We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

D-Light Studios at 46-49 N Great Clarence St
dublin 1

Fears for future of cultural space as council seeks to empty studios to complete repairs

D-Light Studios says the council hasn’t given a timeline for the works, or offered artists an alternative venue.

THE FUTURE OF an artists collective based in Dublin’s north inner city hangs in the balance, as Dublin City Council seeks to remove the group from the building in order to complete works.

The move, the artists say, has created instability for the Ballybough-based cultural centre. They say the council hasn’t given a timeline for the works, or offered artists an alternative venue to use in the meantime.

D-Light Studios has occupied a warehouse space on Dublin 1′s Great Clarence Street for 15 years through a series of short-term leases. 

The artists and the council, which acts as a landlord for the studios, have been at loggerheads for years over management of the space. 

Both sides agreed to have a mediator write up a report on the situation. Published in March of this year, the report found that efforts by the council to establish a more long-term agreement have been “rare and sporadic”.

The council, it added, had let the building fall into an “ever-perilous state of disrepair”, with a “noticeable absence of engagement by the landlord”.

D-LS photos - reception 03 D-Light Studios reception area Agata Stoinska Agata Stoinska

The council is seeking to empty the premises for repairs to finally take place. Its given a guarantee to artists that, once works are completed, they can return under a three-year licensing agreement.

For Agata Stoinska, the studios’ founder and director, this is not reassuring. She argues a longer-term deal is needed.

“A short-term license would severely inhibit our ability to access medium-term and long-term funding from arts, governmental, and private institutions,” she said.

“It would also limit our ability to attract artists, employees, and community participants for multi-year collaborations.”

In a statement to The Journal, Dublin City Council said: “The building needs to be vacated so that essential fire safety works and repairs can be undertaken.

“DCC are committed to long term community/cultural/arts use of the building and are in touch with the group and hope they will return as occupants, on agreed terms, once the work is completed.”

According to the mediator’s report, published in March of this year, several senior individuals in the Council have “no plans for the future of these premises other than as a cultural centre”. It also noted that the leadership needed from them has been “absent”, and communication has been ineffective.

D-LS photos -LOUNGE_stoinska_1K5A2729-small The lounge at D-Light Studios Agata Stoinska Agata Stoinska

D-Light runs events ranging from painting classes and sound baths to book launches. Artists can rent spaces within the building for individual projects. It has also run an annual residency programme.

Stoinska, who says the space has been “neglected” under the local authority, believes the only way to secure the studio’s future is by selling it to a philanthropist who would run it sustainably as a cultural centre.

She contends that the council “doesn’t care” about “Dublin losing another cultural spot”.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel