CKI Partnerships
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NUI Galway and Tulca Festival of Visual Arts

Entitled Seachange, this year's festival explores issues of climate change and our place in a changing landscape: through a combination of the real and the imaginary, the exhibiting artists create a collective call for a sea change - literally - in our current climate policies. In addition to the visual art exhibitions and film screenings on offer, there will be a series of talks and discussions entitled Hy-Brasil Dialogues held in the Aula Maxima (the Quadrangle) at NUI Galway on Saturday 14 November and Saturday 28 November from 12-5pm.

Throughout the series, geographers, geologists, marine researchers, architects, linguists, and artists will explore the complexity of our current environment, both locally and globally, and from their perspective of geological time, the present and future projections. Among the contributors to the Hy-Brasil Dialogues are NUI Galway's geologist Dr Alessandra Costanzo, Director of the Geofluids Research Laboratory, geographers Dr Alexandra Revez, Post-Doctoral Researcher with the 3 Cities Project, Dr Eugene Farrell, Lecturer in Geography, and writer and sean-nós singer Dr Lillis O'Laoire, Senior Lecturer in Irish.Dr Lillis O'Laoire will also feature in Island Sessions: Stories and Songs of Sea and Shore, a lunchtime event of live performances being held in the TULCA Festival Gallery, Connacht Tribune Print Works, Market Street, from 1-3pm on Sunday 15 November.

Dr O'Laoire will perform folk tales, legends and songscapes of the west coast of Ireland, encompassing magic, transformations, love, loss and pride of place, alongside local storyteller Seosamh Ó Guairim.Finally, The James Mitchell Geology Museum in the university is a focal point for this year's TULCA. The fossils and the specimens exhibited in the museum speak of a geological time that is beyond our comprehension; artist Barbara Knezevic's piece Conglomerations, Constellations draws on the geological samples from the museum, and one of her artworks will be sited within the museum itself.

For further information about all the TULCA exhibitions, screenings and events, please access

Since 2012 Tulca Festival of Visual Arts ran a number of events in association with NUI Galway, co-ordinated by the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and the Arts and Theatre Office and with the participation of the James Hardiman Library, the Huston School of Film & Digital Media and Marketing in the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, way.

Entitled ‘After the Fall' and curated by Megs Morley, the festival presented artists' responses to the contemporary economic collapse and included exhibitions by both local and international artists.

There was an exhibition and lecture by Lia Perjovschi, one of Romania's leading artists at the James Hardiman Library, co-ordinated by library staff members Laurie Greenfield and Niamh Connolly. Lia's work focuses on the activities of collecting, archiving, structuring, distributing and mediating a variety of knowledge about society, politics and art which had been inaccessible within Romania until after 1989.

Rod Stoneman and Dee Quinn at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media in collaboration with the Department of Art and Design at GMIT, hosted a presentation and workshop by US artist, Frances Whitehead of the School of the Art Institute Chicago on the strategy of ‘embedding' practicing artists in planning processes at local government level. The session brought together local planners, artists, students and academics to discuss how to bridge policy and practice, bring new perspectives to local planning and foster innovative approaches to planning Galway city's future.

The university was also the venue for ‘Fugitive Papers' a dialogue on art, writing, criticality and public(s) in Ireland today, facilitated by local artists James Merrigan, Michaële Cutaya and Fiona Woods. This dialogue will form part of the first printed issue of ‘Fugitive Papers', to be published in 2012.

Students in the B.Comm. Marketing Research degree class, with the support of Marketing lecturer, Dr. Christine Domegan, conducted market research for Tulca, through profiling arts festival marketing in Ireland and designing and implementing a visitor survey for Tulca. The collaboration between Tulca and the Marketing Research class has brought benefits to both parties. The students got the opportunity to do marketing research in the real world and Tulca had ‘extra hands' to do research work that ordinarily would not get done by a non-profit organisation.

Bridging the gap

In 2012 , Galway celebrates the 11th year of the Tulca Festival of Visual Art. The festival showcases a variety of artists in multiple venues all over the city under the direction of an Irish or Ireland-based curator. It seeks to commission new work for a festival that has the West of Ireland in mind and takes into consideration the social, political, geographical, and cultural elements that are particular to the area.

Tulca is run by a voluntary Board of Directors which selects a curator and an administrator to bring national and international artists to Galway where they can display their work, give talks, and put on live performances and exhibitions in the community. With no central office or full-time staff, the festival depends on this dedicated Board of Directors and its strong community partnerships to organize what is becoming one of Galway's bigger festivals and a wonderful part of the social geography of the city and CKI is honored to be a part of the board.

