Welcome to The National Irish Visual Arts Library

The National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL) is a public research resource dedicated to the documentation of 20th and 21st century Irish visual art and design. 

NIVAL collects, stores and makes accessible for research an unparalleled collection of documentation about Irish art in all media.  NIVAL’s collection policy includes Irish visual art from the whole island as well as Irish art abroad and non-Irish artists working in Ireland.   Information is acquired on artists, designers, galleries, arts organisations and institutions, critics and other related subjects.  The collection contains documentary material in all formats including books, catalogues, videos, slides, artists’ papers and ephemera in print and digital format.

NIVAL Update, October 2021: Reader Access Days

NIVAL is open for reader's appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. Access to NIVAL is strictly by appointment only. Please see our Opening Hours and Access page for details on how NIVAL is facilitating safe access to collection materials and how to request an appointment.

The Artist-led Archive, Sustainable Activism and the Embrace of Flux 8-30 Oct

Sample-Studios in collaboration with Durty Books Publishing House examines the legacy of artist-led initiatives in Cork through an installation of materials selected from the Artist-led Archive in The Lord Mayor’s Pavilion.

The Artist-led Archive, an artist-led initiative which began in 2006 by artist/curator Megs Morley, is home to materials relating to over 120 artist-led organisations, groups and collectives working in Ireland (North and South) from the 1970s to the present day. The Artist-led Archive – Sustainable Activism and the Embrace of Flux will become a publication published by Durty Books Publishing House in 2022, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Visual Arts Project Award 2021. The archive is now open for submissions through www.theartistledarchive.com

This exhibition in The Lord Mayor’s Pavilion in Cork allows space for Cork artist-led initiatives, past and present, to bring their archival material for submission to the archive. Currently housed within the Special Collections at NIVAL, the Artist-led Archive has been exhibited in the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2015), the Limerick City Gallery (2016), the Lab Dublin (2009), Catalyst Arts (2008) and Galway Arts Centre (2007), as well as featuring in many publications, talks and discussions internationally about artist-led culture. The Artist-led Archive – Sustainable Activism and the Embrace of Flux will be the first publication to collate key selections of archival materials and documents from each organisation represented in the Artist-Led Archive, bringing them to the fore alongside 12 newly commissioned essays by leading Irish and international artists, curators and researchers including: Dr. Dave Beech, Dr CM Lerm Hayes, Dr Eve Olney, Sarah Kelliher, Jason Bowman, Dr Aine Phillips, Dr Gregory Sholette, Eireann and I, Mary Conlon, Daniel Jewsbury, Michelle Browne, Kerry Guinan and Livia Paldi, as well as two artists commissions from the Vacuum and Una Walker. Durty Books are now updating the archive, inviting past and present artist-led initiatives in Ireland (North and South) not represented in the archive to submit materials for acquisition within the archive and reproduction within The Artist-led Archive – Sustainable Activism and the Embrace of Flux. This publication will not only create a significant contribution to the understanding of the development of artist-led practice in Ireland, but it will provide a timely chronicle to the artist-led field nationally and internationally.

The Arts Council
National College of Art & Design

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