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Crawford Profiles: Kathryn Coughlan

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Kathryn Coughlan

Where are you from?

What do you do at Crawford Art Gallery?
My background is in collection management, documentation and art logistics. I started working with the gallery as an intern in 2014, and I have been lucky to work on many projects here over the years. At the moment I am managing a number of library, archive and collection documentation projects to help get the Gallery ready for our redevelopment in a few years’ time. We are hoping to get these non-artwork collections catalogued and quantified so they can be safely packed and moved if needed. It's been really interesting to spend so much time with books and documents which give such insight into the gallery and the school of art before that.

What do you like the most about working at Crawford Art Gallery?
The people - both those I work with and the members of the public. Everyone here cares so much about exhibiting the artworks in an engaging and meaningful way. The team here works hard to support artists and to provide a valuable offering to the public. The Learn & Explore team in particular put so much care into a programme that supports the communities of Cork in many different ways.

Walking through the gallery during a workday in the office and seeing people examining and responding to the works on the wall, particularly in exhibitions I've helped install or curate, is a joyous experience.

Do you have a favourite artwork, exhibition or gallery space?
I love the Upper Gallery, it's a great space to just stop in for a moment no matter what's in there. I remember invigilating there years ago and you would see small children run into the space and shout - they would stop, slightly amazed by the acoustics of the room, while a worried parent shushed them and glanced over at me with a worried look. But I think galleries are spaces to experience, not revere, so I always loved to see those little people exploring sound and space.

It's impossible to choose a favourite artwork, but in my top 10 is The Captive by Wilfrid G. De Glehn (currently on exhibition on the landing before you enter the current exhibition MENAGERIE: Animals by Artists). It's a bit of a marmite artwork and I fought a little bit to have it included. There's a slight unease to the image and the title which I find really intriguing.

What do you think people might be surprised to learn about the gallery?
I think they would be very surprised at all the work that happens in the background to make our Exhibitions and Learn & Explore programmes a reality. The Gallery always seems quite serene when you visit to see an exhibition, but there's a veritable hive of activity behind those staff doors. We programme loan-in exhibitions a few years in advance as there is so much to organise before the artworks can go on the walls or the workshops can start for visitors. Even with our own collection, it takes months to plan and prepare those shows before they can finally be installed.

Did you know? Although it is not currently open to the public, you can view the library, whose collection Kathryn is helping to organise and archive, using our Virtual Tour tool. Happy virtual exploring!

Emmett Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

Opening Hours
N.B. Last entry is 15 minutes before closing

Monday–Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm*
Thursday until 8.00pm

Sundays and Bank Holidays
11.00 am4.00pm

*Second floor closes 15 minutes before closing
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