Lynnette Moran, festival director of Live Collision International Festival, writes for IAM about taking the lessons she learned in London back home to Ireland
Live Collision is regarded as the leading curatorial model of Live Art in Ireland, both as an annual festival and year-round independent creative producing organisation, working with artists of exceptional calibre across and between art forms.
Established in 2009, Live Collision began as a small platform for the presentation of international work with a built-in residency and exchange with practitioners based in Ireland, supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. It was the first time the foundation funded a platform outside of the UK, and they committed to supporting our startup and initial growth until such time as we began to receive support on this side of the water. Now, Live Collision International Festival has grown to a four day festival with an ever expanding audience and committed following. The festival only presents work never before shown in Ireland; artists and audiences revere the festival as a platform unlike any other on the cultural landscape. It is the place to see work that you will not see anywhere else.
I created Live Collision as a way to build a meaningful community around art form, aesthetic and the politic of Live Art in Ireland. In 2009 I returned to Dublin after living in London for nearly 10 years, I had left to study in the UK and when I completed my MA at Goldsmith’s College I began to work in some of the leading organisations within the contemporary art sector in London. Firstly with LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre), still at that point under the directorship of the festival’s legendary founders Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal, who embraced my enthusiasm to learn and took me under their metaphorical festival wing.
At LIFT, I witnessed first hand the value of a global vision, innovative leadership and the impact of a core integrity. It was during this time my festival flame was set alight and I could see all the potential of a ‘festival’ both for artists and audiences alike. My next step was to join BAC (Battersea Arts Centre) the arts organisation responsible for innovating both ‘Scratch’ (a platform for the development of new performance) and the role of the creative producer – a term relatively unexplored to that point. I was part of a generation at the forefront of a brand new intersection in the cultural landscape; readdressing the practice of curators, programmers and producers to commission and support the realisation of new work, live performance and interdisciplinary practice.
When I returned I was keen to find my place in the hometown that I was, in effect, culturally estranged from and so I began to carve a new unexplored space. I created Live Collision as a way to build a meaningful community around art form, aesthetic and the politic of Live Art in Ireland whilst still working with my established networks of artists, producers and presenters across the UK and Europe.
Live Art has always been a contested term, often raising questions and requiring definition. The reason I centre the festival around this term, is less about promoting the term, but instead identifying strongly with the politic of live practice. It is an art form that is less binary than conventional art-forms, but instead risk based, interdisciplinary and encompassing of marginalised artists, practice and politic. Live Art liberates both artists and audiences to embrace the contexts that otherwise go unexplored within more traditional art forms. It challenges the tropes of convention and invites us to step outside of accepted norms. It is an inclusive space with integrity and a drive for equality resulting in both challenging and transformative experiences for artists and audiences alike. The festival is the public moment whereby artists and audiences come into proximity and therefore dialogue.
For me, Live Collision has been timely, at first I was questioned as to why I returned to Ireland just as we entered a major recession (yes, I missed the Celtic Tiger) but I saw the potential of that particular moment in time. The festival has been part of a cultural zeitgeist amongst an ever evolving collective political consciousness in Ireland; raising the stakes on the taboos that had sat central to the Ireland of before. Over the last 10 years Ireland has been on this incredible journey, pushing against the curve and defying the sway of collusion to successfully radicalise our laws and attitudes. I am immensely proud that Live Collision has been part of that journey and pushed out the walls alongside many others. There is so much more to achieve and, in so many ways, I feel like we have only just begun. It is such a privilege to generate a collective space for Live Art in Ireland and to create a dynamic and experimental space in my home city for artists from across the world to meet, work, and flourish.
I have a huge respect for our loyal audiences who are open-minded, trusting, and inquisitive, and have continued to grow with us on this journey. Like any 10 year old, Live Collision is just at the start, and we are running at the future with boundless energy.
This year’s Live Collision International Festival runs from 24 – 27 April at Project Arts Centre, Dublin