Gaining Ground hits the airwaves in Clare

Gaining Ground hits the airwaves in Clare


Photo: Myriam Riand

An artist-led online radio station and digital sound archive has been announced as the first of the commissions selected for Gaining Ground, a major new Public Art programme for County Clare.

Curated by Sally O’Leary of Asprey Arts, in collaboration with Clare County Council Arts Office, Gaining Ground has been developed using funds allocated from the pooled resources of the Per Cent For Art Scheme. The programme has been designed to take place over the next 2 years, and will culminate in an International Rural Arts Symposium in 2020. As part of the programme, projects will be selected to take place in North and West Clare and Shannon Town. There will also be a programme titled Reflections, which will be integral to the whole project and will involve research, evaluation and critical writing which will be reflected at the Symposium in 2020.

The first of the commissions to be announced is; ‘Folk Radio’, curated by Anne Mullee, with artist Tom Flanagan and curatorial advisor, Deirdre O’Mahony. Folk Radio is a concept for a new artists-led, online radio station and digital sound archive, based at X-PO in Kilnaboy.

Led by artist Tom Flanagan this community-based project will seek to engage the wider and existing communities active in and around X-PO, a former post office. Folk Radio will aim to make a series of radio programmes, exploring the meaning of ‘the rural’, in the context of a community that is made up of both local and newcomers to the area. Folk Radio relates to a long tradition of radio in empowering local communities with the tools to interrogate cultures and opinions of people and their traditions. It also relates to X-PO’s own history, as its late Postmaster, John Martin “Mattie” Rynne, was a keen shortwave and citizen broadcasting enthusiast.

Tom Flanagan commented, “Encompassing the objectives of ‘Gaining Ground’, the radio station will provide a platform for interested locals / artists and XPO volunteers to develop innovative radio broadcasts under the projects conceptual framework, with the potential to explore new forms of expression which challenge and explore our understanding and engagement with the medium.”

The programme will culminate in a live broadcast, inviting local artists, community groups, politicians and policy makers to a series of talks and a discussion forum on the potential of Radio and creative practices, and the challenges of rural life in North Clare.

Announcements for further projects selected for Gaining Ground will be made over the coming weeks.

Pictured above: L-R: William Hederman, Senan Killeen, consultant curator Deirdre O’Mahony, project curator Anne Mullee, Áine O’Regan, Colin Johnson, lead artist Tom Flanagan and Tony Kirby outside X-PO in Kilnaboy.