We Only Want The Earth

We Only Want the Earth is a 12-month programme of awards, exhibitions, and events that seeks to interrogate the goals and strategies of social change: what kind of society do we want and how should we get there?

We are living through a time of sudden and unpredictable societal change caused by interlinked issues of global warming, the collapse of the neoliberal order, a resurgence of violent misogyny and nationalism, growing inequality, housing and homelessness crises, and the growth of ecofascism. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that we have until 2030 to overhaul society in order to mitigate some of the worst effects of climate change. Whether or not we heed this warning, broad social changes will accelerate over the coming decade. If these changes are to lead to a just society, it is essential that voices that are often ignored, or whose very existence is treated as debatable, are instead prioritised. The arts play a fundamental role in supporting or challenging cultural hegemony, and therefore have a moral obligation to attend to voices that have been silenced.

We have identified four communities whose voices will be given priority: transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming artists; artists seeking or who have sought asylum in Ireland; migrant and ethnic minority artists, including members of the Travelling community; and artists affected by the housing and homelessness crisis. In each case, the priority community does not necessarily define the subject matter of the artwork; rather, our goal is to ensure representation and material support for selected artists from these communities to respond however they see fit to the theme We Only Want the Earth.

During 2020 we will facilitate a programme of socially-engaged arts activities under the theme We Only Want the Earth. The programme is intended as a broad conversation about the goals and strategies of social change: what kind of society do we want and how should we get there?

Exhibiton Award | Feb 2020 | with Create: National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts
Residency 1 | Jan – Apr 2020 | with Create and Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI)
Residency 2 | May – Aug 2020 | with Create and Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI)
Supported Project 1 | Jan – Jun 2020 | with Firestation Artists’ Studios and Dublin Central Housing Action (DCHA)
Supported Project 2 | May – Oct 2020 | with Firestation Artists’ Studios and Migrant and Ethic Minorities for Reproductive Justice (MERJ)
A4 Members’ Show | Nov 2020 | with Firestation Artists’ Studios
A4 Graduate Award | Dec 2020 | with Firestation Artists’ Studio

A4 Sounds is a non-profit artist-run workspace and gallery in north-inner-city Dublin. It is one of the biggest artist-led spaces in Ireland, currently providing facilities and professional development supports to 80 artists. Its mission is to transform the means by which cultural works are produced, accessed, and understood in Ireland, and by doing so to contribute to the development of a more just society. Guided by feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and LGBT-inclusive politics, A4 Sounds supports artists and activists who fight for change.

Create, is the national development agency for collaborative arts. Our work initiates cross-sectoral national and international partnerships which support artists and communities to co-create work of depth, ambition and excellence.

Our mission is to lead the development of collaborative arts practice by enabling artists and communities to create exceptional art together. As a resource organisation we offer supports for artists working in social and community contexts. These include, professional development, mentoring, project development support, commissioning and project opportunities as well as research and training. We also manage the Artist in the Community Scheme for the Arts Council.

Create believes that by working together, artists and communities can purposefully explore how collaborative arts engage in distinct, relevant and powerful ways with the urgent social, cultural and political issues of our times. 

Located in north-east inner city Dublin, the Fire Station Artists’ Studios was established in 1993 to provide support for professional visual artists. Fire Station Artists’ Studios is a living and working environment where communities of professional practice, place and interest meet to develop art practices of quality and integrity. A key policy of the Fire Station is to contribute to the debate on collaborative and socially engaged arts practice, through processes that incorporate critique and commission . As an organisation they have a deep commitment to collaborative and socially-engaged practice that has developed sophisticated models of contextual art practice.

TENI is a non-profit organisation supporting the trans community in Ireland. TENI seeks to improve the situation and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. Their vision is an Ireland where trans people are understood, accepted and respected, and can participate fully in all aspects of Irish society. Ireland remains a place where it can be difficult for trans people to lead safe, healthy and full lives. TENI is dedicated to ending transphobia, including stigma, discrimination and inequality and continues in the struggle for social, political and legal recognition of trans people in Ireland.

MASI seeks justice, freedom and dignity for all asylum seekers. MASI is a platform for us as asylum seekers to join together in unity and purpose. MASI came together after the protests in the Direct Provision centres in 2014. They believe that speaking together in one voice, moving together in one direction, they are much stronger, their voices much louder and more difficult to ignore and dismiss. For them, MASI is a way to take back their power and demand freedom, justice and dignity for all asylum seekers. MASI demands an end to direct provision, the right to work and education, residency for all in the system, and an end to the brutal deportation regime.

