Art in the Capitalocene: IRC-supported research at the Dublin Art Book Fair 2020

Prof. Karen Till

Posted: 23 November, 2020

In an age of ecological crises, climate change and species extinction, scholars and policy makers can learn from the embedded, relational practices of artists working in particular environments who forge sustainable, multi-species communities of care.


We live in an earth facing ecological crisis, changing weather systems, species extinctions, and global pandemics. How can we repair our collapsing environments? To address our planetary dilemma, we can begin at home by learning from the eco-socially-engaged practices of Irish-based artists working for decades to create sustainable communities.

This GeoWeek, hear from some of these artists at the launch of Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields, Gardens, one of the outcomes of an Irish Research Council New Foundations STEAM grant awarded to Professor Karen Till (Maynooth Geography).

In 2019, with support from the IRC, local community partners, Maynooth Geography and Creative Kildare, Prof. Till convened conversations, walks, seminars and exchanges with artists, academics, students and local experts about our global ecological and climate crises. The first invited guest artist-scholars from New Zealand and Wales included Māori expert Prof. Huhana Smith and Dr Laura Donkers, who learned from and shared insights with communities and networks in Rathangan, Maynooth, Dublin, Cork, Galway and the Burrenbeo Trust. The second seminar was Tírdheach Feasach: Irish Environments in Transition at Maynooth Geography, followed by an exhibition at Maynooth University Library focusing on creative environmental stewardship practices in Ireland’s bogs, forests, fields and urban gardens. The third seminar shared outcomes of a longer collaborative arts project with artist Martina O’Brien and Kildare County weather observers, in The Art of Citizen-Science: Monitoring a Climate Crisis, followed by the launch of her work Quotidian in the Maynooth Illuminations Gallery.

The exhibition and symposium Prof. Till curated at Maynooth University in November 2019, with matching funding from Creative Ireland, Kildare County Council Arts Service and Maynooth Geography, led to the publication of the art book Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields, Gardens, which will be launched this Wednesday, 25 November as part of the Dublin Art Book Fair 2020.

This richly illustrated full-colour book features work by Irish-based artists Monica de Bath, Cathy Fitzgerald, Pauline O’Connell and Seoidín O’Sullivan. The artists were paired with humanities and social science scholars Dr Patrick Bresnihan, Dr Nessa Cronin, Prof. Gerry Kearns, and Prof. Karen Till, and these pairs wrote essays to investigate how we can develop local responsibility in learning from our artists. The book includes an introduction by Kildare County Council Arts Officer Lucina Russell.

A new website,, provides an overview of the 2019 symposium meeting and podcasts of the conversations between the artists and academics which led to the book being launched this week. It also announces a new Cork University Press book series, ‘Earth Writings’, which has grown out of the original New Foundations project and publication. The series editors will be Cronin, Kearns and Till.

Launch information

There will be two launches of Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields, Gardens during the Dublin Art Book Fair 2020:

Wednesday, 25 November 2020, 8-9pm: The Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway, together with Maynooth Geography and the Geographical Society of Ireland, will host the first launch as part of Dublin Art Book Fair 2020 and international GeoWeek 2020.

Panelists will include:

  • Patrick Bresnihan, Department of Geography, Maynooth University
  • Monica de Bath, independent artist and educator, Co-Director Creative Rathangan Meitheal (County Kildare)
  • Nessa Cronin, Moore Institute and Centre for Irish Studies, National University of Ireland Galway
  • Cathy Fitzgerald, independent eco-social artist and educator, Haumea Ecoliteracy (County Carlow)
  • Gerry Kearns, Department of Geography, Maynooth University
  • Pauline O’Connell, independent artist and educator (County Kilkenny)
  • Seoidín O’Sullivan, independent artist and educator (Dublin)
  • Lucina Russell, Kildare County Council Arts Service
  • Karen E. Till, Department of Geography, Maynooth University

To register please go to:

The event will also be live-streamed through the Moore Institute.


Saturday, 5 December 2020, 10am (time tbc): Hosted by Creative Rathangan Meitheal and the Space&Place Research Collective. The panelists above will be joined by special guest commentator

  • Christine Mackey, independent artist, researcher and educator.

Eventbrite registration as part of the Creative Rathangan Meitheal’s ‘Layers 3’ event will soon be available through


Bibliographic information and copies

A limited number of hard-copy books are available for €8 through the Temple Bar Dublin Art Book Fair. A PDF of the volume will also soon be available on the webpage. If you any have questions, please email

Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields, Gardens (2020), edited by Karen E. Till. ISBN 978-0-9547955-3-5, 73 pp., with full colour images by the artists. Funded by Creative Ireland Kildare, Maynooth Geography Research Incentive Fund and the Irish Research Council New Foundations STEAM grant.

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