Creating Deeper Engagement
On Climate Change Workshop

Wexford County Council, Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council were delighted to present An Urgent Enquiry at the Creating Deeper Engagement On Climate Change workshop, in November 2020, hosted by Creative Ireland and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications. The workshop explored the role of the cultural and creative sectors in public engagement on climate change, and how creativity can create a stronger and deeper level of engagement on climate change, and to define future opportunities to expand this impact.


See a short video on ‘An Urgent Enquiry ‘ made for this workshop here:

Press Release


Over a year ago artist Fiona McDonald set out to explore a very iconic area of Dublin bay, Bull Island, as part of a public art project which saw artists collaborate with biodiversity specialists along Ireland’s east coast. This merging of art and science aimed to create an artistic response to the influences of climate change and its effects on the biodiversity of
the area.


From her explorations Fiona McDonald created Sensing Ecologies, a new free app which was launched today. Sensing Ecologies invites you to put on your walking shoes and headphones and really immerse yourself in the environment of Bull Island through Audio augmented reality. Created especially for this locale, the augmented audio layers on and enriches the physical world around you through a rich soundscape of geo-located interviews.


Free to download, as you walk along the iconic wooden bridge, the app senses where are you on your walk along the pier and a specific soundscape or interview is triggered. Through a series of short interviews, explore some of the tools & methods researchers use to observe biodiversity and habitats and explore how human activity is (both intentionally and unintentionally) transforming our planet.


Voice-overs on the journey include those from the past (Darwin), the present and speculations on the future. They look at information and ask how this can help us understand the effects of climate change and how researchers measure and predict this change? Discover how researchers from various fields working on Bull Island and across the planet, use environmental sensors, bioindicators, human senses and phenology (the life cycle of plants and animals) in understanding and mitigating the effects of climate change.


Some of those involved include:

Human Geographer, Patrick Bresnihan, Dept of Geography, Maynooth University.
Phenologist, Alison Donnelly, Associate Professor, Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin.
Acoustic Ecologist, Samuel RP-J Ross, The Donohue Lab, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College, Dublin.
Orchid Specialist, Brendan Sayers, National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.
Coastal Ecologist, Aoife Delaney, National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS)

 Sensing Ecologies is ideally designed for those over the age of 13


Speaking today Fiona said, “Grasping the effects of human induced Climate change demands a sense of deceleration. In a rapidly changing world the geo-located soundscapes in Sensing Ecologies invite you to slow down and engage with the ways that the earth and biodiversity react to our actions. The earth is now understood as having a sort of agency. Explore how environmental sensors give a voice to the animals, plants and entities they monitor how the data these sensors provide is not just an environmental archive but also a social archive, how the big data revolution provides evidence that climate change is breaking earths beat and how the original sensor in evolutionary biology and ecology
the human observer still plays an essential role in validating this data.”



Sensing Ecologies can be downloaded from Apple or Google Play Stores








Sensing Ecologies was created by artist Fiona McDonald as part of
An Urgent Enquiry residency commission for Bull Island 2019. An Urgent Enquiry 
is funded under the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaboration Scheme, 2018 and 2019, 
Dublin City Council, Wexford County Council and Fingal County Council.


Earth Day

Mark Clare was invited by the Arts Council to write an article for their blog as part of their Earth Day 2020 celebrations. Earth Day celebrates its 50th anniversary on 22nd April and this year's theme is climate action.

Mark reflects on his residency in Wexford for An Urgent Enquiry, his

engagement with the public through a series of workshops and the artwork he produced in response to Wexford's biodiversity and the effects of climate change. In particular, Mark focuses on an important yet endangered solitary bee, Osmia aurulenta found along the East coast that nests in empty snail shells. See link to the Arts Council Blog here:


Image courtesy of Photographer Brian Cregan


Press Release:


Solitary Bees pollinate more flowers than any other group of insects ensuring that plant communities are healthy and productive. Without them mammals and birds would not have the seeds, berries, or plants on which they depend. Osmia aurulenta is the only solitary bee in Ireland that makes its nest in empty snail shells.


Insects are the main contributor to biodiversity globally. Over the last 30 years up to 30% of Irelands insects have disappeared. A recent UN report highlighted 1,000,000 species are in danger of extinction due to human impact. How does one visualise such a large-scale catastrophe?


This symbiotic relationship between Osmia aurulenta and the snail shells represents a creative and sensitive approach to resolving the need to exist harmoniously within ones natural environment. This approach is one that we could all benefit from adopting.


The Unavoidable Interconnectedness of Everything is an ambitious art project that will engage people, of all ages, to produce an artwork consisting of 1,000,000 individual, handmade ceramic ‘shells’, each one representing an endangered species. If you would like to participate in this project please join us for a free workshop where you will be invited to produce a ceramic snail shell that will be used in the final artwork.


