In May 2020, Butler Gallery made an open call for short supported residencies. The residency activated the St. Canice’s Credit Union Learning Centre as an incubation space for new ideas that engage the public in the critical concerns of our time.

The short residencies in 2020 and 2021 enabled three artists to undertake a week of research and development, exploring new ideas to engage the public in this time of environmental change and ecological crisis. The artists were invited to connect with audiences and communities in Kilkenny, and had the support of Butler Gallery to test and share their ideas. The three artists chosen through this competitive process were Mary Conroy, Denise Kehoe, and William Bock.

Mary Conroy

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Mary Conroy used the St. Canice’s Credit Union Learning Centre as an interactive research space. She explored site specific biodiversity and materials in historic Kilkenny and at Evans’ Home, looking for indicators of the parallel human and non-human histories of the city.

About the Artist:
Mary Conroy is a cross-disciplinary artist who graduated with BA in Ceramics (2004) and an MA in Social Practice and the Creative Environment (2011) from Limerick School of Art and Design. She works in the medium of clay, ceramics and mixed media sculpture. Mary often works with existing communities of interest to create participatory site-specific work. She also works as a freelance educator and part time lecturer. Her work is held in private and public collections nationally.

Denise Kehoe

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Denise Kehoe proposed Deliveroots – a free nature door to door delivery service for Kilkenny. For the week of her residency, Denise cycled around the city delivering leaf confetti, vials of Kilfane water, sky gazing meditation sessions, and asking the delivery recipients to make a personal pledge to contribute to combatting climate change.

About the Artist:
Denise Kehoe’s art practice explores millennial identity, class hierarchies and the sociopolitical through a multi-disciplinary practice. Her work is currently focused on the impact of neoliberal ideologies on the precarious worker, the environment and housing. Kehoe's practice is currently interrogating the simulacra of 'urban nature'. The Human condition, humour and text are at the core of her work.

William Bock

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William Bock’s Walking 9 to 5 took place as a series of ritualised walks between 9am and 5pm around Kilkenny. He spent this week walking the land of Kilkenny – walking with, listening to, and recording the human and non-human stories of the city environment. It was a delicate process of foraging for the small or hidden stories found nesting between the grand historical narratives that can define Kilkenny City.

About the Artist:
William Bock is an interdisciplinary artist based in West Cork exploring the connections between people and the environments they inhabit. He uses photography, painting, sound recording, performance and installation to delve into the experiences of living between cultures, landscapes and identities. Collaboration and responsive approaches to working with materials, particular sites and with communities are central to his process as an artist. Land Walks, Land Talks Land Marks and May Daily are recent bodies of work that illustrate this approach.

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