The Radius 10 Project
Radius 10 was created by artist, activist and curator Sheila Flanagan. It is part of an evolving sculptural Installation based on time, ecology, identity and intervention. Artfarm is the center point and the surrounding circular region of landscape and villages are a living evolving time based socially engaged work.
This project has a radius of 10km and a time span of 10 years from 2010 to 2020.
All Artfarm activities, projects, residencies and collaborations are part of this living installation. It is an exploration of the role of artist in community, in connection rather than outside observer, the questioning of social/ecological responsibilities, investigating artist as activist and seeking new artistic paths.
Taking inspiration from models of psycho-geographic mapping, themes of ecological equality drive inquiry.
Sheila Flanagan is an artist and activist based at Artfarm. Her work is placed based influenced by ecological rights and rooted in creating connections, collaborations, relationships and opening up spaces for conversations. It is process based, sometimes intangible, existing in conversations, ideas, in action or inaction, in moments, it can often defy representation. The range of themes for exploration are broad.
Ecology, identity, political voice, representation, vision and ability to adapt to change are many themes of interest. Land use, ownership, farming practices and sustainability are big issues locally and globally. Ecological rights combine human and environmental rights with an essence of awareness of all life and habitats. The Radius 10 project area can be considered a microcosm of issues faced worldwide. High among these are the effects of colonialism, prejudice and privilege. Migration, emigration, new communities, settled/Traveller and nomadic are areas for deep conversation in this area. This work borders many disciplines and methodologies.
In the distant past she would have described herself as a maker, dedicated to the notion of physicality, of hands on material manipulation and creation of tangible objects. Over the last decade, her work has solely concentrated on Radius 10.
In 2012 the artist occupied the vacant building of Ballygar Town Hall creating an Arts Space and community meeting space. This space has seen the facilitation of many local community art initiatives and various art workshops guided by a commitment to creating broader access and participation in the arts and a location for conversation and listening.
Sheila Flanagan is a founding member of the Artfarm Collective whose aim is to work towards Cultural Rights with an ethos of Ecology and Equality and a co founder of Ballygar Arts & Media.
The artist has been involved in the Creative Schools Initiative (2019,2020) working with Mount Talbot National school on 'The Wishing Tree' project on the model of outdoor classroom.
She has been a guest speaker at VAI'S artist cafe Furbo 2016. Also a guest speaker for community groups in Mountbellew and Glenamaddy and Group 8 artist group in Ballinasloe.
She has worked with Galway Co.Council Arts Office through Creative Ireland as Creative advisor with Glenamaddy Heritage Group 2020. Sheila has been a recipient of an Individual artist bursary award from Galway Co. Council Arts Office in 2014 and has secured funding through this office for socially engaged collaborative projects locally most recently for Galway's Atmos Collective's two week project in Ballygar Town Hall in 2019.
The ARTFarm Collective is a group of 8 artists based in Ireland and Europe whose aim is to act in an advisory and supportive capacity for the ongoing R10 project. This group of creatives have a broad range of practices covering Visual Arts, Dance, Music, Performance, Photography and Film and a range of expertise in areas of Environment, Body, Human Rights, Equality, Disability, Theology/Spirituality, Technology, Cooperatives and the Commons.
Experimental collaborations began through workshops with groups such as Green Sod Land Trust and invited artists for socially engaged art projects in the locality. In 2012 contact was initiated with G126 Artist Led Gallery in Galway City with an aim to connect rural and urban. This partnership proved successful with residencies, projects, open days and exhibitions.
Participation on an EU ‘Street Art’ Project in Zaragoza, Spain in 2014 led to Spanish Print artist Noelia Marin undertaking a month long residency stay here in 2015. Galway Print Studio were very generous in providing use of their studio and technical support during this residency. Other collaborations have included Third Space Research Group and Collaborative Ways Forward, Teagasc, An tOireachtas and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture.
This collaborative approach has been key to creating and facilitating many projects in this area throughout Radius 10.
Huge gratitude goes to the communities of Newbridge and Ballygar who have been extremely open and to Ballygar Parish for the continued use of Ballygar Town Hall.
Súgan (2016) was a six month project involving over 150 people including individuals, community groups and schools. Súgan investigated the strands of community and how they weave together. It involved gathering hay, gathering stories, weaving rope and conversations around elements essential to the 'ideal' community. Invited guest speaker philosopher Dr. Philip Petite spoke of the original ideals of 'The Republic' and the fragility of democracy. The project involved making workshops and also invited artists Bernadette Divilly and Ceara Conway working with Body Movement, interviews, conversations, film and song.
The Elephant in the Room (2019) was a year long project investigating Racism with themes of People, Place, Prejudice and Privilege. Workshops in primary schools created Elephant Lanterns and large willow Elephants with community groups. These were facilitated by artist Tom Meskill. Artists Jo Jo Hynes worked with a group of students creating animations with the Elephant themes and artist Donal McConnon worked with the power of Voice. Artworks from an open call to artists on themes of Racism were exhibited in Ballygar Town Hall which saw a culmination of a years work with a week of Talks, panel discussions, poetry, screenings and performance. This project was funded through Galway 2020 Small Towns Big Ideas programme.
Other projects were smaller and more intimate gatherings including Pride with young members of the Travelling community and Article 1 which involved discussions on the Declaration of Human Rights.
The Elephant in the Room 2019