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They exist so the artist can create. It is a noble mission and one that has proved invaluable to artists since the first was launched over a hundred years ago in the United States. Traditionally, artist-in-residence programmes extend invitations to artists, i.e. writers, musicians, visual artists, dancers, film-makers etc… to leave aside everyday life and responsibilities and spend time on art, reflecting, researching and producing in a unique, often isolated environment.
Some residencies require interactivity with a local community, which may include giving workshops or donating art work. Others might place importance on some artistic conversation with the immediate environment. The majority will encourage an exchange of ideas between residents, providing opportunity to meet and be inspired by other artists at the top of their game.
Known as the ‘Lenin of the sexual revolution’, Girodias often boasted that he had founded Olympia Press to ‘bait the hounds of decency’ and upset ‘Britain’s nanny judges’. While Girodias may have had an anti-establishment agenda, it is also likely that his business acumen responded to the appetite for erotica amongst the English-speaking G.I.s and Allied soldiers in Paris during the post-war years. Girodias’ ‘dirty books’ or ‘D.B.’s’ as he referred to them, consisted very largely of unadulterated pornography with unambiguous titles such as: White Thighs, Bottoms Up, The Loins of Amon, Hell and The Whore and There is a Whip in my Valise. Nonetheless, whatever his motives, Girodias’ eager willingness to publish material that no ‘respectable’ English-language publisher would handle led a number of key literary figures with controversial manuscripts to his door. Hence, in its short life, Olympia Press also published works by literary luminaries such as Samuel Beckett, Lawrence Durrell, Jean Genet, Henry Miller, William Burroughs, Vladimir Nabokov and J.P. Donleavy at a time when their work was deemed obscene in the Anglophone world.
For those of you who view youth travel as all backpacks, gap years and Goa – think again. Facing tough economic times and a competitive employment market, today’s twentysomethings are increasingly likely to have their first foreign exposure on the company account – and advance on the career ladder while they’re at it.
Youth has always sought adventure and fresh pasture and this fact has not changed. A decade ago however, traveling in your twenties meant ‘finding yourself’ and chilling out on beaches. Today’s economic environment and its bleak outlook re jobs, means that the latest crop of graduates are a nervous generation. In light of this fact, gap years can appear frivolous. While travel is still the aim of many young people, the more ambitious and future-focused are not willing to scupper their chances of a good corporate career for a year of chilling in Thailand.
From Ireland, journalist and award-winning short-story writer Sue Healy spent ten years working in Budapest. Graduating from UEA’s MA in Creative Writing in 2009, she won the 2011 Sussex Playwrights’ Prize, the 2011 HISSAC Award, the 2011 Molly Keane Memorial Award, the 2010 Waterford Annaghmakerrig Award and the 2010 Ted O’Regan Award. She was highly commended for The New Writer Annual Award, and shortlisted for the Meridian, the Wells Literary Festival and the Doris Gooderson Award. She’s been published in ‘New Europe Writers Anthology’, ‘The Moth Literary Magazine’, ‘The New Writer Magazine’ and ‘Duality 6, the Anthology’. A prison creative writing tutor, Sue also runs her own workshop and coaching service: www.suehealy.org