Artist call for Irish work

For the second year, Gael Linn and An tUltach and have partnered with Liverpool Irish Festival to create a one-off, £1,000 creative commission to celebrate Irish language and folklore. The resulting work will form part of Liverpool Irish Festival 2020 (20-30 Oct 2022). Our initial deadline for proposals is 9am Mon 31 Jan 2022 (which may be extended).

What we want

Our focus will be the Festival theme, combined with Gael Linn’s specific interest in the promotion of the Irish language and the arts. We want to hear about what you want to produce with a commission of this size. We seek proposals from artists from all backgrounds, ethnicities and nationalities, though the content must relate to Ireland, Irish language or Irish creativity. Connections made with Liverpool are also good, but not essential.


Ideas we are open to include, but are not limited to:

  • illustrated children’s stories involving Irish folklore tales, Gaelic and English
  • a piece of visual art that represents a famous Irish story or Gaelic/English speaker
  • photo stories that represent Gaelic/English life, stories and/or characters (fictional or real)
  • a piece of sculpture/installation that references Ireland or Gaelic phrases/references
  • short films or animations that celebrate Irish life or Gaelic (with English translation; or vice versa)
  • graphic artwork for use with prose, online and in print. It must reference something that would be of interest to Gael Linn and Liverpool Irish Festival
  • a visual art original that you can serialise and sell, which sits within the artistic interest of the two funding partners
  • live event within the Festival or online creative tutorials/events based on connected themes
  • a blog/vlog involving visuals and prose, which gives insight in to the life (fictional or real) of an Irish artist/their muse.

Year One example

In 2021 the commission enabled us to commission Nuala Monaghan to create 5 artworks supported by stories. We developed an exhibition, which was held at The Reader, some events and a storybook (printer’s proof, only).


Any physical artifact must be available to be on loan to us for one year, but will remain the property of the creator at all times. A condition of the fund, is that -if selected (and not before)- you will provide an 800-1,000 word article (or equivalent as agreed by the selection process) about the work, some photos documenting the process and a completed artist’s monitoring form.

We do not want to be prescriptive. These are indications of what we think *might* be achievable. If you think you can use this to leverage funds using this as a match, and hope to extend the project, please tell us so. We’ll aim to help. If you want to create a smaller commission with a portion of the fund, this will be considered.

We seek creative ideas in line with the fund size. Your proposal must indicate the end output and what else is required to support it.

Resources you can rely on

  • both funder websites and social media channels
  • the Festival’s newspaper and supported print offerings
  • depending on the nature of the commission, our networks to help show/screen/exhibit your work as part of the Festival and via Gael Linn
  • a live programme you can be involved in, funding permitting
  • some digital platforms we can access and share with you.

What do you need to do?

Please present a

  • clear and concise outline of your creative idea
  • statement on how it relates to our brief
  • short budget (no more than 3% contingency, if using)
  • list or statement on needs you have from us
  • examples of your work (this *can* include a CV and/or photos, but must indicate the quality of your suggested work rather than be an extensive back catalogue of previous exhibits/projects, a CV alone is not acceptable).


I will:

  • run three 5pm/afterschool, online Gaelic classes for children aged (ideally) 8-10, on three Wednesdays leading to the Festival. We will perform a final live version at the Festival (time, date and venue to TBA). I have run sessions like this for 2.5 years. Link here to see an example session.
  • use purpose-made puppets to illustrate the story of Cú Chulainn, which we will tell across the four sessions. Please see attached photographs of other items I have made as a reference for my work
  • need support with the promotion of these events and a venue to perform the live version in.

This commission should straddle Gael Linn’s, An tUltach’s and the Festival’s interests in arts and culture, and particularly the Irish language, shining a light on all three areas. My high-quality handmade puppets will engage the young children in learning Gaelic phrases and tell an important Irish story. I will document the sessions as a legacy.


£750 Total
£50×1= £50 Puppet materials
£30×3= £90 Session fees for 3 x 45 min (free to access) online lessons
£50×1= £50 1 x live session fee
£50×1= £50 Flight/train fare
£125×1= £125 Accommodation for 1 night
£35×2= £70 per diems/subsistence for round trip
£150×2= £300 puppet making days
£15×1= £15 small contingency for the above.

Your proposal

We will contact you if we need additional testimonials, documentation (e.g., DBS) or information. Please keep your proposal simple and idea led, rather than experience heavy. The selectors prefer no more than one page (c.500 words) -including your idea and background- at this stage.

Please submit your proposal(s) to Emma Smith, Director of Liverpool Irish Festival, via [email protected] no later than 9am Mon 31 Jan 2022. The panel aim to shortlist the following week, once we have raises any clarifying questions to assist selection. The Festival will announce the selection(s) no later than w/c  Mon 14 Feb 2021, once we have confirmed the artist and considered the commission’s terms. We reserve the right to extend or re-run the proposal and announcement deadline, according to the range and quality of submissions received and deliberations made in this round.

About Gael Linn

Gael Linn is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation focused on the promotion of the Irish language and the arts. Founded in 1953, Gael Linn is a national organisation whose principal aim is to foster and promote the Irish language and its heritage as a living language and as an expression of identity at policy and at community level. Gael Linn operates on an all-island basis, with offices in Dublin and Armagh. The organisation’s funding includes government and lottery sources.

More here:

About An tUltach

An tUltach (more here) has come along side Gael Linn in support of the project. An tUltach is Ireland’s Oldest Irish language literary magazine, established in 1924. It is Irish language magazine -produced by a voluntary committee- sustaining a readership and nurturing emerging writers in Irish, providing a platform for Ulster writers. The Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon published his first poems in An tUltach in 1969.

About Liverpool Irish Festival

Liverpool Irish Festival brings Liverpool and Ireland closer together using arts and culture. We celebrate heritage and creative future by sharing Irish culture. We offer a warm Liverpool invitation to participate in high quality, unique expressions of our Liverpool Irish identity. Our work provides a positive contribution to the arts, the cultural fabric of our city and shares stories worldwide. The Festival runs an annual theme, which can be found here.