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MA SPACE: Arts & Civil Society Talks

MA SPACE: Arts & Civil Society Talks

Seminar · Talk

Thursdays, 26th Oct - 7th Dec 2017

2.00pm - 3.00pm

Merriman House Campus, Limerick School of Art and Design

Create in partnership with Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT Limerick is programming a series of Civil Society talks as part of its MA SPACE (Social Practice and the Creative Environment) course. Create encourages debate on the role of the arts in civil society and curates public talks and lectures which examine intersections between art and the socio-political.

Create with Marilyn Lennon and Sean Taylor have programmed talks that challenge and provoke the students. For the 2017 autumn term, the aim of the series of talks is to bring a range of experts to the programme to discuss their expertise and research concerns in fields that have discreet languages, methods and structures. Previous topics have included gender and economics; European policy making; asylum and Direct provision; politics of commemoration; environmentalism; participatory theatre; youth work and social policy.

The talks aim to encourage debate on the role of the arts in civil society and examine intersections between art and the socio-political. The Art and Civil Society talks also aim to build capacity to connect emerging arts practice to society and facilitate a broader understanding of societal issues and how they inform and impact on collaborative arts practice.

This series of talks will begin on 26th October 2017 with Karen E. Till. The second speaker will be Niall Crowley on 2nd November (speaker biographies and talk topics are listed below). Other speakers include: Laurence Lord on 7th December and John Bissett on 30th November 2017.

Digging, Witnessing and Decolonising: Towards Responsible Forms of Collaborative Practice through Memory-Work and a Place-Based Ethics of Care

Karen E. Till: 26th October 2017

Using examples from Berlin, Bogotá and Cape Town, this talk explores place-based forms of activist and artistic engagements that invite residents to critically reflect upon difficult pasts and imagine and inhabit more just futures.


Karen E. Till is Professor of Cultural Geography at Maynooth University, where she is also directs the MA in Geography and the Space&Place Research Collaborative. She is founding co-Convener of the Mapping Spectral Traces international network of artists, practitioners and scholars. Karen’s geo-ethnographic research examines the significance of place in personal and social memory, and the ongoing legacies of state-perpetrated violence in countries around the world. Her curatorial work invites artists, practitioners, community leaders, scholars and publics to explore how creative practices might enable more responsible and sustainable approaches to caring for places, shared environments and cities. Publications include The New Berlin: Place, Politics, Memory (2005), Walls, Borders and Boundaries (2012), Mapping Spectral Traces (2010), Textures of Place (2001). Her book in progress, Wounded Cities, highlights artistic and activist place-based memory-work and ethical forms of care in Berlin, Bogotá, Cape Town, Dublin, Minneapolis, Ramallah and Roanoke.

Valuing Equality

Niall Crowley: 2nd November 2017

Culture and values have to be of core concern in seeking social change. Yet, there is an increasing departure from core equality values being forced on civil society. The arts should offer some sustenance but rarely give expression to such values. Civil society has failed to advance work at the level of values. Only slowly are we coming to grips with the challenge: A more equal society won’t be achieved by preaching but by drawing out popular values of dignity, inclusion and justice and enabling people to give life to these values.


Niall Crowley is an independent equality and human rights expert. He works extensively with the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Most recently he has worked to devise new values based approaches to promoting equality and human rights in the public sphere and within institutions. He is co-founder of the Values Lab. He was Chief Executive Officer of the Equality Authority for ten years from its establishment in 1999 and prior to that was co-director of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Rights Centre. He is author of An Ambition for Equality published by Irish Academic Press and Empty Promises: Bringing the Equality Authority to Heel published by A&A Farmer.

