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Mermaid Arts Centre launch Transform: Associate Artists Scheme

Mermaid Arts Centre is currently seeking applications from artists for TRANSFORM – an associate artists scheme that will see Mermaid employ four professional artists of varying practices and disciplines on a part time basis for one year. Applications open today and close on 2nd April. Artists will be employed, not on a project or commission basis, but rather to proceed with their work in a self-directed fashion except with less economic precarity. We are interested in artists whose work is forward-looking and who may be struggling to find viable employment right now.

So many artists are vulnerable just now, but there are some for whom that vulnerability might ultimately result in a cessation of practice – to their personal detriment, but also to the detriment of wider Irish society. We believe that one of the ways to mitigate against this potential loss is to provide solid, consistent employment for artists and in so doing, acknowledge their value and the value of their continuous creative work.

In 2021, Mermaid Arts Centre is thrilled to be in a position to hire four associate artists for a one-year, part-time contract. We wish to embed artistic thinking and energy into Mermaid Arts Centre’s systems and processes, for artists to help us shape the future of the organisation, and to have the opportunity to invest in their own practice. This is a crucial element of Mermaid’s mission as a creative hub and artistic resource for artists and companies in Wicklow and beyond, providing employment opportunities, advocacy and practical supports for the creative process.

We hope that this scheme will attract applications from brilliant individuals who aren’t necessarily already connected with Mermaid, as well as those with whom we are already familiar. We are particularly interested in voices and perspectives from the margins.

Mermaid is determined to put the voices of communities and artists at the heart of our work, to be a home where everyone can be creative, where everyone can belong. Applicants must have an interest in contributing to our strategy and helping us imagine new possibilities. We hope that by including the voices of artists on elements of our work such as audience development, programme, artist supports and inclusion, we can improve the systems, processes and culture of our organisation beyond our artistic activity alone.

TRANSFORM is a pilot scheme. We want to learn from the process and share the learnings. Mermaid will commission a report on this process and will endeavour to share this information with the Arts Council, arts centres nationwide, strategically funded companies and other stakeholders.

Mermaid Arts Centre is Co. Wicklow’s creative powerhouse, creating opportunities for artists and communities to share artistic experiences that spark curiosity, delight and debate, while fostering pride, pleasure and well-being.

Like many other businesses, Mermaid Arts Centre has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, having shut our doors in March 2020, with only a short re-opening in September and October 2020 possible since then. Our auditorium and gallery remain shut in the short term, but we are hopeful that we will reopen in the not-too-distant future and be able to return to gathering artists and audiences together in person again.

We have secured an increase in Arts Council Arts Centre Funding this year, and we are grateful for a continuation of support from Wicklow County Council. While we are limited in delivering a public programme for now, we are working hard behind closed doors to sustain artists and artistic practice. We are grateful to the Arts Council for their support in making the TRANSFORM Associate Artist scheme possible.

Mermaid has an exemplary and pioneering track record in artist support, with highly regarded local and national programmes such as GAP DAY and Mermaid Space. We have a track record in identifying the needs of independent artists and devising, with their input, programmes of support that satisfy those needs.

In addition to the TRANSFORM Associate Artist scheme, Mermaid has secured support from the Arts Council to roll out a range of other artist supports and development initiatives. We’re thrilled to confirm that our GAP DAY scheme will run again in 2021 and will expand to host 50% more gap days as well as provide a dedicated fund for participants with additional needs such as parenting/caring responsibilities or physical access needs. We look forward to partnering with arts centres and arts organisations nationwide to host artist colleagues for their gap days. We have also secured funds to support artists through residencies, commissions and bursaries – stay tuned to our social media channels or sign up to our newsletter for further information on exciting developments at Mermaid.

A full job description and information on how to apply for the TRANSFORM scheme can be found HERE.

For Frequently Asked Questions, please click HERE. We will keep updating this file as questions come in.

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