Two groups of Irish-based artists have just returned from Estonia where they worked with host partners in Tartu city and Mooste, a rural town in Estonia. The artists were on placement with Cavan County Council’s ‘Developing Creative Practice Across Borders’ project, funded through the EU Leonardo da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme.
The host partners were the Tartu Print Museum and Mooste KulalisStuudio MTU [MoKS], an artist-led rural based centre for art and social practice.
At an evaluation session, the artists gave glowing reports about both host organisations, who facilitated diverse and challenging learning experiences for them.
Six artists were placed with The Tartu Print Museum (Jacqueline O’Neill, Sue Morris, Kim Doherty, Mark Lawlor, Ferghal O’Mahony and Michelle Boyle), and four were placed with MoKS (Maria Kerin, Ross Cochrane, Alan James Burns and Michael Holly).
The Print Museum delivered a very active itinerary for the artists including printing workshops, visits to a Creative Industries incubation centre, arts festival, tour of street art, and open air cinema festival as well as countryside visits and tours. The artists were also fortunate to be able to exhibit their own work while on placement. Michelle Boyle, Virginia based artist said ‘I thought the best thing about this residency was that the programme and the people involved were flexible enough to allow for each individual artist to develop their own particular field of interest’. Kim Doherty who works as an artist and facilitator also enjoyed the experience and had this to say ‘The residency has affirmed for me the importance of doing my own creative work on a routine basis as well as my artist facilitation work.’
Ferghal O’Mahony, Jacqueline O’Neill, Kim Doherty, Sue Morris, Mark Lawlor, and Michelle Boyle
In MoKS, the Irish-based artists learned about art in a rural context and took part in an art symposium that included artists and academics from Estonia. They learned additional professional skills and how to apply new techniques and new methods and generally became more familiar with the arts environment of a foreign country. There was also individual work time for each artist.
Maudabawn native Ross Cochrane currently based at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre spoke about his experience in MoKS as ‘an extremely beneficial learning experience, which has impacted on my creative practice and I feel re-invigorated my own practice and I plan to continue engaging with MoKS and Cavan County Council’. Alan James Burns from Kingscourt now based in Dublin had this to say about the learning ‘My practice involves working with individuals on a one to one interview basis. I was given numerous opportunities organised through the host organisation to work with different people and network through this process’. All of the artists benefitted from networking opportunities and several hope to further their links with the Estonian partners for future exhibitions and networking opportunities.
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