Missing the IHBC 2018 School? Prelude 2, as Bill Drummond outlines his take on ‘THE CURFEW TOWER: STAY HERE – MAKE ART… AND SHARE HERITAGE’ 

buildingTo introduce the background to his personal take on shared heritage in the province and beyond, morning keynote Bill Drummond has offered IHBC members and delegates some personal scene-setting context – also available on his speaker’s tab on the School webpage:


image courtesy of mauldy / The Curfew Tower
CC BY-SA 2.0

Bill writes:


Bill Drummond introduces his work on shared art and heritage for the IHBC’s 2018 Belfast School.

‘The one stipulation that Bill Drummond makes is that the artists [at The Curfew Tower] are to make work that in some way is a response to the tower and / or its surroundings, and of course the people of Cushendall…’

The Curfew Tower in Cushendall, County Antrim, was built in 1809 by the local landowner Francis Turnly. He built it in an attempt to quell the unruly nature of the local people. The building has five floors and feigns to look medieval, with battlement around the top.

It has a cell on the ground floor that those that were found idling or rioting in the community were thrown into. Dan McBride, a veteran of the Napoleonic wars, was given the job as the live-in constable, with strict instruction about locking up those local idlers and rioters.

The Curfew Tower is at the crossroads at the very heart of Cushendall.

Over the years has become the logo, mascot, emblem etc for Cushendall and its citizens.

In the mid 90s The Curfew Tower fell into the hands of a Bill Drummond.

Bill Drummond liked the idea of reviving the towers use as a place to confine people. But this time for creative reasons.

This is the official short ‘biog’ for Bill Drummond:

Bill Drummond (1953) has used various media in his practice including actions, music and words. His actions too numerous to list, some more infamous than others; his music from the multi million selling KLF to the choral music of The17; the words have accumulated into a pile of books.

What this fails to mention is that at the age of six all Bill Drummond wanted to be when he grew up was an archeologist. To this end he collected flint arrowheads, pieces of broken Roman pottery and anything else he thought looked very old. In his early teens he started to go on archeological digs. For his A’ level History of Art he specialised in Medieval Architecture.

It also fails to mention, that the Drummond family had most of their summer holidays in the north of Ireland. Thus visits to the Bocan, Beltany and Beaghmore stone circles were a given.

After Bill Drummond name ended up on the title deeds of The Curfew Tower he decided it should become an artists’ residency.

For the past twenty years and more, artists of all persuasions and from all over the world have done residencies in The Curfew Tower. The one stipulation that Bill Drummond makes is that the artists are to make work that in some way is a response to the tower and / or its surroundings, and of course the people of Cushendall.

The talk that Bill Drummond will give at Riddell Hall will be about The Curfew Tower’s life as an artists’ residency and how various of those artists have responded to the tower and the surrounding community. And how the community has responded to the artists.

In these twenty odd years there has been major dramas, fights, romances and fires. But as yet The Curfew Tower is still standing.

The strap line that Drummond use for The Curfew Tower is STAY HERE – MAKE ART. 

Post Script: Zippy Kearney now has the job that Dan McBride once had.

Bill Drummond
Prelude to the IHBC’s ‘Belfast’ School’, 21-23 June, 2018
May 2018

School social media links:

  • #IHBCBelfast2018
  • #Europeforculture
  • #EYCH2018

TO BOOK just follow the School’s Home Page and other booking links or go direct:

For bursaries see the website and for more background on bursaries see the NewsBlog

For all and more on the IHBC’s 2018 Belfast School see belfast2018.ihbc.org.uk

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