On-line Artist in Residency - Rachel Rothwell
Test Space Residency
This Spring/Summer, Pages hosts 1 Online Artist in Residency - Rachel Rothwell, for 8 weeks (late April - early June) as part of the ongoing Test Space Residency programme at Limerick City Gallery of Art.
Test Space Residency is a new and forward-thinking residency model that aspires to meet the needs of a wide range of art practitioners. It considers the availability of LCGA space both physically and virtually.
Rachel Rothwell will utilise this LCGA virtual space – Pages, a temporary online website platform, to platform her work in residency. Her work will align with LCGA's commitment to an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Policy, working with specific communities and research in the areas of people, place and material.
See across for more information, and keep posted here on Pages for more updates over the coming 8 weeks.
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Above: Limerick City Gallery of Art is delighted to launch the Introductory in-conversation between On-site and On-line Test Space Spring/Summer 2022 Artists in Residence, led by Curator/Director Una McCarthy and Residency Coordinator Sara Dowling. Click here for more.
Above: Test Space Spring/Summer 2022 On-line Artist in Residence Rachel Rothwell speaks about her time in residency so far, supported remotely by Limerick City Gallery of Art. Rachel is based between Wexford and London, and is conducting a new series of research investigating Limerick city and it's histories.
Her upcoming online workshop is storytelling inspired and will work with a local community, linking in with topics relating to LCGA's commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity. Visit www.limerickgallerypages.com for more.. Click here for more.
As part of the ongoing Spring/SummerTest Space Residency programme, LCGA is delighted to announce an EDI (Equality Diversity and Inclusion) Workshop that will take place online this Thurs 2nd June.
Artist Rachel Rothwell will host invited participants from U3A - The University of the Third Age, an international movement of older people which aims to encourage people in their third age to come together and continue their enjoyment of learning in subjects of interest to them.
This workshop will be storytelling and narrative sharing, reflecting Rachel's current residency research, which focuses on exploring the history of place and people specific to Limerick City.
About Rachel Rothwell
Born in Wexford, Rachel Rothwell studied ceramics at the Limerick School of Art and Design, graduating in 2012. In 2013 she spent 12 months in South Korea, where she was an active member of both the Daejeon Arts Collective and the Professional Artist Network Korea (PANK), exhibiting regularly around the country. From 2015-2017 she lived and worked in Montreux, Switzerland, where she was secretary and resident artist at the arts association Loft A46 and held solo shows in Dublin and Switzerland before completing her MFA degree in Socially Engaged Art at the Haute École d’Art et de Design (HEAD) in Geneva in 2019. She has exhibited in several locations across Ireland, Switzerland, Finland and Germany as well as South Korea.
In 2020, she returned to Ireland, where she was an assistant artist in the Living Arts Project 2020-2021. She also received an artist bursary from Creative Ireland and Wexford County Council, with which she set up the community social history project Wexford Stories. She was a lead artist in the Living Arts Project from 2021-2022, completing an 8 week residency at Scoil Mhuire in Co. Wexford. In 2021 she was the recipient of an Arts Council Agility Award; with which she conducted series of interviews with other socially-engaged artists, curators and educators, culminating in the e-publication Talking Out Loud.
She is currently a resident artist at St. George’s University Hospital in London.
Work in Progress
Rachels early Test Space residency research is interested in gathering stories, inspired by mapping and the community.
'Maps are a great entry point into a city. They not only give direction, but provide a bird's eye view of a space, difficult to piece together from the ground. The names of streets, lanes, alleys and bridges provide glimpses into the past and hints at past lives lived there.
Do you have any stories about the street names in Limerick?'
Map 1: A 1587 map of Limerick, taken from Historical Maps of Ireland by Michael Swift, Chartwell Books Inc, 1999. Map 2: Map of old city with overlay of modern streets and reclaimed land, image taken from Maps and Texts: Exploring the Irish Historic Towns Atlas edited by Sarah Gearty and H.B. Clarke
Link to Bruno Latour's Ville Invisible website (http://www.bruno-latour.fr/virtual/EN/index.html) for further reading, along with images below provided by the artist.
'I've also been thinking about observation and the macro/micro ways of viewing a city. There is something quite interesting about really focusing in on where you are and what you can sense around you, then considering where it sits in the bigger picture.'
Memories are a snapshot in time, do you have any memories of growing up in Limerick to share? (You can submit your story across)
Conacre: the letting of small strips of land for the purposes of tillage
The story of a place is never from just one angle. Limerick has a remarkable history of social engagement and just one example of this is the history of its allotments. Originally conceived as a way to support the unemployed, various spots around the city were allocated to the public over the years.
(Images above provided by the artist)
'The language used by officials in organising these plots is at odds with the visceral, tactile nature of working a plot of land and growing one’s own food. Small disputes over tools and fencing are voiced and bargains struck with landowners through the medium of paper..
.. During the second world war, allotments were also opened to the employed as the local government attempted to tackle the ‘serious food position’, as it is referenced in these letters, from 1941 onwards, writing to an array of locals who they understood had land available and would perhaps be interested in renting out.
Placenames pepper the archives: Mungret St, Spittal, Thomondgate and Pike Field to name a few. They are spread around the city and its environs, showing both the appetite for and the flexibility needed in order to bring such projects to fruition, something equally necessary in their modern-day counterparts. It’s an interesting exercise to compare a social endeavour from the 1930’s with today’s efforts to find green space in our urban environments and ensure equality of access to nature.
(Images above provided by the artist)
.. Italo Calvino rightly pointed out that “every life is an encyclopaedia, a library, an inventory of objects” and in combining real lives and memories with these official documents, we can achieve an understanding of place that is richer, more diverse, that sparks dialogue and can fill us with ideas for the future.'
Thanks to the Limerick City and County Council Archives Service for letting me share a few letters from their digital archive which you can find online here, as well as to historian Sharon Stone for providing her knowledge of where some allotment areas were in the city.
This artwork is a practical object, used to support a discussion on community and shared spaces, yet remains a piece of art in its own right. The notebooks are tools for a conversation. They are small, light, easy to travel with when stuffed into a pocket, yet their fold-out format means they grow in size once they are activated. They become a page of thoughts, with space for many people to read and discuss them together, making notes and additions in the blank spaces. I chose to make these notebooks in two languages (French and English) and two formats (fold-out book and poster) to maximise their accessibility and to reflect the bilingual nature of my experience in this project. The goal is not to find a single answer for what community is, but to take a moment to talk about our lives together, our shared spaces and how our everyday actions can have an impact on others.
2. Wexford Stories
The aim of this project was to engage the community of Wexford Town in a discussion on ‘sense of place’ and ‘identity’, exploring the local landscape through memory. I created a website and online platform where people could submit and share their memories, creative writing and poetry about Wexford (www.wexfordstories.com), which I would then add to a digital map. I received submissions not only from the local community, but from many people who had a connection with Wexford county. During the pandemic, this became a welcoming space where many could share their memories of home, local history and personal stories linked to place at a time when physical connection was not possible.