Cathy Fitzgerald in South County Leitrim, Ireland, the home of her Irish ancestors, in 1996 when she was working for the Crann Ireland Hedgerow project.
Timeline of Cathy Fitzgerald’s eco-social art practice and research informing her Haumea course programme
I was so delighted to see The Hollywood Forest Story and all involved in this work being written about so well by Paddy Woodworth, writer, journalist, and former art editor of The Irish Times (you can read it here ).
2019, Nov: First live Haumea workshop, Rathanna, South Carlow
Featured interview from workshop with Rachel ANdrews of Lyric FM
2019 Invitation to present at The Moore Institute, National Univ. of Galway on my eco-social art practice and national art and sustainability research.
I was invited by Dr Nessa Cronin, NUIG to again share my review on the absence on art and sustainability policy for Ireland, in Galway, in May 2019 with my former UK PhD supervisor Iain Biggs; Photo: 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.
2018 Creative Practice-led PhD : The Ecological Turn
Received my PhD by Creative Practice, for my original research on explaining long term ecological, eco-social art practices.
2018 ‘The Earth is Our Home’ seminar, Geography – Maynooth University
Invited by Prof Karen Till to lead a workshop and share my Art and Sustainability research study, funded by a County Carlow Arts Office award, at the Irish Conference of Geographers for an art and geography seminar ‘The Earth is Our Home’
2013 Proposed motion unanimously approved by Irish Green Party to support the developing international Law against the Crime of Ecocide
2012 Successful in guiding continuous cover forestry as key point of Irish Green Party Forest policy
Drafted, proposed and launched Irish Green Party Forest policy with others that has as its key point to move away from clearfell, monoculture plantations toward Continuous Cover forestry, May 11, 2013. This new ecological forest model is the basis of my PhD inquiry that allows me to examining deep sustainability through an art-led practice-theory inquiry in the small conifer plantation in which I am transforming to become a permanent forest.
2013: The Hollywood Forest Story featured in Joanna Macy inspired book: Stories of the Great Turning
Cathy Fitzgerald’s Hollywood Forest Story eco-social art practice was selected for inclusion in Joanna Macy’s inspired book, Stories from the Great Turning for the Great Turning Artful Chapter. Joanna Macy, now in her 80s is a leading Deep Ecologist/activist, educator and Buddhist scholar. I attended the launch, showed my film in Bristol 17 April 2013; and the book has been since launched in Sydney (by Deep Ecologist John Seed) London, Oxford, Manchester and elsewhere.
2009 December Culture| Futures Summit, Copenhagen
Attended the first international Culture and Climate conference, Culture|Futures (Copenhagen COP15Climate Summit, 2009). I wrote a review of this conference here. I later provided online web development support for the global culture and climate changeinitiative for Culturefutures.org (during 2011).
2008 – ongoing: The Hollywood Forest Story – an ongoing eco-social art practice (provided the creative practice-led evidence for my PhD)
Since 2008, The Hollywood Forest Story tells how new-to-Ireland continuous cover forestry is transforming a small conifer plantation into a permanent, mixed species forest. Its one new story for Earthly wellbeing. Its also a story of the social power of eco-social art practice to foster ecoliteracy and agency for creative practitioners and their audiences.
Transforming the conifer plantation I live in, into a permanent, Close to Nature forest in the woodland means I regularly work with forest specialist and policy-makers. I have been a committee member and PRO for Pro Silva Ireland since 2009 -the leading NGO on continuous cover forestry in Ireland. Key highlights include helping this new forestry be the key priority of the Irish Green Party in 2012.
2007 – 2010: ArtLinks Director
Inaugural director for 5-county professional development programme for creative practitioners in the SE of Ireland
For three years, I worked with the Arts Offices across 5 counties in the South East of Ireland. I helped deliver professional developments workshops to assist creative people from all art disciplines develop professional skills for their creative careers.
This position gave me insights to career challenges in diverse creative disciplines and informs my Haumea training to this day. I also found I had considerable online networking talents – developing an online community arts directory of 1300 creative practitioners for the former artlinks.ie website.
2005 Heteroptera – images of a mutating world
an exhibition by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger
curated by Cathy Fitzgerald
An exhibition of mutations in insects, painstakingly recorded by internationally acclaimed Swiss artist and former scientific illustrator, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger. Cornelia’s work came to international attention in the late 1980s when her artworks indicated that low level radiation, from the fallout of the Chernobyl disaster but also from the normal workings of nuclear power plants, contrary to nuclear scientists’ views, was and continues to have an effect on the environment.
2005: BA Festival of Science: A Different Language, Trinity College Dublin
I exhibited large embryo drawings at Trinity College Dublin, for the BA Festival of Science held at TCD Dublin following my art residency work with Prof. Paula Murphy, Zoology Dept, Trinity College Dublin.
2004: Art & Science Work featured in The Irish Times
The Irish Times featured my DNA artwork andreviewed my residency in the Zoology Lab in Trinity College, Dublin.
