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IMMA Talks brings together the festivals thought leadership platform, exploring the big issues and challenges of the day.

On Saturday 22 October at 2pm – A keynote talk is presented by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino – London-based author and designer who has worked on issues of climate change for technology companies, energy retailers, banks, social enterprises and more, advocating how design has a critical role to play, in tackling the biggest challenge of our lifetime – the climate crisis. Design shapes the world. From the places we live to the products we buy, it creates environmental, social and economic impact and so has the power to change things for the better. Deschamps-Sonsino discusses her motives for building the Low Carbon Design Institute, exploring how creative and design professionals can integrate climate change knowledge in their practice. We will also learn more about the guiding principles for advocating sustainable design that informs the award-winning Design for Planet Festival 2022, that Deschamps-Sonsino is heading up as Chief Design Officer with the Design Council, UK. A closing conversation and Q+A will be moderated by Lucy Bowen, Lecturer, NCAD.

On Sunday 23 October at 2pm – A keynote talk by Lucy Jones, author of LOSING EDEN, Why Our Minds Need the Wild presents on new scientific research that shows why forging a bond with nature is critical for our health and wellness, while also raising awareness about the alarming effects of its absence. Jones asks – could finding asylum in the soil and joy in the trees help us to save the living planet, as well as ourselves? Today many of us live indoor lives, disconnected from the natural world as never before. And yet the living world remains deeply ingrained in our language, culture and consciousness. So what happens, asks journalist and author Lucy Jones, as we lose our bond with the natural world – do we also be losing part of ourselves? What kind of ecological connections and relationships – in this great forgetting – are we missing out on? How do we reimagine what it means to be respectful co-tenants on earth?

Travelling from forest schools in East London to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault via primeval woodlands, Californian laboratories and ecotherapists’ couches, Jones has studied the cutting edge of human biology, neuroscience and psychology, and suggests new ways of understanding our increasingly dysfunctional relationship with the earth.

To follow Jones’ keynote talk a panel discussion with artist Clodagh Emoe will be moderated by Cathy Fitzgerald, that explores the connection between Jone’s work and some of the ideas motivating Emoe’s recent projects that includes The Classroom in the Sun,(2021-22) and SEED Studio(2022) an ecological studio space for artistic practice and research that and addresses an overwhelming need to explore new ways of deepening and celebrating our connection with the natural world.

Booking Information

To attend keynote talks as part of Earth Rising please book a ticket for the wider festival on the relevant day here. Seats for keynote talks are limited and will be allocated on a first come basis – doors open at 1.45pm, in Pavilion 1 located on IMMA’s Front Lawn.

About Speakers

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is a London-based author, consultant and entrepreneur with a background in design and is recently appointed Chief Design Officer at the Design Council UK. She is now building the Low Carbon Design Institute, exploring how creative professionals integrate climate change knowledge in their practice.
She wrote ‘Smarter Homes: how technology will change your home life’ and ‘Creating a Culture of Innovation’, was the first UK distributor of the Arduino and founder of the Good Night Lamp which is in the permanent collection of the London Design Museum. She curated the London Internet of Things Meetup between 2011-2020 and helped the community create BetterIoT, a free checklist to help founders and product managers make more ethical decisions.

She was named 1st in a list of 100 Internet of Things Influencers (Postscapes, 2016), 2nd in Top 100 Internet of Things Thought Leaders (Onalytica, 2014) and in the Top 100 Influencial Tech Women on Twitter (Business Insider, 2014). She’s been included in the longlist of Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in Tech in the UK (2017, 2018 & 2019). Her clients have included ING Labs, Bulb Energy, British Telecom, British Gas, the BBC. She studied industrial design at the University of Montréal and interaction design at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. See more details here

Lucy Jones
Lucy Jones is an author and writer based in Hampshire, England. Her first book, Foxes Unearthed, was celebrated for its ‘brave, bold and honest’ (Chris Packham) account of our relationship with the fox, winning the Society of Authors’ Roger Deakin Award. Her second book, the bestselling Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild, was a Times and Telegraph book of the year. Her third book The Nature Seed is about sharing the natural world with children. She previously worked at NME and the Daily Telegraph, and her writing on culture, science and nature has been published in BBC Earth, BBC Wildlife, The Sunday Times, the Guardian and the New Statesman. Jones is invited to discuss Losing Eden, within the context of the Clodagh Emoe’s Seed STUDIO project and IMMA’s residency. For further details see here

Clodagh Emoe
Clodagh Emoe is an artist that initiates collaborative projects and creates works that explore how meaning is formed through our connection with each other and the natural world. Drawing on ritual, her works foregrounds experience and perception, creating spaces that invite thought.

