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Talks & Events Information

Once you have made a booking, you will receive a notification by email with information about your event. If you have general queries about attending Talks at IMMA please see our Frequently Asked Questions page below.

IMMA Summer School 2019, Art and Politics, is taking place from Monday 10 to Friday 14 June 2019. As part of this week-long intensive programme, IMMA is hosting an all day public seminar on Tuesday 11 June, featuring presentations by a range of national and international artists, theorists and critics, focusing on the interface between art and politics.

Speakers include: Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA; Marina Gržinić, philosopher, theoretician, and artist from Ljubljana, Slovenia; Richard Noble, Professor and Head of the Art Department at Goldsmiths College, London; Anthony Downey, Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa, Birmingham City University; Mairéad McClean, a visual artist who works across film, video, sound and photography; John Gerrard, a visual artist working in Dublin and Vienna, best known for his sculptures and digital simulations, and others.

IMMA’s Summer School 2019 will feature talks and workshops by a range of national and international artists, theorists and critics who will focus on the connections between art and politics. Further details.

Seminar Programme

Art and Politics Public Seminar

Tuesday 11 June 9.15am – 5.00pm
Lecture Room

9.15am: Registration

9.30am: Welcome
9.35am – 10.00am: Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA.
Becoming More Together

10.00am – 11.00am: Professor Marina Gržinić
Keynote: Images and Politics

11.15am – 11.30am: Tea/Coffee break

11.30am – 12.30pm: Professor Richard Noble
Keynote: The Utopian Impulse in Art and Education

12.45pm – 1.45pm: Lunch

1.45pm – 2.45pm: Professor Anthony Downey
Keynote: The Future of the Networked Image: Digital Archives in a “Post Truth” Age

3.00pm – 3.15pm: Tea/Coffee Break

Artists’ Presentations:
3.15pm – 3.45pm: Mairéad McClean
3.45pm – 4.15pm: John Gerrard
4.15pm – 5.00pm: Panel discussion

5.00pm: End

Speakers and Presentations

Professor Anthony Downey
Keynote Presentation: The Future of the Networked Image: Digital Archives in a “Post Truth” Age

The extent to which the visual arts reflected upon and promoted social and political change, during and after the Arab Spring increasingly gives rise to decisive questions regarding the future relationship between digital images and cultural activism. Throughout this time, digital archives – produced through video-and film-making, performances, and numerous media platforms – and their evidentiary contexts became closely associated with activist practices, leading to a number of prevailing assumptions about both cultural production in the region and the effectiveness of digital and social media as tools for enabling international political transformation.

Taking into consideration recent revelations concerning the role of social media in surveillance technologies, political repression, and the proliferation of targeted disinformation, alongside the anxieties being expressed about the opaque power of algorithms, this keynote explores critical frameworks for understanding the relationship between digitised media and cultural activism. The broader issue here concerns a perennial, indeed global, issue: how do cultural practices – through digital means — realign how we engage with the politics of historical events and images of revolutionary conflict?

Biography: Anthony Downey is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. He sits on the Editorial Board of Third Text ( and is involved in several large-scale collaborative research projects that explore, respectively, transnational cultural practices, digital media, and the politics of cultural production in the Middle East and Global South. He is the Research Associate for the Institute of Human Activities (; Series Editor for Contemporary Visual Culture in the Middle East (Sternberg Press); and the Editor of a new series, Research/Practice (Sternberg Press), that will be launched in September 2019 with projects from, amongst others, Michael Rakowitz, Heba Y Amin, Larissa Sansour, and Lara Baladi. He also sits on the Editorial Board of Digital War ( and a Consultant Editor for Open Arts Journal ( Recent and upcoming publications include Unbearable States: Digital Media, Cultural Activism and Human Rights after the Arab Spring (forthcoming, 2020); Displacement Activities: Contemporary Art, the Refugee Condition, and the Alibi of Engagement (Sternberg Press, 2019); Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K (Walther König Books, 2017); Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 2016); Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2015); Mirrors for Princes: Slavs and Tatars (JRP Ringier and NYU Press, 2015); Art and Politics Now (Thames and Hudson, 2014); and Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practice in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2014).

