Exhibition Launch

Exhibition notes

This multi-media group exhibition highlighted eco-community engaged practices of four artists working with peoples/natures in peatlands, woodlands, fields and cities in SE Ireland. Works included video, books, paintings, sketchings, grafted trees, blogs and other social interventions by artists: Monica de Bath (Kildare County), Cathy Fitzgerald (County Carlow), Pauline O’Connell (County Kilkenny) and Seodín O’Sullivan (Dublin).

These artists’ creative-ecological practices call attention to the diversity of the ways that human societies are mutually constituted with and through their natural worlds and environments, rejecting dominant growth-based strategies of sustainable development. At times of ecological crisis, rapidly changing weather systems, and species extinctions, there is much to learn from these artists who ‘stay with the trouble’ (Haraway, 2016) to realise healthier environmental relations.

Taking place during national Irish Science and GeoWeeks, the exhibition was complemented by a symposium, exhibition launch, class visits, and publication to invite a broader public to think differently about how we can begin caring for our wounded environments and create more sustainable futures. Curated by Professor Karen Till, Geography, Maynooth University, the 2019 exhibition Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields, Gardens, and 2020 arts’ book publication launched the book series project with Cork University Press, and this website.

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Exhibition Launch: 20 November, 5:45 – 6:30pm, with short talks by artists starting at 6pm, Maynooth University Library Lobby. Exhibition Date(s) – 18/11/2019 – 29/11/2019, all day at Maynooth University Library

The Four Exhibits

(click on the images to read more information about the work and the artists)


Monica de Bath is an artist, educator, and facilitator whose practice incorporates research, drawing, painting, seminars, and short films. Her work is shaped by two languages. She studied Painting at NCAD and received an MA in visual arts practices from IADT. Her Temporary Studio within an industrial Bord na Móna peat excavation site, Ballydermot Works on the Bog of Allen, launched PLOT / CEAPACH. This ongoing project explores our relationships with land and the urgent need to make a living at critical and contested sites. She was part of an Arts Council touring show INSITES / ÓN CHEAPACH (2018) and is currently working with: Creative Rathangan Meitheal on an art and environment programme; the Arts Council/Dept of Education Creative Schools initiative as a Creative Associate; and the Ground Up Artists Collective on the Tar Isteach / Bealtaine Commission 2019/20.


Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD, originally from New Zealand, is an eco-social artist, researcher and educator living in Ireland. She completed her PhD by Creative Practice: The Ecological Turn: Living Well with Forests in 2018, at the National College of Art and Design. The Hollywood Forest Story is the ongoing online story of the transformation of a small 2-acre conifer plantation in South County Carlow. Previously destined to be clear-felled, Hollywood forest – ‘the little wood that could’, is slowly becoming a ‘real’, mixed species, permanent forest. This follows the artist’s exploration of new-to-Ireland continuous cover forestry as the focus in her ‘eco-social art practice’. The artist’s expanded practice explores this new forestry as a critical ecological direction for Irish forestry through forestry, collaborations, art activity, blogging, activism, and ecoliteracy.


Seoidín O’Sullivan is an artist, arts educator, and interdisciplinary researcher. Her projects are collaborative and focus on people joining together in action to protect and develop an aspect of their local commons. She has a Masters in Fine Art Media from NCAD and is Art Lecturer in DCU’s department of Education. Last year she was awarded the Next Generation Arts Council Bursary and in 2017 the Chicago Hyde Park Residency Award with IMMA and CREATE. Her art projects are collaborative and focus on people joining together in action to protect and develop an aspect of their local commons.


Pauline O’Connell is a visual artist, curator and educator based in rural County Kilkenny, Ireland and Amsterdam. Born in Dublin, Pauline studied Fine Art, Mixed Media at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology (1988-92), and received a 1st class M.A. in Social Practice and the Creative Environment at Limerick School of Art and Design (2012). She is completing a PhD at the University of Amsterdam, School of Heritage, Memory and Material Culture, where her practice-led, (auto)ethnographic research uses a range of media, including sound, video, photography, drawing, installation, and text, to focus on post-rural identity. http://www.paulineoconnell.com.

See details of the Earth Writings Launch Symposia here. Email: karen.till@mu.ie

The programme is generously supported by the Irish Research Council New Foundations STEAM Scheme, Creative Ireland, Kildare County Council Arts Service, Maynooth University Department of Geography, Maynooth University Library, and the Space&Place and Ómós Áite Research Collaboratives.