Each year the membership of Aosdána meets for a General Assembly, to elect new members, to agree matters of policy and procedure, to undertake an analysis and review of the various activities of Aosdána, as well as discuss issues relevant to the arts and artists in society. The proceedings of a General Assembly are covered by Standing Orders.
2022 General Assembly
The 2022 General Assembly took place on Monday, 14 November 2022, in the O’Reilly Hall, University College Dublin, Belfield Campus in partnership with the UCD College of Arts and Humanities.
The 41st General Assembly, the first Assembly held since 2019 due to COVID-19, included a range of performances from UCD College of Arts and Humanities students during the day. Jesse Jones, visual artist, was elected at the Assembly. The afternoon session was open to the public.
The Assembly featured an address from Mark Rogers, Acting President UCD and Maureen Kennelly, Director, The Arts Council. It began with an Art and Sculpture Walk, with Associate Professor Emily Mark Fitzgerald, UCD School of Art History & Cultural Policy; and included a short reading by Djamel White, MFA Creative Writing student; Two short plays directed by 2022 UCD MA Theatre Practice graduates: Algorithm, by Emma Thornton; Every Time We Do This Things Get Worse, by Roisin Sheridan-Bryson; and The Choral Scholars at University College Dublin, conducted by Desmond Earley with Kenneth Edge, Alto Saxophone; Kevin Whyms, Guitar.
After the Assembly the launch of Aosdána Beginnings by Mark Duncan in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Aosdána took place in the Conservatory, O’Reilly Hall. Mark O Kelly, Arts Council Member, launched the publication with Mark Duncan speaking at the launch. The event concluded with author Anne Enright delivering a eulogy to Anthony Cronin, former founding member of Aosdána and Saoi.
2019 General Assembly
The 2019 General Assembly took place on 5 April in the Aula Maxima, University College Cork, Cork, during which 6 new members were elected to Aosdána. Those elected were Aideen Barry (visual art); Anna Burns (writer); Niall McLaughlin (architecture); Clare Langan (visual artist); Doireann Ní Gríofa (writer); Margaret Irwin West (visual artist). Members attended an opening event on 4 April in the Staff Common Room featuring readings by Gerry Murphy; Eilis Ni Dhuibhne; Eilean Ni Chuilleanain as well as a presentation on The Great Book of Ireland by John Fitzgerald, Director of Information Services & University Librarian with Crónán Ó Doibhlín, Head of Research Collections & Communications. Work by Students from Film, Music and Theatre as well as Creative Writing Students from the School of English UCC featured during the public session of the Assembly.
At the meeting members expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members Padraic Fiacc, Matthew Sweeney, Tommy Peoples, Melanie leBroquy, Macdara Woods, Sean McSweeney all of whom had passed away since the 2018 Assembly. A minute’s silence was observed in their memory.
2018 General Assembly
The 2018 GA took place on 28 May 2018 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, during which 8 new members were elected to Aosdána. Those elected were Shane Cullen (visual art); Rita Duffy (visual art); Mia Gallagher (literature); Stephen Lawlor (visual art); Owen McCafferty (literature); Mike McCormack literature); Isabel Nolan (visual art) and Sean O’Reilly (literature).
At the meeting, members expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members Philip Casey, Stephen McKenna, Val Mulkearns, Richard Murphy, Saoi Tom Murphy, Liam Ó Muirthile, Patrick Pye and Barbara Warren all of whom had passed away since the 2017 assembly. A minute’s silence was observed in their memory
2017 General Assembly
The 2017 General Assembly took place on 25 April 2017 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, during which 7 new members were elected to Aosdána. Those elected were Eddie Kennedy (visual art); Trish McAdam (visual art); Rosaleen McDonagh (literature); Gerry Murphy (literature); Niamh O’Malley (visual art); Fiona Quilligan (choreography) and Anne Tallentire (visual art).
At the meeting, members expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members Leland Bardwell, Basil Blackshaw, Saoi Anthony Cronin, Brian King, John Montague, Louis Stewart and Saoi William Trevor all of whom had passed away since the 2016 assembly. A minute’s silence was observed in their memory.
2016 General Assembly
The 2016 General Assembly was held on 27 April 2016 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, during which 4 new members were elected to Aosdána. Those elected were Deirdre Kinahan (literature); Little John Nee (literature); Colman Pearce (music) and Bill Whelan (music).
At the meeting, members expressed their deep sadness at the deaths of former members Brian Friel, Aidan Higgins and Theo McNab, all of whom had passed away since the 2015 assembly. A minute’s silence was observed in their memory.
2015 General Assembly
The 2015 General Assembly was held on 5 March 2015 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, during which 11 new members were elected. Those elected were Elaine Agnew (music); John Byrne (visual art); Tom de Paor (architecture); Ciarán Farrell (music); Marie Hanlon (visual art); James Harpur (literature); Mary Morrissy (literature); Michael O’Loughlin (literature); Geraldine O’Neill (visual art); Joe Walker (visual art) and Enda Wyley (literature).
President Michael D. Higgins was the guest of honour. The text of the President’s speech is available here
2014 General Assembly The 2014 General Assembly was held on 29 April at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, during which 1 new member was elected, Joe Steve O Neachtain (literature).
2013 General Assembly
The General Assembly 2013 included a special afternoon session in the context of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Those present were welcomed with a short introduction to Aosdána by Theo Dorgan, which was followed by addresses from Saoithe Anthony Cronin and Seamus Heaney, and presentations on the work of Patrick Scott and Camille Souter.