New Spaces 2018

New Spaces is a programme of sixteen contemporary art exhibitions across four venues in Derry and Sion Mills from July to December 2018. 

Curators Edy Fung, Rebecca Strain, Mirjami Schuppert and Alice Butler bring diverse new work to the region from artists across Ireland and further afield. The venues are The Walled City Brewery in Ebrington, Derry; Gwyn’s Cafe and Pavilion, Brooke Park, Derry; The Cottage in The Craft Village, Derry and Sion Stables in the heritage village of Sion Mills.

Visual Artists Ireland are collaborating with Derry City & Strabane District Council on New Spaces to make contemporary art more accessible in the region. Four curators were selected from a competitive open call to each produce four exhibitions inside a brewery, a café, a thatched cottage and a renovated 19th Century stables.

New Spaces is made possible by the support of Principal Funder, Arts Council of Northern Ireland through Lottery Funds.

New Spaces Curators

Alice Butler is a writer, film programmer and curator. She is co-director of aemi, a Dublin-based initiative that supports and regularly exhibits artist & experimental moving image work in cinema or event-based settings. Edy Fung is an artist and curator based in Derry, who is interested in alternate histories and speculative fictions. She practises in conversation architecture in Donegal and contemporary art in Belfast. Mirjami Schuppert is an independent curator based in Belfast. The focus of her curatorial practice is collaborative production working together with artists on context and site-specific projects. Rebecca Strain is an artist and curator based in Buncrana, County Donegal.

The New Spaces

The Cottage

Craft Village, Shipquay St, Derry BT48 6AR

Dickensian in appearance and delightful in layout, Derry’s Craft Village is a cultural oasis in the heart of a vibrant city. A reconstruction of an 18th Century Street and 19th Century Square, the Craft Village provides an eclectic mix of artisan craft shops, balconied apartments, licensed restaurant and coffee shops. The thatched cottage is ideal for corporate, cultural and community entertainment.

Gwyn’s Cafe and Pavilion

Brooke Park, Derry BT48 7HQ

Situated in Brooke Park, with stunning views of the city and St Euguene’s Cathedral. Family friendly cafe with adjoining wheelchair friendly play park, offering speciality coffee and fresh local produce.

Sion Stables

120 Melmount Rd, Sion Mills, Strabane BT82 9ET

In the centre of the model linen village of Sion Mills, Co Tyrone, is the iconic red brick former stable-block of Sion House, former home of the HERDMAN family. Built in 1884 in the Arts and Crafts style by the English architect William Unsworth, it is the only heritage building ever compulsorily purchased in N. Ireland, and now houses a restaurant, a small Museum, a field sports shop and a Heritage Education Centre for hire.

The Walled City Brewery

Ebrington Square & Parade Ground, 70 Ebrington Street, Derry BT47 6FA

The one storey building is situated within the old star fort of Ebrington Barracks and overlooks the parade ground. It was refurbished in 2015 to house a craft brewery and restaurant – the Walled City Brewery.


July / August


14 July – 11 August 2018
The Cottage
Craft Village, Derry

 ‘Imaginal’ is the first iteration of ‘[Backspace]’, a serial exhibition showcasing the work of Canadian- born London-based Hong Kong artist, Yarli Allison, developed during her recent residency in Derry. The curatorial premise for the exhibition revolves around the contradictions and complexities of change and preservation. With this first exhibition at The Cottage, Yarli reflects on her current state of being, following various fluctuations, disturbances and life trauma. Yarli’s video installations are staged to oscillate between longing and reconciling her “queer Asian” female identity. Subsequent editions of ‘[Backspace]’ will continue to track Yarli’s journey, as she searches for narrative forms that predate these life- changing events.

Yarli Allison is a multidisciplinary artist whose work often extends from the impact of childhood. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

Curated by Edy Fung.


Performative Occupation Interlocutor

14 July – 11 August 2018
Crisis of Identity, Sandra Jõgeva
The Walled City Brewery Ebrington Square, Derry

Tuesday 17 July 7pm
a pin prick to a cow heavy breast; a calf is slaughtered
Live performance by Léann Herlihy
Followed by panel discussion

Monday 30th July 7pm
‘Love’ by Sandra Jõgeva
78 mins screening followed by panel discussion.

This conversational programme begins with Love – a film by Estonian artist, Sandra Jõgeva, reflecting transgenerational issues, where past inequalities resurface with painful consequences. Jõgeva’s provocative work often uses humour to entice viewers, evident in her text-based performance series, ‘Stand-Up Tragedies’. Several dialogical events will bring local audiences in contact with Jõgeva, who will be present virtually to discuss her practice. She will be joined by Léann Herlihy, an Irish performance artist who is not afraid of dissecting the institution, by making visible intrinsic power structures. The artists will subsequently present an exhibition at The Cottage in Derry’s Craft Village.

Sandra Jõgeva is an artist, writer and curator based in Tallinn, Estonia.
Léann Herlihy is a performance artist who lives between Ireland and Poland.

Curated by Rebecca Strain


14 July – 11 August 2018
Sion Stables, Sion Mills

Responding to the complex and layered history of Sion Mills – a flax-spinning mill and model village run by the Herdman family from 1835 until 2004 – this exhibition takes the form of text as intervention. Displayed in the Sion Stables heritage museum alongside a selection of artefacts, photographs and archival documents that reflect on the lives of the mill-owners, the mill-workers and the production of Irish Linen, a newly commissioned poetic text by artist and writer Suzanne Walsh will engage in a dialogue with the history and story of a site that bears the weight of shifting ideas around labour, gender and community.

Suzanne Walsh is an artist and writer from Wexford, currently a resident in Fire Station Studios in Dublin. She works primarily with the forms of text, performance, audio both in and out of a gallery context.

Curated by Alice Butler


14 July – 11 August 2018
Gwyn’s Café and Pavilion
Brooke Park, Derry

The photographs in Verges examine the potential for everyday resistance through the growth and habits of weeds. Attending more closely to our ordinary surroundings and appreciating the familiar undermines the capitalist desire for commodity and spectacle, for the exotic and dramatic. Observing and recording weeds offers a playful, life-affirming perspective that resists judgmental thinking about our everyday environment and invites us to experience it anew. At Gwyn’s café and pavilion the artworks form organic patterns on the walls creating

a connection between inside and outside spaces.

Clare Gallagher was born in Belfast and is a lecturer and course director for BA (Hons) Photography with Video at Ulster University. She makes work about the ordinary and everyday.

Curated by Mirjami Schuppert

Nick Livingston, Director of Strategic Development and Research, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “The New Spaces project is a perfect example of how the Arts Council’s National Lottery Challenge Fund, combined with investment from Derry City and Strabane District Council, can help deliver a joint strategic objective; to increase the provision of gallery space in the North West.

Not only have new gallery spaces emerged in wonderful venues such as The Walled City Brewery, but in the process, new skills have been developed. The benefits have been felt by those emerging curators and artists employed by the programme to bring high quality, contemporary artwork to new and existing audiences. Well done to all involved.”

John Kerr, Arts & Culture Manager, Derry City and Strabane District Council said, “New Spaces provides an excellent model for local business and cultural venues to engage and be active partners in the development of the district’s well respected arts and cultural offer. The project is made possible by the commitment of Void Gallery, the Centre for Contemporary Art and Nerve Visual, who are valued partners in this project.”