When Arts and Enterprise Collide

Creating an Artists Residency, “The Zone of Uncomfortable Debate”

This is the second meeting to be held between partners at VISUAL Carlow and the Enterprise & Research Incubation Campus (ERIC) at IT Carlow. Following on from last week’s meeting which focused on the discourse around language and the notion of a shared language positioned somewhere between the arts and enterprise. This week discussions shifted to the more practical question of how we could create a blueprint or format for an artist residency that would be hosted in a space like ERIC.

One of the key areas discussed throughout the meeting was the idea of space and what it meant to invite an artist or artists into a physical space like the ERIC at IT Carlow. A space focused exclusively on entrepreneurial practice and enterprise.  As highlighted in the AHEH report ‘Research findings: an investigation into European entrepreneurial support for arts and humanities students and graduates’, arts and humanities students/graduates have a clear preference for physical spaces with resources and support staff (3.3.5, 4.2.2, 5.3 fig 36). Within the contact of this report ERIC at IT Carlow could potentially become a space for artist to explore arts and entrepreneurship within the institution. This posed the question ‘how could the ERIC become an inclusive space were arts and humanities students/graduates could explore entrepreneurial practice and enterprise?

Over the course of the meeting it became evident that all partners recognized a need for due diligence and care when inviting artists into a space like ERIC. One of the HEI partners posed two key questions for consideration, “How can you help an artist in an entrepreneurial environment?” and “How can you bring an artist into an entrepreneurial environment?”. This became an integral part of our enquiry.

In order to answer these questions, it was decided by all partners that a two phase/stage process would be required to create a residency. The initial phase would bring artists and entrepreneurs together to explore arts and entrepreneurship collectively. This would be  a two-day workshop that would center around  the shared language of the arts and enterprise using several major themes as ways of sparking conversation and debate including ‘The Artist as an Entrepreneur/The Entrepreneur as an Artist’, ‘ Economies; Market v’s Value/Impact’ and ‘Who’s it for; Audience v’s Customer’.  It was envisaged that this would function somewhat as a consultation process where artists and entrepreneurs would be asked to contribute to the development of the residency and its overall enquiry. This phase of the development of the residency was coined ‘Zone of Uncomfortable Debate’. The second phase was to be informed by the first and therefore could not be defined at this point.

More to come

The THRIVE residency aims to create an environment where a shared language between the arts and enterprise can emerge, with the aim of breaking down any stereotyping or barriers that divide each of these areas. This call for residency will unlock the potential between the two spheres and explore the inherit methodologies that support both practices in order to empower and support a new generation of emerging artists. Follow this THRIVE thread or join our growing community on Facebook  @THRIVEVisualCarlow , Instagram @THRIVE_Visual & Twitter @thrive_visual