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Mountians To Sea DLR Book Festival Curator Sought

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The Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival is seeking a creative enthusiastic person with a strong literary background and significant experience in programming events or festivals to curate the 2014 festival that will take place in September 2014.

Full details regarding this contract for service and how to apply are below, and also available on www.mountainstosea.ie or by calling (01) 271 9532
The 2014 festival will be a celebratory version of the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival specially tailored to the official opening programme of the new Central Library and Cultural Centre. It will take place over three days from the 12th to 14th of September 2014. It will encompass approximately 25 events and take place in the Pavilion Theatre and the Central Library and Cultural Centre in Dún Laoghaire.
The closing date for applications is Monday 16th December at 12 noon.
Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival honours the unique literary landscape of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown by providing opportunities for the public to hear the very best of Irish and international writers read from their work. Literary fiction is at the heart of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival but events cover an array of genres.  The aim of the festival is to engage the public with a quality literary event that has at its core the meaningful engagement between author and audience. The festival team sees the festival as being of international quality but with a local feel.

In addition to the core events of author readings and interviews other, strictly non-literary events, have been part of previous programmes (i.e. political cabaret, musical events, book swaps, children’s picnics, etc).  The festival also hosts a number of writing workshops.

The Curator will report to the Festival Producer and will work with a festival team made up of relevant County Council employees, an external event management team and a PR specialist.

The key elements of the Festival are:

  • A strong local dimension with writers from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Ireland taking part in events;
  • A strong international dimension;
  • A programme of family and young adult events;
  • A programme of events for schools;
  • Events celebrating past writers who have a historical connection with the county;
  • Poetry.

In a short space of time Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival has established itself on the Irish literary calendar.  Among the authors who have been part of the Mountains to Sea programme are Margaret Atwood, Colum McCann, Paul Auster, Sebastian Faulks, Maeve Binchy, Sebastian Barry, Melvyn Bragg, Jennifer Johnston, Michael Ondaatje, Emma Donoghue and Howard Jacobson. Poets who have read at the Poetry Now Festival which is now part of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival include Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon and Ruth Padel. Authors for children and young adults have included Robert Muchamore, Charlie Higson, Liz Pichon and Derek Landy.

Curator’s Role

The Curator will be responsible for selection and scheduling of the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival Programme. The final programme must be approved by the Festival Producer and Director.

It is envisaged that there will be a single curator for the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival but that there will be an additional budget for them to invite programmers to curate specific strands within the festival programme.

The Curator will have overall responsibility for:

  • Curation and scheduling of the participating national and international authors and contributors;
  • Selection of all event moderators and introducers;
  • Negotiation of fees and schedules with publishers, agents, authors and contributors, within an assigned budget;
  • Selection and co-ordination of any invited curators and programmers including negotiation of a fee;
  • Writing the text and sourcing the images for the Mountains to Sea brochure and website in conjunction with the Mountains to Sea Festival Team;
  • Assisting with the PR and marketing strategy;
  • Liaising with the festival team regarding venues and schedules;
  • Liaising with the Pavilion Theatre and other venues as required;
  • Attending meetings with the Festival Team on a regular basis;
  • Working to raise the profile of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival both publicly and within the media;
  • Attending the festival and liaising with the authors and contributors throughout the festival;
  • Introducing readings and events at the festival;
  • Moderating events if required;
  • Where required giving press interviews;
  • Other creative duties as they arise.

The Curator will liaise primarily with the Festival Producer and will have a close working relationship with the other members of the Mountains to Sea Festival Team. The Event Management Company and the Council staff will be responsible for administration of the festival including co-ordination of the accommodation, transport, technical and marketing requirements, liaison with the venues and payment of participants. PR will be carried out by an external PR specialist.

Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival is produced and funded by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council with support from The Arts Council and Failte Ireland.

2014 Festival

The 2014 festival will be a celebratory version of the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival specially tailored to the official opening programme of the new Central Library and Cultural Centre. It will take place over three days from the 12th to 14th of September 2014. It will encompass approximately 25 events (the number of readings and events may vary slightly depending on the budget) and take place in the Pavilion Theatre and the Central Library and Cultural Centre in Dún Laoghaire.

Readings: Readings and events (each reading may involve 1 –3 participants) from national and international authors and contributors. Events may include lectures, panel discussions, author lunches, etc.

Family and Schools Events: It should include at least three events for families /or young people and one for schools.

Poetry Events: It should also include at least three poetry events.

