LINEN BIENNALE 2023, Revive and Renew
R-Space Gallery, Northern Ireland

“The Linen Biennale is a cultural festival that stimulates new thinking about Ireland’s oldest textile, linen. Rooted in heritage, the Linen Biennale forms a bridge to connect Northern Ireland’s internationally renowned linen heritage with contemporary uses.” Anthea McWilliams and Robert Martin, R-Space Gallery, Lisburn Northern Ireland

Linen Biennale, Threads Unpicked, Blog Post

During the evening launch of the exhibition Connected Emotions by Jill Phillips art therapists Pamela Whitaker and Bridget Nugent facilitated self-care rituals with participants both individually and collectively. They enacted becoming in relation to the material (and fabric) of peoples’ lives. There were opportunities for personalised encounters, performative remedies and collective ceremony. 

“Cloth is intimate, another skin, a boundary and a caress. It designates function and also entwines a story.”

MATERIALisation was supported by Belfast School of Art.


European Federation of Art Therapy Conference, June 2023

Art Academy of Latvia 

Coalescence: Art Therapy and Material Culture

The word coalescence refers to the merging of materials to form new compositions. Its association with production contributes to the profession of art therapy by featuring the significance of material culture within both the theory and practice of art therapy. The term materialisation (the process of coming into being) was introduced in relation to art therapy’s contribution to contemporary material and visual culture scholarship related to textiles. Encouraging the inclusion of fabric and fibre arts within art therapy offers new ways of exploring stories as they are told not only through words, but through the rhythm of going in and out of strands of meaning.


Belfast Exposed Photography


Belfast Exposed Photography Gallery

Healing Through Photography Conference: Seeing Through a Different Lens 

A conference examining the use of photography to support mental health.

Keynote: Challenging Health Outcomes Integrating Care Environments for Long Term Service Users of Mental Health

The Photo Voice research project at Belfast Exposed is a feature of CHOICE (Challenging Health Outcomes – Integrating Care Environments) which is a collaborative research project with people who are long term service users of mental health services co-produced with a community coalition of mental health advocates. The Photo Voice series has been initiated at Belfast Exposed with lived experience experts who are documenting their life experiences through photography and spoken narratives. Photo Voice is a form of visual storytelling and it has been utilised for health promotion and social empowerment. The overall aim of the research is to co-produce innovative arts-based approaches to tackle social exclusion and the reduction of health inequities. CHOICE is led by Professor Gerard Leavey, Director of the Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing at Ulster University. 

Link to conference website

Link to CHOICe website:

Putting Down Roots

Northern Ireland Science Festival 2023

Putting Down Roots: Making Nature at Home 

A workshop for families who would like to learn more about organic gardening and how to cultivate biodiversity in their home gardens. Making nature is an opportunity to craft a family garden that is imaginative, ecological and makes nature a part of everyday family life. Family gardens are an outdoor studio where everyone’s nature has a place to be cultivated and tended. A family garden is a living art installation and a place to grow.

The Walking Studio

ESRC Festival of Social Science

The Walking Studio: The Art of Urban Exploration was a joint outreach and experiential art and urban design workshop led by Pamela Whitaker and Saul Golden (Ulster University, Northern Ireland). The event was composed of art and urban design methodologies involving walking conversations and techniques with members of the public on a tour of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter cultural district.

The walk offered participants an opportunity to explore art galleries and sites of urban art, aiming to imagine Belfast as a canvas for creative living. The event included critical observations and discussions about the inclusion, diversity and at-times appropriation of art in the built environment, and the impacts of art in the public realm on individual/collective wellbeing. Participants created portable artworks as part of their journey through activities curated in public spaces.

Dundalk Youth Centre Live Art

Groundswell worked with the Dundalk Youth Centre to develop a series of pop up performance art events. Performane art can be a way of making something happen on the streets, using art to get in contact with people and to make a difference in everyday life. Performance art is a live art form, and the Dundalk Youth Centre performance art group shared art remedies, positive pieces of advice, and site specific movement installations under the heading Art Cures.



Performance Art…

Physical and Spoken Graffiti

A Live Art

A Way of Getting Your Message Out in the Open

Creating a ‘Scene’ that Pops Up  in Everyday Places

Mixing Words, Art, and Physical Actions

A Way to Make an Impact

An Opportunity to Share Ideas and Experiences

A Chance to Make Something Unexpected Happen

This project was supported by Create Louth, The Arts Service of Louth County Council


The Nature Studio


The Nature Studio, 2014 Culture Night Ireland, An Táin Arts Centre,

The Nature Studio was composed of environmental artworks by residents of St. John of God North East Services, St. Mary’s Drumcar, County Louth.

The landscape of this residential health service is composed of gardens and forests that inspire artistic creation. Residents encounter the natural world through walking, observation and touch, providing the inspiration for art forms that reference the environment as a habitat for creativity.

The artworks were made in a forest studio using natural materials. The exhibition itself was also a studio and workshop space. Local primary school students were invited to co-create with service users of St. John of God Day Services as part of the exhibition’s community outreach ethos.

Biodiversity Training for Primary Schools Activists



This project will highlight the European Year of Active Citizenship by implementing a series of training workshops for local communities and biodiversity Green Schools. Primary schools will participate in a challenge to improve their local environment, by ecologically transforming an area of neglected land within their communities.

Members of Tidy Towns Together, County Louth will learn how to develop biodiversity gardens through a series of training workshops, that will combine practical gardening skills with strategies for organising community celebrations. Ecologically friendly gardening, media promotion, event management, and social activism will be features of the training agenda for participating primary schools and Tidy Towns communities.

This project is supported by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government


Young Guerrilla Gardeners


Groundswell, in conjunction with Louth County Council Environment Section, works with groups of primary school children, training them to become guerrilla gardeners. Guerrilla gardeners transform neglected areas of community landscapes into productive or decorative gardens. Collaborating with local Tidy Towns groups the children act as gangs of environmental activists, cultivating nature within local towns and villages.

Each primary school’s group of guerrilla gardeners choose a tag name based on Irish tree or wild flower. From garden design and cultivation to pubic events and environmental education, these troops of young guerrilla gardeners act as leaders in a campaign to change the nature of local landscapes.

This project is supported by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Art Out Loud


What Art Means to Children

Artwork: The Foot Series by Gemma Tipton

Art Out Loud offered primary school children the opportunity to interact with artworks from the County Louth Art Collection at the Basement Gallery, Dundalk. Children discussed the artworks in regards to their own life experiences and perspectives. The goal of the project was to offer children the opportunity to engage with contemporary art as a springboard for their own ideas and inspiration. The Basement Gallery become a space for children to reflect upon their own identities and life stories in relation to themes evoked within a selection of thought provoking images.

The children developed a large installation composed of personal objects that they brought from home, i.e. toys, hobby materials, sports gear, photos, souvenirs, games, memorabilia, etc. This collaborative installation was generated as a dialogue with the Art Out Loud exhibition.

This project was supported by Create Louth, The Arts Service of Louth County Council