Cork Caucus

Cork Caucus

Cork Caucus was a major interdisciplinary, international meeting of 60-80 artists, thinkers, writers, philosophers and other creative individuals during the summer of 2005, that investigated cultural, political and artistic issues. It was devised by the National Sculpture Factory[1] as part of Cork's tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2005, and was curated by Charles Esche, Art / not art (David Dobz O'Brien and Fergal Gaynor) and Annie Fletcher.

The intention of Cork Caucus was to stimulate the discursive environment of the city of Cork and to provide ways for contemporary art to intervene in social life and political thinking. This was particularly significant given the Capital of Culture status of Cork, which provided a platform for culture to reach beyond its traditional interest groups. It was hoped that this model would impact on future activities and the ongoing cultural and intellectual life of the city.

Participants included:

  • Vito Acconci
  • Can Altay
  • Ibon Aranberri
  • Art / not art
  • Bik Van der Pol
  • Cemeti Art Foundation
  • Phil Collins
  • Members of the Cork Artists' Collective
  • David Crawforth
  • Shane Cullen
  • D.A.E. (Donostiako Arte Ekinbideak)
  • Catherine David
  • Jeremiah Day
  • Maria Eichhorn
  • James Elkins (art critic)
  • Charles Esche
  • finger
  • Annie Fletcher
  • International Necronautical Society
  • Invisible Pilots
  • Keri Jones
  • Kunci
  • Agung Kurniawan
  • Surasi Kusolwong
  • Smaϊn Laacher
  • Sarat Maharaj
  • Eoghan McTigue
  • Chantal Mouffe
  • Paul O'Neill
  • Sarah Pierce
  • Simon Sheikh
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
  • Static
  • Shep Steiner
  • Jan Verwoert
  • Villa K
  • WHW
  • Haegue Yang

Cork Caucus: on art, possibility & democracy, a book based on the proceedings was published November 2006. Text editors were Trevor Joyce and Shep Steiner, and graphic editors Can Altay and David (Dobz) O'Brien. In November and December 2007, two of the Cork Caucus curators Charles Esche and Annie Fletcher adapted the Caucus model as part of a larger event Becoming Dutch,[2] at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.[3] As of 2008, what is termed the Legacy of the Cork project remains, officially at least, undecided and contested. On 21 June 2008, the National Sculpture Factory[4] hosted Regathering on the Grounds of Art: Revisiting Cork Caucus, where this and other issues were investigated. A special focus was the question of future uses for the Caucus model, seeing as it has now had two fully realised versions. Unofficially, a number of channels that fed into the Cork Caucus - e.g. SoundEye Festival of the Arts of the Word,[5] the work of the Cork Artists' Collective,[6] those projects of local and national artists and cultural practitioners who chose not to emigrate afterwards - have internalised the lessons of 2005 and proceeded with the ongoing task of galvanising the city and country's cultural ground. A confluence of these channels led to 'The Avant: Ten Days of the Progressive Arts' in 200.[7]


Joyce, Trevor and Shep Steiner, eds. Cork Caucus: on art, possibility & democracy. Revolver, Frankfurt, 2006. 414-426.

External links

Institutional Funders & Supporters:

Cork Caucus was an official Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture project and was also generously supported by the Arts Council's Projects Award, The European Cultural Foundation, The Mondriaan foundation, the Prins Claus Fund, The British Council, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, The I.F.A.(Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen e.V.) and The Danish Arts Council's Committee for International Visual Art.

Project partners include: Fáilte Ireland, the Evening Echo, The Triskel Arts Centre, Cork Institute of Technology and the South Presentation Convent, Cork.

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