School of Fine Art
Fiona Whelan is a Dublin based artist and joint coordinator/lecturer on the MA Socially Engaged Art + Further Education at NCAD. Her collaborative art practice is committed to exploring, exposing and reconfiguring power relations through durational engagements with people and place. From 2004-16 she was a resident artist with Rialto Youth Project where together the artist and organisation collaborated on long term projects exploring equality issues related to class, gender and policing and co-produced public works including The Day in Question (IMMA, 2009), Policing Dialogues (The LAB, 2010) and Natural History of Hope (with Brokentalkers, Project Arts Centre, 2016). In 2016, along with Sociologist Kevin Ryan (NIUG), she developed the collaborative writing platform ‘Two Fuse’. Recent published writing includes Freedom? (Two Fuse, Cork University Press, upcoming 2018), Beating the Bounds of Socially- Engaged Art? (with Kevin Ryan, Field Journal, 2016) and TEN: Territory, Encounter & Negotiation (2014). Fiona is co-editor of the TransActions publication series (NCAD & Stockyard Institute). Fiona is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice in DIT.
‘What’s the Story?’ Collective led a four-year project (2007-11) exploring power and policing in Dublin. Born from existing relationships developed during an initial artist residency by Fiona Whelan in the Rialto Youth Project, the collective was established to push the boundaries of collaboration between young people, youth workers and a artist. Their durational practice became focused on an intense exploration of power, both in their collaborative relationships and their individual lived experiences. Central to the process was a collection of personal anonymous stories, which formed the bedrock of all work. Over time, the gathered stories moved from private to public in a series of events staged in community spaces and contemporary art venues. This included two participatory reading events including The Day in Question (IMMA, 2009), two films and a mobile cinema which travelled nationally and internationally, culminating in a major exhibition and residency Policing Dialogues (The LAB, 2010) which brought together young people, youth workers, educators, academics and members of An Garda Síochána in an active exploratory space committed to exploring and testing power relationships.
Natural History of Hope:
Natural History of Hope was a four-year inter-generational project between Rialto Youth Project and artist Fiona Whelan, exploring contemporary equality issues for women and girls living and working in Rialto. This longitudinal enquiry drew on the strong relationships between the organisation and generations of females living locally and the collaborative methodologies developed over time between artist and organisation. The project had a number of public manifestations including a series of Listening events and the development of a temporary school for women, climaxing in a major performance Natural History of Hope in Project Arts Centre 2016 (in collaboration with Brokentalkers). While the previous project (Policing Dialogues, 2007-11) engaged with visible forms of power ie: policing, the Natural History of Hope project focused on approaches to exposing and responding to invisible and intangible forms of power such as gendered identity and class positions. Currently the material from this project is being developed into an educational resource for community educators working with young people.
Recent published material
Freedom?, part of the series ‘Sireact - Longings for another Ireland’, co-written with Kevin Ryan under the collective title ‘Two Fuse’ for Cork University Press, forthcoming Feb ’18.
TransActions #2 – Field and Academy: Knowledge and Counter Knowledge in Socially Engaged Art (Co editor with Dr. Ailbhe Murphy, Create and Helen Carey, Fire Station Artists’ Studios). Published jointly by NCAD, Create and Fire Station Artists’ Studios. See: transactionspublication.com
Reflections on FSAS 2016 Summer School, published in Fire Station Artists’ Studios Publication, 2017.
Embracing complexity, The Visual Arts Newssheet, Sep-Oct ‘16
Beating the Bounds of Socially-Engaged Art? A Transdisciplinary Dialogue on a Collaborative Art Project with Youth in Dublin, Ireland, Fiona Whelan & Kevin Ryan, Issue 4, Field Journal, Spring 2016. http://field-journal.com
TransActions #1 – Dublin/Chicago (Co editor with Glenn Loughran, NCAD and Jim Duignan, Stockyard Institute). Published jointly by NCAD+UCD and Stockyard Institute Chicago. See: tranactionspublication.com
Insider Witness, The Visual Arts Newssheet, July-Aug ‘15
TEN: Territory, Encounter & Negotiation, a critical memoir by a socially engaged artist, 240 page self published book, available from fionawhelan.com
Academy and community: the experience of a college programme in socially engaged practice, Co written with other NCAD staff for JETA; Journal of Education through Art,
Volume 8 number 3
The Policing Dialogues Review, 24 page newspaper with Rialto Youth Project, available for download at fionawhelan.com
Conferences/Talks - Selected Presentations
'Through the lens of power – an arts based exploration of power relations with young people in Dublin’ at iJADE conference, NCAD Dublin, Fri 17 Nov 2017.
