18 Aug 2022

Minister Noonan to launch Eco Showboat in grounds of Kilkenny's County Hall

Minister Noonan to launch Eco Showboat in grounds of  Kilkenny's County Hall

Minister Malcolm Noonan

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan will launch the  Eco Showboat project - an ecological floating arts lab which, when it is built, will connect communities  along waterways across Ireland to help spark climate action on Sunday (August 22) in the grounds of the County Hall.  

The project is the brainchild of artists Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly of the School of Looking in  Kilkenny. They are currently engaged in making this project a reality. Throughout the pandemic they  have been working to transform a century old heritage barge into a zero carbon vessel suitable for the  Eco Showboat expeditions on the inland waterways. 

This Sunday, Water Heritage Day, will see the launch of the Eco Showboat website and an exhibition  of the Showboat design drawings as part of a unique event bringing together artists, scientists and the  community in the open air on the banks of the River Nore in Kilkenny. Dr Aoibhéann Bird of the Insight  SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics will be running workshops for families in the afternoon and  many of the commissioned artists will be present. 

The Eco Showboat itself will be ready and start its work in 2022. The aim of the project is to spark a  countrywide artistic response to climate change. Those involved in the project will collaborate with the  creative, scientific, and wider communities they meet along the way, to awaken a better understanding  of the beauty, possibilities and problems of fresh water. Ultimately they will aim to spark widespread  action in response to the challenges we face in the climate crisis.  

The School of Looking was created by Denis Connolly and Anne Cleary in 2018 to make socially engaged art looking  at crucial issues of today, of which climate change and declining biodiversity are among the most preoccupying. The  Eco Showboat Project has received an Arts Council Open Call Award 2021, an SFI Discover Award, and a Limerick  City and County Council Strategic Award as well as support from Waterways Ireland, Creative Ireland, LAWPRO,  Dublin City Council Waters Directive, Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics and County Council Arts and  Heritage Offices around the country.

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