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PhotoIreland Festival 2023 Revolutions install shot

Despite its modest size, PhotoIreland is a strategic organisation in the support and development of the Arts in Ireland. Here, we review some of the projects carried out in the last year to exemplify the extent and depth of its objectives.


PhotoIreland closed 2023 having completed successfully a series of projects planned in Ireland and abroad. These projects, made possible with the kind support of the Arts Council of Ireland, were brought to realisation with PhotoIreland’s unique approach and characteristic energy. Together, they constitute PhotoIreland’s 360 degrees support framework, focused on artists, the artform and audiences. They range from supporting artists with developmental programmes such as New Irish Works, RELAY and RADAR to publicly celebrating their work in events such as PhotoIreland Festival, HALFTONE print fair, and at TSUNDOKU Art book fair. All these, alongside participatory events enhancing the mediation of the cultural offer. Let’s review them.

PhotoIreland Festival 2023 — R/evolutions

PhotoIreland Festival, the first and longest running photography festival in Ireland, celebrated in 2023 its 14th edition with an ambitious programme guest curated by Renée Mussai, Catherine E McKinley, and Ben Krewinkel with artist Ethel-Ruth Tawe.

The main venue, The Printworks in Dublin Castle, was once again presented as the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland, continuing with PhotoIreland’s public-facing research project. The project was presented in its first instance during July 2019, in the context of PhotoIreland Festival 2019 in this venue, thanks to the kind and generous support of The Office of Public Works and its staff.

The artists presented during the month were Aida Silvestri, Atong Atem, Bernice Mulenga, E the Artist, Ethel-Ruth Tawe, Frida Orupabo, Heather Agyepong, Hélène Amouzou, Lola Flash, Mónica de Miranda, Phoebe Boswell, Rubén H. Bermudéz, Samantha Brown, Sethembile Mzesane, Silvia Rosi, Tobi Balogun, and Zanele Muholi, with a special screening programme by Shasha Movies featuring artists Eiman Mirghani, Jamil McGinnis, Malak Mroueh, Natalie Shirinian, Rafik Greiss, Randa Maroufi, and Tarek Lakhrissi.

The festival has the pleasure of highlighting the work of other organisations and curators around the island of Ireland through the Featured Exhibitions section of the programme, while offering individuals and organisations the opportunity to participate in the festival through the Open Programme, the most effervescent element of the festival. This year contributors included City Assembly HouseCrawford Art GalleryIrish Museum of Modern ArtRua Red GalleryRoyal Hibernian AcademyCultúrlannChapel Hill School of ArtRáth Mór CentreGallery XLaneway GalleryBlack Hole StudioThe DarkroomIrish Film InstituteRound Rabbit StudioThe Dean Arts Studios GalleryTrinity College Dublin and Hen’s Teeth.

Tsundoku Art Book Fair 2023

This edition saw the return of the festival’s art book fair, first launched in July 2011, now renamed and rebranded as Tsundoku, with its new website at With over 150 publishers and individual artists represented in 2023, Tsundoku Art Book Fair ran from 13-16th July 2023. Tsundoku featured a broad range of books from active publishers, artists and collectives, small presses, and institutions from Ireland and abroad. Tsundoku offered visitors four days of events with book launches, talks, book signings, and workshops for individuals and families.

Critical Practice Reviews

During PhotoIreland Festival, the Professional Weekend offered an opportunity to artists of all levels to meet with a number of invited international and Irish art professionals at the Critical Practice Reviews. We welcomed around 50 Irish and Ireland based artists to meet 19 Irish and international professionals, and are already witnessing and documenting a substantial number of opportunities manifesting for the artists, with many more to come in 2024 and 2025.

RELAY Mentorship Programme

In April 2023, we announced the names of the three Irish artists selected to join PhotoIreland’s new artist-driven Mentorship Programme: RELAY. They were: Daranijoh Sanni (E The Artist), Samantha Brown, and Tobi BalogunThe Digital Hub kindly provided them with an artist studio for the duration of the mentorship, where each artist had a dedicated space to develop a project over three months with the close guidance of artist Alice Rekab. The resulting output was presented at the PhotoIreland Festival main venue during July.

RELAY encourages cross-disciplinary approaches aimed at those who wish to experiment and expand the ways in which they make their work and to cultivate new ideas on what they make and how it is presented or seen and experienced in the world. Artists of all visual arts practices were invited to apply. The mentorship programme will continue and will reflect and engage every year with the changing themes and ambitions of PhotoIreland Festival.

You can read more details about each of the artists’ practice and browse through some installation shots online.

