The Tower has been run as an artist residency since 1999.
We have a trust that runs the residency.
The trust is called In You We Trust.
The trustees are Marcus Patton, Susan Philipsz, John Hirst and me - Bill Drummond.
Marcus Patton lives and works in Belfast running an organisation called that restores and looks after historic buildings in the north of Ireland. It was from Hearth that I originally bought the Tower in 1994.
Susan Philipsz is a Berlin based, Scottish artist who I got to know in the mid 90s when she and her partner were living in Belfast. She went on to win the Turner Prize in 2010
John Hirst is an artist who is currently living in Anchorage, Alaska. Hirst has worked with me on numerous projects since 2002. Hirst is also the webmaster of the Curfew Tower’s website:
I am currently living in London.
As the NOTICE states, artists have to finance and organise their own journey to and from the Tower. We provide no financial incentives. That does not mean that artists cannot apply for funding from other sources. As also stated on the NOTICE, we expect residents to produce work that is somehow inspired by their stay in the Tower; the locality, or the people they meet while here. We also expect them to leave something of the work behind – this could be the real physical thing or documentation of the process, depending on what form their work takes. We discourage artists who think they are going to come to the Curfew Tower to get away from it all and finally have the space and time to realise a work based on some half-baked notions that they have had floating around their head for the past few years. You get away from nothing while staying at the Tower – the locals will see to that.
Between 1998 and 2008, artists who were interested in doing a residency at the Tower applied directly to Marcus Patton.
Since 2009, In You We Trust have invited a different organisation each year to curate the residency. These organisations are:
2012 – , Liverpool, England
The curatorship goes from 1 January to the 31 December. An artist or pair of artists can stay in the Tower for up to three weeks in any calendar month. This leaves a week for the sheets to be washed etc.
The month of August is left residency free. This is to allow time for the us, in co-ordination with the curators of the previous year, to set up an exhibition of work done by residence of the previous year. The exhibition is only up for one day and is part of Cushendall’s annual festival called the .
All the locals visiting the exhibition – and hundreds do - are welcome to cast a vote as to what they think is the best work of art on display. That evening we have a bonfire in the back garden which my youngest son and I gather the wood for and John Hirst makes a big vat of curry and we have lots and lots of bottles of wine. Friends, guest and locals turn up and a good time is had by all. The ballot box is opened at about midnight and the votes are counted and the winner is announced. The winner gets no fat cheque but does get a small bronze cast of the Tower and a poster proclaiming they have won.
The festival has a year ‘round office and we work closely with them. Their office is 100 or so metres from the Tower. They have internet and photocopying facilities in the office. There is no internet connection in the Tower – we like it that way.
Hugh McAteer is the keeper of the keys to the Curfew Tower. He and his wife Winnie have a small drapers shop next door, they live above the shop. As well as being the key holder, he is the welcoming party for all those staying in the Tower. Hugh is now getting on a bit, but Zippy who is the youngest son of the flesher’s (butcher’s) across the road is now going to be taking on some of Hugh’s responsibilities. Zippy is 31 (I think) and born and bread local, his father is a lifetime friend of Hugh’s. Zippy is of the same rough generation as many of the artists staying in the Tower.
In late August / early September 2011, Catalyst Arts put on an exhibition in their gallery space in Belfast based of the work done by the artists within their curatorship – work that was already exhibited in the Tower. We will be encouraging future curator to put on similar exhibitions.
The structure of the Curfew Tower Residency will evolve with each passing year and with what each organisation that takes over the curatorship of it brings to it. We like it that way.
The Tower has five floors. On the ground floor is the kitchen and prison cell. On the first floor is the bathroom. The second floor the living room cum workspace. Third floor a bedroom. And the fourth floor is the second bedroom. Both beds are single. There is central heating throughout the building. The bathroom has a bath but no shower.