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                     The entire world is becoming an archipelago” – Édouard Glissant (1997:194)

At a time of increasing nationalism and cultural insularity, the need to refresh our understanding of ‘relation’ in the world is more urgent than ever. What is an Island? is an artistic research project which explores 'relational form' through the concept of archipelagic thinking and collaborative arts practice. Facilitated by a unique pedagogical programme on a specially commissioned ferry, What is an Island? travelled the West Cork archipelago on a single summer day, in search of a deeper connection between islanders, artists and the world.

Responding to the question What is an Island? three local artists were commissioned to develop work on one of three islands in the west cork archipelago, they are: Sherkin Island (Mona O’Driscoll), Heir Island (Tess Leak) and Long Island(art manoeuvres). Each of the art events were connected by a specially commissioned ferry on the 30th July. The ferry supported a unique pedagogical programme, titled: The Tidalectic Lecture series,, which brought together thinkers, educators and government officials participants to engage with the project.

For more on the The Tidalectic Lecture programme...see here...

What is an Island? was developed through the BAVA on Sherkin Island @ Dublin School of Creative Arts and GradCAM (DIT) in partnership with CREATE: National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts and Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, to present a series of seminars, workshops and exhibitions exploring Art & Archipelagic Thinking in the 21st Century.







Emer  Deane  is the  Director  of  the  Brexit  team  in  Ireland's  Permanent Representation to the EU. She has been in Brussels since 2015 and was  responsible  previously for Ireland's relations with the EU Institutions. Prior to that, she spent three years working on Northern Ireland matters  notably as a senior  member of  Ireland's negotiating team at the Stormont House Talks in Belfast in 2014. Erner has over 20 years' experience in political and economic aspects of foreign affairs and diplomacy. She has served in Dublin, London, and as Ireland's Consul General in San Francisco.


Prof. Jonathan Pugh is Senior Academic Fellow, Department of Geography, Newcastle University, UK. His main area of research is islands and archipelagos. He is particularly associated with what has come to be known as the 'relational turn' in island studies, exploring the relational characteristics that disrupt insular island geographies. To this end, Jonathan has recently started work on a monograph that both explores the characteristics of the relational turn and how relational thinking can now be extended into new direction in the Anthropocene.Jonathan has given a range of keynote addresses at international conferences on this theme, published three other books, more than forty media commen­ taries, interviews and academic articles. His work has also been reviewed in a range of the popular press and he has spoken extensively on relationality and islands at a range of Universities.


Pat Tanner has been building, repairing and sailing boats for over 25 years, and is currently working on the Traditional Boats of Ireland Project to record and document lrelands disap­ pearing maritime heritage. He is a pioneer of 30 scanning full size boats in the field, and de­ veloped the laser scanning and digital reconstruction of archaeological boats and ships tim­ bers. Pat works as a maritime archaeologist, and is currently re-examining the 9th century Anglo Saxon Sutton Hoo ship. Projects completed to date include documenting a large number of traditional Irish vessels, as well as digital reconstructions of the 16th C. Droghe­ da Boat for the Underwater Archaeology Unit of Ireland, the Newport (Wales) Medieval Ship, the Grand Hotel Shipwrecks in Stockholm, the Poole Iron Age logboat and the 14th C. Bremen Cog. Pat is currently working on the 7th C. Anglo-Saxon "Sutton Hoo" ship and is also completing a PhD in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton, where he lectures in boat recording and digital reconstruction.


Prof. Mick Wilson is an artist,  educator  and  researcher  based  in Sweden  and Ireland. He is currently Director of Valand Academy, University of  Gothenburg  (2012-2018) having previously  been  Dean  of  GradCAM  Ireland  (2007-2012)  and  co-editor-in-chief of PARSE Journal (2015-2017). He is  visiting  faculty  at  Bard  CCS  (2013-ongoing) and SVA NYC (2014-ongoing).  Co-edited  volumes  include:  Curating  and  the  Educational Turn (2010), SHARE Handbook of Artistic Research Education (2013), Curating Research (2014), The Curatorial Conundrum (2016), How Institutions Think (2017), and  PARK  LEK and the Scandinavian Social Turn (2018). In 2019  he will  be on research sabbatical  based in the Netherlands and elsewhere in order to pursue work on the question of political community with the dead, a theme first initiated together with  colleagues  some years back at a GradCAM seminar under the heading of "dead public". Forthcoming co-edited projects include Curating After the Global (2018-9), and After the  Educational Turn    (2019).


Prof. Richard Kearney holds the Charles B. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College and has served as a Visiting Professor at University College Dublin and the University of Paris.He is the author of over 20 books on European philosophy and literature (including two novels and a volume of poetry) and has edited or co-edited 16 more. His books on Irish-British and european culture and politics include Postnationalist Ireland (1998, where he discusses the idea of a British-Irish Archipelago), Navigations: Collected Irish Essays 1977-2007) and , most recently,Twinsome Minds: An Act of Double Remembrance (2018). He was formerly a member of the Arts Council of Ireland, the Higher Education Authorityf Ireland and chairman of the Irish School of Film at University College Dublin. He is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy. As a public intellectual in Ireland, he was involved in drafting a number of proposals for a Northern Irish peace agreement (1983, 1993, 1995) which included the notion of an Irish-British archipelago, related to the 'council of Isles'. He has presented five series on culture and philosophy for Irish and British television and broadcast extensively on the European media. He is currently international director of the Guestbook Project-Hosting the Stranger: Between Hostility and Hospitality. Richard Kear­ ney currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is married to Anne Bernard and has two daughters, Simone and Sarah.



Sheelagh Broderick is an artist, researcher, writer and health worker. She positions her practice in the everyday  addressing  the  question  of  how we  can  collectively  respond  to the conditions of our time and place with affirmative and generative gestures. Her practice develops through processes of social engagement  using the  vernacular  materials, practices and spaces of everyday life. Awards include Arts Council Visual Arts Project Award with art manoeuvres* (2017) Dublin Port, Port Perspectives Award (2017), Create Artist in the Community Research and Development Award (2008 & 2015) Create Artist in the Community Project Realisation Award (2009 & 2015). She has worked as a  mentor for the Create Artist  in the Community Research and Development Award and also for other  artist  projects. She  is 2015 PhD graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media (GradCAM) where  her research concerned  arts  practices  in healthcare settings.  She is a guest lecturer at Limerick College of Art & Design and Crawford College of  Art.


Tess Leak is an artist and musician living and working in West Cork. A graduate of The Curious School of Puppetry in London as well as the B.A. in Visual Arts on Sherkin Island, she is co-cura­ tor of the Museum of Miniature and plays cello with The Vespertine Quintet. Justin Grounds  is a violinist, composer and electronic music producer based in West Cork, Ireland. His 'Passa­ caglia Apis' for solo baroque violin and string orchestra won the inaugaral East Cork Early Music Festival composers competition in 2014 and was premiered by Maya Hamburger and Barry Guy.


Mona O'Driscoll is a native of Sherkin Island, where she grew up and has spent most of her life. She has a strong connection and respect for nature which influences in her work. She graduated in 2014 with a 1st class honours degree in Visual Arts ( Dublin Institute of Technology) and con­ tinues to live and work on Sherkin where she plays an active role in the development of arts on the island. Last year,she curated The Gathering, a Sherkin Island Summer art exhibition. She has exhibited at the Sarah Walker Gallery,West Cork Arts Centre and in several of the west Cork arts festivals. Her work explores both personal and global concerns, investigating the connection with Island dwellers and their interaction with, and knowledge of their environment, her own sense of belonging and in particular, environmental issues that are increasingly relevant to all.

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