Art and Autonomy

Art and Autonomy: an interdisciplinary conference on expanding the space through art for autonomy in the world.

Date: 20th April 2018

Location: Theatre 1, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance

Free, all welcome. Booking is appreciated as it helps us to arrange catering.

You are invited to Art and Autonomy, a conference which is presented as part of The Autonomy Project.

The Autonomy project is a collaboration between multiple partners designed by Limerick Culture and Arts Office, Limerick and County City Council and independent artist Lisa McLoughlin, funded through the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaboration scheme.

This conference will be of particular interest to those involved in developing new artistic projects around themes of autonomy and society, as well as those involved in leading projects with young people. It will feature keynotes, film screenings and discussions, a book launch, a dance performance and a series of interdisciplinary papers. Please feel free to drop in if you cannot attend the whole day.

WORKING PROGRAMME (some details to be confirmed)

9.30: Introduction and Welcome to the Symposium

9.45 – 10.30: Keynote address from Jesse Jones

Jesse Jones is a Dublin-based artist. Her practice crosses the media of film, performance and installation. Often working through collaborative structures, she has been exploring how historical instances of communal culture may hold resonance in our current social and political experiences. Jones’ practice is multi-platform, working in film installation, performance and sculpture. Her recent work has examined how political movements and ideas might be expanded to institutional, performative gestures. Among her recent exhibitions, she represented Ireland at the 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (2017).

10.30 – 10.50: Tea and Coffee Break

10.50 – 12.30: Panel 1: Autonomy and the artist


Ella Clarke: Lecture on a Performer’s Biography

Ella Clarke graduated from the Perm State Ballet School and performed as a soloist with Perm Youth Ballet and Wexford Festival Opera before radically retraining her technique to contemporary dance and working with many of Ireland’s major companies and choreographers. A further transformation saw her evolve as a post-modernist solo performer, adapting works by eminent US choreographer Deborah Hay. Clarke earned her theatrical stripes through award-winning work with Selina Cartmell at The Gate Theatre and Jason Byrne at the Abbey Theatre. She has lectured in dance at The Conservatory of Vocal Opera and Drama at DIT for 16 years, while her work for theatre has led her to create a distinct technique to physicalise violent acts. Clarke has journeyed from the heart of classical ballet to the outer reaches of ‘acceptable’ public behaviour in search of the thing that makes her tick and makes art ‘art’.

Liz Quirke: “What Has My Body Done” – Expanding the Space of Irish Poetry to include Non-Biological Lesbian Motherhood: a practice-based reflection.

Liz Quirke is a poet who is pursuing a Creative Practice PhD NUI Galway. Her debut collection The Road, Slowly will be published by Salmon Poetry in April with poet Leanne O’Sullivan describing it as “a moving study of the ways in which we mother and in which we love.”

Brian Coates: The Dialectical Imagination: a study of Lucien Goldmann and T. S. Eliot.

Brian Coates retired as Senior Lecturer in English, University of Limerick, in 2005. He then joined the Interaction Design Centre as a Senior Research Fellow, before taking up a post in India. Recently he has been adviser/examiner in the Institute of Technology, Tralee, and is a postgraduate mentoring supervisor at Limerick Institute of Technology.

12.30 – 1.15: Lunch break

13.15 – 14.00 Keynote address from Dr Vittorio Bufacchi

Vittorio Bufacchi is Senior Lecturer in the philosophy department at University College Cork. He has also held teaching positions at UCD, the University of Manchester in the UK, and at Yale University, Dartmouth College and the University of Colorado in the US. His most recent books include Social Justice: Essays in Political Philosophy (2012) and Violence and Social Justice (2007), and he has also published a number of OpEd pieces in the Irish Times, the Irish Examiner, the Guardian and RTE Brainstorm. He is currently working on a book on human rights. See

14.00 – 14.20: Tea and Coffee Break

14.20 – 15.20: Panel 2

Speakers – Performing Autonomy

Katie Baseman: Imaginary Mappings of our Musical Worlds: How Metaphors create Boundaries around Autonomous Musical Traditions

Katie Baseman is a PhD student at the Irish World Academy studying under the direction of Dr. Niall Keegan. Katie is a flutist who resides in Limerick where she performs with the Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra and chamber orchestras in Limerick city. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Katie received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from universities in America.

John Nutekpor: Ghana National Theatre: The Significance of Audience value and choice in concert patronage

Over the past twenty three years (1994-2017), John Nutekpor has taught in Performing Arts tertiary institutions, Primary schools and High schools in Ghana. He has also engaged scholars from Europe and America by sharing his in-depth knowledge in Ghanaian Ewe traditional Music and Dance inherited from his late Grandfather Kosivi Nutekpor. He plays a number of western instruments ranging from brass to piano and composes choral style of music. While in Ireland since August 2017 as an MA in Festive Arts student, John has served as a guest lecturer in the IWAD and has introduced a festival event dubbed ‘Culture Cross Over’ in the Irish World Academy of music and Dance. His research interest is investigating the practices of how festival events could be used as a tool to integrate cultures. John is a recipient of the Stepping Stone Scholarship award.

Nell Smyth: Drama as a Physical and Social Art

Nell Smyth is an author, Middendorf Breath Practitioner and Steiner teacher currently working with teenagers aged 13 to 17 years in East Clare, at the ALFA Raheen Wood Steiner School, as well as in teacher training in Ireland and the United States. Her focus is on empowering artistry and imagination in the teacher and students and showing how drama can teach everything as an engine for active, integrated learning and therapeutic discovery.

15.20 – 15.30 – short break.

15.30 – 16.30: Screening of the multiple award-winning documentary ‘As Human as I Am’

Followed by a discussion with Alice McDowell (Director), Maurice Gunning (cinematographer), Leonie Kerins (CEO, Doras Luimní), and chaired by Professor Helen Phelan (UL).

As Human As I Am (30 minutes)
LGBTI activists in Nepal fight for the recognition of a ‘third gender’ category. Religious leaders in Malawi come face to face with the very people that they condemn. In Fiji, a school teacher challenges his students to question their belief that homosexuality is wrong.Sexual and gender minority groups around the world face many forms of discrimination and persecution. ‘As Human as I Am’ documents stories and strategies from LGBTI communities in Nepal, Malawi and Fiji, as they campaign for recognition, protection and inclusion. Although human sexuality and gender identity is incredibly diverse, everyone is born with the same right to live and love freely, without fear of oppression or exclusion.’As Human As I Am’ is a Galway Film Centre production. Directed and Produced by Alice McDowell. Cinematography by Maurice Gunning. Original music by Moisés Mas Garcia.

Winner of the July 2017 Edition, Lake View International Film Festival (India). Official Selection: Galway Film Fleadh, Transition: International Queer Minorities Film Festival (Austria), Our City Film Project (South Africa), Amnesty International Au Cinéma Pour Les Droits Humains (France), Leeds Queer Film Festival, Eko International Film Festival (Nigeria), Serile Filmului Gay International Film Festival (Romania), Ljublijana LGBT Film Festival, 10th Beijing Queer Film Festival, 22nd Madrid International Lesbian Gay and Transsexual Film Festival, Queer Kampala International Film Festival (Uganda), LGBT Film Festival Poland and the International Queer and Migrant Film Festival (The Netherlands).

16.30 – 17.15: Autonomy Project Partner Presentations

This discussion session will explore the outcomes of The Autonomy Project, with perspectives of the Youth Partners and young people.

The Autonomy Project partners include:

Music Generation Limerick City

Limerick Youth Theatre

GOSHH (Gender Orientation, Sexual Health, HIV)

Dance Limerick

17.15 – 18.00: Reception and Launch of Autonomy (edited by Kathy D’Arcy)

Autonomy is a women-led collection of stories, poems, memoirs, essays, articles, screenplays and more exploring what it means to have bodily autonomy.

Contributors include Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Claire Hennessy, Sinead Gleeson, Eleanor Hooker, Angela Carr, Elaine Feeney, Sarah Clancy, and many others.

18.00 – 19.00: Dinner break

19.00: Performance from John Scott Dance

John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre, was founded in 1991. The Dublin-based ensemble mixes virtuoso Irish andinternational dancers with African and Middle Eastern refugees and torture survivors. Scott has pioneered dance in Ireland. His work is witty, theatrical with startling imagery andaddresses ideas of diversity, love, metaphysics.


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