learn: ecoliteracy

Cathy Fitzgerald (Art & Ecology PhD by Creative Practice) can expertly guide you through the environmental science, environmental ethics and examples of best practice for your creative practice, exhibitions, community art-led projects, organisation or art & sustainability policy.

“I deeply understand how ecology brings a new worldview into play that confronts the dominant narratives of Western culture.

Correspondingly, I know why this present moment invites the arts to engage beyond common ideas of bringing nature-environmental themes into artworks towards situated art-led programmes that connect communties to their local eco-social concerns.

I bring all these different experience and insights in my work at Haumea to share how the arts have immense social power to inspire values for living well with the Earth and all its inhabitants.”

Cathy can deliver the following courses
and services across Ireland*

  • Ecoliteracy Essentials Workshop  for art students and art educators

  •  Ecoliteracy Essentials Workshop for arts organisations

  •  Haumea Mentoring: one-to-one ecoliteracy for artists and curators (see testimonials here)

  • The Green Pencil – Eco-Writing expertise for:

    • ecological art exhibitions

    • designing effective community eco-social art programmes

    • art & sustainability research policy and strategy

  • Ecoliteracy Essentials for Creatives – Distance Learning online course (in development during 2019)

* As Cathy lives in rural South East of Ireland, mentoring people
further afield is based using the Internet.

Details of courses and services below:

Ecoliteracy Essentials Workshop
for art students and art educators

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1.5 h introductory talk for art colleges or a module of classes can be offered

Topics covered will enable creatives and art educators to:

  • successfully navigate recent environmental science
  • understand the root cultural cause of the planetary emergency
  • employ moral reasoning to explain why the arts have a critical role in the environmental emergency
  • examine examples of best eco-social art practices
  • understand the context and need for art and sustainability policy and strategy
Suitable for: third-level art students and educators. While Cathy’s background is in Visual Contemporary Art, the information in this course is relevant to those in any artistic discipline. Cathy has taught undergraduate Art and Ecology programmes at the Burren College of Art and has faciliated Art & Ecology sessions for the Cowhouse Studios, Co. Wexford.

Testimonial: “I’ve known of Cathy’s practice for years and had been looking for a way to work with her for some time. Recently, we ran a residency called How to Flatten a Mountain and it was our good fortune that Cathy was able to run a day-long workshop with our resident artists. Cathy was a fantastic facilitator and the artists were drawn to her ideas. She spent the morning speaking about her project in Hollywood Forest and related ecological issues. In the afternoon she took us into our own forest and met with each participant individually. It was evident by the work produced that Cathy had a significant impact on many of the artists. Without hesitation, I would recommend Cathy and happily invite her back for future projects.”

Frank Abruzzese, Owner, Cow House Studios, May 16, 2018,
Cathy was a client of Frank’s and invited again to the Cowhouse in 2019.

Ecoliteracy Essentials Workshop
for arts organisations

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Half-day presentation and workshop for art organisations

Topics covered will enable art organisations managers and employees to:

  • ecoliteracy essentials for the art sector: make your organisation ready to respond confidently to new eco-themes and opportunities
  • understand the context and explore recent overseas art and sustainability research policy and strategy
  • understand why and how the arts have critical social power to engage society towards UN Sustainability Development Goals (UN 2015)
  • review relevant overseas, and where possible, successful Irish art and sustainability organisation case studies and resources

Haumea Mentoring: one-to-one
ecoliteracy for artists and curators

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Develop you own practice with access to Cathy’s knowledge and expertise in ecoliteracy.

Cathy has advised artists and curators who are developing projects with ecological themes or concerns. Cathy has a broad knowledge of the art and ecology field from her practice and research developed over two decades. In particular, Cathy can tailor specific art and ecology knowledge, environmental philosophy and other resources to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of your environmental art projects .

See testimonials here

The Green Pencil – Eco-Writing expertise for:

  • ecological art exhibitions

  • designing effective community eco-social art programmes

  • art & sustainability research policy and strategy


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Cathy is available to research and write articles for exhibitions and art projects that are responding to eco-social themes or issues. She also offers design advice on effective Eco-Social Art Practice Frameworks for Situated Community Eco-Social Art programmes and projects. Cathy  also has doctoral-level research knowledge for Art Policy for Sustainability Research policy and strategy

Design Expertise for situated Eco-Social Art Programmes:

Cathy advised and supported local Carlow-based artists on the successful eco-social framework for the Creative Ireland Carlow Drummin bog school art programme (2019), see here

The innovative artistic framework for art projects evolving from the Drummin Bog Project uses the research of South Carlow eco-social artist, Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald. Her term ‘Eco-social Art Practice’ was presented in her PhD by creative practice The Ecological Turn:Living Well with forests to explain eco-social art practices (Fitzgerald, 2018), see www.Hollywoodforest.com

Art & Sustainability Policy Research Expertise:

Cathy was awarded a Carlow Arts Office Award in 2016 to develop a research study on the absence of art and sustainability policy in Carlow, and which soon became a review of the lack of policy, strategy and educational and financial supports for the Irish arts sector as a whole.