Irish Language Event: There must be at least one high quality reading or event in Irish;

Keynote Address: A high profile, intellectually stimulating keynote address to celebrate the county’s literary heritage;

Workshops: Writing and/or reading workshops;

Guest Curators: Two or three guest curators may be identified by the Curator to curate small strands of the programme that deal with specialist areas. This is funding dependant and an additional budget would be allocated to cover their fees. The Curator for the Festival will select, work with and manage these guest curators.

Provisional schedule of engagement

The Curator will be engaged from late January 2014 until the end of September 2014 with a suitable time schedule to be agreed.  It is envisaged that the role will require a significant part-time commitment throughout the duration of the contract.  It is expected that the Curator will be in a position to begin work immediately on appointment, or shortly thereafter.

The Curator will be engaged initially for the 2014 Festival. At its discretion the Council may seek to engage the Curator for an additional two years. If the number of events to be programmed increases or decreases substantially during this time the fee would be negotiated on a pro rata basis.


The fee for the 2014 Festival is €10,000 inclusive of any VAT. There will be a bonus of €1,000 if the box office for the 2014 festival exceeds €20,000. In addition there is €500 available for expenses in 2014 with prior approval from the Festival Producer and on submission of receipts.

Please note that non-VAT registered service providers may be liable for Professional Services Withholding Tax.

The Curator must keep the Council fully indemnified against all claims howsoever arising and howsoever caused in respect of any damage, loss or injury of any kind or nature, whether arising directly or indirectly from the provision of the Festival and to provide evidence of Public Liability insurance which indemnifies Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council with a limit of indemnity of €6.5 million.

If the Curator employs any additional people the Curator must have Employer’s Liability (€13 million). The guest curators would be directly contracted by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council so the Curator would not require Employer’s Liability for them.

It is the responsibility of the Curator to ensure that other person(s) not employed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, but employed by the Curator have adequate Public Liability (€6.5 million) and Employer’s Liability (€13 million) (if necessary) cover which indemnify both Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and the Curator.

Freedom of Information

The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997-2003 apply to Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council. Applicants should state if any of the information supplied by them is confidential or sensitive and should not be disclosed to a request for information under the aforementioned Act.  Applicants should state why they consider the information to be confidential or commercially sensitive.

Prompt Payments

Under the Prompt Payments Accounts Act, the Local Authority is obliged to pay within 30 days upon receipt of a valid invoice.

Child Safety Policy

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has developed a draft Child Protection Policy and dlr Libraries have a Child Protection Policy at http://www.dlrcoco.ie/library/policies_publications.html. The Curator must familiarise themselves with these documents. In the advent that the successful applicant is working directly with children and/or young people s/he will be required to:

a) Agree to Garda Vetting
b) sign a declaration form to indicate that the above policies have been read and will be adhered to.
c) agree to adhere to the Arts Council guidelines around photographing children and young people (please refer to the Arts Council website, Guidelines for taking and using images of Children and Young People in the Arts Sector, March 2009)

Selection Criteria and Process

Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

1) Curatorial Abilities and Experience    70%
(This may include, but is not limited to, an ability to programme readings and events, an ability to critically read new work, strong writing skills, a knowledge of the literary community within Ireland and internationally, an ability to build relationships, an ability to engage in public speaking).                     

2) Organisational skills   30%
(This may include but is not limited to managing logistics, managing budget and an ability to work independently and as part of a team etc)

Applicants must score a minimum of 35 out of 70 under the first criteria, 15 out of 30 for the 2nd criteria and over 75% in total in order to be short-listed. Short-listed applicants will then be invited to attend an interview on the week starting Jan 13th 2014.

Summary Timeline

Application deadline:                            Mon 16th of Dec 12 noon
Shortlisting:                                        December
Interviews:                                         Week starting Jan 13th
Curator starts work                              January 2014
Festival                                              Sept 2014


Please submit four typed copies of the following:

  • An expression of interest;
  • A curriculum vitae;
  • Two written references;
  • An outline of curatorial approach (maximum 3 A4 pages);
  • Two detailed examples of your work on previous projects (such as a festival or conference) including budget.

The deadline for receipt of applications is Monday 16th of December at 12 noon.

Late applications and applications by e-mail will not be accepted.

Applications should be sent to:

Mountains to Sea, Arts Office, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, to arrive by the deadline stated above.


Please refer any queries to Carolyn Brown cbrown@dlrcoco.ie

Please note that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council reserves the right not to appoint if none of the applications received are deemed to be suitable or funding is not secured.  In this instance Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council reserves the right to pursue a different procurement process.

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