Avenue: a new domestic space initiative for artists


Image courtesy of East Street Arts Art Hostel http://eaststreetarts.org.uk/projects/art-hostel/


I’ve been ruminating on the idea of providing domestic space for artists for a while… and in Summer 2018 I will launch a new initiative – Avenue – that supports artists/ curators/ academics visiting Belfast, from my own home.

My proposal is to offer affordable accommodation to practitioners in a supportive, artistic environment, equipped with 4 double rooms close to Belfast city centre.

Collaborating with galleries, universities and networks, I will offer economic accommodation in a supportive environment which allows organisations to save much-needed funds to continue to do what they do best – make great work happen here.

Whether visiting the city to undertake research, install exhibitions, deliver lectures or participate in residencies, this will be a site for ideas generation and exchange, local/ national/ international networking and relaxation. Guests will be encouraged to come and go as they please, engage with others or seek space and time for reflection.

Four comfortable double bedrooms, one single bedroom, a well-stocked (art and fiction) library, projector, on-street parking, an outdoor courtyard working space, and excellent connections to the city centre (just 10 minutes drive/ 20 minutes walk) and elsewhere in Northern Ireland (by foot, car, bus or train) make this an excellent base from which to work. There are also parks, reservoirs, bars, cafes, restaurants and large supermarkets very nearby.

For me, this venture will allow me to embed my artist development and network interests, as well as earn a small amount on the side to support further projects that I generate with artists. I hope that it will bring together my formal and informal approaches, and even my social skills, in a way that is beneficial to artists and to the visual arts infrastructure in the city.

I am currently undertaking research into existing spaces, ranging from the East Street Art Hotel in Leedspictured above, London’s Green Rooms and Islington Mill, Manchester, to Enough Room for Space in Brussels, run by artists Maarten Vanden Eynde and Marjolijn Dijkmanto The Guesthouse Project in Cork. I will also draw on my residency experience at Hospitalfield – itself a multifunctional space operating variously, since 1260, as a hospital, art college and home – to consider how this initiative could operate.

I will update details of this new venture here in the coming months.