MERJ are a group of migrants and ethnic-minorities living in Ireland fighting for reproductive justice for all people. MERJ was founded in September 2017 by migrant women of colour who had been actively involved in the campaign for abortion rights in Ireland for years. MERJ was started to create a platform for the often hidden faces and voices of migrants and ethnic minorities in Ireland that were all but missing from Irish feminism. They want to challenge the whiteness, maleness and settledness of the left and fight for their place in the movement. They want to fully participate in radical politics in Ireland on their own terms. They want to broaden the scope of their work beyond a single issue because as Audre Lorde said, “we don’t live single issue lives”. And most importantly, they want to create a space where migrant and ethnic minority women, non-binary and trans people could come together and share their politics and experiences, learn from each other and support one another in the struggle. They have made a significant contribution to the feminist discourse in Ireland in the short time they have existed.

Dublin Central Housing Action, organise in the Dublin 1, Dublin 3 and Dublin 7 areas, to support those affected by the housing crisis and communities to fight back. Dublin Central Housing Action formed out of the Bolt Hostel in the summer of 2015. After three months in the Bolt Hostel on Bolton Street, they were finally taken to the High Court and evicted. A community had grown out of their actions and they felt it was time to build on that. Over 3 years, Dublin Central Housing Action has been involved in local housing and homeless support, organising and action, as well as working with other groups around the country as part of the Irish Housing Network.  Central to all their work has been the setup of a Support Group for anyone facing homelessness or housing problems. They have been involved in many actions. They have supported tenants taking their landlord to the RTB, challenged letting agents and management companies, supported sit-ins at the council, challenged the homeless services over conditions and care, supported tenants in emergency accommodation to occupy their homes on Mountjoy St, challenged slum landlords in Mountjoy Sq and Ballybough/Summerhill, worked in other groups as part of the Apollo House occupation and supported campaigns on public land and fair and affordable communities. Dublin Central Housing Action are a member of Irish Housing Network Ireland.

gender.RIP art collectiveis a loose association of trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and gender curious/questioning artists ready to kill gender. They are inclusive of people who self-describe as marginalized genders, gender minorities, genderqueer, gender fluid, a-gender, non-western genders and indigenous genders, including, but not limited to: Hijra, Two-Spirit, Third gender etc.

gender.RIP is open to people who describe themselves as trans, not trans but not cis, not cis, people who identify as cis but are maybe questioning/exploring their gender, people who identify as cis in addition to identifying as or having experiences self described as gender fluid, gender non-conforming, a-gender, non-binary, genderqueer, etc, and people who reject the colonial cis/trans binary.

Fiona Woods works with aesthetics and critical spatial practice, often in a co-productive capacity with others. She employs social, public and institutional circuits to explore ideas of what we have ‘in common’. She is currently producing an event-space, Laboratory of Common Interest to coincide with the 12-day centenary of the Limerick soviet, April 2019. The work features collaborative actions and performances, including a temporary ‘currency’ project operating across the city. Her public art project, Walking Silvermines, is part of the Arte Util archive initiated by the Cuban-American artist Tania Bruguera. Woods has carried out commissions and research residencies in Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Lithuania, Australia, Canada and the US. She devised, curated and produced the Ground Up programme of rural public art for Clare County Council and co-curated Yak Yak, rural/art dialogues for the Swan Hill Regional Art programme in Victoria (AUS, 2013). Fiona lectures at Limerick School of Art & Design, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, working across theory and practice. She has been a contributing lecturer on the MA in Social Practice, LSAD (2013 – 15); the MA in Socially Engaged Art at NCAD, Dublin (2017); a visiting lecturer at BAVA Sherkin, (DIT); the University of Newcastle (AUS) and the University of Flensburg (DE). She is currently a PhD researcher at TU Dublin, a recipient of the 2015 Fiosraigh scholarship.
Fiona Woods | Collection of Minds
Free*Space | Laboratory of Common Interest

