Open Call: Young Art Writers 2020

16 October 2020

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, The RHA Gallery, The LAB Gallery and Dublin City Council Arts Office invites applications from people aged 18 - 25 for participation in Young Arts Writers 2020.

After the success of the Young Art Writers programme in 2018 and 2019, we are delighted to announce the Young Art Writers Programme 2020, with a new partner on board, Dublin City Council Arts Office. This year, due to the current COVID-19 crisis the programme will take place online via Zoom from 6pm-8pm over three Monday’s: 16 November (TBG+S), 23 November (RHA Gallery), 30 November (The LAB Gallery) to coincide with Dublin Art Book Fair 2020: Design as an Attitude at TBG+S (23 November - 6 December 2020). Additionally, due to the online format of the programme there will be no limit to the maximum number of participants this year.

The programme is designed for anyone age 18 – 25 who is interested in art and writing or who would like to be introduced to this area. No previous experience is necessary and all levels of writing ability are welcome.

The programme is devised to immerse the participants into thinking about writing in relation to the visual arts in a number of ways, in order to support the participants formulating their own writing practice. Each session will be located virtually in each of the galleries, and will combine an artist talk and a writing workshop. For each session the group will explore a different aspect of writing and this creative process, including collaboration, response, critiquing, commissions, exhibiting, and more.

The three workshops will be facilitated by writer Lily Cahill (winner of DCC/VAI Art Writing Award 2019). Each week a different artist; Bassam Al-Sabah, Maia Nunes and Eimear Walshe, will give a talk to the group that is centred on how they use writing in their own practices. Participants will be encouraged to think about various possibilities of writing in and around art and to be open to engaging with new techniques, critical thinking, and more. The programme will be facilitated by artist Lisa Freeman.

How to Apply

To apply to participate in Young Art Writers 2020 please send a short expression of interest (max. 200 words) and confirm your availability for all three of the sessions (16 November, 23 November, 30 November 2020) to Lisa at by Monday 2 November 2020, 1pm.


  • Anyone age 18-25
  • No previous experience in the field of art or writing in necessary

Further Information and Requirements:

  • Participants must have their mic/video on for the duration of the workshops
  • Participants must be available for all three sessions on the specified dates
  • Participants will be given material to read in advance of some of the sessions
  • Participants will be given a short writing exercise to undertake in advance of the sessions, details will be sent in advance

Successful applicants will be notified by the 5th of November.

For further information or queries, please email

Deadline: Monday 2 November 2020, 1pm


Bassam Al-Sabah

Bassam Al-Sabah works across digital animation, painting, sculpture and textiles to convey intricate visions of war, resistance and perseverance. Themes such as displacement, nostalgia and personal mythology are explored through reference to Japanese anime cartoons, which were dubbed into Arabic and broadcast throughout the Middle East from the 1980s to today.

Bassam Al-Sabah lives and works in Belfast and Dublin. He completed a BA in Visual Art Practice from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in 2016, and was awarded the RHA Graduate Studio Award (2016-2017) and the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Graduate Residency Award (2018-2019). Recent solo exhibitions include Dissolving Beyond The Worm Moon, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (2019); Illusions of Love Dyed by Sunset, The LAB, Dublin (2018); and The dust carried me into the watchful summer, Eight Gallery, Dublin (2017). Recent group exhibitions include A Fiction Close To Reality, Irish Museum Of Modern Art, Dublin, Pallas Periodical Review, Pallas Projects, Dublin; Futures, Series 3, Episode 2, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, and Syntonic State, Tulca 18, Galway.

Lily Cahill

Lily Cahill is an artist, writer and facilitator based in Dublin interested in the relationship between fiction and reality. She is the winner of the Visual Artists Ireland/Dublin City Council Art Writing Award 2019. She has written or performed her writing for The LAB Gallery, Dublin, The Visual Artists’ News Sheet, CIRCA, An Capall Dorcha, Paper Visual Art, Art in the Contemporary World and Foaming at the Mouth. Cahill has been a co-editor of Critical Bastards Magazine since 2014.

Lisa Freeman

Lisa Freeman works across scripted performance, video, drawing, writing and sculptural installation.

In 2019, Freeman co-initiated Pivot, based in the LAB Gallery, which functions as a platform for artists and curators to have critical conversations about interdisciplinary performance art practices. Freeman is funded by Kildare County Council, (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020) and completed her MA in Art & Research Collaboration, IADT, Dublin (2020).

Recent exhibitions and performances include; Unassembled, The LAB Gallery, (January 2020); a site specific performance Green Skies, A Double Rhythm at The Curragh, funded by Kildare County Council and Creative Ireland (October 2019); The Talk That Talks, RHA Gallery as part of the Winter Seminar The Lives of Artists, (November 2018); TBC TV at Somerset House, London (October 2018); More Mutable Clouds, Prenzlauer Kunst Kollektiv, Berlin (August 2018); Solas Nua, Dupont Underground, Washington (March 2018); PLATFORM, Draiocht Gallery, Dublin (April 2018).

Maia Nunes

Maïa Nunes (they/them) is a queer Black-mixed performance artist of Trinidadian-Irish descent. Their performance practice explores ambiguity as the site of transformative potential, ritual as healing for the afro-diaspora, and song as liberation practice. This work so far includes three major performance projects: performance series WISH, WAYS TO LOVE ME, and INCANTATION presented at Dublin Fringe Festival 2019. Maia spent the beginning of 2020 as artist in residence at The Alice Yard in Trinidad and Tobago, and is recent recipient of the Wicklow Arts Office Artist Support Award and the Irish Arts Council’s Visual Arts Bursary Award.

Maia is also co-founder of Origins Eile, a grassroots organisation, centring the safety and experiences of QTIBPOC in Ireland. Origins Eile ran a small program of events entitled DESTINY: A Constellation of Queer Afro Futurist Visions as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2020 and is about to launch a new publication called TONGUES in association with Black Pride Ireland.

Eimear Walshe

Eimear Walshe is an artist from Longford. Their work is made public through sculpture, publishing, video, performance and lectures, or combinations of these forms. Their practice is based on research in fiscal and sexual economies and histories, working to reconcile the aesthetics, values and tastes of their queer and rural subjectivity. They also publish writing in various adaptations of artist memoir in reference to role models including Claude Cahun, Dolly Parton, and St Joseph.

Selected exhibitions include EVA international, Limerick, (2020); Bodies of Knowledge, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, (2019) and GRETTA with Roscommon Arts Centre, at King House Boyle, 2019. Eimear Walshe is supported by the Arts Council Visual Artist Bursary and Project Award. During two research fellowships at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Eimear Walshe set up the projects, Separatist Epistemologies (2018) and The Department of Sexual Revolution Studies (2019) with Design Academy Eindhoven, a public programme to explore how contemporary sexual practices might help us to better understand the relationship between sexuality and society today, including issues such as politics, housing, and technology.