learn: ecoliteracy

Cathy Fitzgerald PhD, ecological-social artist, educator, researcher delivers the following online courses and services to creative practitioners and art professionals

Cathy Fitzgerald

Cathy is an incredible resource for art education institutes, art organizations and individual artists of all kinds. Go to Cathy to increase ecoliteracy (eco-wisdom, eco-cultural skill) and rejuvenate your own art practice or that of your students and/or community. Bringing ecology and art together is essential right now, and Cathy understands the social, political, scientific, philosophical, and creative challenges it presents.”

Dr. Nikos Patedakis, philosopher, educator and mentor


Learn at Home: Online 6-Week Essential Ecoliteracy Learning for Creatives and Art Professionals

Suitable also as CPD for Arts Organisation Staff taught by Level 10 instructors:

Fluency of key ecological concepts is becoming essential for art managers, art administrators and cultural policy writers
An innovative idea offers a small cohort of creative people (max. 20 participants) to learn together in their own time and at home.

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Next course: Sept 2020, please contact Cathy to add your name to the waiting list.

July 2020: NEW Haumea Online Ecophilosophy course with philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis

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Cathy also offers advice and writing on clear and accessible theory-method frameworks to guide art-workers or art-managers on how to develop successful long-term art-led community programmes that address urgent eco-social issues.

Increasingly art-led eco-social art programmes, led by local artists who accrue deep ecological knowledge of their place, who build relationships with community and local scientific, environmental and traditional knowledge holders, local educators and others, will be valued to engage communities to live well within rural or urban areas.

Due to the ecological emergency, Cathy predicts there will be an unavoidable shift in the creative sector to prioritise embedded-in-place, eco-social art activity over years, over the production of ‘new work’ as currently prioritised by many Art Councils. Harnessing the creativity of communities to safeguard their places, will be an urgent and community building response to the environmental catastrophe.

Correspondingly, it will be essential to support creatives, who over years, amass valuable ecoliteracy (ecological knowledge) of their places. Perhaps a model will develop to value long-term creative residencies and thus support those art practitioners who develop rich ‘ecologies of practice (deeper relations between communities and their places)’ over the current emphasis of bringing outside artists to areas for short periods. Short residencies, at present, only allow superficial examination of ecological systems and do not foster deep community awareness for place. In some ways, as other researchers have noted, creatives working for places and community will have roles akin to those in Indigenous cultures, who reminded their communities of the beauty and preciousness of the environment through traditional creative activity.

[Photo Above] In her home area, Cathy advises and supports local Carlow-based artists on the successful eco-social framework for the Creative Ireland Carlow Drummin bog school art programme (2019) see here.

Cathy will be writing a significant document for future art activity for the area surrounding Carlow Drummin Bog following a significant Creative Ireland Award (2020-21).


Introductory talks can be offered.

Suitable for: adults, third-level art students, educators, curators, art researchers of all creative disciplines.

Cathy has taught undergraduate Art and Ecology programmes at the Burren College of Art, tutored MA and PhD art candidates, and has facilitated Art & Ecology sessions for the Cowhouse Studios, Co. Wexford. She has also provided lectures for Cork University and Dublin University of Technology third-level Landscape Architect students.


online 1-to-1 ecoliteracy guidance for your creative practice

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

Cathy has advised artists, musicians, composers and curators who endeavour to work with eco-social issues or concerns. Cathy has in-depth creative practice knowledge of the art and ecology field from her practice and research developed over two decades.

At present, Cathy suggests those interested in mentoring do the ecoliteracy online course first. It will be more cost effective for you and you can gauge if working together will be a good fit for your aims.



Cathy is available to write for Eco-themed Exhibitions, Calls for Applicants and Projects

Cathy’s research and writing skills evolved through her doctoral-level research in ecological art practice (The Ecological Turn, 2018) and her ongoing review of advances in the emergent art and ecology field, and her earlier career in writing scientific reports. Cathy has read widely across the art and ecology, ecocriticism, ecophilosophy and environmental ethics fields over many years. Her first art article was based on her undergraduate Fine Art thesis ‘Science and the Eclipse of the Earth’ (CIRCA, 2001).

Cathy’s advanced ecoliteracy and academic knowledge of environmental art, art and science, ecological art practice, ecocriticism, eco-philosophy, environmental ethics, can assist you in developing leading research and written articles, and design effective calls for exhibitions, art programmes and projects that aim to effectively address eco-social issues.

Cathy’s article ‘Goodbye Anthropocene – Hello Symbiocene’ (2019) first presented at NUIG and then at the international Anthropocene conference at Trinity College Dublin reviewed new ideas by philosopher Glenn Albrecht in his 2019 book ‘Earth Emotions‘ and how they might frame advances in situated eco-social art practice. It attracted over 1300 reads on her website and was later published in the book Plasticity of the Planet: On Environmental Challenge for At and Its Institutions (2019) and featured on the on the Australian initiated website: The Institute for Interdisciplinary Research into the Anthropocene (IIRA), Feb 10, 2020

See more of Cathy’s writings 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.

Cathy was invited to present her review on the absence of Irish art and sustainability policy by Professors Karen Till, Prof. 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). She was then invited to further develop and share this research at the Moore Institute, alongside Dr Iain Biggs (UK) NUIG, May 2019.


Policy research and writing expertise

Art & Sustainability Cultural 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.

Cathy’s critical fluency of ecological insights and language means she understands the radical shifts in Irish cultural policy that the ecological emergency will prioritise.

See all of Cathy’s research in this area here

Cathy was invited to contribute to the US Minding Nature print and online journal in 2019.
Creative Ireland (2019) Preliminary broad survey of cultural responses to climate change: Cathy’s Ecoliteracy work is cited in this initial report.
Cathy’s ecoliteracy development work and longterm eco-social art practice ‘The Hollywood Forest Story’ (begun 2008) were noted in the preliminary survey of Irish creative practitioners responding to ‘climate change’.


Screenshot 2018-08-11 09.04.11

Cathy Fitzgerald (PhD by Creative Practice) is a successful eco-social artist researcher and former 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 gaining an essential ecoliteracy can help you navigate confusing environmental science so you can work to confidently to respond to the eco-social issues that matter to you. Learning with Cathy you will have deep insight as to what knowledge, skills and aptitude are needed to develop inclusive ecological art practices and policy that can inspire lasting change for you, your place and community.

Interested in learning more, please contact Cathy Fitzgerald for more information below: