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Ready to listen and talk are Sharon Greene of Queens of Neon, Sinéad Bailey Kelly and Deirdre Young of Hunt & Gather, Kim Willoughby of Damn Fine Print and Róisín Agnew of magazine and of this newspaper.Bren Byrne, one of the creative directors of Offset, rings a bell to start proceedings.“A lot of the things I know to be very successful, they’re actually not generating a huge amount of cash for the people running it,” says Agnew.“What you end up doing is having to juggle a couple of things because one thing keeps you going financially and the other thing spiritually.” There is a respectable buzz in the room as the conversations begin.When the first 10 minutes is up and tables are switched, there’s an audible “awww” from those who were just getting into it. For Hunt & Gather, the most frequent question people ask them is about venues. Previously disused buildings that were temporarily turned into studios and creative spaces are being snapped up. A quote from Cllr Andrew Montague, who was lord mayor of Dublin from 2011 to 2012, about the council’s Vacant Space Scheme, now rings hollow: “It is in everybody’s interest to have vacant spaces in the city utilised.Leaving them empty leaves a negative impression, while artistic and cultural activities can enhance individual streets, which is something the entire surrounding community can benefit from too.” DIY creative projects require passion, commitment, help and long hours, but space is essential.If you have a tenner between you, visit The Lo-Cal Kitchen (beside the race track) for coffee and some famous Paleo Chocolate Brownies (€2.40 each) Cost: A couple of sambos From wild swans to a tribute to Patrick Kavanagh, a ramble along the Grand Canal is an eye-opener (and great exercise).
“It’s important to sit back and go, ‘why am I in this? I think for me personally, it took me to work in the corporate world to know that’s exactly what I don’t really want to do.” Offset runs from March 6th-8th at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin.
Walk down any main street in Dublin – Leeson Street, George’s Street, Capel Street, Parnell Street – and buildings are empty and wasting away, yearning for use.
Back in the Twisted Pepper, this isn’t a convention of dreamers. The advice is to do a start-your-own-business course; have conversations with enterprise boards; get your book-keeping in order; have a proper filing system; work on your business plan; assess the longevity of your project.
Damn Fine Print is a community printing studio “where a would-be printer can come and use our equipment”, says Willoughby.
It runs workshops and courses, does offsite events and produces its own affordable art.