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'Avant-Gardening is an arts and environment project aimed at engaging 
all sectors of the community with environmental and sustainability issues 
through art, gardening and food. Avant-Gardening aims to solicit the 
community's creative responses to issues such as global warming, 
recycling and bio-diversity through an ongoing and organically evolving 
programme of arts which will give a voice to the participants and 
involve them in cutting-edge arts projects and activities. 

Avant-Gardening brings fun and creativity into the city's urban green 
spaces and encourages participants to reconsider the local environment 
and their interaction with it. 

These aims will be achieved through a programme that introduces 
participants to contemporary arts practice and environment and 
sustainability issues. We will work with artists with an interest in 
the urban environment and socially-engaged practice; including 
publicworks, Lisa Cheung and Rob Rainbow (formerly of The Light Surgeons)
 to develop ambitious projects that are as artistically valid as they 
are socially-engaged. Avant-Gardening is developed and programmed 
by Paul Green and Polly Brannan.'

Avant Gardening is based in East London, UK.
Above: Mobile Allotment, by Lisa Cheung. Image held here.
Amateur Hour is a showcase for exciting new learning, skills,
entertainment and public actions. Submissions in any form welcome
to selfinterestandsympathy@

Food to match the landscape.

This edition of Amateur Hour features a special on hobbies/ crafts that
found new necessity in postwar Britain:
Animal husbandry: Penguin handbook (originally published 1941, recently
re-editioned) Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps &
Gardening & Knitting (both currently enjoying a lifestyle-y renaissance):
two wartime posters by Abram Games, Please Knit Now and Grow Your Own
Food. Read the rest of this entry »

AFTER is the name for a series of public art events forthcoming in counties Leitrim and Roscommon.

AFTER received its final injection of arts funding from the Arts Council in late June, coinciding almost exactly with the ‘announcement’ of the Recession in the economy. As such, the work the artists have developed over the last year is bound to resonate with the sense of an aftermath that currently pervades discourse about the Irish economic and cultural landscape – what we are left with in the wake of our decade of growth and ‘success’; how these resources and developments have been used (or squandered); what will happen to a rural landscape in particular that shows half-occupied, half-abandoned housing developments, and sodden plywood boards declaring computerised visions of dwellings that will never be?

From the project website:

AFTER is interesting in that it seeks to respond to changes in the Irish landscape arising from the unprecendented economic growth of recent years. To our knowledge, there has been no collective artistic endeavour which has sought to negotiate this terrain. It is also noteworthy that these public art interventions – rather than been initiated from within organisational/ institutional frameworks, as is the norm – are artist-led in concept, commissioning, design and delivery.

The title of the project, conceived months ago, suggests that the current ‘economic downturn’ did not necessitate a clairvoyant prediction (as some suggest) but was rather more marked by inevitability. The works developed by the artists make responses and proposals that are alternatively pragmatic and poetic; offering tentative solutions and/ or positions of dispute.

The artists involved in the project are Alice Lyons, Anna McLeod, Carol Anne Connolly, Christine Mackey and Gareth Kennedy, who participated in a residency that was faciltated by Alfredo Jaar as part of the TRADE programme delievered by Leitrim and Roscommon local authorities. The launch of the project is September 6th 2008 at the Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Project website with extensive information on artists and works here


February 9th 2008, Glendade Lake, Leitrim, Ireland.


A previous post dealt with the Sligo Silver Rush – now the propsecting focus has shifted to Co. Mayo.

A company’s plan for a “small scale” gold mine in Co Mayo is running into determined opposition from groups who fear the project would damage the landscape and environment. The controversy echoes the row which embroiled mining companies Glencar and Andaman Resources when they tried to exploit gold resources at Creggaunbaun, near Louisburgh, and Croagh Patrick in the early 1990s.

“Mayo’s Gold Limited”, a subsidiary of Aurum Explorations, is seeking the go-ahead for what the company describes as a “tourist gold mine” at Creggaunbaun which would primarily be involved in the manufacture of jewellery. Mining would be carried out in an environmentally sensitive process similar to “keyhole surgery” the company promises, and Croagh Patrick would be out of bounds for the venture.

However, concern was expressed at the weekend that Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan had declared his intention to grant prospecting licences to the company in respect of 135 designated townlands. Mayo County Councillor Margaret Adams says there are a lot of unanswered questions about the company’s plans. Representatives should be invited to a meeting to explain their exact proposals, she said. Westport Tourism has also discussed the company’s proposals and says all its members are strongly opposed to them.

Paddy Hopkins, chairman of the Mayo Environmental Group, says the proposal will meet the same level of determined opposition as the plans by Glencar and Andaman to mine gold at Cregganbaun and Croagh Patrick did on the last occasion. “We are trying to get as many groups and individuals as possible to write to Minister Ryan opposing the granting of the prospecting licences.”

In a document sent to local landowners in the Creggaunbaun area, Mayo’s Gold Limited says it is offering “a completely new approach” to any potential extraction of local gold resources.

Company spokesman Tom O’Gorman said it is thought sufficient gold resources can be established to provide a sustainable development which would provide long-term employment and a unique tourism attraction in the area for 20 or more years.

From Tom Shiel at The Irish Times & Friends of the Irish Environment


During the week in Dingle, the visiting artist’s presentations, work habits, cooking, and going over fences was documented by Lanca, a documentary film maker. This flipped on its head the usual position of the visiting artist as a kind of quasi-ethnographer or pseudo anthropologist. Above: Lanca films a rock.


Portion of bread given to Thomas Ash while on Hunger Strike, Dingle Library/ Leabharlann Daingean Uí Chúis

Yesterday’s words were gathered around the town from conversation, observation, questions, emails and books. It’s interesting to observe a picture of the place emerging, and how that’s informed by the words I’m trying to extract. I’m aware that these words are impositions I’m making, more in the spirit of addition than uncovering, and it’s interesting to watch myself doing that. Now that the week is ending, and the presentation is due to happen today, my ability or attempts to think a little bit more through Irish are sadly dissipating.

Previous posts have addressed the topic of nostalgia, and mentioned how different and particular words are present for it in different languages. Almost invariably these words emerge at the formation of a new national state, or come to consciousness after a war or revolution. (See this post) I was interested in the possibility of there being an Irish equivalent after the emergence of the Free State, and I’ve been trying to track it down. Part of this journey of course lies in the extrapolation of what nostalgia is or feels like – longing, sadness, homesickness, sentimentality… and for what – place, time, or something else. It was interesting to see these conversations emerge from the question (asked in Irish) about how to locate this feeling, idea, single word. 

Suggestions made to me and argued over included uaigneas (more like ‘loneliness’); bheith buartha; maoineachas. Most people were unable to locate an exact word, which makes me think perhaps I am looking at the question backwards in terms of ‘untranslatabilty’. Finally I ended up with a series of dictionaries in the library – the most appropriate place really (see photos) – and reached what seems to be the definitive answer: cumha.

Yesterday’s words: tír grátheoir (patriot – literally ‘country-lover’); ag iompú catsúla ar (making eyes at); cuidsúlach (eyecatching); tnúthán (longing); cúlaitheach (retrogressive); barántúil/ údarach/ intaofa (authentic); sochar (profit); inneach na cainte (texture of speech)


Fúadach [elopement]

Daonleathas [democracy]

Cró na Snáthaire [eye of the needle]

Spiléar  [fishing line of hooks] – sp.

? [make a living]

Fiach mhara [shag]; fiach dubh [raven]

Bleach [sound]

Maoineachas [nostalgia?]

Raitleach [hag] – on scannán an lá cheana féin

Raibiléire [hussy] – on scannán an lá cheana féin 



Thanks to Danny for the guided cliff walk and the words that flowed into the landscape.

For what has taken me to Dingle/ Daingean Uí Chúis this week see here. I’m here with artists Katie Holten, Ben Geoghegan and Andrew Duggan.


Photograph by Gareth Kennedy

November 2020