Kingscourt artist set to become a Clore fellow

A Cavan artist and changemaker has been invited onto the prestigious London-based Clore Leadership Programme.

Allan James Burns (right) from Kingscourt has been working as a artist, curator and producer for the past 15 years, however he believes this opportunity is one of the highlights.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” Allan beamed.

The long-established London-based Clore programme aims to develop the knowledge, skills and experience of potential leaders in the arts, across a wide range of cultural activities.

One of only two Irish people are among this year's cohort of Clore fellows, including the Kingscourt man.

“I’ve been leading in creative projects in unusual locations such as caves, castles, disused buildings and working with leading scientists for research,” he explains.

These highly collaborative projects include ‘Augmented Body, Altered Mind’ in 2022, ‘The Waking Walls |Caoineadh Dúlra’ in 2023 and ‘Entirely hollow aside from the dark’, which ran from 2016-2019.

He's eagerly anticipating his experience on the Clore Leadership Programme.

“Its purpose is to set you up to then go on to be a better version of yourself within the arts.

I will also have a network, which I will be able to rely on for years to come.

As part of the programme fellows participate in a number of activities including: Intensive residential leadership courses; professional development through mentoring, tuition and group learning; an in-depth research project, supervised by a Higher Education Institute; and a period of secondment, with experience of managing a challenging project.

“You’re given mentorship, you’re also given a breakdown about how you are as a leader and a changemaker,” Allan explained.

“They’ll talk to people I’ve worked with in-depth about how I lead and make changes in Creative Ireland. Then they do an assessment on where I’m weak, where I’m strong and they support me to better understand that so I can grow as a changemaker.”

Allan explained his practice is incredibly busy at the moment.

“This has come at the most perfect time for myself as a practice and in my development as a changemaker. I’m taking on an awful lot of projects that have a lot of potential and, for me, I need support to make sure it’s done to the best it can be delivered without compromising the project, my health and the health of the team around me. It’s amazing.”

Arctic expedition

At the time of interview, Allan was ready to board a ship, which would bring him and a crew of 35 around the Arctic.

“I was invited by Icrag Centre to be their artist in residence on this research trip with Audrey Morley from NUIG. They’re studying weather patterns throughout time to better understand climate change.”

On a more personal note, Allan is also focused organising a disability arts festival called Disrupt launching in Dublin in March 2024.