Her report and online summary can be seen here.

From Left: Prof Karen Till, Prof Gerry Kearns, Cultural Geography, Maynooth University, Dr. Nessa Cronin, Irish Studies, NUIG, Dr. Iain Biggs, Bath Univ, UK and Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald, Moore Institute, NUIG, June 2019.
From Left: Prof Karen Till, Prof Gerry Kearns, Cultural Geography, Maynooth University, Dr. Nessa Cronin, Irish Studies, NUIG, Dr. Iain Biggs, Bath Univ, UK and Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald, Moore Institute, NUIG, June 2019.

Cathy was asked to present this research by Professors Karen Till, Gerry Kearns, Geography Dept, Maynooth University for the 50th Conference of Irish Geographers in May 2018 and lead a workshop on the topic ‘Raising the Shining, Reflective Shield’: the urgent need for cultural policy to engage Irish civil society toward eco-social well-being (Fitzgerald, 2018) .

In June 2019, Dr. Nessa Cronin, Irish Studies, National University of Galway, asked Cathy to present a talk about her own eco-social art practice gave her growing awareness that Ireland’s art sectors requires art and sustainability policy and supports (see audiovisual slideshow here). In this presentation, she led a conversation with local Galway art practitioners and academics ahead of the 7th EUGeo Conference, with support from her PhD supervisor Dr. Iain Biggs, Bath University UK, Research Centre for Environmental Humanities Fellow and Professors Karen Till and Gerry Kearns.

Ecoliteracy Essentials
for Creatives:
ONLINE COURSE by Cathy Fitzgerald

(2019; in development)

Update July 2019: I am currently undertaking a short survey to explain and invite ideas from creative workers to develop this online course. See this link to take part.

This course will offer a cohort of creative people to learn together about why and how to develop impactful eco-social art practices, through improved ecoliteracy – ecological understanding. At present ecological art knowledge is rarely available as a module in third level institutions, so this online course aims to provide a basic introduction to this challenging yet rewarding area of contemporary art practice.

Ecological, participatory and collaborative models of practice that engage with eco-social concerns have been developing over many decades but have been consistently on the margins of contemporary art. As a result, giving creative people a foundation in ecoliteracy is not a priority in most art colleges.

An online course idea has developed from the frustrations I encountered in developing my own creative practice, despite my background in science and from requests for advice from the increasing numbers of creative people coming to my door.

To me, educating creatives for the short decade ahead in which scientists are stressing that we need to radically reinvent how we live, underlines that ecoliteracy must become a fundamental priority for creative workers.

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Distance Learning: (In Development 2019)

Ecoliteracy Essentials for the Arts – Online Course


Don’t let intimidating environmental science prevent you from creating art practices that can inspire change for a better world. Frustrated that colleges are not delivering courses to equip you so that you can respond effectively to the diverse but increasing eco-social emergencies are unfolding rapidly around us, and want to learn more? Based on recent research, review of the art and ecology field over the last twenty years and firsthand experience of developing impactful environmental art practices, this course will offer you a clear pathway through  science, environmental philosophy, ethics and theory, and introduce an accessible methodology so you will have a toolkit to create your own great ecological art practice or community arts programme no matter where you live, no matter what creative discipline you pursue.

During 2019, I am undertaking a feasibility study of online course development with support from the Carlow Local Enterprise Office. Please email me if you want to be involved in developing the pilot online course: I am interested in hearing from creative workers looking at eco-social concerns from anywhere on Earth.

In Autum, 2019 I will be offering through a Carlow Arts Office award a seminar on essential ecoliteracy in South County Carlow, Ireland.

For more updates on these courses, ‘follow’ my site by entering your email on the homepage or you can email me for further information at cathy@haumea.site

Please email me if you are interested in this online course and I will inform you when the course becomes available.



Screenshot 2018-08-11 09.04.11Cathy Fitzgerald (PhD by Creative Practice) is a successful eco-social artist researcher and recovering scientist. This makes her uniquely placed to guide other creative people toward the most urgent topic in contemporary art today – how can we effectively employ creativity to inspire societal change in our audiences for the better world we know is possible.

Learn with Cathy to understand why ecoliteracy can help you navigate confusing environmental science so you too can employ creativity confidently to respond to the eco-social issues that matter to you. By the end of the course you will have deep insight as to what knowledge, skills and aptitude are needed to develop inclusive ecological art practices that can inspire lasting change for you, your place and community.