Earth Writings Receives GSI Book of the Year Award

Earth Writings: Bogs, Fields, Forests, Gardens (2020) received the Geographical Society of Ireland Book of the Year Award at the 53rd annual Conference of Irish Geographers held in Limerick in May 2022.  The book, which focuses on community-engaged arts and geography practices in Ireland, was supported by the Maynooth University Department of Geography Research Incentive Fund, Kildare County Council, and Creative Ireland . Edited by Karen E. Till Professor of Cultural Geography at Maynooth University, the volume was designed by Pure Designs and features writings by artists, curators, and academics: Patrick Bresnihan, Nessa Cronin, Monica de Bath, Cathy Fitzgerald, Gerry Kearns, Pauline O’Connell, Seoidín O’Sullivan, Lucina Russell,  and Karen Till.  The award was in the edited collection category and decided by an international awards committee. The criteria for consideration were that the works: had been published for the first time (in Irish or English) between 1st January 2018 and 31st December 2021; were of clear relevance to a theme related to the geographies of Ireland and/or were authored by a geographer employed in Ireland at the time of publication; and were comprised substantially of previously unpublished work. Books are available for purchase at the Temple Bar Arts Book store.
  Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields & Gardens  


How Earth Writings Started

Through the Space&Place Research Collaborative, the Mapping Spectral Traces network, and Ómós Áite Space/Place Reading Group, the editors have promoted exchanges between artists, scholars, community leaders, activists and practitioners living and working in Ireland and beyond. Below are a selection of earlier projects leading to Earth Writings.

Karen Till was a discussant at the first Red Stables ‘Art & Ecology’ Summer School in 2012, curated by Denise Reddy. Her essay, ‘Field Findings’, included reflections on the work of artists Seoidin O’Sullivan, Cathy Fitzgerald, Geraldine O’Reilly, and Christine Baeumler.

In 2016, she organised ‘Mapping Spectral Traces VIII: The Place of the Wound’ at Maynooth University, funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Knowledge Exchange grant, which included presentations by Irish-based and international artists, scientists, humanities and social science scholars, choreographers and indigenous scholar-activists.

In 2019, through an Irish Research Council New Foundations STEAM grant, she organised the symposium Tírdheach Feasach: Irish Environments in Transition and a curated an exhibition. Conversations between artists and academics resulted in the essays of the book Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields, Gardens.

Artwork: Glas Journal (c) Silvia Loeffler, 2015.

The Geographical Turn, organised by Gerry Kearns in 2015 and funded by the Irish Research Council, asked how geographers and artists might learn in their explorations of the key themes of Geography: space, place, and environment. These concepts also resonate with the central political concerns of our time, the geographical dilemmas of modernity.’ The project included collaborations between artists and geographers, who presented their work at a symposium at the Royal Irish Academy in 2015.

Dr. Nessa Cronin, Irish Studies and Associate Director of the Moore Institute, organised a 2019 seminar for cultural practitioners and academics: Cultural Climates: Fostering Art for Sustainability – Time for a New Cultural Policy?. Image: Artist-researcher-educators making presentations, Dr. Iain Biggs (UK) and Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald – ‘An Urgent Conversation for the Arts in Ireland’.

Dr. Nessa Cronin, Irish Studies and Co-Director of the Moore Research Institute of the National University of Galway, introducing Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald and Dr Iain Bigg’s presentations.
Goodbye Anthropocene – Hello Symbiocence paper presented by Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald.

The future Earth Writings editors co-covened a panel in 2019, Art & Geography: Art, Activism and Social Engagement in the Age of the Capitalocene, to examine what roles can art, activism and socially engaged cultural practices might play in conceptualising new ways to think about climate and environmental action in the so-called ‘Age of the Capitalocene’. As underlined by the United Nation’s publication of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the planet, there is growing evidence that the arts have a key role, alongside science, to engage a wider public in changes toward more sustainable living and well-being (Fitzgerald 2018).

Header Image: Untitled (PLOT 1) (c) Monica de Bath, 2010.