Ireland News

March 25 2022: The role of the artist in catalysing a wellbeing economy on the island of Ireland

Published on March 04, 2022

WEAll Campfire

Comhrá cois teallaigh

‘What is the role of the artist in catalysing a wellbeing economy on the island of Ireland?’

Friday 25th March 2022 – 19.30 – 21.00

A Blended – Online and Physical Event

Via Zoom and at: An Gairdín Beo, Old Dublin Rd. Carlow

This event follows on from the Irish WEAll Hub launch event in October 2021, ‘Breakdown or Breakthrough?: Catalysing the Wellbeing Economy’ with Katherine Trebeck, Jen Wallace and Kate Raworth.

This session focussed on a Social Imaginary project which the Ireland Hub’s core members have been discussing. The project is a co-production process – a community of practice of artists, activists and researchers exploring how we might imagine the wellbeing economy. 

Why focus on artists for this event?

In the words of Sandra Waddock, 

‘Often labelled visionaries, artists can serve as ‘seers’ of reality as it is, of what is that others do not see, and of what might be. They thus help frame and envision new cultural mythologies and social imaginaries. Artwork is more than beauty or decoration, it has the power to wake people up and create meaningful change. Art can be a compass towards the future we want to live in.’

We asked each contributor the question: 

What is the role of the artist in catalysing a wellbeing economy on the island of Ireland? 


Matt Baker 

Matt Baker is a Scottish public artist who has focused on long-term activist strategies for integrating creative practice into the social, economic and political structures of his home region in South West Scotland. He founded, and is based with, The Stove Network in the heart of Dumfries town centre, which is is the only Community Development Trust run by artists in Britain.

Rosie Lynch 

Rosie is the Creative Director of the Workhouse Union in Callan, County Kilkenny, which works with artists, designers, architects and crafts-people to develop projects examining housing, civic infrastructure and the commons, engaging people with the spaces and places we live. Her activities include work on Nimble Spaces, an innovative housing project developing long term collaborations between artists, architects and adults with a disability, considering ‘home’ and shared living. 

Thomas McShane

Thomas McShane is a native of North Carolina, with family links to Leitrim. He is a professional viola player and currently plays in ensembles throughout Ireland, including the National Symphony, Luminosa Music Galway, and the Ulster Orchestra. He is also a fluent Irish speaker and is completing a graduate diploma in Applied Irish at the University of Limerick.

Kevin Murphy

Kevin is the CEO of the Playhouse Derry, a local community theatre which uses the arts to promote healing, understanding, reconciliation and transformation between people and communities in or emerging from conflict. He is also a voluntary director of Wall2Wall Music which is involved in a range of community music, music education and cross-artform initiatives that seek to engage people in exploring their own creativity.

Sandra Waddock 

Sandra Waddock is an academic, holding the Galligan Chair of Strategy at Boston College, and an author whose latest book is Transforming towards Life-Centered Economics: How Business, Government, and Civil Society Can Build a Better World . She has carried out extensive research on transformational catalysts and on the special role of artists in creating social imaginaries.

Mel White

Mel White is a multi award winning spoken word artist, a resident of Cloughjordan Ecovillage and an active member of Extinction Rebellion Ireland (XRI). Her dynamic poetry comments on a variety of social and environmental issues, amid a backdrop of vivid imagery and personal stories. Mel is a regular performer at events all around Ireland, as well as numerous protests, community and educational events, literary gatherings, and Cloughjordan’s SpeakEATsy, which she co-hosts.

If you’d like to sign up to our mailing list in order to be kept informed of the WEAll Hub for Ireland’s activities, please go here

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