Workshops will involve a short presentation on the important role of insects on local biodiversity and the impact of climate change locally. Thereafter ceramic artist Mairead Stafford will give a practical demonstration on different ways of working with clay to produce a ‘shell’. Participants will then be invited to produce their own individual artworks. Mairead will also explain the role of oxides and glazes in the process of colouring and/or decorating of the individual ‘shells’.


This workshop is part of An Urgent Enquiry – an artist’s residency exploring biodiversity in County Wexford, led by artist Mark Clare and supported by Wexford County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland.


Press Release:
Special Area of ConVersation


Fingal County Council’s Arts Office is delighted to present new work resulting from An Urgent Enquiry. The project, funded through the Arts Council of Ireland’s Invitation to Collaboration Scheme joins Fingal with partners in Dublin City Council and Wexford County Council. It consists of three artist residencies, where artists have been commissioned to consider the effects of climate change along the east coast and its influences on biodiversity locally.


Fingal County Council selected Joanna Hopkins and Mary Conroy who were interested in exploring the Fingal context, with a focus on the unique bird colonies, prominent coastal erosion and an environment that is constantly changing as determined by a human need for housing and how natures challenges our definitions of home. Since June 2019, the artists have been located at our Resort Residency, located at Lynders Mobile Home Park, Portrane. They have been researching locally and nationally with specialists in particular species, liaising with our Biodiversity and climate education departments in Fingal to develop their reflection on the theme and the location, which will be presented during The Bleeding Pig Cultural Festival 2019.


SAC - Special Area of ConVersation is a temporary art installation on Portrane Beach as part of An Urgent Enquiry artist residency commission, by artists Mary Conroy and Joanna Hopkins. This temporary public artwork and site specific theatre performance represents an amalgamation of ideas and concepts that were processed through the artist & 3 month residency in Fingal. The artwork draws attention to the conservation efforts being carried out in the Fingal area for both humans and wildlife, to highlight the existence, fragility and importance of all the creatures who call the Fingal coastline 'home'.


Special Area of ConVersation Performance

Date: Saturday Sept 14th 2019 Time: 2pm

Location: Starting in front of the Brook Pub, Portrane.

Installation on view to the public Sat Sep 14th 2pm – 6pm

& Sun Sep 15th 10am – 6pm

The Little Things Matter Workshop

Date: Saturday June 29 2019

Time: 10 AM – 12 pm

Venue: Stella Maris Centre, Kilmore Quay, Wexford


This workshop is FREE and has a maximum of 20 places. – pre registration essential. This workshop explores the incredible contribution phytoplankton make to life on Earth.


Phytoplankton, found in oceans and freshwater basin ecosystems all across the world, are the base of the marine food web and produce over 40% of the world’s oxygen through photosynthesis. After an introductory presentation participants will collect samples of marine and freshwater phytoplankton from local sources and examine them to better understand the supportive role these unseen plants play in our ecosystem.


This workshop is led by Lorraine Archer, a Phycologist specialising in taxonomic and molecular skills for the identification of marine phytoplankton and freshwater micro-algae. Lorraine is currently Research Laboratory Coordinator at the Plant Metabolism Laboratory, University of Cambridge.


This workshop is part of An Urgent Enquiry – an artist’s residency exploring biodiversity in County Wexford, led by artist Mark Clare and supported by Wexford County Council and the Arts Council.


Anyone interested in participating should contact mark.clare@gmail to register.

Wild Food Walk

Date: Saturday July 13th 2019

Time: 10 am – 1 pm

Venue: Tintern Abbey, Saltmills, New Ross, Co. Wexford


This workshop is FREE – pre registration essential A Wild Food walk is a fun and safe way to learn how to identify locally found wild leaves, flowers, fruits, nuts and mushrooms depending on the season and show how these can be easily incorporated into your daily diet. In this workshop Dermot Hughes of Forage Ireland will lead a small group of no more than 20 participants around the grounds surrounding Tintern Abbey, in Saltmills. Dermot will identify a variety of edible leaves, flowers and fruit (seasonal) growing wild in the surrounding woods and fields.


“Food and socialising are two of the most fundamental aspects of our lives, and if these are brought together, the feel-good factor is tremendous” Dermot Hughes - Forage Ireland.


Dermot Hughes founded Forage Ireland along with his late wife Mary, to inspire and enable people to live better lives in tune with nature and the earth.


This workshop is part of An Urgent Enquiry – an artist’s residency exploring biodiversity in County Wexford, led by artist Mark Clare and supported by Wexford County Council and the Arts Council.


The workshop has a maximum of 20 places.

Anyone interested in participating should contact
mark.clare@gmail to register