Emoe has initiated numerous collaborative projects; Mystical Anarchism (2009-2013) with philosopher Simon Critchley, Creating the Common/The Unveiling (2009-10) a site-specific play parodying a failed unveiling of a monumental sculpture in sheltered housing for the elderly, Everything is in Everything/The Butterfly Effect (2015), a collaborative project with young people exploring our role in climate change, The Plurality of Existence (2015-2017) a collaborative project that brings the voice of asylum seekers and migrants into the public realm through poetry and site-specific public artworks and Crocosmia × (2018) exploring metaphor and ecology to question perceived notions of what is ‘native’ and ‘foreign’. Emoe’s work has been commissioned by Serpentine Gallery, London; Taipei Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Nylo, Reykjavik; Documenta XIII, Kaisel; Visual, Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow; Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery; Project Arts Centre; IMMA, Dublin, The Model, Sligo and Maynooth University. She has been recently nominated for the David and Yuko Juda Award UK.

Seed STUDIO emerged from a recent residency with Emoe as part of IMMA’s A Radical Plot programming. During her residency Emoe proposed a mission to further embed the artist experience of biodiversification by piloting a dedicated studio space at the museum for this urgent knowledge and experience. Seed STUDIO is an ecological space for IMMA’s Green Cube and addresses an overwhelming need to explore new ways of deepening and celebrating our connection with the natural world. More details here

Cathy Fitzgerald
Dr Cathy Fitzgerald, Ph.D is Founder Director of the global HAUMEA Ecoversity. Fitzgerald is an independent ecosocial art practitioner, educator, consultant, and international speaker. She sat on the board of the National College of Art & Design, Ireland from 2009 to 2011, was nominated to the professional International EcoArt Network in 2016 and since 2019, is a Research Fellow for Art & Ecology, at the Burren College of Art (Co. Clare). Fitzgerald received certification on the UNESCO-recognised ‘Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with the Earth Charter’ course in Summer 2021, following an Arts Council Professional Development Award and is an alumnus of Earth Charter International, which hosts the UNESCO Chair in ESD. See more details here

Lucy Bowen
Lucy Bowen has spent eight years working as a designer and sustainability consultant in the Irish fashion & textile industry. Across high-street, artisan and luxury markets, she works to empower brands in applying circular & sustainable principles to their design, development & production processes. As part of the Creative Futures Academy at NCAD, she is currently developing Circular by Design: a set of professional training programmes for Irish brands & manufacturers to enable their transition to circularity, as well as a Community of Practice to empower the wider Irish textile design community. Lucy also works as a Production & Costume Designer for commercial and creative film, applying sustainable sourcing practices to every stage of production.

About Earth Rising Talks

Earth Rising, is IMMA’s new three-day Eco Art Festival, that presents over 70 contributors, artist commissions, talks, workshops, Seed STUDIO and showcases a Built to Disappear eco pavilion sponsored by Lioncor and designed by Reddy Architecture + Urbanism.

From across the island of Ireland, the festival brings together a wide variety of eco artists, practitioners and activists who responded to an open call, some of whom will present talks over the course of the three-day festival. Contributors include Ros Burgin, Youth-led collective RE-PEAT; Laura Skehan and Claudia Breitschmid; Brianna Marshall Crowe; Lisa Fingleton; Pat Smiddy; Pat Kane; Úna Keane; Friends Seán Ronayne & Natasha Ariff of Ardee Bog; Seán Ronayne & Natasha Ariff; Sonia Caldwell / KILCOE STUDIOS; Steven Doody and others.

More details of the full programme events for Earth Rising is available here

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.