end, differ substantially if not completely from the original proposal. However in order to decide how suitable an artist is likely to be, applications are assessed primarily on the information contained in the proposal.

Accompanied by a CV and images, recordings etc. of previous work, the proposal of no more than two A4 pages should include concept, lines of enquiry, processes and potential outcomes. For the purposes of the proposal, it is essential that you clearly demonstrate your understanding of the company, the relevance of the work to both parties - specifically the benefit of the proposed programme to you as an artist, and to the company.

Dates and Contacts

Closing Date for expression of interest: 5pm, Friday 4th September 2015.
Site Visit: 11am, Wednesday 9th September 2015.
Closing Date for receipt of proposals:  5pm, Friday 2nd October, 2015.
Residency Period:  October 2015 – April 2016. (45 days in total)
Artist Fee: €7,000.00 (inclusive of all costs.)
Materials Budget:  *€5,000.00 see below
*An initial materials budget of €1,000.00 is provided based on receipted expenses. Should the requirement arise for additional project funding which has the support of the company, a further maximum amount of €4,000.00 may be provided on a matched funding basis with the company and Leitrim County Council.

To declare your interest in the programme, please email ckelly@leitrimcoco.ie before 5pm, Friday 4th September 2015.

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