RESEARCH IN PUBLIC: PUBLIC ART IN GALWAY
2011 - 2012
This per cent for art project had two primary strands of inquiry: to engage directly with the residents of the Sliabh Bán Estate Ballybane where the commission was located and to initiate a city-wide dialogue on public art in the city of Galway. Sliabh Bán is a 54 unit local authority estate in East Galway. In 2009 the first residents began to move in. With the support of the Cluid Housing Association, Vagabond Reviews secured a project house within the estate. From July to December 2011 we engaged in the initial arts-based research phase of the project at No.18 Sliabh Bán. From our base in the neighbourhood we worked with residents of the estate and in close consultation with the Sliabh Bán Resident’s Association Committee. Over the course of the project we also liaised with Galway City Council Arts Office, Galway City Council Housing Dept. and the Ballybane Community Resource Centre.
Vagabond Reviews also co-hosted a series of Public Art Clinics at No.18 with the Sliabh Bán Residents Association Committee. These clinics addressed key questions of participatory practice in a community context and the broader question of public art practice in Galway City. The clinics involved residents of Sliabh Bán, local councillors, the Housing Dept of Galway City Council, Cluid Housing Association, students from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, the MA in Social Practice and the Creative Environment Limerick School of Art & Design, the MSC programme at the School of Sociology UCD, the Mapping Spectral Traces network and academics, curators and artists from Galway, Limerick, Clare, Dublin and Barcelona.
The project was completed in June 2012, culminating in an exhibition of work by residents at No.18 Sliabh Bán, which reflected on themes of home, displacement and embodied local identities within the culturally diverse neighbourhood of Sliabh Bán. The exhibition was opened by the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Hildegarde Naughton. Vagabond Reviews are currently compiling a publication as part of the project documentation.