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Conference – we make our own histories – The Artist and the Museum

May 21 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm


This conference at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History brings together artists, educators, curators and activists to explore the role of artists in museums, consider the impact of artists’ residencies and explore how socially engaged art and other contemporary artist engagements can be fostered as a core strand of work of the museum.

It is part of the Museum’s programme of events at the culmination of Anthony Haughey’s residency and his exhibition, we make our own histories, on display at Collins Barracks until 30 June 2024.

Haughey’s is one of five residencies funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport, and Media to mark the latter years of the Decade of Centenaries, in the context of a changing Ireland, 100 years after the formation of the state.

Speakers include American artist, writer and educator Gregory Sholette, the National Museum’s Artist in Residence 2021 – 24 Anthony Haughey and Decade of Centenaries Artist in Residence, Beyond 2022 Mairéad McClean.

This conference will take place in the Palatine Room at Collins Barracks from 9am to 4pm on Tuesday, 21st May.

It is open to the public. Admission is free and booking is essential via Eventbrite.

Coffee/Registration – 9am

Artist’s tour of the we make our own histories exhibition – 9.30am
Anthony Haughey – Decade of Centenaries Artist-in-Residence, National Museum of Ireland

Welcome – 10.15am
Lynn Scarff – Director, National Museum of Ireland

Keynote Address: Troubling the Museum – 10.30am
Gregory Sholette –  Artist, writer and educator

Coffee Break – 11.15am

Panel discussion: Activist, Artist, Agitator? – 11.45am
Éimear O’Connor – Head of Collections, National Museum of Ireland
Anthony Haughey – Decade of Centenaries Artist in Residence, National Museum of Ireland
Dónal Maguire –  Keeper, National Museum of Ireland
Mairéad McClean – Decade of Centenaries Artist in Residence, Beyond 2022
Chair: Sharon Heal –  Director, Museums Association UK

Reflection – 12.30pm
Martin Drury – Artist, activist, advocate, and writer

Lunch – 12.45pm

Panel discussion: The impacts of artists working in museums on museums, their visitors and their communities – 2pm
Aoife O’Brien – Curator, National Museum of Ireland
Lauretta Igbosonu – Participant in National Museum Residency
Leina Ibnouf – Participant in National Museum Residency
Agrippa Njanina – Community Engagement Officer, National Museums Northern Ireland
Chair: Damien McGlynn – Director, Create National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts

Break – 2.45pm

Panel Discussion: What does best practice look like and what do museums need to do to embed this work? – 3pm
Lynn Scarff –  Director, National Museum of Ireland
Helen Beaumont – Education Officer, National Museum of Ireland
Gregory Sholette –  Artist, writer and educator
Jonathan Cummins – Artist and curator of we make our own histories
Gemma Reid – Artist and member of Quarto Collective
Janice Hough – Curator, IMMA
Chair: Gina O’Kelly – Director, Irish Museums Association

Closing words – 3.45pm
Lynn Scarff –  Director, National Museum of Ireland
Martin Drury –  Artist, Writer and Educator

End – 4pm

Please note that this programme may be subject to change

About the speakers:

Anthony Haughey is a socially engaged artist, photographer, filmmaker and lecturer at TU Dublin. His co-authored and solo artworks have been exhibited and collected by museums and galleries nationally and internationally.

Martin Drury, practitioner and policy-maker for 45 years, trained and worked as a teacher of English before becoming variously Arts Education Officer (Sligo/Leitrim); Artistic Director of TEAM Educational Theatre Co; Education Officer of the Arts Council; Founding Director, The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children; Arts Director & Strategic Development Director at the Arts Council. His directing CV includes 20+ productions for the Abbey, Druid, Opera Theatre Company, Second Age, The Ark, Barnstorm and TEAM. He is a former board member of the Ireland Funds, of Music Generation and of Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, and a former Honorary Fellow in Psychology at UCD. He has been active in shaping cultural policy through membership of key committees and working groups and he has researched, written and edited numerous reports and studies in the field of the arts, especially in the contexts of education and young people. He is currently writing The Arts, the State and Young People: Cultural Policy, Provision and Practice (1920-2020).

Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, is an expert panellist on public engagement, environmental education, and community regeneration, A former Director and change leader at the Science Gallery Dublin, she has delivered multiple community-led programmes, including for children and young people. An advocate for the participative museum, her research focuses on museum collaborations with under-represented groups. She has authored extensively on museum and education practice and has delivered projects funded competitively by Science Foundation Ireland, the Wellcome Trust, Horizon 2020 and Creative Europe. Board memberships include the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun.

Éimear O’Connor is an art historian and author with extensive experience as a curator and collections manager. O’Connor joined the National Museum of Ireland as Director of Collections and Access in October 2023.

More to follow…


National Museum of Ireland


National Museum of Ireland
Collins Barracks
Dublin, D07 XKV4 Ireland
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