Founder Director of the
Haumea Ecoversity for
creative and cultural professionals
Dr Cathy Fitzgerald, Ph.D. – Founder Director of the global HAUMEA Ecoversity
Cathy is an independent ecosocial art practitioner, educator, consultant, and international speaker. She sat on the board of the National College of Art & Design, Ireland from 2009 to 2011, was nominated to the professional International EcoArt Network in 2016 and since 2019, is a Research Fellow for Art & Ecology, at the Burren College of Art (Co. Clare). Cathy received certification on the UNESCO-recognised ‘Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with the Earth Charter’ course in Summer 2021, following an Arts Council Professional Development Award and is an alumnus of Earth Charter International, which hosts the UNESCO Chair in ESD.
With the support of growing numbers of creatives and collaborators, Cathy seeks to skillfully guide the creative sector on how to overcome the severe struggles she encountered–even with a science background– to develop meaningful, impactful integrated ecosocial art practices beyond outdated, fragmented educational models. She similarly wants to empower an ecoliterate Irish and global creative sector to wisely, compassionately and beautifully employ their creativity– to envision and embody a life-sustaining Symbiocene era of enduring peace, justice and planetary wellbeing.
In the creative sector, Cathy has been recognised for her innovative entrepreneurial online training on ecoliteracy and transformative learning approaches for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with Earth Charter ecosocial values pedagogy by the EU Our Thriving Tribe creative entrepreneurial research programme and Awaken Hub – Ireland’s women-in-business organisation, the UK Climate Cultures Showcase, the art.Earth network, Green Foundation Ireland, RTE Lyric FM, and Dublin FM.
An Irish-based New Zealander (with dual citizenship), Cathy has been living in rural South Carlow since 2001 and in Ireland since 1995. She has a background in biological research and received a First Class Joint Honours degree in Painting and Irish Art History at the National College of Art & Design in 2000, an MA in New Media (Virtual Realities), in 2002.
From 2007-10, Cathy was the first ArtLinks.ie Director, managing and developing a 5-county Local Authority arts professional development programme for all art forms across South East Ireland. Cathy was respected across the region for her considerable personal insights and sensitivity towards the challenges creative practitioners face in their careers and revealed an aptitude to care for and foster an online community of 1400 creative practitioner members. She developed early, innovative courses in blogging and podcasting so creatives could independently showcase their processes and work.
Cathy’s ongoing ecosocial art practice The Hollywood Forest Story (begun 2008) was the basis for her innovative Creative Practice-led PhD and audiovisual ebook The Ecological Turn: Living Well with Forests to explain ecosocial art practice using a Guattari ecosophy – action research framework (2018). This work envisions new ecological forestry in Ireland for the Symbiocene and explains embedded-in-place ecosocial art practice. Her practice and research, which fosters political activism for national forest policy and advocacy for an international law against ecocide, has featured in The Irish Times, the US Minding Nature journal, and shared to the UK art.earth network.
Her article ‘Goodbye Anthropocene – Hello Symbiocene: EcoSocial Art Practices for a New World’ received international attention in Plasticity – The Global Reader: On Environmental Challenge for Art and Its Institutions, 2019 by the Centre for Contemporary Art U-Jazdowski Castle, Warsaw and for the Australian Institute for Interdisciplinary Research into the Anthropocene (IIRA). Her chapter ‘The Hollywood Forest Story: Placemaking for the Symbiocene’, appears in the Routledge 2021 Handbook on Placemaking edited by Dr Cara Courage, and also features in the Routledge 2020 book on Creative Engagements with Ecologies of Place: Geopoetics, Deep Mapping and Slow Residencies by Prof. Mary Modeen, Dr Iain Biggs.
Research Fellow for Art & Ecology
Burren College of Art, Ireland
ArtLinks Inaugural Director
Managing the professional development programme for all art forms for five SE Local Authority Art Offices in Ireland, and an online community of 1400 creative practitioners.