Networks of Solidarity is a series of four monthly online talks co-organised by artist/organiser Kate O’Shea and writer/researcher Enya Moore from the Just City Collective, beginning on the 4th May with Between Our Minds.
The Networks of Solidarity series aims to strengthen transnational networks of solidarity and deepen awareness of place-based struggles that reverberate from Dublin 8 to Gadigal Country (Sydney, Australia). Four interconnected and overlapping sessions entitled Between our Minds; In the Roots; Through our Stories and On the Airwaves will feature presentations and performances from invited artists, activists, community workers, designers, academics, researchers, writers, and filmmakers based largely in Ireland and Australia. This event series is supported in part by a Dublin City Council Revenue award granted to Create.
Between Our Minds
Date: Tuesday, 4 May, 10AM Dublin (IST), 7PM Sydney (AEST)
Guests: Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor (Gadigal, Dharug, Bidjigal and Yuin Elder and artist), Nadeena Dixon (Gadigal, Wiradjuri and Yuin multi-disciplinary artist), Clare Cooper (design lecturer, activist, musician), Rita Fagan (activist, artist, and practitioner), Dawn Weleski (artist)
Facilitators: Kate O’Shea and John Bisset
Between Our Minds, the first Networks of Solidarity event, sets the foundations for the whole series by exploring sustainable practices of collective care in building communities. Recognising burnout within the community organising and resisting contemporary individualistic and commodified versions of self-care, this discussion brings together the experiences and wisdom of four guests who practice care in different ways. How can food, healing and creative practice become mediums in which to embody care? Gadigal, Dharug and Yuin Elder Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, a custodian of cultural knowledge on Gadigal Country (present-day Sydney) and her daughter Nadeena Dixon will perform a Welcome to Country, a ritual performed by traditional owners to welcome visitors to their land.
The Just City Collective, formed by Just City Counter Narrative Neighbourhood resident Kate O’Shea as part of ‘HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? brings together community workers, artists, activists and researchers from around the world exploring ideas and practices around spatial injustices in multiple cities. Networks of Solidarity is supported by Common Ground’s The Just City – Counter Narrative Neighbourhood Residency 2020 – 2021 which is funded by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council, with additional support from Create.
Common Ground is an arts organisation based in Inchicore, in Dublin’s southwest inner city since 1999. They work to progress a diverse cultural model that embraces the challenging social and economic realities of their neighbourhood locations in Dublin 8 & 12. They maximise their local networks and partnerships and seek to embed the role of the arts as a cultural right. They continue to challenge and change how access to the arts should not depend on where you are born, your wealth or identity. In 2020 they awarded artist Kate O’Shea the Just City counter narrative residency award.
Clare Cooper has always been a keen bean. This “keen” and creative energy has taken many forms over her life: performing music, tap dancing, organising arts festivals and improvising orchestras, teaching design, writing, hosting futuring workshops, starting grassroots organisations like Frontyard Projects, and various forms of activism. Clare is particularly passionate about connecting people through collaborative futuring and improvisation practices as both encourage creativity, presence, imagination and trust over virtuosity or knowing exactly what’s going to happen next. Clare is currently a lecturer at the University of Sydney where she teaches futuring, design activism, visual communication, interaction design and electronic arts.
Nadeena Dixon is a Gadigal, Wiradjuri and Yuin multi-disciplinary artist. Born in Sydney in 1969 on her ancestral country, she has extensive training and skills in Western and Indigenous Art Practice. Nadeena is acknowledged as a Master Weaving practitioner. She is engaged with ongoing revitalisation of traditional cultural practices, as well as supporting young and emerging artists to develop core skills. Nadeena is a Facebook International Artist Alumni, and the first Aboriginal Artist in Residence with the Facebook AIR Program. In 2019 Nadeena was commissioned to design and paint a 9-metre internal wall at Facebook’s Sydney branch at Barangaroo Towers.
Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor
Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor is a Gadigal, Dharug, Bidjigal and Yuin Elder and artist with over 50 years’ experience as an entertainer and Cultural Arts Educator. Aunty Rhonda embodies Indigenous Knowledge Systems through Traditional Art and Cultural Practices drawing from embedded Ancestral Knowledge handed down to her from her Elders. Aunty Rhonda has also studied within the Western Education system and has a Masters in Aboriginal Studies and Wellbeing (Intergenerational Trauma and Recovery). She has completed Seasons for Growth (Grief and Loss) Studies and is currently developing a Holistic Empowerment and Healing Program. Aunty Rhonda is passionate about Healing and Peace.
Rita Fagan is a multifaceted activist, artist, and practitioner. She is from a working-class family in the Liberties, Dublin, Ireland. At 14, Rita began working in a sewing factory. She then lived and worked with the homeless in the Dublin Simon Community before becoming a full time Community Worker. She has practiced Radical Community Development at St. Michaels Estate Family Resource Centre for over 30 years. Rita is a strong believer in the power of the arts in highlighting difficult issues and as a protest tool to bring people along in the struggle for structural change. Rita is known for her and her mother’s (also a committed community activist) dedication to Keeping Public Land Public. Rita’s commitment to highlighting the issue of violence against women led to her establishing the first ever grassroots and organic Community Response to Violence Against Women. From this, an outreach service was developed, along with several art projects. She was a member of the leading team of Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, an organic Community and Youth Arts movement against draconian austerity measures that specifically targeted community-based structures after the financial global collapse in 2008.
Dawn Weleski’s art practice administers a political stress test, antagonizing routine cultural behavior by re-purposing underground brawls, revolutionary protests, and political offices as transformative social stages. Recent projects include The Black Draft (with Justin Strong), a live mock sports draft event during which ten Black former Pittsburghers, from all professions, are drafted to return home and City Council Wrestling, a series of public wrestling matches where citizens, pro-am wrestlers, and city council members personified their political passions into wrestling characters. She co-founded and co-directs Conflict Kitchen (with Jon Rubin), a take-out restaurant that serves cuisine from countries with which the U.S. government is in conflict, which has been covered by over 900 international media and news outlets worldwide and was the North American finalist for the Second Annual International Award for Public Art in 2015.
Facilitator: John Bisset
John Bisset was born in Dolphin House, Rialto, a social housing complex in Dublin. He served an apprenticeship as a fitter in the Irish Glass Bottle Company in the early 1980s. He is a graduate of National University of Ireland Maynooth with a degree in Sociology and English. He continued his studies in University College Dublin and was awarded a Masters and Ph.D. in Sociology on the same occasion in 2001. John currently works as a Community Worker for the Canal Communities Local Drugs Task Force in Dublin. He has been a member of the St. Michael’s Estate Community Regeneration Team since February 2001. Bissett is author of the book Regeneration: Public Good or Private Profit? (2009) by TASC/New Island. This book not only chronicles the experiences of one community fighting for the regeneration of their estate: it also traces the changing nature of the relationship between Dublin City Council and its tenants and offers a brief history of the urban redevelopment approaches adopted in Dublin.
Facilitator: Kate O’Shea
Kate O’Shea is an artist with a social practice which includes printmaking, creating social spaces, collective cooking, and publishing. From setting up a social space in the south west of Ireland in 2009 to producing SPARE ROOM Art Architecture Activism with Dr. Eve Olney in Cork in 2019, and Day of the Straws with artist Marie Brett in 2020, Kate’s collaborative practice is based on building spaces of solidarity and dialogue to explore alternatives to the social relations of capitalism. Kate is currently The Just City Counter Narrative Neighbourhood Residency Awardee with Common Ground, Dublin 8. In 2018 she published the book Durty Words with graphic designer Victoria Brunetta. With 134 contributors from all over the world, this is the first book from their publishing house Durty Books. In 2019, Durty Books published the first of its single-author books Direct Democracy: Context, Society, Individuality by Yavor Tarinksi (edited by Dr. Eve Olney). Durty Books has four upcoming books in 2021-2022. Kate has a Masters by Research in Printmaking as a space for solidarity and dialogue from Limerick School of Art and Design.