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Guidelines

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet

The Visual Artists’ News Sheet (VAN) is a bi-monthly printed publication of Visual Artists Ireland – the nationwide representative body for professional visual artists.

With an arts readership of over 5000, VAN is the primary information resource for visual arts throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

VAI members receive an annual subscription (with six VAN issues posted directly to their door). Issues are also available free of charge in galleries and arts centres across the country.

Submission Guidelines:

We receive a large number of submissions. Short-listed writing proposals are discussed at bi-monthly editorial meetings, two months prior to publication. It is therefore beneficial to receive pitches well in advance.

We do not accept texts that have previously been published (in print or online). We do not accept finished texts; rather, we work with writers to oversee the development of texts, in keeping with an agreed brief – a process that involves detailed correspondence and several drafts. Articles should conform to the Writers’ Style Guide, which can be found here.

Critique Section:

Five exhibitions are reviewed in the Critique section of each issue. Exhibitions are democratically selected during editorial meetings. We try to cover a range of media, venues and geographical regions, as well as giving coverage to artists at different career stages.

Artists, curators and gallery directors are advised to submit details at least two months before an exhibition opens, in order to have the best chance of being considered for a review. Exhibitions not selected for review in the Critique section are frequently included in the Roundup section or in VAI’s weekly e-bulletin. Critique proposals can be sent to VAN Production Editor, Christopher Steenson: chris@visualartists.ie

News & Opportunities:

Each issue of VAN includes an overview of current news, opportunities and developments within the sector. Such content (including press releases or website links) can be sent to chris@visualartists.ie; Shelly McDonnell shelly@visualartists.ie or Siobhan Mooney siobhan@visualartists.ie

Regional Profile:

Each issue offers a detailed overview of arts activity and infrastructure in particular regions. Two issues per year feature Regional Profiles from Northern Ireland, with the remaining four issues offering Regional Profiles from counties in the Republic of Ireland. Editorial selection is based on a perceived need for timely coverage within particular areas.

Roundup:

Each issue of VAN includes an overview of regional, national and international exhibitions and art events that have taken place during the previous two months.

Roundup proposals should consist of a short description of the exhibition and/or a press release, including information on the dates, venue and artists involved.

A high-resolution, print-quality image (with relevant image credits) should be included with Roundup proposals (see below for Image Specifications). There is limited space for images and inclusion cannot be guaranteed. Roundup proposals can be sent to chris@visualartists.ie

Public Art Roundup:

The Public Art Roundup section covers recent public art commissions, socially-engaged practice, site-specific works and other forms of art that occur outside the traditional gallery setting.

Profiles for the Public Art Roundup should take the following format:

  • Artist name(s)
  • Title of work
  • Commissioning body
  • Date advertised
  • Date sited/carried out
  • Budget
  • Commission type
  • Project Partners
  • Brief description of the work (300 words)
  • A high-resolution, print-quality image (see Image Specifications for details).

Artworks or projects must have been undertaken in the last six months, to be included in this section. We only have space for up to four public art items per issue, so not all proposals can be included. Where possible, proposals that do not make it into one issue will be included in the next. Public Art Roundup proposals can be sent to chris@visualartists.ie

Columns:

VAN columnists are generally accomplished or widely-published writers who contribute topical opinion pieces. Such articles offer critical reflection and analysis across a range of artworld issues relating to columnists’ own areas of expertise (such as ongoing research interests, recent publications /seminars/events, or current issues in arts education, policy development etc.). In keeping with VAN’s editorial calendar (outlined below), column proposals for upcoming issues should be sent to VAN Features Editor, Joanne Laws: joanne@visualartists.ie

Feature Articles:

Each issue of VAN includes 10 – 12 single or double-page Feature Articles, across a diverse range of visual arts-related topics. Much of the content is written by artists and other arts professionals, presenting case studies that reflect direct experiences of exhibition-making, artist-led projects, residencies, seminars, public art commissions and many other aspects of artists’ careers. Pitches for all types of feature articles should be directed to joanne@visualartists.ie Categories for Feature Articles include:

Career Development articles reflect on the trajectory of an artist’s practice to consider:

  • The artist’s background and formal training (e.g. mentorship, scholarships, undergraduate/ postgraduate education etc.)
  • Previous activities considered pivotal to the development of the artist’s career (e.g. key exhibitions/projects/commissions/ residencies to date)
  • Discussion of reoccurring research methods and themes in the artist’s work
  • Description of fabrication techniques and presentation strategies
  • Details of future trajectories or upcoming projects

 

Artists’ Publishing reflects the wealth of publications and experimental literature being developed by visual artists across Ireland. As well as the rationale and thematic approach underpinning current publishing practice, this section also discusses some of the technical considerations, from design and layout, to print quality and the objecthood of books.

