Town Ecologies

Open Call for Architects

A paid opportunity for three Irish emerging architects to develop their co-design and participatory community engagement skills and experience within a rural context.

Deadline: Friday 09 April 2021

Town Ecologies invites three Irish emerging architects to develop their co-design and participatory community engagement skills and experience within a rural context. In 2021, Workhouse Union is involved in three separate rural renewal projects in County Kilkenny working alongside Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Kilkenny County Council, and local community groups and stakeholders. Each of the three successful architecture practices will have a clear and defined role within one of the projects with practical experience supported by mentorship and research resources. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, we envisage that the opportunity will be a hybrid of online and in-person engagement. The selected architecture practices will experience co-design, stakeholder/community, and local
authority engagement first hand. The opportunity will include engagement with hard-to-reach voices–enhancing your capacity in co-design and inclusion. The projects will realise tangible outcomes for the communities involved and provide a unique real-life learning platform for the selected architects. The architects will work within a larger team that includes heritage experts, planners, ecologists,
business consultants, community development officers, and creative producers.

Who                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Emerging Irish architecture practices (collective and individual) are invited to apply. The opportunity is ideal for architects who wish to further develop their co-design and participatory public engagement skills and experience. Interpretation of the word ‘emerging’ is open to applicants. It could mean that you have recently graduated, or that your architecture practice has been established recently. It may also mean that you are returning to architecture or that you are an established architect and would like to gain new skills in participatory public engagement and co-design.

Context                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Town Ecologies takes place within the broader context of Kilkenny County Council’s City and County Development Plan (2021-2027) and Kilkenny LEADER Partnership’s next Rural Development Programme. Both plans are currently in draft-stage and undertaking public consultation/engagement processes. Town Ecologies will feed in and engage with both the processes.

The balance of urban-rural development has moved to the heart of government and EU strategies; promised investment in rural Ireland and town renewal has created opportunities as policies emphasise circular economies, sustainability, connectivity, and human-environmental interactions. The activities include examining the current and potential challenges, highlighting the cultural, enterprise, and ecological assets, and identifying opportunities. These multifaceted processes include public engagement moments, research, and analysis to realise sustainable place-making through rural renewal activities.

The three community-led projects are:

Dunnamaggin Village renewal plan to create enhanced community space and amenities.

Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre Feasibility Study – a community-led outdoor concert venue, adjacent woodland, and climbing facility.

Ballyragget Town renewal process focused on the relationship to the river, issues of dereliction and enhanced community facilities and enhanced community facilities.

Mentoring and Support                                                                                                                                                                                Each architect will be supported individually by the Workhouse Union team to develop their co-design and public engagement practice. Mentorship will be provided by the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and the Kilkenny County Council Planning Department teams.

When and Where          

Town Ecologies takes place from May to August 2021 in County Kilkenny. Each specific timeline will be devised with the selected architect. We will review and amend the projects in-line with current Covid restrictions prioritising the health safety of everyone involved. The opportunity involves three weeks of active engagement (including remote work, engagement, and mentorship) and incorporates one week in Callan with resource access and mentorship at Workhouse Union. Workhouse Union’s library and research space will be readily available along with the PrintBlock Callan print studio and wood fabrication facilities.

Town Ecologies opportunity includes:

_Architect fee of €3,500

_Travel stipend of €150

_Support and Mentorship for three weeks of active engagement and research over four months

_ One-week residential stay in Callan with full access to Workhouse Union resources (research library, PrintBlock Callan studio, and wood fabrication) and accommodation at Fennelly’s of Callan

_Hands-on co-design/ participatory public engagement opportunity within a rural renewal process

How to apply

The deadline for applications is Friday 09 April 2021 at 5 pm. To apply, submit the following to marked ‘Town Ecologies Proposal’:

_ Project portfolio containing at least 5 examples of previous work

_CV or biography

_Letter of motivation (1-2 A4 pages)

Please contact us with any questions regarding your eligibility and application.

The proposals will be assessed by a panel of four with members from Workhouse Union, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Kilkenny County Council, and a community representative.

Town Ecologies is led by Workhouse Union and funded by the Arts Council with further support from Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and Kilkenny County Council.

Town Ecologies Open Call leaflet