‘An artist’s eye in the Laboratory, 2004‘ by Cormac Sheridan, see here
2000: Art and research science trip to count seabirds on unpeopled South Pacific atoll: Suwarrow, Cook Islands
This trip all came about because my New Zealand friend Rhys, a scientist who I had worked alongside at the NZ MIRINZ agricultural research institute in the 1990’s, told me lots about this unique atoll. We never realised that one day that we would both visit and catalogue its bird population. I did this trip just after completing my BA in Fine Art.
Years later, just as I was beginning my ecological art forest work The Hollywood Forest Story, see above, I created a short film essay ‘once I counted birds’ (2009). This trip was pivotal for me in thinking how my ecological work serves and connects with local and global concerns.
1996-2002: BA and MA Fine Art –
National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland
Received a 1st-Class honours for my art and science degree show The Last Frontier in 2000. An article from my undergrad thesis ‘Science and the Eclipse of the Earth’ was published in CIRCA -the Irish Contemporary Art magazine in 2001.
My MA show, continued an art and science theme – The Passion Survey (2002) was a digital survey and video installation at The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. During this time I explored online media and video, skills I have found invaluable for the collaborative, durational nature of my work, where I have fostered audiences locally and overseas.
1997 CRANN IRISH HEDGEROW &
RARE TREE CALENDAR
In 1997, I wrote the text and completed original illustrations of rare Irish native hedgerow shrubs and trees for a Crann (re-leafing Ireland) Hedgerow Awareness project I was working on with Noel Kieran, Neil Foulkes and John Matthews from 96-97. Co-author and forester, Noel Kiernan’s knowledge of Irish forests played an enormous part in bringing this calender project together as well as collecting the specimens.
I’ve never lost my interest in forests and trees since this project – somehow its my link to the forests I miss back in Aotearoa/New Zealand. See my ongoing creative eco-social art practice – The Hollywood Forest Story begun in 2008
1986-94 Senior Microbiology Research Technician, AgResearch, Aotearoa New Zealand
My first research science job kept me interested for a decade before I left for Ireland, the home of my ancestors. I still appreciate the collaborative, teamwork of research science. During this job, I co-authored and illustrated a 300-page microbiology methods manual – I’ve always wanted to help share knowledge with others using my creative skills.
Recent writings and research
Fitzgerald, C (2020) ‘The Hollywood Forest Story: understanding why place-making develops ecoliteracy and social power for the Symbiocene’. Editor Cara Courage in: Place-Making Handbook: Research, Theory and Practice. London Routledge. In Press.
Fitzgerald, C (2019) ‘The Hollywood Forest Story—Eco-Social Art Practice for the Symbiocene, Minding Nature, Fall 2019. (Leading US art ecology philosophy journal). pp.53-9.
Fitzgerald, C (2019) ‘Goodbye Anthropocene – Hello Symbiocene: eco-social art practices for a new world’ in “Plasticity for the Planet: On Environmental Challenge for Arts and its Institutions” by editor Magdalena Ziolkowska, Centre for Contemporary Art U-jazdowski Castle, Warsaw. Milan: Mousse Publishing. This book accompanies the international exhibition Human-Free Earth (2019) curated by Jaroslaw Lubiak.
Invited speaker by Dr. Nessa Cronin, Irish Studies, NUIG to present ‘Cultural Climates: Fostering Art for Sustainability – Time for a New Cultural Policy?’ to Galway artists and academics, Moore Institute, NUIG, 14 May 2019.
Invited speaker and workshop facilitator for 50th Conference of Irish Geographers, for art and geography panel and workshop ‘The Earth is our Home’, Maynooth University 10 May, see a summary online powerpoint slideshow here
Fitzgerald, Cathy (2018) The Ecological Turn: Living Well with Forests to articulate eco-social art practices with a Guattari ecosophy and action research framework. PhD by Practice thesis, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland.
Fitzgerald, Cathy (2018) The Hollywood Forest Story eBook: LIVING WELL WITH A FOREST TO EXPLAIN ECO-SOCIAL ART PRACTICE (the cultural artefact for the PhD by Practice, 2018). The audiovisual ebook is available from the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/book/the-hollywood-forest-story/id1441958722?mt=11
Fitzgerald, Cathy (2017) Creative Carlow Futures: an art and sustainability report for Co. Carlow and Ireland
If life gifts you the opportunity to work with Cathy Fitzgerald, consider yourself lucky. If you are a policy-maker, please listen to her wise counsel. If you are considering signing up for one of her courses, do so posthaste. If you are a patron of the arts, get out your check-book and put a lot of zeroes after that first positive integer.
Cathy is an incredible resource for art education institutes, art organisations 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.
Cathy has an excellent mind, both creative and analytical. She has education and training in the sciences, including a long stint as a research tech, yet she retains the sensitivity and soul of an artist.
Cathy’s work as an artist reminds me of a lecture Toni Morrison gave, in which the Nobel laureate lamented that the problem with so much of the art these days is that it isn’t *about* anything. As a philosopher I can confidently say that Cathy’s work is not only about something, but it’s about some of the most important things.
Whether you seek out Cathy as an artist, teacher, collaborator, or adviser, you will find her a delight to engage with, and a genuinely warm and ethical person. I encourage you to work with her and to support her work.
philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis