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Exhibitions > Past Exhibitions

A Fair Land

12 - 28 August 2016

A Fair Land money button, image courtesy Grizedale Arts + IMMA, photo by Motoko Fujita

Echoing the role artists and the European Arts and Crafts movement played in creating and articulating a new vision for Ireland pre-1916, IMMA and (External) Grizedale Arts (UK) have collaborated to create an extraordinary new project in 2016 that examines the function of art. Re-thinking the Royal Hospital of Kilmainham cobblestoned quadrant as a model village, the project takes shape as a visual and working installation in IMMA’s iconic courtyard this August.

Entitled ‘A Fair Land’ the project aims to develop a system for living using basic and simple resources used in a creative way. We live in a professionalised culture that has moved to distance us from our inherent everyday creativity. instead promoting systematised living, convenience and  globalisation - all fundamentally based on the exploitation of ‘labour capital’ (other people’s labour). Envisaged, enabled and operated by a collective creative vision 'A Fair Land' looks at how self determination and dignity can be delivered through the inherent human function of creativity, and how its use in the everyday is a means to enable change and empowerment.

This project aims to develop a system for living derived from basic and simple resources used in a creative way. To this end a project village has been created to offer its visitors opportunities to eat, make, think or trade – and through that process to learn , copy, assimilate and teach. With a focus on creating objects that are useful, desirable and achievable, A Fair Land will present an active and tangible representation of the place of creativity in society, creating a space for families , friends and strangers to gather, get involved, and experience alternative perspectives on living.

A Fair Land has been developed by a wide range of people, including artists and creative practitioners, with the aim of making a new vision for a functioning future society.

Artists and collaborators include: Eavan Atkin / Samuel Bishop / Kat Black / (External) Bluebell Youth Projects / (External) Tania Bruguera / (External) Rhona Byrne / (External) Marcus Coates / (External) Common Ground / Emily Cropton / (External) CREATE / Coniston village building team / (External) Michelle Darmody / (External) Eoin Donnelly / Vanessa Donoso Lopez / Drew and Middori / (External) Firestation / (External) Motoko Fujita / (External) Ryan Gander  / (External) Liz Gillis / (External) Nicola Goode / (External) Irish Architecture Foundation / Brenda Kearney / (External) Suzanne Lacy / (External) Renzo Martens / (External) Jonathan Meese / Meg Narongchai / (External) Deirdre O’Mahony / (External) Seodín O’Sullivan / (External) Debbie Paul / (External) Rialto Youth Projects / (External) Niamh Riordan / Kirsty Roberts / (External) Katie Sanderson / (External) Sarah Staton / St. Andrews Community Centre / (External) Francesca Ulivi / (External) Miranda Vane / (External) Fiona Whelan / (External) public works / (External) NÓS workshop / NVA / (External) Somewhere / (External) Sweet Water Foundation / (External) Villagers from the Swiss village of Leytron / (External) Tom Watt & (External) Tanad Williams , and many more.

The project has been delivered with the generous and creative support of construction collaborators (External) Swift Scaffolding , (External) Hentech Fabrication and (External) Rilco Roofing and has received additional funding from the (External) Goethe Institut Irland .

This project is presented as part of an exciting on-going initiative, New Art at IMMA , proudly supported by (External) Matheson , which allows IMMA to continue to support artists’ vital work in a strand of programming that recognises and nurtures new and emerging talents, new thinking and new forms of exhibition-making.

A Fair Land is part of the official (External) Ireland 19 / 2016 Cultural programme

You can download a .pdf of the programme overview .

A weekly programme of events will be published each week. Join the mailing list , bookmark this page or follow us on (External) Facebook , (External) Twitter or (External) Instagram for the most up to date project details. Share your experiences of the project by using the #AFairLand

About the Project

A Fair Land began with IMMA taking the unique step of inviting Grizedale Arts, an international commissioning and residency agency, to take up residence in IMMA’s own residency programme from March 2016. Whilst in residence Grizedale Arts, in collaboration with IMMA, invited a range of artists and creative practitioners from Ireland and beyond to use the residency as a base to research and develop a major activated project for our 17th century courtyard which is at the heart of our building.

A reflection of pre-1916 Ireland, A Fair Land reveals a vision for society informed, and led by creativity and artistic practice – whether through a Ruskinian reconsideration of industry, a vision for education or culture as a mechanism for political activism – where the creative voice was central to new visions for modern society emerging in Ireland and internationally.
You can follow the development of the project by looking for the hashtag #AFairLand on (External) Instagram or (External) Twitter

Associated Events

A Fair Land will be active from Friday 12 August 2016 with core activities then happening from Thursdays — Sundays until 28 August 2016. You can download a .pdf of the programme overview now, and a weekly programme of events will be published each week.

There is a daily schedule of activities and special events that will offer visitors opportunities to make, learn and take part in the Village. You will find a full list on our Talks and Events Calendar . There is also plenty for the casual visitor to see and do, from enjoying the Ambulatory Food Vendors and their interesting fare to making a beautiful and desirable object to take home with them! All events and activities are free unless otherwise stated.

Bookmark this page or follow us on (External) Facebook and (External) Twitter and (External) Instagram for the most up to date project details.

Daily Events

Creative Fitness
Daily / Thu — Sun / 7am + 4.30pm / Free

Artist Marcus Coates will initiate a daily ‘exercise’ routine in the village at 7am and at 4.30pm each day. This 7-minute routine is designed to become part of your everyday life, being integrated into any brief moments of idleness. Take part at home (External) via youtube or in person at IMMA for the mass activations in the courtyard each day. No booking required.

A Fair Introduction
Daily / Thu — Sun / 11.30am / Free

Find out more about the project with a daily introduction led by one of the team. No booking required, just come to the Meeting Point at the Straw Barn.

OR/AND Lunch
Daily / Fri — Sun / 1 — 2pm / €10

Join us for a delicious meal prepared by the Fair Land team from the glut crop of courgettes grown in the IMMA courtyard following the deeply obvious rules of lunch *. There will be a different menu each day.

Tickets for lunch are €10 per person and must be booked online in advance. (External) Book here / *More Info

That’s the way to do it / Cooking demonstrations
Daily / Thu — Sun / 2.30pm / Free

To find out more about the food being served each day, join us for a free cookery demonstration, taking place in the Straw Barn in the Village. No booking required but places are allocated on a first come first served basis.

Food / Power School
Daily / Thu — Sun / 10am + 3pm / Free

Re-discover the power in domestic life by joining the Food School where you will work with the Fair Land team and learn more about the growing, cropping and preparation of produce used in the OR/AND table.

There are only four places available each week and you must join for a full week of sessions, i.e. four days.

Week 1 - Thu 11 - Sun 14 Aug / Adults / (External) Book Here
Week 2 - Thu 18 - Sun 21 Aug / Teenagers / (External) Book Here
Week 3 - Thu 25 - Sun 28 Aug / Adults / (External) Book Here

Make - Buy - Download
Daily / Thu — Sun / 12 — 4pm / Free

You can make for free, or buy for a cost, a series of products that are intended to be ‘useful, desirable, and achievable’. 30 minute making stations are set up for anyone to make useful and desirable items which you can take home with you such as slippers, a bowl or a jar of pickles. Open to all including accompanied children over 7 years of age.

The A Fair Land shop will stock further ‘useful and desirable’ items that are not so achievable. All produced on site these can be bought with village money buttons. This Fair Land  currency is available from IMMA’s main reception at an exchange rate of €5 for 5 buttons.

For Families

Fair Families
Daily / Thu — Sun / Times vary / Free

Join us each day for free family workshops during which children and parents can spend some creative time together making artworks, as well as seeing the ‘village’ of A Fair Land in IMMA’s courtyard. No booking required, just come to the Meeting Point in the main IMMA reception. Please note that these workshops take place at 10am on Thursdays and Fridays, and at 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. See schedule below:

Thursday and Fridays / 10am – 11am / Project Space
12, 18, 19, 25, 26 August

Saturdays and Sundays 2pm – 4pm / Project Space
13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 August

Field Craft Manual
If you are visiting with children outside of the workshop times be sure to ask for on of the A Fair Land field craft manuals that leads children on a horticultural discovery trail around IMMAs beautiful meadows and gardens. In week one you can discover the 15 wild plants and flowers that grow in the grounds of IMMA in the  PLANT TRAIL  (pdf), and from Week Two you can also learn about the many trees on the site in the TREE TRAIL  (pdf), developed with artist Seoidín O’Sullivan. If you can find them all on either map (or both!)and create your own drawings of the plants and trees, you can claim a money button as your prize!

Saturday 27 August 2016 / 3pm - 4 pm, / Free - Drop-in / Meeting Point, IMMA reception
Tree Walk with The Revolving School / Seoidín O’Sullivan
In response to A Fair Land and related ideas of art, land and revolution; Artist Seoidín O’Sullivan activates a wheel barrow school. This will be animated through a tree walk on the grounds of IMMA beginning at an oak tree planted for Joseph Beuys by Caroline Tisdall. This event is family friendly and children are welcome to attend.

Reinvent / Discuss / Debate

Daily / Thu — Sun / Times vary / Free unless otherwise stated
Daily talks by participants. Project and invited speakers will prompt discussion about the function of creativity in our lives, alternative perspectives on living, and the elemental things we need within our individual ‘systems'. Featuring artist talks and events with Sweet Water Foundation , Suzanne Lacy , Jonathan Meese , Marcus Coates and more. A weekly schedule will be announced each week. See here for the full list of events in this series . Events are free unless otherwise stated.

Thursday 26 - Sunday 28 August 2016

Art & Life Long Learning with KCAT
Thurs 25 August / 3pm - 4pm / Free
Patrick Lydon and some of his team at KCAT Art & Study Centre are invited to share their big ideas on Art & Life Learning involving an artist mentorship and studio programme for communities with special needs. Participants will consider how KCAT challenges the Insider/Outsider Arts debates.