RELAY Mentorship Programme 2023

Critical Beans at the Centre Culturel Irlandais

PhotoIreland hosted a new event at the Centre Culturel Irlandais (CCI) during Paris Photo, organised in collaboration with Fotomuseum Antwerp and with the kind support of the CCI staff. Under the title Critical Beans, we welcomed a full house at the inaugural session of this annual get-together where visitors enjoyed strong coffee and urgent conversations around art criticism. Invited guests Natasha Christia, Lucy Soutter, and Duncan Wooldridge drove the focus of the morning session in rapid fire propositions that were open to the audience around questions: What are the challenges for criticism in relation to photography today? With the ongoing crisis and transformation of cultural institutions, how are the grounds of art criticism shifting? The guests shared their latest projects, making of this event a great catch-up for the guests, coming from all continents.

In addition, Tom Viaene shared some insights regarding the new issue of their publication. Trigger #5 Energy is a ‘FUTURES edition’, funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and presented as a special production in the context of FUTURES Photography Platform.

You can learn more about the Critical Beans here and if interested, keep an eye out for news of the next one in Paris Photo 2024!

OVER Journal's new websiteOVER Journal

At the Critical Beans event, PhotoIreland’s Director Ángel Luis González Fernández presented the new website for OVER Journal, designed in collaboration with Amsterdam Design studio Vandejong. The new website will facilitate monthly publication of articles and features by contributors and artists, supporting the printed journal published once a year. A Series of Formulations —Postscript: On the Musealisation of Photography by Natasha Christia, continuing on her contribution to issue 1, is the first online-only article of OVER Journal’s platform. Access to these articles and features is free.

FUTURES Annual Event 2023

FUTURES European Photography Platform

The year 2023 was an especially productive one for us at FUTURES. PhotoIreland worked closely with Fotodok and Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Centre developing the concept and co-curating the annual travelling exhibition of the platform, as much as co-editing a special publication.

The five Irish names put forward to join the platform in 2023 were Aindreas Scholz, Emilia Rigaud, Niamh Barry, Phelim Hoey, and Ryan Allen. In joining the platform, now in its 6th year, they not only entered a growing list of talent from across Europe, but also will continue to benefit from a range of opportunities supported by Creative Europe and the 18 platform members. From October 13th to 15th, these five artists participated in the FUTURES Annual Event 2023 at Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center alongside one hundred artists, twenty-three curators, and heads of major international contemporary photography institutions.

During the event, the exhibition entitled ENERGY: Redistributing Power and Taming Consumption opened to the public on Friday, October 13. In 2024, the exhibition will travel to Dublin in the context of the FUTURES Meet Up, kindly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. The event will be accompanied by a busy networking and educational programme for audiences and artists.

After a busy year, co-editing the 5th issue of Trigger Magazine with FOMU AntwerpFotodok, and Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Centre, the issue was launched at FOMU in the context of the Meet Up 2023 event comprising a two-day visitors programme of lectures, panel discussions, and other networking activities. We had a productive and thought-provoking schedule, meeting a number of artists and connecting with our international colleague organisations. The event was made the more productive with the key presence of a contingent of Irish artists.

RADAR Research and Development Artist Residency

The 2023 recipients of the RADAR Research and Development Artist Residency were selected by Inspirational Arts and PhotoIreland from nominations by eleven Photography programmes across the island of Ireland. They are:

  • Berta Martinez, Griffith College Dublin, BA Photographic Media
  • Dee Byrne, Technological University of Dublin (TUD), BA (Hons) Photography
  • Emily J McEvoy, Ulster University Belfast Campus (UUB), BA (Hons) Photography with Video
  • Lisa Folschette, Institute of Art Design and Technology Dun Laoghaire (IADT), BA (Hons) Photography
  • Tyrell McBride, Institute of Art Design and Technology Dun Laoghaire (IADT), BA (Hons) Photography

We look forward to working together throughout 2024 in this second iteration of the new research and development artist residency, focusing on professional development through mentorship, guidance, and professional support, as well as a range of resources and materials to ensure substantial progress in the artists’ practice and career development.

Business to Arts Awards_PhotoIreland_Conor McCabe Photography

Inspirational Arts and PhotoIreland shortlisted for Business to Arts Award

We were delighted to be shortlisted for the Business to Arts Award in 2023 under the Long-Term Partnership category with Inspirational Arts, for what it means in terms of recognition for the hard work placed in this collaboration spanning over a decade. Together, we brought to Ireland some of the most ambitious exhibitions, demonstrating what contemporary photography really looks like and exciting the local scene. We have worked with Inspirational Arts since PhotoIreland Festival started in 2010, and a much deeper relationship was established from 2017, when they officially became our printing partners, bringing their excellence in the delivery of fine art printing. We are proud to align with the quality of their work, which has always been applauded by the artists and curators we engage with, to the extent that many long lasting relationships have been created during our collaborations, locally and internationally. We are lucky to have one of the best fine art printers in the world on our own doorstep.