Marina Gržinić
Keynote Presentation: Images and Politics

What is the status of images when we talk of the relation between art and politics? What is the typical image of our time that is the time of neoliberal necrocapitalism? Which images can contribute to a dissident history of Europe?

Biography: Marina Gržinić is a philosopher, theoretician, and artist from Ljubljana, Slovenia. She serves as a professor and research adviser. She works as a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana. Since 2003, she is Professor for Post-Conceptual Art Practices at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria. A selection of publications includes Marina Gržinić and Šefik Tatlic, Necropolitics, Racialization, and Global Capitalism. Historicization of Biopolitics and Forensics of Politics, Art, and Life, US: Lexington books, 2014; Marina Gržinić, ed. Border Thinking: Disassembling Histories of Racialized Violence, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Sternberg Press, 2018.

Richard Noble
Presentation: The Uptopian Impulse in Art and Education
In recent years my research has focused on the significance of the utopian impulse in contemporary art. A variety of strategies based on modelling utopian ideas or aspirations are important for contemporary artists who aspire to comment critically and/or relevantly upon current social and political conditions. Here I explain why it is possible to re-claim the concept of utopia, long derided either as politically naïve or the root of totalitarian oppression, as a strategy for making politically relevant visual art. The utopian impulse can be understood to be intergral to the activity of making art, as well as what survives in the contemporary moment from the legacy of the modernist avant-garde.

Biography: Richard Noble is Professor and Head of the Art Department at Goldsmiths College, London. He is a political philosopher by training, who has migrated into the art world. His research is primarily focused on utopian strategies in contemporary art and their connection to the concept of utopia in philosophy and political thought. He is the editor of Utopias, which was published in the MIT/Whitechapel Documents in Contemporary Art series, and has written numerous essays on contemporary artists, including Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread, David Batchelor, Mona Hatoum and Hannah Collins. He is currently working on a monograph about the public art works of Cristina Iglesias and an essay on Adrian Villas Rojas. Professor Noble has been Head of the Art Department at Goldsmiths for 10 years, and was the driving force behind the building of the new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art.

Annie Fletcher
Presentation: Becoming More Together
Fletcher will question the originary project of the Museum itself born of Modernity (and its dark side Colonialism). She will ask how we can escape the epistemological violence museums by their very nature inflict through a ‘crisis of catagorisation’. How we might re-imagine both representative, disciplinary, political and economic regimes of these institutions. Can we move from the Museum as a Modernist Time Machine to a Social Power Plant or an Institution of the Commons.

Biography: Annie Fletcher is the Director of IMMA. A noted International Curator, Annie joined IMMA in 2019 from the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands where she was Chief Curator. She has extensive leadership experience in the contemporary arts. In addition to her role as Chief Curator at Van Abbemuseum she is a tutor at de Appel, Amsterdam, the Dutch Art Institute (DAI) and the Design Academy Eindhoven, and regularly works with art institutions around the world including the SALT Istanbul; New Museum, New York; and L’Internationale network; and De Appel Art Centre, Amsterdam. In 2012 she was Curator of Ireland’s Contemporary Art biennale EVA International and is regularly called upon to sit on major International juries, including the Turner Prize in 2014 and the selection committee for the Irish Pavilion at Venice in 2016.

John Gerrard
Presentation: Western Flag
The artist will give an in depth look into the production of a simulation such as Western Flag:outlining how it intervened in Channel4 in the UK and also upon landscapes and cityscapes using LED wall technologies. The lecture will focus on subjects of the social imagination and what affect art may have upon it, alongside a call for young artists to take ownership of one of the most potent drivers of change within society, that of algorithmic space.

