My work is particularly concerned with how social art practice can develop participatory methodologies to explore our relationships to space, place and people. The art projects featured here are long term and have been set in urban and rural contexts.
As an artist I develop methods with collaborators in response to a context., often exploring ways of knowing and interacting in the world such as, making, walking, mapping, inhabiting, place-making or sensing. Outcomes are the co-development and co-creation of artistic actions, situations, sites of exchange, artefacts and documentation.
While there is some documentation on this website, the projects are also archived through dedicated websites, social media sites/pages, in public talks, recordings, broadcasts, publications and ephemera in the form of posters, flyers etc.
I'm currently working on a new collaboration with two artists, Elinor Rivers and fellow Cork Artist Collective member Colette Lewis, under the title of The Institute of Dwelling, which is a social art practice working with the concept of dwelling under the characterisations of; ‘a place of residence’, ‘considering’ and ‘being’.The Institute of Dwelling invites an exploration of dwelling through the hands-on experience of working with materials and inhabiting spaces. See the IOD research archive at, https://www.facebook.com/IofDwelling/
My interest in critical spatial practices first began in 2004 when I was invited to act as an artist/leader on two-week postgraduate summerschools on Interaction Design in public spaces under the European Convivio network, first in Italy, and later in Sweden, Croatia and Romania. This was part of my role as a research officer at the Interaction Design Centre, an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Limerick. There, I was an artist contributing to research with an emphasis on participatory, co-operative and collaborative design of technology for people.
In 2009 I setup the SpiritStore project, a collaborative art project which addressed questions of public ownership through the setting up and development of an autonomous art space in the site of a stalled commercial development in Limerick city centre. The SpiritStore social art project ran for four years in various forms taking diverse approaches to conveying or contesting experiences of the city and the experience of making art for, and with, the public. More recently I've completed a longterm collaboration with the Knockatallon Ramblers, a hiking club in north Co. Monaghan. We investigated the potential of critical cartography and the act of walking at the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland to address spatial contestation and to offer alternative intimate narratives of place in the form of online mapping of the intimate, the rural/territorial, the national, the continental and the global, as Brian Holmes would put it.
My PhD, at the Interaction Design Centre (IDC), an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Limerick, was supervised by Prof. Liam Bannon. My thesis explored methodologies derived from Art and Design practice which support and facilitate participants in Participatory (Interaction) Design sessions. Research and educational interests include the theories and practices of both Socially Engaged Art practice and Interaction Design. Specialties include Social Practice in Art and Design, Interaction Design (specifically in public spaces) project management, ethnographic research methodologies, contextual research, evaluation and Participation and Collaboration in Art and Design.
Today I'm a Lecturer at Limerick School of Art and Design, Limerick Institute of Technology, where in ‘09/’10 as part of a small team I co-wrote a Masters programme in Social Practice in Art and Design (MA SPACE). I'm currently Joint Programme Leader.
As a lecturer I've experience in a broad range of Art and Design disciplines and have been postgraduate leader/artist at a number of international events including, the European Academy of Participation Pilot, London '17, The Siena Design Project, (Interaction Design in Public Spaces) Italy, '03 and 04, and the Convivio International Summer Schools, Romania and Sweden '05 and '07 and Split Interactions, Croatia '08. Collaborative projects that I played a leading role on in Sweden '07 and Croatia '08 with artists, designers, postgraduate students was represented as part of a Split University entry and awarded the Grand Prix at the Zagrebacki Salon '09, the highest Croatian award for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.
In Social Art Practice and in Participatory Design I've worked with people from a variety of disciplines which include engineering, architecture, psychology, geography, sociology, healthcare and computer science. I hold two patents, have published journal, conference, workshop papers, book chapters and reports.