FATHOM – Seminar

Saturday 14th November, 10am – 5pm

to explore the potential of collaborative arts in rural contexts.

The FATHOM seminar will take place on Saturday the 14 November. The first half of the seminar programme will take place in the Regional Cultural Centre, and then move to Kealy’s Seafood Bar, Greencastle, Co. Donegal. Greencastle is located on the banks of the River Foyle, which forms a maritime border crossing between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The FATHOM seminar sets out to examine the potential of collaborative practice to creatively engage with questions of community and place. This discursive seminar will focus on the strong tradition of community and politically engaged art practices developed in the North West and other rural contexts. The symposium will provide the opportunity to network, reflect and explore new and innovative approaches and programming strategies.

The FATHOM seminar aims to stimulate debate around the following central questions:

How can socially engaged arts practice create points of dialogue within and between communities and those that seek to work with them?

How can arts and cultural practice articulate and explore some of the key issues for communities in the wider context of current socio-political and cultural debate within rural and cross-border contexts?

Speakers include:
Marie Barrett, Artist / Director, North-55
Carl Doran, Artist / Project Co-ordinator, Askeaton Contemporary Art
Hollie Kearns, Independent curator, Callan Workhouse Union
Rosie Lynch, Independent curator, Callan Workhouse Union
Shaun Hannigan, Director, Regional Cultural Centre
Katherine Atkinson, Project Support & Professional Development, Create
Ailbhe Murphy, Director, Create

A bus has been organised to bring speakers and all the delegates to Greencastle and lunch will be provided. A seat and lunch will be booked at the time of registration but please book early as spaces are limited.

To register for the seminar please email
or ring Eilís Lavelle on 087 2825741.


10:00 -10:30am, Regional Cultural Centre Gallery
Introduction, Katherine Atkinson, Project Support and Professional Development, Create
Artist talk, Marie Barrett, Artist (North-55)

10:40 -11:05am, Auditorium
Shaun Hannigan, Director, Regional Cultural Centre
Contextual presentation of North West socially engaged art practice

11:05am-11: 30am-Coffee/Tea, Foyer

11:35 -12:00pm, Auditorium
Hollie Kearns, Workhouse Union, Callan

12:00 -12:25pm, Auditorium
Rosie Lynch, Workhouse Union, Callan

12:25 -12:50pm, Auditorium
Carl Doran, Artist / Project Co-ordinator, Askeaton Contemporary Art

1:00pm, Bus Departs for Greencastle

1:45 – 2:45pm, Lunch Kealy’s Seafood Bar, Greencastle

3:00 – 4:30pm
Ailbhe Murphy, Director, Create will chair a round table discussion.

4.30pm, Bus departs for Letterkenny

FATHOM has been supported by The Arts Council of Ireland’s Artist in the Community Scheme managed by Create-the national development agency for collaborative arts.
FATHOM has been curated by Eilís Lavelle, Curator in Residence 2015, supported by The Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon in partnership with Donegal County Council, Regional Cultural Centre and Glebe House & Gallery, OPW.

MARIE BARRETT Marie Barrett is an artist and Artistic Director of the participatory public art organisation North-55 (2002 – 2015). She has created a series of major site-specific visual art projects that have focused on building sustainable, long-term partnerships and collaborations with local communities to widen opportunities for engagement, particularly in place-based contexts. These ambitious projects engaged large participant numbers and diverse audiences in innovative site-specific programmes with various partners such as Sitework, Orchard Gallery Derry, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, PS1, New York, and Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas.
ROSIE LYNCH & HOLLIE KEARNS Independent curators Rosie Lynch and Hollie Kearns are based at Callan Workhouse Union, Co. Kilkenny where along with curator Etaoin Holahan and others they are involved in transforming a semi-derelict wing of Callan Workhouse into a shared space for art, design, research and community facilities and activity. They are dedicated to creating a space to facilitate contemporary projects that highlight the urgency of our current social and political environment through an understanding of our cultural and built heritage. Currently Workhouse Union, a yearlong series of artist’s commissions and residencies aims to activate the new modular research and library spaces designed by LiD Architecture (officially opening in early Spring 2016). For the last three years they have been working with Camphill Community Callan on Nimble Spaces, an innovative housing project developing long term collaborations between artists, architects and adults with a disability, considering ‘home’ and shared living. The first phase of the project culminated in May 2015 with Ways to Live Together: New Cultures of Housing, an international conference held at VISUAL, Carlow, exploring participative design, spatial justice, social housing and co- housing. Many of the projects they are engaged in locally are highlighted through the annual Abhainn Rí Festival. They were part of an expansive team that developed The Bridge Street Project (2015), an inclusive theatre and architecture project re-imagining Bridge Street in Callan as a public space with a civic future. They were co- founders with Tara Kennedy and Jo Anne Butler of Commonage (2010 – 2014), which provided critical platform for contemporary art and architecture practice in the public realm. Other recent curatorial projects further afield include Time Machine, a research event exploring temporality as part of Im/Plants residency at National Sculpture Factory, Cork and The Pattern Exchange a group show at TBG+S, Dublin.

Ailbhe Murphy is currently the Director of Create, the National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts in Ireland. As a visual artist based in Dublin Ailbhe’s practice evolved primarily within the community development sector. Projects such as Unspoken Truths (1991 – 1996) and Once is Too Much  (1995 – 2004) involved long term collaborations with the Education and Community Department of IMMA, the Family Resource Centre, St. Michael’s Estate Inchicore and the Lourdes Youth and Community Services. Tower Songs  (2003-2006) was developed in collaboration with the Rialto Youth Project, Fatima Groups United and City Arts. With the co-founding of Vagabond Reviews in 2007 with Ciaran Smyth, Ailbhe developed an interdisciplinary approach to socially engaged art and research at the level of both theory and practice.
Carl Doran is an artist based in Limerick. His involvement with Askeaton Contemporary Arts began as an invited artist in the first year of the project in 2006, and he is now the Project Co-ordinator. He is Chairperson of Contact Studios; Limerick’s longest established independent studios. He works mainly in 2D, writing and illustrating, and public art projects recent commissions include Axis Ballymun, and Limerick City of Culture.

Shaun Hannigan has worked for Donegal County Council since 1997 first as Director of Letterkenny Arts Centre and currently as Director of the Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny. He played a central role in the development of the Regional Cultural Centre building. He has over 30 years experience as a curator and arts manager having previously worked as Local Authority Arts Officer in Limerick and Public Art Manager with Southampton City Council. He completed a short course in Arts Administration at University College Dublin and an MA in Gallery Management at City University London. He has a life long commitment to socially engaged arts and to local arts development. He has commissioned, curated and produced a large number of arts projects. Significant recent community and socially engaged exhibitions and projects include: Destination Donegal 2011, Sharing Stories 2011, Local People 2013 and Lived Lost Lives 2013. Shaun is currently a Board Member of the Nerve Centre Derry and the Earagail Arts Festival County Donegal.

Katherine Atkinson manages the Project Support and Professional Development of Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts.