Slack Spaces

See here for the ongoing discussion about the use of empty commercial space and similar for use by artists both for the provision of affordable studio space and the regeneration of urban space.

Dublin City Council Vacant Spaces 6 Dec 2011 Seminar –  Report published March 2012

Executive Summary

  1. The most important issue is ownership i.e. who owns the vacant building/unit and are they willing to engage with a proposal for Cultural use?
  2. If the owner will engage what incentive exists for them to allow such use? For example Reduced Insurance costs due to occupancy
  3. Is the Artist aware of all the issues of building management and cost that are involved?
  4. What role should Dublin City Council play?  Facilitation? Mentorship? Communication conduit through a special website or all of the above?
  5. Out of these questions came the following conclusions. There are three kinds of cultural/artistic use being proposed. (a) Short term such as pop up exhibitions and performances (b) An Artist or organisation finding a long term home (c) Cultural operators finding Office Space
  6. The challenge to all participants is to find an economic/licensing model that brings all parties to the table and causes safe, high value use for all concerned

See here for more:

Berlin: Urban development  helped by Creative Industries – with ERDF funding. 

‘Although Germany’s capital is short on big businesses, small enterprises are abundant, with creative industries in particular blossoming faster than in other cities. In Berlin, this creative boom is aided by a project which helps SMEs to deal with the bureaucratic procedure of obtaining EU regional funds. EurActiv Germany reports’.  See here

Research Paper by Curator Annette Moloney has posted the paper ‘Art in Slack Spaces’ online, to download the full text see  The paper discusses how artists and practitioners are using vacant high street shops and commercial buildings to set up temporary or pop-up galleries and studio spaces.   The document aims to be discursive and will, hopefully, place one curator’s analysis of a circumstantial shift in Irish contemporary arts practice back into its context for further discussion and dialogue”.  (AM)

Charles Landry on Creative Cities – see here one of the leading thinkers on urban regenration and the role of the arts, in particular the impact of artist communities on the ‘wellbeing’ of urban space.


The National Sculpture Centre is pleased to present ‘Slack Spaces, Smarter Cities’, a public seminar/workshop/forum that will take place at the main lecture hall at Crawford College of Art & Design on Thursday 28 January 2010 from 2 to 5pm as part of NSF’s on-going series looking at Urban planning and Occupation. Lise-Ann Sheehan from Limerick City Council will talk about the new Creative Limerick: Connect to the Grid initiative; Cork City Council Arts Officer Liz Meaney will discuss how Cork City Council supports the arts in the city; and a practicing architect (TBC) will respond to the merits of these initiatives and their benefits to both our urban and civic environments. Artist presentations by Ian McInerney (Black Mariah Gallery), Sarah Jane Booth (Artist & co-curator of 123 Gallery) and Edel O’Reily (The Space) will also take place, followed by a public debate.

New York ‘Pop-up’ Galleries – (From Annette, October 2009)

“Pop-up galleries” are taking hold in New York as development advocates and landlords struggle to keep up appearances where commerce and construction have stalled Turn to Artists to Fill Empty Commercial Spaces –  Source:

 Artists pay €1 rent in Ranelagh (September 2009)

From The Sunday Times  September 27, 2009 see
A leading property developer is allowing unused Dublin buildings he
amassed during the boom to be transformed into an arts quarter.
Garrett Kelleher.. has agreed to let artists, sculptors
and musicians use undeveloped property in Ranelagh in return for a
peppercorn rent of €1 until the property market recovers.