To coincide with national celebrations that mark St Brigid’s day, IMMA is delighted to partner with Feminist Art Making Histories’ (IRC/AHRC) to present, Ireland, Feminism, Art – A GATHERING. National and international guests come together to discuss Feminist Art Making Histories, with a special focus on the pioneering work and art historical legacy of women artist – activist group WAAG (1987 – 1991).
This historical GATHERING brings together intergenerational, cross-disciplinary and cross-border/s perspectives to probe the shared, yet occluded, cultural heritage of the encounter between art and feminism across the island of Ireland. The event will comprise of keynote talks, discussions, social conversation and gathering with WAAG members on the fitting occasion of Brigid’s Day, 2024.
Speakers include Principal Investigators on the FAMH project, Professor Hilary Robinson (Loughborough University, UK), and Dr Tina Kinsella (IADT). Panel contributors include Dr Martina Mullaney (FAMH Researcher, IADT); Dr Fionna Barber (Manchester School of Art, UK); Pauline Cummins (Artist); Dr Alessia Cargnelli (Artist, Researcher); Sarah Kelleher (Curatorial Member of Pluck Projects) and others.
Women Artists Action Group (WAAG) was an Irish feminist artists group founded with the goal of promoting the profile of women artists from across the island of Ireland and was active from 1987 to 1991.
The event will comprise of keynote talks, discussions, social conversation and refreshments with WAAG members on the fitting occasion of St. Brigid’s Day Festival, 2024.
Professor Hilary Robinson has written and edited numerous founding texts in feminist art history and theory, including Feminism/Art/Theory 1968-2000: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2001) and Visibly Female: Feminist Art Today (Camden, 1987). Both Professor Hilary Robinson and Dr Tina Kinsella are the curators of the FAMH project. They have made a substantial contribution to writing about contemporary Irish female artists. Both will speak about the FAMH project, feminism and art across the island of Ireland and this will provide the context and framing for the round table panel discussion, that follows.
Round Table Discussion
A round table panel discussion moderated by Dr Martina Mullaney (Postdoctoral Researcher of the FAMH project) will provide intergenerational, cross-disciplinary and cross-border/s perspectives on the historical, contemporary and potential future relationship between art and feminism (activism and politics) across the island of Ireland. Panellists include Dr Fionna Barber (Reader in Art History in the Manchester School of Art, UK); Pauline Cummins (Artist); Alessia Cargnelli (Artist / Member of Array Collective); Sarah Kelleher (Curatorial Member of Pluck Projects) and others.
Professor Hilary Robinson is the UK PI, Feminist Art Making Histories. Since 2017 she has been Professor of Feminism, Art, & Theory, Loughborough University, where she is also Director, Centre for Doctoral Training: Feminism, Sexual Politics, & Visual Culture. She gained BA Painting (Newcastle); MA Cultural History (RCA); PhD (Leeds). At U.Ulster, Belfast (1992-2005) she taught BA Fine Art, MFA, and PhD, becaming Professor of the Politics of Art, and then Head of School. She was appointed Dean, College of Fine Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, USA; and in 2012 Dean, Art & Design, Middlesex University. Her books include: Visibly Female (ed.); Reading Art, Reading Irigaray: The Politics of Art by Women; Feminism-Art-Theory 1968-2001 and 1968-2014; Companion to Feminist Art (co-ed.: Maria Buszek). Forthcoming books are: Feminism/Art: A History; and Feminisms-Museums-Surveys: An Anthology (co-ed.: Lara Perry). She is the recipient of the College Art Association’s award for Distinguished Feminist Scholarship, 2024.See more details here.
Dr. Tina Kinsella is the Irish PI for ‘Feminist Art Making Histories’ (FAMH). She is Head of Research at IADT and Research Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, TCD. She has collaborated with contemporary artists as a writer, researcher and curator. She recently curated a joint exhibition of work by Aideen Barry and Alice Maher, Fair is Foul & Foul is Fair, at the Katzen Center, American University, Washington DC and she was a researcher and writer for Jesse Jones’s ‘Tremble Tremble’ for the 57th International Biennale of Art in 2017. She has been commissioned to write art catalogue essays and presented keynote lectures and invited talks at the Mothernists collective, Elliott School of International Affairs (New York University), Van Abbemuseum, Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Royal Hibernian Academy, Ireland at Venice, Istanbul Biennial, and the Douglas Hyde Gallery.
