Shifting Ground was a 2006 partnership project between the Arts Office of Clare County Council, Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology and Littoral Arts Trust (UK). All three agencies shared interest in the development of arts practice in rural contexts and collectively brought together a range of areas of expertise. The Arts Office’s interest stemmed from the work arising from the Ground Up Project.

The long-term aim of the project was to promote cross-disciplinary dialogue concerning art and culture in rural contexts with a view to creating a discursive space where artists, cultural practitioners and grassroots participants in the rural dynamic could work together to define the ethics and aesthetics of contemporary art practice against the background of social and ecological change.

Three areas of research were identified at the outset of the project.

  • research into a pedagogical model of arts education focusing on contemporary practice in the rural context
  • new strategic approaches to contemporary art practice taking place across Europe
  • development of a mobile platform project where cultural exchange & discussion could take place between artists, rural communities and other stakeholders in the rural context.

Arising from the first strand of research, a series of 5 public seminars was conducted by GMIT in order to stimulate and provide a focus for discourse on contemporary rural art practice. The seminars explored aspects of public art and/or the rural context, each raising a particular set of questions.

A series of seminars took place culminating in a conference in October 2006 curated by Fiona Woods.

Shifting Ground was supported by the Arts Council of Ireland

Shifting Ground Conference Programme