Trinity to lead Creative Ireland climate action project

Posted on: 14 July 2023

Minister Catherine Martin, Lisa Fingleton, Mary Colclough and Minister Eamon Ryan

A cross-border project led by Trinity College Dublin has been awarded €250,000 by Creative Ireland to illustrate the urgency of climate challenge and rising sea levels.

Mary Colclough, Trinity’s Community Engagement Manager, will lead the project entitled “House on the Beach” in collaboration with Dublin artist and free-diver Nina McGowan, and Gawain Morrison, Director of MuinMuin, a creative agency in Belfast.

The project will involve the construction of a sculpture of a small house in two coastal locations in Ireland, north and south. Visible at low tide, the sculptures will be covered at high tide to encourage discussion about climate action. The project will include public awareness and engagement events for communities living close to the installations. Discussion will focus on the impact of rising sea levels, the use of sustainable building materials, and the circular economy.

Mary Colclough, Community & Enterprise Engagement Manager for Trinity East, said:

“This is a really ambitious project that uses a temporary art installation to illustrate the urgency of the climate crisis and, in particular, the impact of rising sea levels. Trinity will work with a range of stakeholders - local communities, local authorities and industry partners – to consider measures to adapt to, and mitigate, climate change. 

“I met Nina through RISING, a previous Creative Ireland funded project, and her passion for the environment and our waters is evident. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with her and Gawain, as well as climate science experts in Trinity and Queen’s University, Belfast in this creative, all-island project”.

Nina McGowan, the project’s lead artist, said:

“The aim of this work is to evoke a sense of protection for this house under threat. For what is really at stake here is our home, our shared home, this island and ultimately the planet. Through this work, we hope to cultivate a more intimate relationship with our environment, to renew our connection to it in a personal way, and drive an increased sympathetic response to what we face together.”

Professor Jane Stout, Trinity's Vice President for Biodiversity and Climate Action, said:

“This creative project will dramatically illustrate the impacts of changing climates on our coastal towns and cities and the people living there. It’s a project that brings together disciplines and people across Ireland to inspire us to take action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

Gawain Morrisson, Director of MuinMuin, added:

“It is time to tell ourselves a new story, a story that calls on our creativity, compassion and connection to each other, that welcomes different thinkers together to find a new path. Facing challenges with curiosity and creativity we can choose opportunity over chaos. Artistic endeavour gives us permission to break the rules, to look at things from a different viewpoint, challenge the norm and step into the unknown. This all-Ireland project will kick-start conversations that we all need to have and do something about. Muin Muin is very much looking forward to the collaboration with Nina McGowan and Trinity to deliver something special for Creative Ireland.”

The Trinity project is one of 43 recipients of a €5.8 million fund for creative climate action initiatives. The funds are distributed by the Creative Ireland Programme in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

Creative Ireland is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to create pathways and opportunities for people and communities to unlock their creative potential.