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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