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Your History is Our History – Troubling Ireland Poster Campaign

Troubling Ireland Poster, 2011

Cultural identity is bound up in ‘traces of the past’, which calls for ‘transference and hospitality (Paul Ricoeur 1996:5)

The increasing legislation and controls exerted upon migrants also affect those who hold national citizenship. We are all subjected to increasing surveillance, biometric measuring and restriction or exclusion from crossing international boundaries. Therefore, the erosion of citizen’s rights is inextricably bound with global migration policies.

In 2010, the Danish curatorial collective Kuratorisk Aktion was commissioned by the Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin to frame and convene a think tank for artists and curators in Ireland. Drawing on their expertise and experience in social, political and cultural activism, and in colonialism and postcolonialism, Kuratorisk Aktion conceived the idea of ‘troubling’ Ireland. The think tank would provide a critical, aesthetic and discursive platform for socially engaged practitioners in which received notions of Irish identity, history and politics, and Ireland’s relationship to global capitalism, would be probed and unravelled. The chosen participants were Gareth Kennedy and Sarah Browne (as collaborative partnership Kennedy Browne), Anthony Haughey, Anna Macleod, Augustine O’Donoghue, Susan Thomson and Helen Carey.

Over the course of a year, from September 2010 to May 2011, five meetings were held in cities of social and political significance, north and south of the border: Dublin, Manorhamilton (Co. Leitrim), Belfast and Limerick. In each location, different problematics were engaged: British plantation economy and class relations, Ireland’s colonisation and division, the Celtic Tiger boom and bust, and possible paths to a more convivial and equitable future. These meetings comprised presentations, readings, screenings, walks, lectures and discussions, and concluded in summer 2011 with a collective decision to launch a Troubling Ireland Campaign, beginning with a public poster campaign and website in September 2011 and ending with a major exhibition in 2013.

Running from 12th—23rd September 2011, the poster campaign presents seven posters mounted around Dublin city centre, and related sites, as well as Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton (runs 12th—19th September 2011). Each poster is an initial response from the think tank participants to the concept of ‘troubling Ireland’, ultimately inviting viewers to also partake in the act of ‘troubling’. The poster campaign is accompanied by this website, which in addition to presenting the ideas behind each poster and their producers, includes a reflection on the think tank process by cultural geographer Bryonie Reid. To coincide with this poster campaign, the think tank organises a Public Hearing in Liberty Hall, Dublin on Friday, 16th September 2011, from 2–4:30 pm, where the audience is invited to discuss the think tank’s aims with its participants. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The campaign will end in 2013, when participants of the think tank will exhibit work arising from sustained individual engagements with the theme in a major travelling exhibition.

To find out more visit the Think Tank website Troubling Ireland 2011

Commissioned by Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin, Ireland.

Conceptualised by Kuratorisk Aktion, Denmark.