The Floating Flagtone

The Floating Flagstone

The Floating Flagstone is a collaborative, community project by Lisa Fingleton and Rena Blake. Supported by Creative Ireland Kerry and Kerry County Council Arts Office, this project explores issues relating to biodiversity and climate change while responding to the lost legacy of Lixnaw. Here is some of our feedback on the project…

This project was both challenging and rewarding in ways we could never have imagined at its conception. Who could have anticipated, when we wrote this proposal that we would be in the midst of a global pandemic? There were no such things as lockdowns and social distancing in that time BC, Before Covid.

It raised so many questions. How do we safely engage with a community in the midst of such constraints? How do we enhance the well being of the wider community through art and creativity?

The project had to change and shape shift all the way through, with new learning and new ways of engaging. Everything interaction with local schools and community groups had to be outdoors or online. We also spent time at the North Kerry Museum exploring the rich artifacts relating to farming and food there. This has opened the way for further collaboration in the future.

Initially we thought there would be more of a focus on climate change and biodiversity loss. However as the Covid 19 pandemic became more serious (and directly impacted on the community in Lixnaw itself) we realised that we couldn’t directly address such a serious issue without causing further distress to an already stressed community. Flooding is a real, lived experience here for farmers in North Kerry on the west coast.

Reaching Watercolour Lisa Fingleton and Rena Blake The Floating Flagtone Creative Ireland Kerry 2020

EXPLORE YOUR 5K

We decided to focus on the rich biodiversity that we have here in North Kerry and encouraged the community to explore and understand the richness of nature all around us. We developed and delivered 6 school workshops focusing on art and biodiversity. The children identified the animals and birds around them and we facilitated drawing exercises. Rena shared her bird photography and explained how to identify different species and their habitats.

The schools went onto do various projects including making bird boxes, installing night cameras and doing biodiversity/bird audits. Even though online workshops were a ‘first’ for all schools it was a great learning for everyone. The level of engagement and enthusiasm from the children was heart warming and inspiring.

 We also set up a Facebook group called ‘Explore your 5k’ which has now over 100 members including many artists. We share photos and art relating to biodiversity during the lockdown.

Explore Your 5k (Community and Schools Art and Biodiversity Project): Click here for Facebook link

 

LEGACY OF LIXNAW

The film ‘Legacy of Lixnaw’ was the result of a collaboration of a number of people and groups. Pat Joe Gilbert (Local Historian) and Frank Quilter took us on a tour of The Old Court in Lixnaw. Farmer Paddy Costello kindly facilitated filming at The Old Court. They brought the place alive with their stories and enthusiasm. We realised that many people did not know about the ‘palace’ in Lixnaw or simply did not believe it.

The Kerry Historical and Archaeological Society organised two specific talks on Lixnaw in October and November by John Knightly and Kay Caball, which we attended. It seemed timely to make this film available online at this time given the interest in the Old Court. We are grateful to Maura Walsh and Lixnaw Ceoltas for the beautiful version of Roisin Dubh as a soundtrack.

Legacy of Lixnaw’ was filmed at the Old Court, Lixnaw, Co Kerry. The camera takes us through the site of the ancient palace, the seat of the Fitzmaurices. Narrated by local historian, Pat Joe Gilbert, it weaves the story of this space in times long past…the decadent east and west wings, ballroom, frescoes, the dutch oven in the

kitchen, cider making and fish ponds. While humans have long since abandoned the palace, it is now rich in biodiversity and a home to birds, animals, spiders, insects, fungi, plants and trees.

The Legacy of Lixnaw Lisa Fingleton and Rena Blake The Floating Flagtone Creative Ireland Kerry 2020

Gaining Ground Symposium, Glor, Ennis

We were delighted to share the learning from the project at various events. The Gaining Ground Symposium at Glor Ennis in September was one of the only ‘real life’ art symposia this year and their was significant interest in the project.Gaining Ground, the latest phase in Clare County Council’s public art programme 2017-2020, culminated in a daylong symposium, where artist practitioners and curators examine how place, and creating work with the ‘local’ as a starting point, can provide a platform for highly innovative and challenging work.

Lisa Fingleton at Gaining Ground 4th Sept Photo Fergus Tighe

Gaining Ground Symposium, Glor, Ennis. Click here

 

Iveragh Learning Landscapes Seminar 2020

We presented The Floating Flagstone at The Iveragh Learning Landscapes Weeekend. This is a weekend of talks, walks and workshops encompassing local natural and built heritage, outdoor education, land stewardship and well-being.

Iveragh learning Landscapes Seminar 2020. Click here

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Kate Kennelly, Sean Mulchinock, Creative Ireland Kerry and Kerry County Arts for this opportunity and look forward to working with you again in the future. We would also like to thank all the people and organisations  who made this project such and enjoyable and creative experience including:

Pat Joe Gilbert, Frank Quilter, Maura Walsh, Kay Caball, John Knightly, Victoria Mc Carthy, Paddy Costello, Sean Quinlan, Barry O Donoghuue, Lixnaw Ceoltas, Architecture Kerry, Clare County Council, Iveragh Learning Landscapes, North Kerry Museum, Presentation Convent Lixnaw, Lyracrumpane NS, Kilconly NS and Ballybunion NS

Rena Blake and Lisa Fingleton

Socially DIstanced Tea Lisa Fingleton and Rena Blake The Floating Flagtone Creative Ireland Kerry 2020

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