Artist-Run Network Europe: Research Lab #2

Led by curator Niamh Brown with local and international experts, Ormston House is facilitating a series of research labs in Limerick to explore the social impact and expanded value of artist-run initiatives, as part of our Creative Europe project, Artist-Run Network Europe (2020-2023). The virtual Research Lab #1 introduced the project and terms of reference in early May, and the week-long Research Lab #2 will take place in person at Ormston House with participating researchers Ashling McGrory, Jane Morrow, Maite Pinto, Dylan Ryan, and Dr. Simon Thompson.

As artist-run initiatives are often small in scale and work with precarious levels of funding, quantitative evaluations don’t always communicate their true impact. The study of social impact can provide a qualitative approach for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the contributions of the sector to civic life. Many initiatives in the artist-run sector have little time and few resources and capacities to develop collaborative methodologies for social impact studies. Through research, interviews and surveys, the research labs at Ormston House aim to build a blueprint that is accessible to, and can be used by, the wider artist-run sector to articulate how they add value to their communities and locations.

About Artist-Run Network Europe

Artist-Run Network Europe (ARNE) is a European project with focus on artist-run initiatives co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Over the course of two and a half years (October 2020–April 2023), the project will host a range of activities, including exhibitions, conferences, workshops and lectures. ARNE aims to strengthen the self-organised artist-run sector in Europe with focus on local and international cooperation, and to create a simple information framework for art professionals and art students, namely through a collaborative online platform, Artist-Run Resource Centre (ARRC). During the project, Ormston House is responsible for the evaluation of the external activities of the project.

About Jane Morrow

Jane Morrow is an independent visual art curator, writer and PhD researcher based in Belfast. She is interested in infrastructure for artists; working across network and production contexts, and through creating formal and informal developmental platforms for practitioners. Resourcing, nurturing and profiling others’ practices has been a longstanding facet of her approach. Jane’s practice-led PhD research focuses on the precarity of artists’ studios and workspaces; labour and practice, collaborative and co-operative models, and permanence and peripateticism.

About Ashling McGrory

Ashling McGrory is a postgraduate researcher at Limerick School of Art & Design. Her research explores students’ and graduates’ experiences of the transition from their fine art degree into the working world. During her studies, Ashling worked as a Social Impact Researcher at Humanli, where she developed her passion for helping others do good. Through this role, Ashling began to build meaningful relationships with Humanli’s family member charities and partners, gaining excellent insights into the corporate environment, and running corporate events.

About Dylan Ryan

Dylan Ryan is a final year Print & Contemporary Practice student at Limerick School of Art & Design. During their studies, Dylan has worked for a variety of arts organisations including EVA International, the Project Arts Centre, and PeakShow Exhibitions in Limerick. They have also been involved in artist-run initiatives through the establishment of the LSAD Exhibition Society, which they have co-directed since 2021; and establishing the nomadic CMYKollective, a group of artists working together to publish and exhibit their work collectively to a wide audience of interconnected networks.

About Dr. Simon Thompson

Dr. Simon Thompson currently resides in Limerick City, juggling his practice as a clown and masked artist with various roles in academia and community-engaged arts programmes. Simon is currently the coordinator of the Communities of Culture programme at the Hunt Museum, and lectures on the MA in Festive Arts, and the BA and MA in Contemporary Dance programmes at the University of Limerick. Simon’s research explores new creative pedagogies in relation to multidisciplinary training within the performing arts.


Ormston House’s activities for Artist-Run Network Europe are co-funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and Limerick City & County Council. You can visit the project website at
If you are interested in getting involved in the Artist-Run Network Europe: Research Labs, please email Niamh Brown at
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