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Drawing on the exhibition Take a Breath join us for a conversation with special guests Mary Cremin, (Head of Programming, IMMA); Nina McGowan (Professional Freediver, artist and activist), Isabel Nolan (artist) and Ian Robertson (Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Co-Director Global Brain Health Institute, TCD) as we talk about breath, and the themes that underpin the Take a Breath exhibition. Presented and hosted by Luke Clancy of RTÉ lyric fm’s Culture File in the series The Culture File Debate.

For this episode of The Culture File Debate, Luke Clancy and guests discuss the varied routes that bring them to consider, and work with, breath, from our communal dependence on breathable air, to the deeply personal act of breathing, to the uncommon states of mind and body rooted in attention to breath.

This is an in-person event, recorded live at IMMA for broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm’s The Culture File Debate. Presented in association with the exhibition Take a Breath.


RTÉ lyric fm: Culture File

Culture File and its sister programmes, the Culture File Weekly and The Culture File Debate span features, interviews, discussion and essays exploring music, media, technology, art, play, literature, food, performance and design, offering a unique access to the most intriguing and beautiful ideas and things humans are creating, in Ireland and around the world. A Soundsdoable Production for RTÉ lyric fm. More details here


About Speakers

Luke Clancy
Luke Clancy is a radio producer and documentary maker who runs the independent radio production company, Soundsdoable. Work includes Culture File (RTE lyric fm), Sound Stories, Islands, Skelligs Calling, Words on a Wire (all RTE Radio 1), Paradise Blues (BBC World Service). Recent special editions of Culture File includes In C Irish, following the first Irish trad performance of Terry Riley’s minimalist key work. He is the author of award-winning audio dramas In Praise of Darkness and The Vision Service for RTE Drama on One, and co-writer of the award-winning short film, The Wednesdays. His writing has appeared in Art Review, Modern Painters, The Irish Times, The Guardian and The New York Times, among others.

Mary Cremin, Head of Programming, IMMA
Mary Cremin was formerly the Director of Void Gallery, Derry, where she supported artists to produce and present ground-breaking new works, including commissioning the artist Helen Cammock’s Turner Prize winning film The Long Note. Cremin was the Commissioner and Curator of the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale with artist Eva Rothchild in 2019. Working with organisations such as the Afghan Visual Arts & History Collective and Beirut Art Residency, her programme focusses on revealing new narratives and histories that address and challenge the disparities that exist within Western culture, her programme acts as a curatorial corrective. Her areas of research are embedded in ecology, ethics and is informed by politically and socially engaged practice. She is a co-founder of the North South Visual Art network, an advocacy group for the visual arts sector encompassi. mng both North and South of Ireland. She is currently chair of Ormston House, Limerick.

Nina McGowan
Nina McGowan is a Dublin born visual artist practicing over 20 years, solo and in collaboration. Her work explores transcendence, and the primacy of the experiencing body. She is the current world record holder in the masters ‘CNF/ No Fins’ category, setting it in October 2022 whilst representing Ireland at the CMAS Freediving World Championships. Shes also a gold medallist, world champion in the ‘FIM /Free Immersion’ category. Additionally she has 9 National Records and is currently the deepest Irish woman at 58metres and a training depth of 63m.

Isabel Nolan
Isabel Nolan has an expansive practice that incorporates sculptures, paintings, textile works, photographs, writing and works on paper. Her subject matter is similarly comprehensive, taking in cosmological phenomena, religious reliquaries, Greco-Roman sculptures and literary/historical figures, examining the behaviour of humans and animals alike. These diverse artistic investigations are driven by intensive research, but the end result is always deeply personal and subjective. Exploring the “intimacy of materiality”, Nolan’s work ranges from the architectural – steel sculptures that frame or obstruct our path – to small handmade objects in clay, hand-tufted wool rugs illuminated with striking cosmic imagery, to drawings and paintings using humble gouache or colouring pencils. In late 2020, Launchpad and Kerlin Gallery published ‘Curling up with reality’, bringing together a decade of Nolan’s work including significant exhibitions and 20 of the artist’s writings. Isabel Nolan lives and works in Dublin.More details here

Ian Robertson
Professor Ian Robertson, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Co-Director Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Previously a senior scientist at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, where he was also a fellow at Hughes Hall, Ian Robertson continues to be a Visiting Professor at University College London, University of Wales at Bangor and is a Visiting Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute, University of Toronto. A graduate of Glasgow University, he gained his Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of London. His research focusses on the neuropsychology of brain rehabilitation and attention: he has more than 200 published books and articles in this field. A former science writer for the London Times, his multiply-translated popular science books are Mind Sculpture and the Mind’s Eye. More details here