Visual Artists Ireland annual conference: Get Together 2016

On Friday 26 August, Visual Artists Ireland took over IMMA to host the 5th annual conference for visual artists: Get Together 2016. I was approached in April 2016 to programme this conference for VAI, and having recently returned to Ireland it was the perfect gig to introduce me to the people/ organisations/ infrastructures and politics (small p!) here.

This year’s influence was the area of Opportunity, how we build them; take advantage of them, and most of all how do we ensure that they are equal! The programme consisted of:

  • Panel Discussions with over 30 experts discussing contemporary professional visual art practice and the topics impacting on the lives of individual artists. Panels included: Equal Opportunities in the Visual Arts: GenderSpaces to WorkMaking the MarketBrexit: How will it Impact Us and the Jason Oakley Art Writing Forum.
  • Artist Talks: Throughout the day there were presentations by ten exemplary artists speaking about their work, the development of their careers and their own personal experience as professional visual artists. View the artists and links to their work here.
  • Speed Curating: Artists could choose from a list of 30 of the best curators in Ireland and the UK for one-on-one meetings.  This is a hugely popular event for curators and artists; and has lead to multiple exhibitions, working relationships and collaborations. View the full list here.
  • Clinics: These clinic offered specialist advice on your specific area of concern or in-depth analysis which seeks to help artists in an area of their career. Clinics are for up to 30 minutes and include: Financial, Legal, Copyright, Artists Resale Right, Curatorial, and Publicity / Social Media. View information on our invited experts here.
  • Portfolio Review: get expert advice on how you present your practice. For artists at all stages of their career is an opportunity to get in-depth advice about how to move your practice to the next stage. Our experts included directors of internationally renowned public galleries, arts festivals and biennales. View biographies here.
  • Visual Artists Café – A space to meet one another, which encourages making new connections, meeting people and sharing networks. There were representatives from arts organisations and galleries from all over the country.
  • The Café also had Help-Desks to provide information and advice on practical matters such as sustaining a practice, legal advice, copyright, tax, available funding.


I will continue to work for Visual Artists Ireland in a freelance capacity – coordinating Belfast Open Studios in October 2016 and running professional development sessions in the North of Ireland and RoI.