The Calais Builds with Grainne Hassett
Fri 26 August / 3pm - 4pm / Free
Grainne Hassett, founding architect of The Calais Builds project, reflects on the building of the structures of a society and town. Discussing the importance of architectural research through practice, Hassett addresses some of the projects most pertinent issues regarding the political, social and environmental issues that continues to drive her work at the camp. Book free tickets.

The Housing Incident Room
Sat 27 Aug 11am - 5pm / Drop in / Free  
In collaboration with the architect Dominic Stevens, IAF presents The Housing Incident Room ; an architect led workshop that draws on the systems and structures of A Fair Land in which to produce A Housing Manifesto. Takes place all day in IMMA’s Project Spaces. No Booking Required -Drop In. More info >

The Revolving School Tree Walk
Sat 27 Aug / 3pm - 4pm / Free
In response to A Fair Land and related ideas of art, land and revolution; Artist Seoidín O Sullivan activates a wheel barrow school. This will be animated through a tree walk on the grounds of IMMA beginning at an oak tree planted for Joseph Beuys by Caroline Tisdall. No Booking Required -Drop In.

The School for Revolutionary Girls / Live Performance
Sunday 28 August / 2pm – 4pm / Free -Drop-in / Courtyard
Internationally acclaimed artist Suzanne Lacy will work with fifteen teenage women to explore their connections with earlier eras as part of a ten-day project. Working with historians, museum staff, students, Irish and US artists, and in association with CREATE, twenty young women between 14-17 years old will participate in an artistic “consciousness-raising” process about the world as it is for them as young women, and as it could be. This live event will be the public culmination of the school with live performances from participants.

A Fair Land - Is this art?
Sunday 28 August / 3pm - 4pm / Free - Drop in / Project Spaces
Join the A Fair Land team, including Brenda Kearney, Motoko Fujita, Niamh Riordan, Francesca Ulivi, and others for reflections on the experiences and ideas behind the project A Fair Land and the multiple ways this challenges the meaning and function of art and the museum in our daily lives.

A Fair Land Currency

The Village has it's own currency which we accept for purchases from the ambulatory food vendors, the village shop and the handmade slippers. The exchange rate is currently €5 for 5 money buttons, (pictured up top ) which you can exchange at IMMA's Main Reception. The buttons themselves are beautiful handmade objects that can be re-purposed as badges or paper weights or a multitude of other things. Eagle eyed plant catchers can also earn a money button as a prize....

A Fair Land / Magazine

You can download copies of the Magazines created from the project which capture essays on the thinking behind A Fair Land and the various systems developed by the project including recipes, building plans and more.

Growing (pdf)  (includes courgette recipes)
Building and Making (pdf)
Re-Invention (pdf)

You can also learn how to make the Slippers, Apron, Pickles, Bowl and Spoon from the project in a series of Grizedale Arts videos (External) 'These Hands (small but mighty)

Previous Events

Artist Talk / Suzanne Lacy / 19 August 2016
While in Dublin to develop the School for Revolutionary Girls internationally acclaimed artist Suzanne Lacy (US) spoke with Ailbhe Murphy (CREATE Ireland) about her practice. Presented in collaboration with Grizedale Arts (UK) and CREATE Ireland. (External) Listen back to the talk on soundcloud

Roundtable Discussion: Ruskin and the Social Function of Artists /  8 June 2016
What can activist and thinker John Ruskin's (1819-1900) ideas of beauty, nature and social value, teach us about the functioning of art in contemporary society? Adam Sutherland (Grizedale Arts), British cultural historian Robert Hewison, Professor of Media Theory & History Charlie Gere, and A Fair Land project artists Francesca Ulivi and Niamh Riorda talk about how the increasing professionalization of artists and institutions separate us from creativity in the everyday. (External) Listen back  to this discussion on Soundcloud

Panel Discussion: Lessons in social & creative pedagogies for our time / 7 July 2016
Drawing on recent debates on art and design education and socially engaged art practice, this discussion revisits overlooked models of schooling and informal education systems of the past, as a framework to address the social functioning and potential of artistic education today and the diverse communities they serve, in contrast to linear curriculum models. Speakers include Gary Granville, Adam Sutherland, Aslinn O’Donnell, Glenn Loughran. (External) Listen back to this discussion on Soundcloud

Panel Discussion: Harvest to Plate / 28 July 2016
(External) Deirdre O’Mahony’s A Village Plot was installed in IMMA from March - July 2016. The occasion of the harvest of the plot was marked with two short talks on the intersections between art, communities, agriculture, rural public spheres and the economy, exploring the multiple ways artists work and challenging cultural attitudes to what art is, participants invite you to experience a hands on approach to making ‘art useful’. Moderated by Adam Sutherland, Director, Grizedale Arts, speakers include; Benoit Antille (Creative Village, Switzerland) and Deirdre O' Mahony (A Village Plot). (External) Listen back to this discussion on Soundcloud

This project has been made possible with the support of:


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