A Matter of Value

Ormston House is proud to present A Matter of Value: A blueprint for articulating the value of the artist-run. This new publication will be available online and in print as a tool to support artist-run initiatives in identifying and articulating their social value. You can access A Matter of Value here.

This blueprint aims to offer artist-run initiatives a series of practical mechanisms to communicate the inherent and sustained value of their work. It is designed to support artist-run initiatives to define their social impact, articulate their social value, and provide internal reflective exercises for artist-run initiatives. The blueprint is a tool that helps to share the full story of the value of artist-run initiatives for both their team members, artists, audiences and other stakeholders.

As Niamh Brown writes in her foreword: “Since its foundation in 2011, Ormston House has often faced instability and precarity in varying forms. Our experience is not unique; however we have had to work through these circumstances without consistent capacity or resources to fully communicate our social value. Originally, A Matter of Value came from a place of not having the adequate tools needed to articulate our value and impact.”

“From working within the artist-run sector, we inherently know that we add value to the artists we support and the communities we serve. To name a few, this could be through exhibition and professional development opportunities for artists; through providing space for curators to experiment; or through engaging with communities through activism and socially-engaged projects. However, because of our often limited capacities, we do not always have the metrics to prove it.”

This blueprint was developed as part of the Creative Europe project, Artist-Run Network Europe, through a series of research laboratories, training opportunities and meetings between 2021 and 2023. A small working group of visual arts professionals with varying experiences in the arts sector worked together and brought their understanding of the term social value and its applications. We acknowledge that this is not a perfect tool, but we hope it will be a useful addition to the toolkit.

A Matter of Value was developed across a series of research labs, led by Ormston House, as part of  the Creative Europe project, Artist-Run Network Europe (2020-2023) and co-funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and Limerick Arts Office.


Image: A Matter of Value, design by Eala Mardell.
Ormston House would like to thank everyone who contributed to the creation of A Matter of Value. Writing and research by Niamh Brown, Jane Morrow, Dylan Ryan, and Ashling McGrory.  Additional research by Dr. Simon Thompson, Maite Pinto, Alice Máselníková, and Rob Knijn.  Copy editing by Clara Laherty. Design by Eala Mardell. Photography by Allie Glynn, Shane Serrano, Jed Niezgoda and Shane Vaughan.
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