New partnership announced between Irish Research Council and Arts Council to encourage collaboration between research and arts communities

Posted: 15 October, 2017

The Irish Research Council and the Arts Council today announced details of a new strategic partnership to encourage greater collaboration between academics and the arts.

The collaboration will see the two agencies working together over the next three years.

Commenting on the partnership, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council, said: “The Irish Research Council is committed to supporting research across all disciplines. Half of the 280 awards we announced recently under the Government of Ireland programmes are in the arts, humanities and social science disciplines.


“Cultivating strong research within the arts sector cannot be achieved by working with academia alone. By collaborating with the Arts Council, we hope to jointly develop a better understanding of how and why people engage with the arts, and the outcomes and impacts that arise. This in turn can help us develop better public policy around the arts and invest public funds more strategically.”

Chair of the Arts Council, Sheila Pratschke said: “I’m delighted the Arts Council has joined forces with the Irish Research Council as our strategy commits us to new working relationships within and beyond the arts.

“Research helps us to better understand people and places, supporting us to reach new communities, as well as helping us plan more strategically for the future. Curiosity, enquiry and discovery are driving impulses behind practitioners in the arts and in research. This three-year collaboration is important to the Arts Council. Understanding how the arts develop and impact on people’s lives requires on-going evaluation and research.”

Researching the arts

Examples of postgraduate researchers in the arts sector currently funded by the Irish Research Council include:

  • Kerstina Mortensen who is researching Nordic symbolist art. Her work explores how European pessimism at the turn of the 20th century contributed to the darker depictions such as illness, death and the psychological self.
  • Margaret O’Brien who is examining the theme of repetition in the work of several contemporary artists including Jenny Baines, Seamus McCormack, Lorraine Neeson and Fiona Reilly.
  • Susan Campbell who is focusing on the art of Richard Tuttle, an influential American practitioner with a 50-year career that is still growing in its international reach. She is exploring key examples of Tuttle’s work, through the prism of the textile, to gain original insights into the artist.

Pictured (L-R): Peter Brown (Director of the Irish Research Council), Orlaith McBride (Director of the Arts Council), Sheila Pratschke (Chair of the Arts Council) and Professor Jane Ohlmeyer (Chair of the Irish Research Council).

More: Arts Council