By working with a number of community organisations, the festival is able to draw more people into the visual arts. It provides an opportunity to experience art in a way that many might not think of as their own. Ann Lyons in the CKI offices serves on the Tulca board along with representatives from Galway Mayo Institure of Technology (GMIT), the hospital, local art galleries, and a range of other institutions, to broaden awareness and knowledge of the visual arts throughout the Galway community and reach out to new audiences by extending the exposure and bringing different parts of the Galway community together.

Maeve Mulrennan, a member of the Board of Directors from the Galway Arts Centre, says that CKI is the perfect bridge between what's going on in the community and what's going on in academia. "CKI knows what the students want. They're very aware of what's going on and the bigger picture," she says, "and they are interested in knowledge and having new knowledge but also in sharing." It is just this kind of sharing that CKI works to facilitate in various forms of community engagement by sitting on boards and opening up resources to the larger Galway community. With such a long history of community collaboration, it is in a great position to make things happen and to effectively reach a variety of people.

Not only this, but where Tulca is concerned NUI Galway has an enormous potential audience of students and staff who might not normally think of themselves as part of the art community. By coming into the university and putting on exhibitions, hosting talks, and following what students are interested in and working on, Tulca both widens its own audience and enriches the university and lived experience of the students themselves.

Ann Lyons says that its all about collaboration. "Its about partnership and working together. The university has skills, resources, experience, knowledge, but then it also gains from these partnerships with the larger community because it enriches the life within the university."

Tulca has indeed added to the life and livelihood of NUIG and of course to the Galway community. Its willingness to highlight the West of Ireland and desire to showcase the abilities of an Irish curator, make it an important rung on the ladder to more international acclaim for developing curators and a uniquely Irish experience of the visual arts. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with the festival and to what it will bring to the Galway community this year and for many more to come.

Galway Arts Festival and NUI Galway Partnership

In early 2011, Galway Arts Festival (GAF) and NUI Galway developed a new partnership. The University supported the 34th Galway Arts Festival through development of the Festival's Volunteer Programme and "Selected", an innovative development strand of the Festival for emerging artists and producers.During the 2011 and 2012 Festivals, student volunteers from NUI Galway as part of the ALIVE Volunteer Programme participated in a wide range of activities from front of house to behind the scenes, gaining valuable firsthand experience and enjoying the festival from a different perspective.Macnas has been creating performances in Galway for over 23 years with the community, for the community and have formed the centrepiece of each year's Galway Arts Festival. Lisa Nugent, postgraduate student at NUI Galway, when asked about volunteering with the GAF Parade said, "It is great. I did my placement with Macnas earlier this year and that's how I got asked back to volunteer". Huston Film School student Liam Harkin volunteered with GAFTV and felt that "working with GAF is a fantastic opportunity to meet other people involved in the industry."Festival CEO John Crumlish added, "NUI Galway have been at the forefront of developing volunteerism at 3rd level in Ireland through its Community Knowledge Initiative and the partnership with the longstanding Festival programme will introduce a new generation of volunteers to the Festival experience while also helping shape that experience for the future. Volunteerism plays a key role in the Galway Arts Festival and has been hugely important in the success of the event and provides volunteers with the opportunity to engage with many aspects of staging a large festival, from involvement with the Macnas Festival Parade, the Festival Big Top, and the Festival's online television channel, GAFTV. These elements are very varied and provide hugely positive experiences for those who partake." Both Paul Fahy and John Crumlish recalled their initial experience with the Festival as volunteers in the late 1980's and the Festival continues to play a leading advocacy role in the advancement of careers in the arts. The university will continue to deepen its involvement with GAF for all future festivals.

Cope Galway

Cope galwayIn 2010, the President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, and Chairman of COPE Galway, John Concannon, signed a partnership agreement which will benefit some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in Galway.A memorandum of understanding commits both organisations to deepening their engagement with the people of Galway through a range of partnerships and collaborations. It outlined a need to deepen students' understanding and disciplinary knowledge on issues that relate to the most marginalised people in society including those who are homeless, suffering from domestic violence and the elderly.The partnership allows for the provision of opportunities for NUI Galway students to contribute to COPE Galway's programme, to co-host conferences, and to explore research opportunities through final year projects, PhD research and individual academic research.In the past, COPE Galway has always had a very good working relationship with NUIG staff and students, and the partnership agreed earlier this year served to solidify this collaboration. To date, according to COPE Galway, the partnership has been a resounding success due to the fruition of many of the proposals set out, and the evolving relationships between NUIG students and staff, and COPE Galway staff and service users.COPE Galway recognises the importance of the wider community as a sustainable resource to older people and in recognition of this, has developed a number of interagency and intergenerational projects. Student projects that aim to improve quality of life for the elderly are in place. In turn, students are getting real world experience learning in the community.