Young People and the Arts; How Youth Work Policy Influences Art

Anne O’Gorman: 9th November 2017


Anne O’Gorman is Senior Project Officer for Youth Arts at the National Youth Council of Ireland, and Course Coordinator of the NUI Certificate in Youth Arts. Previously, as Children’s Arts Officer at Draiocht, she developed the dedicated children’s programme. Prior to this she was an outreach officer at the Abbey Theatre, a youth theatre leader and a drama practitioner. She has been a board member of KidsOwn Publishing, a member of the selection committee for Ireland’s first Laureate na nOg (Laureate of Children’s Literature) and she represented the National Association for Youth Drama as Irish Animateur at the European Drama Encounter. Her work has been published in the Irish Journal of Youth Work Studies, Youth Drama Ireland, Inis Magazine and practice.ie. She holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management, and her recent research focused on ‘how and where leaders of Irish arts organisations build their skills.’

How the Arts can help breakdown Social Exclusion and Alienation

John Lonergan: 16th November 2017


John Lonergan is a native of Bansha, Co. Tipperary. He served in the Irish Prison Service for over 42 years. He was Governor of Mountjoy Prison for over 22 years and Governor of the top security prison at Portlaoise for almost 4 years. He retired in June 2010 and later that year his autobiography “The Governor” was published. Nowadays he delivers talks on a wide range of subjects to communities, voluntary groups, workers and students. He is an active supporter of many charitable organisations, including Barnardos. His philosophy is that change, personal or otherwise, cannot be enforced on people, believing that real and meaningful change only comes about through dialogue, consent and agreement. He is convinced that human beings change from the inside out and suggests that the big challenge for all of us is to find the humanity in others and then to nurture it. He is satisfied that the more people are in touch with their own humanity the more likely they are to treat others with humanity – show respect to gain respect.

Women’s Community Education in Practice

Edel Geraghty: 23rd November 2017

This session will aim to explore the current landscape of Community Education for women and provide an insight into the work of the Limerick Women’s Network. It will also highlight some examples of best practice through engaging with community based art practices.


Edel Geraghty has worked as a trainer and facilitator in the area of Community Development in Limerick for the past 15 years and is currently employed as the Development Worker. During this time she has also been a voluntary member of the Limerick Women’s Network Board. In addition she has worked in a freelance capacity with many agencies including; Adapt Services, Paul Partnership and the Equality Authority.

Edel is passionate about working from a Women’s Community Education perspective and considers it to be a catalyst for transformation within communities. She believes community based art is a key element in this process and has worked in collaboration with community artists and women’s groups to address issues such as domestic violence and women’s contributions to society. She has also  collaborated with Community Artists to design celebrations for International Women’s Day

The Class and Gender Struggles of Public Housing Tenants

John Bissett: 30th November 2017


John Bissett is a community worker with the Canal Communities Regional Addiction Service, and has been active in community, national and international political groupings since the 1980s. He is on the management committee of Rialto Youth Project and is a member of the St Michael’s Estate Regeneration team as well as Housing Action Now. Most recently, he has been working on a durational ethnographic research project entitled ‘The Class and Gender Struggles of Public Housing Tenants’ due to be published in 2018. He is author of the book ‘Regeneration: Public Good or Private Profit’, other published works include; a chapter in ‘Ireland Under Austerity: neo Liberal Crisis-Neo liberal Solutions’. He was a founder member of the ‘Spectacle of Defiance and Hope’ – an arts-based creative resistance movement to the imposition of neo-liberal austerity programmes in Ireland and he is part of an arts collective currently in residence in Studio 468, Dublin. John has worked and linked in with communities in Limerick for many years; in Ballinacurra Weston, Southill and Moyross, following his work with the organisation Tenants First.

Collaborative Practice

Laurence Lord: 7th December 2017

This talk will discuss the new ways to operate as an architect post-crisis.


Laurence Lord is an architect, curator and teacher interested in creating spaces that stimulate new forms of community and interaction. He is a co-founder of AP+E and teaches in UCD and CCAE. In 2018 Laurence is part of a team of six architects that will Co-Commission/Curate the Irish National Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale.