Event Details


08/12/2023 – 28/01/2024


Opening event Friday 8th Dec @6pm
Open Daily Monday- Sat 10am - 5pm


Galway Arts Centre - 47 Dominick Street





Event Type


the branch, the fork, the harrow

Group exhibition featuring artists; Brett Sroka, Christine Mackey, Linda Schirmer, Noelle Gallagher, Helena Doyle, Sarah Roseingrave.
Curated by Alannah Robins

Interface is a studio and residency programme for artists, situated in in a former salmon hatchery in the Inagh Valley, in the heart of Connemara. The programme provides opportunities for artists in residence to explore intersections between scientific research and art. Within this programme there is a strong thread of ecological art, much of it centring around the ongoing restoration to native woodland of 37 acres of Sitka Spruce forest which surround the hatchery building.

The Woodland Symposium is a collaborative project which facilitates artists in making an artistic response to this ecological activism. The project brings together a group of artists and experts engaged in creating slow-art which evolves with the changing ecology of the site. In November 2021, the current team met for the first time, immersing themselves in the site, a site initially experienced as a dark, barren, monocultural dead-zone, but an environment which has gradually revealed its complexities over the years. They were asked not to pack away their experiences but to let them percolate and evolve, ready to be unpacked again when they would next meet on site. It is envisaged that participants will step in and out of the project of years, enabling an elasticity in the dynamic and the ranges of responses. 

The current group have met twice since that first meeting, in October 2022 and April 2023, and on every visit they have been mentored by ecologist Marie Louise Heffernan and archaeologist Michael Gibbons. Through this extended engagement the artists have been building a rich tapestry of understanding and relationship with the forest itself and with the wider area, one which can only really be realised over a prolonged period of time. They have visited and revisited the adjacent fragment of ancient oak forest at Derryclare Wood and explored ancient fragments of human habitation in the blanket bogs of Connemara.

Their relationship with the place has expanded to involve acts of care and activism, so that the lines have become blurred between the ecological activity of restoration and the artistic response to that activity.

In this sense the curatorial framework for the project hinges on our connection with other-than human, a sensibility given the term ‘animism’ by anthropologists at the end of the 1800s and the early 1900s.  

Animism is described beautifully by Robin Wall Kimmerer, in Braiding Sweetgrass (2013). She speaks of the Potawatomi, an indigenous American people from the Great Plain and great lakes regions, who find a kinship with the whole living world, addressing all living things as ‘who’, and only those objects which are man-made as ‘it’. This close identification with the other than human makes room for a deep empathy which enables us to grieve, to celebrate and to build intimacy.

To date the woodland symposium’s work in progress has been shared through open days at Interface and at IMMA’s Earth Rising Festival. This exhibition marks the first off-site public presentation of this body of work which for the most part has been created in- and on- site, with the trees, the soil, the light, the water, the sound, the materials of the forest.