Dr Martina Mullaney is the Irish Post Doc. Researcher for FAMH. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art, London and AHRC-funded Ph.D. from the University of Reading. Her research asks ‘how art on and of maternity can transcend its own audience? She convened The Missing Mother Conference 2020. A recipient of the Red Mansion Art Prize, London, and China, she has been artist in residence with The British Council in Sri Lanka, and Tbilisi Georgia. Her work has shown at Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, Franekel Gallery, San Francisco, Artwall Gallery, Prague and Cork Film Center, Ireland. She founded Enemies of Good Art in London after the birth of her child. Events took place at; Tate Modern, the ICA, Southbank Centre and Chisenhale Gallery. Tranzit Display Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic and Galerija Nova, Zagreb in 2015. Enemies of God Art also broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM
Dr Fionna Barber is Reader in Art History in the Manchester School of Art and Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Art / Visual Culture. Her research interests are contemporary and twentieth century Irish visual culture, feminist art history, contemporary women’s painting and a range of issues in twentieth century modernism including nation, memory and identity and gender performativity and embodiment. See more details here.
Pauline Cummins’ performance and video work examines the human condition from a feminist perspective. Research driven themes of the political body, activism, human rights and gender are often explored in the artists practice. Cummins likes to collaborate with artists and communities in public sites and situations; including within prisons as a visiting artist and was the founding chairperson of the Women’s Artist Action Group, (WAAG). Cummins lectured at the National College of Art and Design from 1994 – 2014. Her work is in both national and international collections including The Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Maternity Hospital. Commissions include the Newgrange Interpretative Centre, New St. Park (Dublin) and the National Maternity Hospital. Current exhibitions include The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now, Protest and Conflict, IMMA and a upcoming touring exhibition and book release of Walking in the Way with collaborator Frances Mezzetti. Cummins was an Artist in Residence at The Irish Museum of Modern Art. 2021 to 2022. She is currently working on new project in her studio at RUA RED
Dr Alessia Cargnelli is a visual artist and researcher based in Belfast.Alessia is a former co-director of the artist-led initiative Catalyst Arts Gallery (2016-2018). She was 2020-21 Research Associate at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Derry. She completed a BFA with Hons in Visual and Performing Arts at IUAV University and a MA in Contemporary Art History at Ca’Foscari University in Venice, Italy. She obtained an Associate Fellowship Diploma with AFHEA at Ulster University in 2021 and she is currently completing her doctoral research at the Belfast School of Art on feminist-led women-artists’ advocacy groups connected with the island of Ireland in the late 80s and early 90s. In 2023, Alessia was appointed post-doctoral researcher-in-residency at the National Irish Visual Arts Library, based in NCAD, Dublin; with a pilot project focused on expanding underrepresented categories in the library’s collections – such as artists and designers which are coming from diverse ethnic/cultural/gender backgrounds and nationalities. Alessia is also a member of Array Collective, a Belfast-based group who, since 2016, creates collaborative actions in response to the socio-political issues affecting the north of Ireland. Array Collective was the winner of the 2021 Turner Prize, with the immersive installation The Druthaib’s Ball, which is now part of the Ulster Museum permanent collection. Array is featured in current exhibition at IMMA Self-Determination: A Global Perspective, with a newly commissioned body of works. See more details here https://alessiacargnelli.com/
Sarah Kelleher lectures in Art History at MTU Crawford College of Art and Design and is a Government of Ireland scholar, currently finishing her PhD on contemporary Irish sculpture with the History of Art Department in UCC. Her research focuses Irish art since the 1990s with an emphasis on sculptural practice, queer theory and phenomenology. As co-founder of Pluck Projects along with Dr. Rachel Warriner, Sarah has co-curated the exhibitions Rachel Fallon’s The Mother City project (2022); Padraig Spillane’s define silver lining v2.0 (2022); Jessica Akerman’s Cork Caryatids (2021) and Alice Maher: Vox Materia (2018). Pluck Projects are currently organising a series of symposia for the RHA in Dublin which consider the relation between Irish artists and the institution as the Academy celebrates its 200th anniversary. Sarah also nurtures an independent curatorial practice and is the curator of Kevin Mooney: Revenants, IMMA 2022 and Taking Form: Students of the Year 1973-77 – Maud Cotter, Eilis O’Connell, Vivienne Roche at Lavit Gallery 2023
The ‘Feminist Art Making Histories’ research project is funded by UKRI-AHRC and the Irish Research Council under the ‘UK-Ireland Collaboration in the Digital Humanities Research Grants Call’.
The ‘Feminist Art Making Histories’ (FAMH) research project is recording, curating, and creating a digital archive of oral histories and ephemera associated with artistic and feminist practices to explore the hidden history of the encounter between art and feminism in Ireland and the UK since the 1970s. This unique archive will be held in perpetuity in the Digital Repository of Ireland.