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Instructing participants in KinShip Project, Source: Cork City Council on Facebook

Cork gears up for KinShip Project

Cork gears up for KinShip Project

The project will engage the public on climate action through a community creative action programme at Tramore Valley Park over 15 months

On the eve of the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, Cork City showcased its climate action mobilizing KinShip Project. The City Council-led, Creative Ireland-funded project aims to engage the public on climate action through a community creative action programme at Tramore Valley Park, a 170-acre park developed on a former landfill site south of Cork City.

Developing a family-like connection between community and park

The KinShip Project has been described as an ambitious durational public artwork which incorporates a variety of socially engaged cultural initiatives at the park over the course of 15 months. The overall aim is to develop a kin-like connection between the community and its park, encouraging people to treat the park like an extension of their own family.

To achieve this goal, Cork will roll out a programme of artistic residencies and a series of creative exchanges and knowledge exchanges. Designing and building a sustainable eco-lab will also be part of the project. All these elements will put the local community at the centre of the project. The full programme will be officially launched in January 2022.

Commenting on the project, Michelle Carew, Cork City Council Arts Officer and Creative Ireland Coordinator told the municipal website: “We are conscious that an understanding of our climate issues can cause feelings of overwhelming, despair and powerlessness that lead to disengagement. Creative processes create inclusive environments for non-hierarchal, mutually empowering exchanges and we welcome the opportunity to engage at this level through multi-disciplinary, socially engaged arts activities.”

Sustainable energy provider

Tramore Valley Park has not been arbitrarily chosen, being itself an emblem of great environmental change. Until 2009, the site was used as a landfill for Ireland’s second largest city.

Following recultivation of the land, the area began opening up as a park in 2015 before becoming a full-fledged recreational area in 2019. Now the park has the capacity to harvest rain water and any gas generated by the former landfill to supply energy to approximately 500 local homes.

Healing the rifts between humanity and nature

The KinShip Project will be spearheaded by a team of two artists, Marilyn Lennon and Sean Taylor, working in collaboration with Cork City Council. Other project partners include Cork Nature Network, Cork Healthy Cities, Cork’s UNESCO Learning City, MTU Clean Technology Centre and UCC Environmental Research Institute.

This is how Marilyn and Sean describe their approach to the project: “Understanding our role as ‘kin’, we are concerned with redressing the fissures in our society’s relationship with nature. The history and contemporary context of Tramore Valley Park is the ideal location to do this. We look forward to working alongside our kin creatively and exploring together all the positive potential for connection in the aerial, the grounded and the subterranean.”

14 similar projects around the country

The KinShip Project is one of 14 similar projects that are underway across the Republic of Ireland with a EUR 2 million funding through Creative Ireland’s Creative Climate Action fund. The winning projects have been chosen in an impressive field of 166 applications. These projects which include coastal light installations, reimagined Bord na Móna villages, city-wide decarbonisation schemes and pop-up energy stores, will involve communities to make real and lasting changes in the way they interact with the environment.

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