Biography: John Gerrard is an artist working in Dublin and Vienna, best known for his sculptures, which typically take the form of digital simulations displayed using real-time computer graphics. Recent solo exhibitions include Western Flag, Desert X, Palm Springs; Solar Reserve, LACMA, LA, USA; Western Flag, Somerset House with Channel 4, London, England; Power.Play, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China; Infinite Freedom Exercise, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany; Solar Reserve, Lincoln Center in Association with the Public Art Fund, New York NY; Exercise, Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey; Pulp Press (Kistefos), Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway; Exercise (Djibouti), Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, England. Gerrard’s work is in the collection of Tate, London; MoMA, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; LACMA, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington; Kistefos Collection, Norway; IMMA, Dublin; Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, M+, Hong Kong. John Gerrard is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Simon Preston, New York.

Mairéad McClean
Presentation: Mairéad McClean will talk about her two most recent films, Making Her Mark and A Line Was Drawn, produced in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Both deal with the complex issues surrounding the demarcation of land. Mairéad’s talk will begin with a screening of A Line Was Drawn, which explores the collision of actual, specific historic forces at play between England and Ireland. Questions emerge on how our world is structured, how borders and boundaries are created and how the individual voice is heard in the midst of sets of imposed rules of storytelling and creation of historical narratives. The work also draws attention to the construction of cinematic and news narratives and in particular the objective manner in which news and television documentaries are made to convey a particular narrative, to convince or entrench a point of view. Both films have been prompted by the current complexities of the Northern Irish situation in relation to Brexit, in particular, but aim to take a wider view and question these issues more broadly.

Making Her Mark and Mairéad’s two films, No More and Broadcast210372, relating to her family and the impact of Internment in Northern Ireland, in 1971, will be available to view during the week in the screening room.

Biography: Mairéad McClean works across film, video, sound and photography using material from a diverse range of sources. Found footage, historical and family archives, filmed performances and televisual media, appear in many of her single screen films and multi-media installations produced over the past 25 years. Her practice investigates how specific historical events, as presented in the public domain, differ from those remembered through actual experience. This perspective allows for close reading of what is being remembered, how it is remembered, why it is being remembered and by whom. Her most recent solo show Making Her Mark (2018) at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, Scotland, was commissioned by The Wapping Project, London. The exhibition was an installation deploying new approaches, methods and ways of working including a collaboration with a dance artist to create a performance piece forming the core of the main film. McClean has received a number of awards for her work both in the UK and Ireland. Her piece No More, exploring questions around the introduction of internment without trial in Northern Ireland in 1971, won the inaugural MAC International Art Prize in 2014 and was exhibited at the MAC Belfast that year. No More was acquired for the National Collection of Ireland by The Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2017. Other notable recent exhibitions and screenings include CCA Glasgow (2015), Whitechapel Gallery, London, (2016), The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: Faces of Conflict, Pittsburgh, USA, (2016), The Now & After Exhibition, Video Art Festival and Exhibition, Fabrika, Moscow (2017).
The IMMA Summer School 2019 / Art and Politics is organised by Lisa Moran, Curator: Engagement and Learning and Dr. Nathan O’Donnell, IMMA/TCD IRC Postdoctoral Fellow. The Summer School programme includes a public seminar / talk, organised in collaboration with Sophie Byrne Assistant Curator: Talks and Public Programmes, IMMA.

Additional Resources 


Additional Resources

Seminar: IMMA Summer School 2019, Artist Discussion, John Gerard, Mairead McClean Soundcloud
Seminar: IMMA Summer School 2019 / Art & Politics, Richard Noble Soundcloud
Seminar: IMMA Summer School 2019 / Art & Politics, Marina Gržinić Soundcloud
Seminar: IMMA Summer School 2019 / Art & Politics, Anthony Downey Soundcloud
Seminar: IMMA Summer School 20 19 / Art & Politics, Annie Fletcher Soundcloud