Purple background with culture connects conversation written in white on top. White British Council, British Embassy and IMMA logos are at the bottom of the page.

In British Council one of the things we strive to do is to find new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts by building creative and collaborative communities that inspire innovation, knowledge, prosperity and peace. On 22 January 2024 British Council Ireland got the opportunity to do just that, as we were delighted to host a Culture Connects Conversation in the Irish Museum of Modern Art looking at the intersection of art and identity.

This panel, which was held prior to the launch of the Identity Postcards Display in IMMA, saw an audience of secondary school children (12-17 years old) from Ireland and Northern Ireland come together with other audience members to hear from artists from across Ireland, Norhtern Ireland and England on how their identity interacts with and influences their artistic practice. This conversation was preceded by a short talk from Christine Wilson, Director Research & Insight at the British Council. During this talk Christine spoke on the new Global Perceptions Survey which was launched by British Council in 2023.

The panel on the day comprised of the following contributors;

The panel was moderated by Annie Fletcher, Director of Irish Museum of Modern Art

A noted International Curator, Annie joined IMMA from the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands where she was Chief Curator. Annie Fletcher has extensive leadership experience in the contemporary arts. In addition to her role as Chief Curator at Van Abbemuseum she is a tutor at de Appel, Amsterdam, the Dutch Art Institute (DAI) and the Design Academy Eindhoven, and regularly worked with art institutions around the world including the SALT Istanbul, New Museum, New York, and L’Internationale network and De Appel Art Centre, Amsterdam. In 2012 she was Curator of Ireland’s Contemporary Art biennale EVA International and is regularly called upon to sit on major International juries, including the Turner Prize in 2014 and the selection committee for the Irish Pavilion at Venice in 2016. Annie attended the CoMuseum Conference in Athens as an Irish delegate in December 2023. 

Joy Gerrard, Artist

Joy, educated in Dublin with Tipperary links, lives and works in Belfast. She graduated with an MA and MPhil from the Royal College of Art, London. Gerrard is known for multimedia work that investigates different systems of relations between crowds, architecture and the built environment. Her studio practice investigates protest crowds and occupation of urban spaces, archiving media images from the Brexit and Trump Resistance, Occupy movement, Arab Risings and many more. Recent solo exhibitions include shot crowd at the Royal Hibernian Academy, 2017 and Protest Crowd, Peer UK, London, 2015.

Rita Duffy, Artist

Born in Belfast, Rita Duffy attended the Art and Design Centre and the University of Ulster. Her art is often autobiographical, and reflects on Irish identity, history and politics. Duffy was awarded the Gold Medal, Royal Ulster Academy of Arts in 2006. Her work is held in public collections including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; The Drawing Museum, New York; and the Office of Public Works, Dublin. Rita lives on one side of the border and her studio is on the other. Her work traverses themes and images of Irish identity, history, and politics and her work is often both personal and autobiographical.

Thomas Wells, Artist and member of Array Collective

The Array Collective is a group of 11 artists who create collaborative actions in response to socio-political issues affecting Northern Ireland. The collective is comprised of artists from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain. They won the 2021 Turner Prize for their work entitled The Drúithaib’s Ball. Array have been working together since 2016 and are motivated by the growing anger around human rights issues happening at the time. They reclaim and question traditional identities in the North of Ireland using humour and DIY approaches.

A full recording of the panel, including an intro from British Council Ireland Country Director, Dr. Kerry McCall Magan, and talk from Christine Wilson, can be viewed below.