Free Market

In 2017 Orla Murphy, Jo Anne Butler (Culturstruction & Superfolk), Miriam Delaney (DIT),Tara Kennedy (Culturstruction & CCAE), Jeffrey Bolhuis and Laurence Lord (AP+E) were selected to co-curate the Irish National Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Venice Biennale in 2018.

The Irish Pavilion, entitled Free Market highlighted the generosity, humanity and possibility in the public spaces of Ireland’s market towns. Small town market places, once the economic and social hubs of rural Ireland have undergone fundamental change and many have seen their function as places of exchange and congregation diminished.

Free Market proposed to reclaim these places of interaction and community, building 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. Free Market News, an accompanying publication brings together original writing about towns from over 40 contributors.

In 2019, the team brought the Free Market pavilion back to Ireland to tour to four towns: Castleblayney, Macroom, Mountmellick and Killmallock. The pavilion, exhibition and a public engagement programme were tailored to each of the four towns, their public spaces and the stories and people of the place. The team continued to Learn from Small Towns throughout the process and presented their findings to the Dail Committee on Rural and Community Development in November 2019.

For more information and to follow the project, please visit the project website.

Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council and Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The National Tour of Free Market was supported by the Arts Council, Creative Ireland and local authorities of the four towns on the tour.