Exchanges is a programme of talks, workshops and residencies from Sligo County Council Arts Service funded by the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaboration scheme. The programme focuses on developing supports for artists from culturally diverse backgrounds and is aimed at providing funding for artists at all stages of their career, who are interested in working in culturally diverse and socially-engaged contexts. The Exchanges programme is presented in partnership with Create, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival, The Model Sligo and the Hawk’s Well Theatre.
In the second of our talks series, we are proud to present Exploring Socially Engaged Arts Practice, with Jijo Sebastian, Tobi Balogun, Emily Waszak and William Bock in conversation with Zoë O’Reilly.
Jijo Sebastian is a migrant, collaborative filmmaker with more than a decade of experience in participatory, collaborative and intercultural filmmaking in a community-based context. He is a recipient of a 2015 Artist in the Community Scheme Project Realisation Award, 2016 Next Generation Bursary Award, and 2020 Arts Participation Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. Jijo has written, directed and produced 7 short films and one feature length tele-film collaborating with groups, families and individuals from the keralite Indian community in Ireland. Selected films were screened at international film festivals, and Jijo was the winner of best film and best director award at Fokana film festival, Illinois, USA. Jijo’s practice and films find coherence in their shared immigrant-oriented themes, participatory methodologies and suburban Dublin geographical context.
Emily Waszak is a Dublin based textile artist whose work currently focuses on ritual, collective grief and how objects are imbued with meaning. Emily’s work is also concerned with themes of racial capitalism, migration and social reproduction. Emily is a member of the Angelica network and a recent recipient of the Irish Arts Council’s Visual Arts Bursary and the Artist in the Community Research and Development Award, an Arts Council initiative managed by Create.
Tobi Balogun is an artist based in Dublin and Carlow, working across Dance, Theatre, Fashion and Design. As a professional member of Dance Ireland and founding member of Human Collective Dance Company, Tobi has co-created many works for stage including FABLE for Dublin Fringe Festival (2018), performed at Project Arts Centre and been nominated for a Best Ensemble Award. He has developed collaborative projects in association with choreographers Cathy Coughlan, Maria Nilsson Waller and with organisations such as South Dublin County Council, Tallaght Community Arts, Dublin City Council and Dance Ireland. Tobi is the recipient of the Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2020: Collaborative Arts and Human Rights, supported by Create, the Arts Council and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. Tobi intends to use the bursary as a time of research and critical reflection into delivering high quality arts engagement to Black-Irish communities and in expanding points of access for young adults who do not identify as professional artists, but have expressed a strong desire to engage with the sector; and to examine the barriers for Black communities in establishing meaningful and ongoing engagement with the arts.
William Bock is an interdisciplinary artist working in Ireland and the UK exploring the connections between people and the environments they inhabit. Collaboration and responsive approaches to working with materials, particular sites and with communities are central to his process. Land Walks Land Talks Land Marks was an Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme funded project exploring a practice of walking, conversation and field recording to collaborate with asylum seekers living in Direct Provision and local residents. William is winner of the inaugural Sustainability First 2020 Art Prize, member of the Wilderness Art Collective , a founding member of artist group Dig Collective producing projects commissioned by Art Safiental Biennale for Land and Environment Art (2018) in Switzerland, PEER Gallery for Real Estates (2015) in London and Shortlisted for the Bern Sculpture Commission. William has produced projects for the Barbican and New Walsall Art Gallery in the UK and internationally and his work has been published by the Dark Mountain Project Press, has featured in the Irish Times, RTE Television, Lettre International and London Review of Books. William is currently developing a participatory project on the banks of the river Shannon commissioned by Ormston House.
Zoë O’Reilly is a researcher, writer and visual ethnographer. Her work straddles the space between practice-based research and socially engaged collaborative art practice, with a particular interest in migration, asylum and cultural diversity. She is the author of ‘The In-Between Spaces of Asylum and Migration: a participatory visual approach’, published by Palgrave. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice at UCD.