Silent Narratives: A Captured Reflection of the Past, Present & Future

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This case study will present how a community’s memory, experiences and history can be recorded, presented and commemorated visually and how that manifestation can in turn become integrated within the community’s present. In 2003, Derry Credit Union commissioned two artworks to be sited in their newly refurbished building in celebration of their fortieth anniversary in Derry, Northern Ireland. Rather like the subtlety and complexity of the community whose history they reflect, the works produced are not intrusive monuments, rather they visually depict and exhibit the past to the present, they have become live installations within their environment. This study will discuss the processes and practices of the commissioned artists: how they engaged with the commissioners and the wider community and the impact of this engagement. The outcomes of this case study include discussion of the role of art as a medium for public communication and record, and its appropriateness as a medium to undertake sensitive discussions and negotiations. A reassessment of the role of the artist in engaging communities to reflect, record and present their histories and memories. The importance of artist led research within communities where through their (the artist’s) practice and processes new ideas, possibilities and options for addressing issues of social and cultural importance are presented to communities. The ramifications of this process within communities: what does the present need to be informed of from its past in order to affect its future? This form and process of creating art within communities’ has/could it become a cultural catalyst.


Keywords: Community, Community Art, Public Art, History, Narratives
Stream: Art in Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Louise O'Boyle

Associate Lecturer, School of Art & Design, University of Ulster
Belfast, Antrim, UK

I am interested in the role of the artist as social commentator, as a practising sculptor I draw on childhood memories and aspects of daily life to highlight and raise discussion of personal, political, cultural and social issues in my artwork. I enjoy adapting my narrative ideas and skills to suit a variety of contexts, completing small independent artworks to large-scale public commissions. I also have extensive experience as a facilitator and project manager on a wide variety of art based initiatives and projects with people of all ages and abilities throughout Northern Ireland. In tandem with this work I have been teaching within the further and higher education setting for the past nine years, currently I am Course Director of the BAhons Art & Design (combined)at the University of Ulster, Belfast. My research interests are two fold; supporting teaching and learning through the development and use of flexible learning materials and exploring creative responses to the past, present and future environment of Northern Ireland

Ref: A07P0139