about Cathy Fitzgerald

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Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice: The Ecological Turn
Cathy Fitzgerald, PhD by Practice: artist | educator | researcher |

“I’m passionate about bringing ecoliteracy to the art sector. Creative practices, involving community and social art practices, are powerful means to engage civic society in new conversations about living well with the Earth and its inhabitants.”

Hello. My name is Cathy Fitzgerald, and I’m an Irish-based New Zealander living in rural Ireland these past 20 years.

Since the late 1990s, I have been inspired by the emergent art and ecology field in visual culture, and later, more specifically in contemporary ecological art practice and research.


The key to my own understanding that the arts need to swiftly develop ecoliteracy, comes from my early career in research science that joins my intuition that I sensed as a child, that there was inexplicable power and magic in art. I was blessed too, in growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand – I’ve long being inspired by its pristine, stunningly beautiful, bird-filled forests.

“This diverse background in both science and art means I have perhaps realised sooner than most that art has a critical role for today’s ecological emergencies and that I have unique insights to share to the art sector.”


Importantly, my background in science means I can navigate the often confusing array of environmental science we read in the media. I also understand the imperative of new expanded environmental ethics that must underline cultural responses. Furthermore, ecological insights underline that environmental and social concerns are always connected. To this end, I understand how collaboration with non-art others who have local and expert knowledge of places, is essential to develop rich ecological art practices and events.

Much of these insights have developed in the challenges I have faced in developing and sharing the workings of an effective eco-social art practice.

Since 2008, my ongoing Hollywood Forest Story (images below) has contributed to a growing and urgent understanding for the need for permanent, more sustainable forestry in Ireland. My eco-social art practice has increased ecoliteracy and agency for myself and my audiences with real-world, aesthetic-socio-political outcomes.

 

Eco-social art practices develop ecoliteracy and agency for myself and my followers to rethink a new forestry for Ireland. I use photography, video, writing, blogging and my practice has led me to take a political stand for forests and against the crime of ecocide.

My research in art and sustainability, and ecological art practices

My writings*, in particular my research study reviewing overseas national art and sustainability programmes (Fitzgerald, 2017), review advanced national art and sustainability programmes in Britain that are not prioritised, as yet, in Ireland.


My doctoral research The Ecological Turn… (Fitzgerald, 2018) gives me a rich overview of advanced ecological practices, their scientific and ethical drivers, there scope and social power to engage diverse communities.


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For Haumea Ecoliteracy for the Arts, I am sharing my ecoliteracy knowledge to others working in the art sector through tailored learning modules. 


I do hope you will learn and share with me for the better world we must all create. 

See the ‘Learn‘ page for more details.

My key work experience is in:

  • eco-social art (ecological art) practice
  • eco-social art (ecological art) research
  • professional development service for the arts
  • environmental NGO organisations
  • policy development

More details can be seen on my LinkedIn profile/

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Some of my recent writing:

Fitzgerald, Cathy (2017)
Fitzgerald, Cathy (2018) The Ecological Turn: Living Well with Forests to articulate eco-social art practices with a Guattari ecosophy and action research framework. PhD by Practice thesis, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland.
Fitzgerald, Cathy (2018) The Hollywood Forest Story eBook: LIVING WELL WITH A FOREST TO EXPLAIN ECO-SOCIAL ART PRACTICE (the cultural artefact for the PhD by Practice, 2018). The audiovisual ebook is available from the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/book/the-hollywood-forest-story/id1441958722?mt=11