Residency Reports ideally include some of the following details:

  • Contextual information about the residency (the context/setting; facilities/accommodation; when/why/how the residency was established; how it is run and by whom)
  • Access (award/invitation/open call/funding; Readers may want to know if it is possible to apply)
  • Details of artworks developed (extending discussions on the artists’ previous or ongoing work)
  • Outcomes (exhibitions/publications etc.)
  • Good quality documentation (of new work/install shots etc.)

 

Conference Reports are written by arts professionals attending Irish or international conferences, seminars or workshops. Reports generally include some of the following information:

  • Conference theme, date/duration, venue and partner organisations
  • Details of individual speakers, including summaries of their contributions
  • Overview and analysis of the main topics addressed, or questions raised, including any take-home messages that may be of interest to VAN readers

 

How is it Made? articles are usually written by an artist about a recent or ongoing body of work. It is generally useful to write about current projects in terms of:

  • The artist’s impetus/rationale, recurrent themes, fabrication methods and approaches to presentation/installation/exhibition-making.
  • Previous exhibitions or bodies of work and how they relate to current work.
  • Details of upcoming shows, projects, residencies, commissions or events.

 

Organisation Profiles generally include some of the following information:

  • Rationale – when/how/why the gallery was established
  • Management – how it is run/funded/staffed
  • Programme – exhibitions, art fairs, off-site projects/collaborations/commissions etc…
  • Artists who have previously worked with or exhibited in the gallery
  • Future trajectory or aspirations of the organisation

 

Image Specifications:

We normally include up to three images alongside feature articles. Several articles per issue are selected for a double-page spread, offering space for additional print-quality images.

Tech spec for jpegs: 2MB; 300 dpi; minimum 2000 pixels in width and height.

Image credits: All images submitted for inclusion in VAN should include full credit details. Credits for images of artworks should take the following format: artist’s name, title of work (in italics), date, medium, dimensions (if applicable) and photograph credits. If relevant, the venue/location, date and exhibition title can be included (e.g. in the case of event documentation or install shots). 

Wordcount and Contributor Fees:

Columns – 850 words (€80 contributor fee)
Regional Profiles – 650 words (€40 contributor fee)
Critique reviews – 700 words (€80 contributor fee)
Feature Articles – 1200–1300 words (€80 contributor fee)

Editorial Calendar for VAN issues:

Jan/Feb issue: Writing deadline: mid-Nov (Deadline for pitches mid-Oct)
March/April issue: Writing deadline: mid-Jan (Deadline for pitches mid-Dec)
May/June issue: Writing deadline mid-March (Deadline for pitches mid-Feb)
July/Aug issue: Writing deadline mid-May (Deadline for pitches mid-April)
Sept/Oct issue: Writing deadline mid-July (Deadline for pitches mid-June)
Nov/Dec issue: Writing deadline mid-Sept (Deadline for pitches mid-Aug)

VAN Staff – Contact Details:

Features Editor: Joanne Laws joanne@visualartists.ie

Production Editor/Design: Christopher Steenson chris@visualartists.ie

News/Opportunities:
Shelly McDonnell shelly@visualartists.ie
Siobhan Mooney siobhan@visualartists.ie

Republic of Ireland Office
Visual Artists Ireland
Windmill View House
4 Oliver Bond Street
Merchants Quay, Dublin 8
T: +353 (0)1 672 9488
E: info@visualartists.ie
W: visualaritsts.ie

Northern Ireland Office
Visual Artists Ireland
109 Royal Avenue
Belfast
BT1 1FF
T: +44 (0)28 958 70361
E: info@visualartists-ni.org
W: visualartists-ni.org