Crex Crex: Open Call

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Crex crex, crex crex, crex… is a research project connecting artists and field experts to learn about the corncrake bird and its place in Ireland’s natural and cultural heritage. Through our free Membership Scheme, Ormston House is seeking applications from artists interested researching and mapping activities relating to the biodiversity crisis, habitat loss, and Irish wildlife conservation. Together, Ormston House and the participating artists will investigate how artistic practices can respond to urgent environmental issues.

Ormston House has partnered with Corncrake LIFE, an EU-funded project working with community activists, farmers and landowners to improve habitat for corncrakes in Special Protection Areas. Starting in Summer 2022, we will meet with stakeholders through a structured programme of online meetings and site visits to locations of interest on the west coast of Ireland. We will examine how the methods used by conservation projects may benefit or be utilised in artistic practice, through a reciprocal exchange of knowledge.


Early May: 2-hour online meeting with Corncrake LIFE

Early June: 2-hour online meeting with Corncrake LIFE

Mid-June: 3-day residency in County Mayo

Mid-July: 2-hour meeting with Corncrake LIFE

Mid-August: 3-day residency in County Donegal

Early October: 2-hour online meeting with Corncrake LIFE


The artist fee is €2200.

Fee breakdown: artists will be paid €50/hour for online meetings with Corncrake LIFE; and €300/day for the research residencies in Mayo and Donegal (travel days excluded). There will also be a travel budget up to €150 for each artist. Accommodation, food and local transport will be provided for the residencies in Mayo and Donegal.

How to apply 

This call is open to artists working in all artforms and areas of arts practice (including architecture, dance, design, digital media, literature, music, theatre, and visual arts). The opportunity would best suit artists with experience of working with communities or in rural contexts; participating artists will be invited to present their practice at meetings.

To apply, please send your CV along with a statement (max. 500 words) outlining your suitability and how you feel you could contribute to the project, to with the subject “Crex crex”. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 20 April 2022, 5pm. Late submissions will not be processed.

About the corncrake

Once the sound of summer and a harbinger of good luck for previous generations of Irish people, the population of corncrake has now almost disappeared on the island of Ireland. An elusive migratory bird, often only heard and not seen, the corncrake is identified by its distinctive rasping call from which it derives its onomatopoeic latin name ‘crex crex’.

Over the past fifty years, over-intensification of farming and increased flooding have destroyed the natural habitat of the corncrake, silencing its once ubiquitous call. Under mounting existential threat, the corncrake is now confined to the western margins of the island, limited to the areas of north-west Ulster, Connaught and some coastal islands. The corncrake’s distribution along the western coastline mirrors that of the Irish language, and the corncrake’s status as a bird of the Gaeltacht signifies its strong cultural links to the people and landscape of Ireland. The corncrake, like our native tongue, risks becoming a spectre of the past if it is not recognised as an important part of our heritage to be preserved and celebrated.

About Corncrake LIFE

Much of the corncrake’s remaining Irish habitat is the product of community initiatives, sympathetic farming practices and state-funded interventions. Since 2019, €5.9 million has been dedicated to corncrake conservation as part of the EU LIFE programme. Corncrake LIFE operates in eight Special Protection Areas along the west-coast of Ireland and focuses on community involvement and collaboration towards the creation of suitable habitat for the corncrake. Further information on the Corncrake LIFE project can be found here.

Crex crex, crex crex, crex… is curated by Caimin Walsh.

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