Kunstverein Aughrim is a production office for contemporary art projects and a space for magical encounters with artistic practice, housed within a multi-purpose curatorial studio in the village of Aughrim, County Wicklow. Kunstverein Aughrim is Ireland's first art organisation based on the European model of a kunstverein (from the German word ‘kunst’ meaning ‘art’ and ‘verein’ meaning ‘club’ or ‘association’) and is part of the kunstverein franchise established by Kunstverein Amsterdam, with sisters in Milano, Toronto and New York.

Designed to bridge the gap between artistic practice and public presentation in contemporary visual art in Ireland, Kunstverein Aughrim acts as a commissioning, development and production agency for new artistic productions. Kunstverein Aughrim supports, mentors, promotes and represents the artists with whom it works, seeking to develop opportunities for patronage, collaboration and engagement at an early stage of the creative process, and to carry that through to the presentation phase. At the core of Kunstverein Aughrim’s ideology is a commitment to performativity, a belief in the necessity of art, and a desire to create the potential for extraordinary encounters with artistic practice.

Founded by curator Kate Strain in 2022, Kunstverein Aughrim has an Advisory Board made up of a Body Board (with members based on the island of Ireland) and a Non-Body Board (with members based elsewhere, connecting via the virtual realm). Both boards meet annually to discuss governance, strategic vision, institutional responsibility and codes of practice.


Kunstverein Aughrim is closely affiliated with the following institutions and initiatives:

Department of Ultimology – a research body established by Fiona Hallinan and Kate Strain at Trinity College Dublin in 2016. The Department considers that which is dead or dying across all fields of academic study as an entry point for transformative encounter.

Grazer Kunstverein – a non-profit, members-based arts organisation located on the ground floor of the historic Palais Trauttmansdorff in the centre of Graz, Austria. Established as a space for artistic production, exhibition-making and mediation, it has always resisted populist influences, instead advocating for the promotion and presentation of qualitative artistic experiments. In 2021 Tom Engels succeeded Kate Strain as the artistic director.

Kunstverein Amsterdam – a not-for-profit membership organisation, a curatorial experiment and functioning domestic franchise with branches in Amsterdam, New York, Toronto, Milan and Aughrim. Under the directorship of Yana Foqué, Kunstverein aims to show practices, attempts and failures, of avant-garde artists (all ages) who have been undersung in contemporary art history.

MAINTENANT – a collaboration between Netwerk Aalst, ar/ge Kunst, B-A-U and Kunstverein Aughrim that resulted from a series of online meetings organised with a group of peers in the spring of 2020 to observe how the pandemic situation was affecting the art sector and its institutions. MAINTENANT is about institutional maintenance. Its goal is to prototype new institutional behaviours and infrastructures.

OMG – The Orthogonal Methods Group is a transdisciplinary research platform within CONNECT - the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications at Trinity College Dublin. OMG’s broad purpose is to generate new research orientations through CONNECT that can produce insights on technology, creativity and society. As a research platform, OMG aims to generate conditions for different researchers and publics to share ideas, raise questions and open up critical dialogue about ICT research with key stakeholders.

RGKSKSRG - the paired curatorial practice of Rachael Gilbourne and Kate Strain. Based between Aughrim, Achill, and Dublin, RGKSKSRG commission, present and contextualise contemporary art. Through linking with sites, communities and institutions, RGKSKSRG works to create new contexts for engaged encounters between artists and audiences. These contexts involve new commissions, solo and group exhibitions, live events, curatorial residencies, talks, interviews, performances, texts, and artworks hosted online or in real life.

Kunstverein Aughrim is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and Wicklow County Council Arts Office.


Kunstverein Aughrim was founded by Kate Strain in 2022.

Kate Strain is a curator of contemporary art. From 2016–2021 she was the artistic director of Grazer Kunstverein, Austria, where she curated projects by contemporary artists Aimée Zito Lema and Becket MWN, Elisabeth von Samsonow, Bianca Baldi, Alma Heikkilä, Emma Wolf-Haugh, Tai Shani, Edward Clydesdale Thomson, Riccardo Giacconi, Sylvia Schedelbauer, Triple Candie, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Carl Johan Högberg, Niamh O’Malley, Cesare Pietroiusti, Nadia Belerique, Christian Nyampeta, Anne Tallentire, Dennis McNulty, Mehraneh Atashi, Angelika Loderer, Ola Vasiljeva, Isabel Nolan, Ruth E. Lyons, and Emily Mast, among others.

In close collaboration with artist Fiona Hallinan, Strain is co-founder of the Department of Ultimology, a research body dedicated to the study of that which is dead or dying. The department is part of the Orthogonal Methods Group (OMG), based at CONNECT – the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications, headquartered at Trinity College Dublin. The Department contributes a regular column to the Visual Artists Newsheet, runs irregular online reading groups On Death, and is developing a script for a major filmwork documenting the demolition of one of Ireland’s largest churches.

Working alongside Rachael Gilbourne, Strain makes up one half of the paired curatorial practice RGKSKSRG, commissioning, presenting and contextualising contemporary art. In 2022 RGKSKSRG curated Oh My Demigod, a group exhibition featuring work by Farouk Alao, Oona Doherty with Luca Truffarelli, Michelle Doyle/Rising Damp, and Louis le Brocquy at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Throughout 2019 RGKSKSRG produced RGKS Cribs – a series of extended filmic studio visits with artists Bea McMahon, Eithne Jordan, Vivienne Dick, and Christopher Mahon.

Strain previously worked as Acting Curator at Project Arts Centre, a multidisciplinary art centre in Dublin. Exhibitions she curated there included the group show The Centre For Dying On Stage #1 with Karl Burke, Dina Danish, Dan Graham, Krõõt Juurak, Christodoulos Panayiotou, and Meggy Rustamova, and Clerk of Mind, a solo exhibition by Chris Evans. She is a graduate of History and the History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College Dublin, holds an MA in Visual Arts Practice, IADT Dun Laoghaire, and participated in de Appel Curatorial Programme at de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam and Young Curators Residency Programme at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin.

Strain is a board member of the American Irish Historical Society and The European Kunsthalle and a member of IKT, the international association of curators of contemporary art. Strain regularly lectures in curatorial practice, art history and contemporary art, and has made presentations at Delfina Foundation, London; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; University of Missouri St Louis; Endangered Language Alliance, New York, and at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

The design for Kunstverein Aughrim is developed by Alex Synge – The First 47.

Alex Synge is an Irish graphic designer and art director working under the studio name The First 47. The studio specialises in design for print, web and visual identity for a wide range of clients in the cultural, commercial and academic fields. The First 47 has worked with Kerlin Gallery, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Ireland at Venice, eva International, Fruit Shop, States of Entanglement, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and more. Established in Dublin, the studio is currently based in Belfast.