Join legal scholar Sinéad Mercier and writer and actor Donal O’Kelly as they discuss intergenerational grassroots environmentalism and action set against impersonal statecraft, governance structures and an inherited ‘lawscape’.
To ground their discussion, it will take place at the Dún Chaocháin Table, made from 4300-year-old bog pine recovered from peat extraction in Northwest Mayo as part of a project by artist Gareth Kennedy.
Donal O’Kelly is a writer and has been an actor for more than 40 years. He recently was an editor of the Afri book End Direct Provision AND Tackle the International Protection System, launched in Leinster House 8th March. He won The Dock Writing Time Award in November 2021. He has written many plays, including the solo play Fionnuala, set during the development of the Shell-Corrib gas project, which won an Edinburgh Fringe First award. His discovered pandemic passion is Creative Non-Fiction. He has attended Orla Tinsley’s online classes for the past year and plans to get a book published in the near future. He recently became a grandad.
Sinéad Mercier is a lecturer in Planning Law, Environmental Law and Policy atUniversity College Dublin, and an ERC project PROPERTY [IN]JUSTICE/UCD Sutherland School of Law PhD researcher on the topic Grounding the land in the otherworld: fairyforts, holy wells and rag trees in Landscape and Lawscape. She has worked on just transition/environmental/climate change law and policy for a range of government, grassroots, political parties and other organisations. Recent publications include Men Who Eat Ringforts: A study of County Clare’s fairyforts and environmental law co-written with artist Michael Holly and seanachaí Eddie Lenihan, published and edited by Askeaton Public Arts and funded by Clare County Council’s Gaining Ground Programme and the Arts Council.
Gareth Kennedy’s work explores the social agency of the handcrafted in the 21 century and generates ‘communities of interest’ around the production and performance of experimental material cultures with are familiar, but also strange. Informed by an anthropological approach these works draw on the layered histories of a location. Projects are embedded, evolve over time, and enacted by diverse publics and individuals. With the hyperdigitisation of our everyday, Kennedy is interested in the use of anachronistic processes and technologies to produce ‘critical anachronism’ and generate contemporary encounter. He often works with individuals who hold skills or knowledge that has been transmitted across generations to this end. He is lead coordinator of the FIELD Studio+ elective at the NCAD.
Image: Students from Scoil Náisiúnta Ceathrú Thaidhg holding sprigs of Pinus sylvestris, sitting on the Dún Chaocháin table, made from 4300 year old Erris Bog Pine. Cill Ghallagáin bog, Erris, Co. Mayo; September 19th, 2019; Photo: Giulia Berto.