‘The Trial’ is the working title for a new visual art project due for public exhibition in April 2018. It will focus on health and welfare provision in prisons, and access to healthcare after release from prison in Ireland.
This project is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland under the Arts Participation Project Award scheme. The project will be led by Dr Sinead McCann, Visual Artist, who made the successful application as part of her role in UCD as Public Engagement Officer on the ‘Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000’ research project. This project is being lead by co-Principal Investigators Associate Professor Catherine Cox, Director of the UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland and Professor Hilary Marland, Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick.
McCann will work collaboratively with historian Dr Holly Dunbar (UCD CHOMI), film-maker Mary Caffrey, participants from the Bridge Project (a community-based organisation providing training and support programmes for high risk violent ex-offenders in the greater Dublin area). In April 2018, the team will produce a visual arts installation for public exhibition in Kilmainham Gaol Museum’s Old Court Room. Combining a mix of historical and contemporary research, as well as the real-life experiences of ex-offenders, this installation will call into question the provision of health and welfare in prison and access to healthcare after release in Ireland. The installation will consist of historical textural material and a multi-screen visual and sound installation, which will resemble a courtroom situation. All material for the installation will be developed by participants from the Bridge Project through a series of visual arts, film, theatre, creative writing and history workshops in collaboration with the team.
The artwork will offer multiple perspectives on health in prison and on release, inviting the visitors to the exhibition to occupy the position of jury and form their own opinions on this topic.
Photograph by Sarah Buckley and Damian Murphy, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.