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Art, Ecology and Urban Spaces, IMMA
Photo: Seoidín O Sullivan.

Art, Ecology and Urban Spaces, IMMA

Event · Talk

14 Nov 2017

3 - 5pm

Lecture Theatre, IMMA

Create / Common Ground – Critical Conversation



Create and Common Ground are pleased to partner on this panel discussion which will explore the issue of sustainable cities, land access, food access, and spaces of commoning and public sites in urban space. It will seek to explore the potential of collaborative practice to make critical interventions in the urban landscape in order to reveal alternative futures and propose new forms of collective co-operation among diverse publics.

The event draws on artist, Seoidín O’ Sullivan’s HARD/GRAFT project as part of her Common Ground CITIZEN ARTIST award and her recent experience of the inaugural Hyde Park Art Center and Sweet Water Foundation residency exchange programme with Irish Museum of Modern Art and Create.

Chaired by internationally renowned artist educator Dr. Gregory Sholette, the panel comprises of artist Seoidín O’ Sullivan, artist Fiona Woods and Chicago-based artist architect Emmanuel Pratt from the Sweetwater Foundation situated in Chicago (via Skype).

Both Fiona Woods and Emmanuel Pratts’ respective practices connect urban and rural collaborative practice in Ireland to international initiatives that share innovative approaches to developing inclusive urban and rural ecologies.


The talk event will be prefaced at 12.45 by a visit to local community gardens in Rialto, led by Seoidín. Meeting point is St Andrew’s Community Centre 468 South Circular Road Rialto D8. This event is restricted to 10 places and booking is separate to the talk event. This separate event is now booked out.

Gregory Sholette’s visit to Ireland has been made possible through Transactions #2, a 2017 partnership between NCAD, Fire Station Artists’ Studios and Create.



Dr. Gregory Sholette is an artist, activist and educator. He is also a founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution, which issued publications on politically engaged art in the 1980s; of REPOhistory, which repossessed suppressed histories in New York in the 1990s; and more recently, of Gulf Labor, a group of artists advocating for migrant workers constructing museums in Abu Dhabi. In dozens of essays, four edited volumes, and his own books including Art as Social Action (with Chloë Bass, Skyhorse, May 2018), Delirium & Resistance: Art Activism & the Crisis of Capitalism (2017) and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (2011, both Pluto Press), Sholette documents and reflects upon decades of activist art that, for its ephemerality, politics, and market resistance, might otherwise remain invisible. A co-director of Social Practice Queens at
Queens College CUNY, he holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and is a graduate of The Cooper Union, UCSD, and The Whitney Program in Critical Theory.

Seoidín O’Sullivan is a contemporary artist and educator. Her art projects are collaborative and focus on people joining together in action to protect and develop an aspect of their local commons. Her practice supports sustainable models within various ecological contexts and addresses issues of land use, lost knowledge, social justice and biodiversity. Creative output includes critical and creative pedagogic exchange, “commoning” infrastructures, drawings, video, publications and walks. Her current projects include Hard/Graft (2017) with Studio 468 and Common Ground, which looks at reproductive labour and collectively grafts trees towards community orchards for Dublin, and The Tree Line Project which explores the politics of trees in Ireland.

Emmanuel Pratt is co-founder and Executive Director of the Sweet Water Foundation, as well as a founding member of axilL3C. He is also presently a doctoral candidate in the PhD program of Urban Planning at Columbia University, as well as the Director of Aquaponics for Chicago State University, where he teaches courses within the college of Arts and Sciences. Sweet Water Foundation utilizes a blend of urban agriculture, art and education to transform vacant spaces and abandoned buildings into economically and ecologically productive and sustainable community assets that produce engaged youth, skilled workers, art, locally-grown food, and affordable housing.

Fiona Woods is a visual artist whose practice crosses critical inquiry, artistic intervention and international research collaborations. She works with elements of critical spatial practice, collaborative practice and aesthetics to generate objects, images, discursive events and performative actions. Public space, social situations and the institutional site of art are used as circuits for the production and distribution of works that explore ideas of public interest or what we have ‘in common’.


Common Ground is an arts organisation based in Inchicore, in Dublin’s southwest inner city. Since 1999, we work to progress a diverse cultural model that embraces the challenging social and economic realities of our neighbourhood locations in Dublin 8 & 12.  We maximise our local networks and partnerships and seek to embed the role of the arts as a cultural right. We continue to challenge and change how access to the arts should not depend on where you’re born, your wealth or identity. In 2016 we created a new awards programme in studio 468, CITIZEN ARTIST 2016 -2018 that seeks to interrogate our current state of being as a nation and inform new thinking and artistic practices.

Create is the national development agency for collaborative arts. A resource organisation for collaborative artists working across artform in social and community contexts, Create offers support through professional development, project opportunities and initiatives such as the Artist in the Community Scheme which Create manages on behalf of the Arts Council of Ireland. In addition Create offers training, mentoring, advocacy and onging project support. Through our national and international programme we seek to create opportunities for exchange and interaction that benefit a wide constituency of artists, sectors and communities, strengthening the contribution of the arts to society, and encouraging artists and communities to create art that reflects and responds to our times.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) aims in all its activities to create for the public an enjoyable and engaging experience of contemporary art. It achieves this through a dynamic and changing programme of exhibitions and education programmes based in its home at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and working with partners nationally and internationally.  As the national institution for contemporary art IMMA is committed to supporting artists’ work, and works with artists and partners to support the development, understanding and enjoyment of contemporary art in Ireland. IMMA is the home of the national collection of modern and contemporary art and takes responsibility for the care and maintenance of this national resource. We ensure that it is accessible to visitors to IMMA and beyond through exhibitions, collaborations, loans, touring partnerships and digital programmes.

Transactions Publication
Dr. Gregory Sholette
Seoidin O' Sullivan
Sweet Water Foundation
Axil Solutions
Fiona Woods
The Common Ground