HALFTONE_Print_Fair_2023HALFTONE Print Fair

Hosted at The Library Project every year, the 9th edition of HALFTONE Print Fair raised over €8,000 for artists through sales in 2023, making a total of over €70,000 to date going directly to artists. In 2023, HALFTONE presented 220 works from over 90 contemporary artists at The Library Project. HALFTONE has become a great event to discover new works by local artists, many of which are bought for public and private collections.

New_Irish_Works_2023_Bryony_DunneNew Irish Works

Since 2013, PhotoIreland has run the triennial project New Irish Works to represent and promote the growing diversity of contemporary photographic practices in Ireland, with the support of a number of national and international professionals and organisations. We currently continue to work with the selected artists from the fourth edition (2022-24). Throughout 2023, we presented the works of Audrey Blue, Bryony Dunne, Jialin Long, Martin Cregg, Martin Seeds, Pauline Rowan, and Róisín White at The Library Project. 2024 will see the presentations of Mark Duffy, Cian Burke, and Shia Conlon.


The Holding Place, by Emma O'Brien

New Publications

  • The Holding Place, Emma O’Brien
    Our relationship with artist Emma O’Brien began through the Professional Development Programme, as we worked together over a long period of time on the development of her practice and a long-term project that culminated in a Photobook The Holding Place, published by PhotoIreland, designed by Ángel Luis González. The Holding Place is a meditation on the physical, psychological, and political landscape of Motherhood. The small world they inhabit, the recurring daily routines, the scant time available, and the intimacy of the mother-child relationship all shape the work. In The Holding Place, the personal and political blur as the artist engages in a raw and honest dialogue, exploring the emotional complexities and challenges of motherhood.
  • Bite the Hand That Feeds You
    Published as a retrospective and a record of PhotoIreland Festival 2021, Bite the Hand That Feeds You brought together artists and professionals to question various aspects of food production and consumption, sometimes to highlight an issue, put forward a question and sometimes provide a solution, around what it means to feed and to eat. The publication comprises a record of the festival and the conversations, as well as newly commissioned materials and texts.

Behind the Scenes Collaborations

Not all our work is public facing, as on many occasions we are hired as consultants or work in collaboration to provide organisations and individuals with a better understanding of the discipline. Here is just some of the work we have done behind the scenes in 2023:

  • For the last 5 years, we have collaborated with with TU Dublin’s BA Photography programme in hosting an element of their 5-credit internship module called ‘Archiving in Context’ at The Library Project. Third year students engage with the PhotoIreland Collection comprising over 4000 photobooks. The module was developed in collaboration with Ann Curran, Programme Chair, School of Media DIT Grangegorman. To date it has given the opportunity to students to learn about archiving data in a consistent and critical manner, while having direct access to the latest photobooks as they arrive to the collection. Although the module brings to The Library Project up to two students, this year we were fortunate to work exceptionally with five excellent students Elia de Leon, Jessie Byrne, Lucy Rigney, Pawel Konkol, and Ronan Callaghan.
  • We continue to work tirelessly with artists in long-term supports, through projects such as the Professional Development Programme, currently with photographer Tim Durham, as much as providing one-on-one consultations to artists and arts organisations on issues ranging from funding, project development, career progression, the contemporary photography scene, and much more. You can find out about our range of services online.
  • Our publications travelled as far as to the Photobook Week Aarhus in Denmark and as close as round the corner, to the Dublin Art Book Fair, where we shared with a wider public our latest work: The Holding Place by Emma O’Brien, Bite the Hand That Feeds You, and Trigger Magazine: ENERGY.
  • PhotoIreland was invited to Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia and travelled to Paris Photo connecting with international organisations and artists.
  • Last, but no least, The Library Project hosted two exhibitions by Black Church Print Studios: NETWORK and Unlimiting the Edition.

Dominic_Turner_False_FriendsBook Launches at Tsundoku and The Library Project

We had the pleasure of launching a number of new Irish publications. At Tsundoku Art Book Fair, we programmed the launch of Have Pass, Will Travel by Ste Murray, The Holding Place by Emma O’Brien, Mehrfamilienhaus by Alice Rekab, and hosted book signings for Heartland / Hearthland by Aisling Keavey, Tokyo Jazz Joints by Philip Arneill. At The Library Project launching Dominic Turner’s False Friends and Róisín White’s Lay Her Down Upon Her Back.

Something great is coming to Ireland in 2024Coming Up in 2024

Some very big and very exciting news will come for PhotoIreland and Irish artists and audiences here and abroad this year.
All will be revealed in time, don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter not to miss anything!