Kate O’ Shea is an artist with a social practice which includes printmaking, the production of ‘social spaces’ and publishing. Kate is currently co-producing Art Architecture Activism with Eve Olney in Cork. She recently published the book Durty Words with graphic designer Victoria Brunetta. Kate has just completed an MA by Research in Printmaking as a space for solidarity and dialogue at Limerick School of Art and Design. In 2009 Kate converted an old farmhouse and barn located outside of Kenmare, Co. Kerry into a ‘social space’, NomNom Café and Gallery. She ran this space for seven years. In its final year, NomNom Cafe culminated with NomShtock, an arts, music and well‐being festival that took place during the summer of 2014. Kate initiated and co-produced eight community events entitled ‘Volxkuche’ (The People’s Kitchen) at Sample Studios, Cork, between 2015 and 2017, and two community events entitled ‘The People’s Kitchen, Limerick’ after that. These events use food, conversation and performance as a platform for social solidarity. In 2018 Kate worked with poet Sarah Clancy to produce ‘Running the Gamut’, an anthology of creative writing from Galway and Lisdoonvarna funded by Amach LGBTQI and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Kate regularly exhibits nationally and internationally. Most recently, she exhibited her large-scale print installation work in Bern, Switzerland.
Kate O’Shea

Kerry Guinan is an artist, researcher, and curator exploring the relations of art, place, and capital in a neoliberal context. She is a graduate of Fine Art & Visual Culture at the National College of Art & Design, Ireland (2014) and is currently undertaking a Masters by Research to develop the practice of ‘relational socialist realism’ at the Limerick School of Art & Design, Ireland (2021). Guinan’s work involves interventions, social experiments, and performances in the contested public sphere. These have included the purchase of a gallery’s identity (126 © Kerry Guinan, 2014), a performative candidacy in an Irish General Election (Liberate Art, 2016), and an intervention supported by the A4 Sounds Artist-in-Residence Programme, which led to the artist being questioned by Garda Síochána (the Irish police force) (Presenting the Cultural Quarter, 2017). Her research has included The Impact and Instrumentalisation of Art in the Dublin Property Market (2016), a monograph demonstrating art’s impact on Dublin property prices. As a whole Guinan’s work considers the unseen, oppressive implications of contemporary art practice, including the practices of socially engaged art. Guinan was awarded the Arts Council of Ireland’s Next Generation Award in 2018 and is Curator of TULCA Festival of Visual Arts: TACTICAL MAGIC in Galway, Ireland, 2019.

Eleanor Phillips is a multi-disciplinary artist whose speciality is working collaboratively within community contexts. She has a BA in Fine Art Sculpture, H.Dip in Community Arts Education and an MA in Public Art. To each project she takes her belief in the democratising process of collaborative art, her skills as a facilitator and her love of using readily accessible materials and renewable resources to co-create new ways of looking at the world. Past Projects have included Widow’s Conversation: honouring the experiences of grief within a culture of memorials, Belfast; Bureau of Enquiry: exploring power relations within homeless services, St. Louis, Missouri; The Northsiders Museum: curating a space for free exchange of memory and art within a retail unit, Northside Shopping Centre, Dublin. Exhibitions include INTERGENFEM at FiLiArt, Institute of Education, London and T’ART, Bones and Pearl Gallery (PIMP); Attitude Precedes Form, The Library Project, curated by Hilary Murray; Outpost, Mermaid Arts Centre, Co. Wicklow. Together with seven other artists she has founded Outpost Studios, Bray; is a founding board member and currently company secretary of Signal Arts Centre; and co-founder of pff publications with Rachel Fallon and Emma Finucane. She has been commissioned and supported by Arts Council Ireland, CREATE, Wicklow County Council, Craigavon County Council, Bray Urban District Council, PEACE III Arts and Diversity Fund, Northern Ireland, Regional Arts Council St. Louis, USA and City Council Celje, Slovenia. Her work is held in private and public collections including Wicklow County Council, Craigavon County Council and John Erickson Museum, Florida.
Eleanor Phillips

A4 Sounds in partnership with Firestation Artists’ Studios and Dublin Central Housing Action invite applications from artists who are experiencing or who have previously experienced homelessness – this could be any form of homelessness including living in emergency accommodation, living in hostels, sleeping rough, as well as sofa-surfing – for a six-month project award as part of the We Only Want the Earth 2020 programme. The award will run from January to June 2020. The award opportunity aims to support an artist or group of artists based in Ireland to develop their arts practice.

For more information about the award and how to apply please follow this link.

Deadline: 5pm, Thursday 7th November 2019

If you have any questions or queries please get in touch with Lisa Crowne via residency@a4sounds.org.

We Only Want the Earth is kindly supported by The Arts Council’s Art Grant Funding 2020.