Commissioner: Culture Ireland
Curators: Miriam Delaney, Jo Anne Butler, Laurence Lord, Tara Kennedy, Orla Murphy, Jeffrey Bolhuis
Free Market investigates the potential of the marketplace as a ‘free space’ in Ireland’s rural towns. Small town market places, once the economic and social hubs of rural Ireland, have undergone fundamental changes; contemporary forces of the global and online economy, technological developments and car dependency have seen the market space lose its pivotal position within towns. Free Market provides observations on the rich history and character of these spaces and proposes ways they could be reclaimed as valuable sites of interaction and community. This exhibition is built on the research of our team and others, and on the lived experience of these spaces, to re-imagine the shared urban territory of the small town market place. The Irish pavilion at Venice is just one stage of an on-going project of study and proposal; the Free Market exhibition will continue to evolve as it visits Irish market towns in 2019, where it will gather stories, ideas and participants and act a catalyst for change in the way we think about small market towns and plan for their future.