‘Power and Freedom in the Enterprise Society: “catch up, keep up, get ahead…”’ (with Kevin Ryan NUIG under the collective title ‘Two Fuse’) at The Power of Narrative – RC 36 Interim Conference, University of Pavia, Italy, May 30-31 2017
‘Policing Dialogues’ keynote address at New Foundations in Youth Justice event, DIT Grangegorman, 29th June ‘17
‘Power Three Ways: A Place-Based Methodology’ at Mapping Spectral Traces VIII: The Place of the Wound, Dept of Geography, Maynooth University, 19 October
‘A Fair Land Discussion: Social Change through Creative Practice’, 20 August, Irish Museum of Modern Art.
‘A Durational, Practice-Based Model of Identifying Learning’ at Creative Research Practices and Alternative Sites of Learning, UCD College of Social Science, 3 May
‘Policing Dialogues; a creative exploration of neighbourhood relations of power’ at The Geographical Turn, hosted by NUIM Geography Dept.
‘Renegotiating power relationships – Who speaks and who listens?’ at Signal Summer University, Run by CIFAS, Brussels
‘How can you explain the complexities of collaboration...’ organised by PS2 as part of a UK wide series 'ARTWORKS Conversation' by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Belfast.
‘Speaking truth to power and the politics of listening’ at ‘A Field in the Making’, The Second Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference, Maynooth University, March 2015
‘Territory, Encounter & Negotiation’ a critical discussion organised on the occasion of the launch of TEN, with Para-Institution, the Community Knowledge Initiative NUIG and GMIT with Megan Johnson, Megs Morley, Deirdre O’Mahony at CCAM
‘Who is listening?’ at ‘Performing Power’ seminar, Dublin Castle.
‘Who shall speak is less crucial than who will listen’ at ‘Art & Activism: Dialogical Art Practice as a form of Activism’, The LAB.
‘Representing young people; voice, image, practice, power’, International Youth Studies conference, NUI Maynooth, 29 June
‘Arts Practice and Collaborative Learning’ at Kultur Agenten conference; Participation, Collaboration & Intervention, Berlin
‘The potential of a cross sector art project’ during international conference – ‘Radius of Art: Creative politicization of the public sphere’, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Berlin, 8 Feb
‘Policing Dialogues’ Presentation during Engage international conference - ‘Work in Progress; Artists, Education and Participation’, Margate UK, 15 Nov 2011
‘What’s at Stake?’ at ‘Demanding Conversations- Socially Engaged Arts Practice in a changing political climate’ Bristol.
Rialto Youth Project
From 2004-16 Fiona was a resident artist with Rialto Youth Project where together the artist and organisation collaborated on long term projects exploring equality issues related to class, gender and policing and co-produced public works including The Day in Question (IMMA, 2009), Policing Dialogues (The LAB, 2010) and Natural History of Hope (with Brokentalkers, Project Arts Centre, 2016).
At once an ethos and a method of inquiry, Two Fuse is a collaborative platform that brings Kevin Ryan (who works in the discipline of sociology) and Fiona Whelan (who works in the field of socially-engaged/collaborative art) together through a commitment to thinking across the boundaries of disciplinary enclosures. Two Fuse is also a way of acknowledging the collaborative nature of inquiry – that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding entails both direct and indirect encounters and exchanges.
TransActions publication series is an international partnership between Stockyard Institute Chicago and National College of Art & Design Dublin, Ireland, and is led by Fiona Whelan (NCAD) and Jim Duignan (SI). Issue #1 took Dublin and Chicago as two contemporary urban sites for exploration and explored the physical, geographic and social fabric of the two cities. Subsequent issues are developed independently by NCAD or Stockyard Institute and involve further collaborations with diverse organisations, institutions and individuals. Issue #2 Field and Academy: Knowledge and counter knowledge in socially engaged art (2017) is a collaboration between NCAD, Fire Station Artists’ Studios and Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts. Drawing threads from the meta to the micro level of knowledge production, issue #2 poses questions for the field of socially-engaged art and education practice in 2017.
Arts Council/Create Artist in the Community Scheme for The Bubble project (with Rialto Youth Project and Brokentalkers)
Arts Council Arts Participation Bursary for Natural History of Hope project (with Rialto Youth Project and Brokentalkers)
Arts Council/ Create Artist in the Community Scheme for Natural History of Hope project (with Rialto Youth Project)
Dublin City Council Arts Grant for Natural History of Hope project (with Rialto Youth Project)
Arts Council YPCE Bursary to develop the publication TEN
NYCI Artist in Youth Work Scheme for Natural History of Hope project (with Rialto Youth Project
Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary for Policing Dialogues (with Rialto Youth Project)
Arts Council/ Create Artist in the Community Scheme for Policing Dialogues (with Rialto Youth Project)
Artist in Residence in Rialto Youth Project, Dublin 8
Two phase residency in Studio 468 (with Rialto Youth Project and Brokentalkers)
Artist Residency in Studio 468 (with Rialto Youth Project)
Artist residency in Studio 468