Apr 18 2018 Posted: 00:00 IST

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway together with the Galway City Arts Office, have launched a new Community Art-Science exhibition in the Westside community in Galway City.

By award winning art duo, Cleary Connolly (Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly), ‘AFTERIMAGE’, shows portraits of 19 people who live or work in the Westside of Galway, and reveals the remarkable diversity of contemporary Irish society. The exhibit, now permanently housed in the Westside Resource Centre, consists of 19 portraits, each composed of a black and white portrait accompanied by a colour negative mapping. Each portrait is set against a background of images drawn from science and research, which are highly aesthetic images that warrant a second look to decipher their content. Each participant is a researcher, either in real life or in their imagination, and so while the CÚRAM researchers appear against images drawn from their own work, the local community are set against images referring to their preferred area of research, in response to the question; “If you were a researcher what would you research?”

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “We aim to inspire and engage all communities with current and cutting edge research that’s happening here in Ireland. Unfortunately, chronic illness such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and heart disease are familiar to most Irish communities and it’s important that we provide opportunities for people to find out more about our work in finding solutions to these illnesses and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. That can be through the work of filmmakers, teachers or artists such as Cleary Connolly who use the research as inspiration and break barriers to provide another ‘way in’ to the world of science.”

Commenting on the project, artist Anne Cleary, said: “We were really interested in CÚRAM’s work on corneal implants and also in advanced biomimicry. Our work is all about perception, how people see the world, how they adapt. We were privileged to work with such a diverse and interesting group of people from the Westside community and have been greatly inspired by all of the participants and their ideas.”

Participants who featured in the project include Suriya, originally from India. If she was a researcher her main area of research interest would be genetics, in particular stem cells and stem cell treatments, which she thinks have the potential to treat an enormous range of diseases and conditions that plague millions of people around the world. Mary, originally from Roscommon and now living in Westside, became interested in the effects of salt intake on the body, having participated in a sodium clinical trial at University Hospital Galway. Francis, who currently lives in Galway having returned from overseas, works in social care, youth, community and social services. He is interested in exploring the metaphor of “all persons as scientists” and would like to see science used more to understand issues that really affect us personally and societally. Precious is originally from Zimbabwe and would like to learn more about the environment, soil improvement and agriculture. She is also interested in the Natural Sciences, and is particularly interested in research at CÚRAM related to developing medical adhesives derived from marine life.

According to James Harrold, Arts Officer, Galway City Council, the project has very successfully brought the worlds of art and science together. “I am delighted to see how positive an experience this has been for all involved and we look forward to deepening connections between these communities in the coming year.”

James Coyne, CEO of Westside Resource Centre and Community Partner on the project says that the Westside community is a strong and vibrant one with its own annual community Arts Festival. “It has been hugely rewarding to be part of the process and bring different parts of the community together. I think we have all learned something new and it’s definitely created a great deal of curiosity about the research that’s happening right here on our doorstep” he says.

CÚRAM’s public engagement programme, which incorporates artist in residence projects, supports the Science Foundation Ireland objective of having the most scientifically informed and engaged public.  It has a strong focus on empowering diverse communities with knowledge and providing new ways for people to engage and interact with its cutting edge research.

The exhibit is now installed at the Westside Resource Centre. The project team will be showing the exhibit at various events around the country throughout the year.  

For more information on the artists and their work please visit www.connolly-cleary.com Cleary and Connolly’s work is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

To view ‘AFTERIMAGE’ by Cleary Connolly, visit: https://youtu.be/_p-Qg3koPCA

To view videos from the Art-Science Exhibition launch, see links below:

Claire Riordan, CÚRAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U2Wen6beZM
Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Z05BFxcLQ
James Harrold, Galway City Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-mK0mF2JgU
James Coyne, Westside Resource Centre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhXHRwY4Mw4
Andrea Fitzpatrick, CÚRAM and Denis Connolly, Cleary Connolly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUqdMTduMww

-Ends-

For more information about the exhibit contact Claire Riordan, Science Engagement Associate, CÚRAM, NUI Galway at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie or 091 494414.

Notes to Editors

About CÚRAM

CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices is part of the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre network. It aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients living with chronic illnesses, by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. CÚRAM’s academic partners include the National University of Ireland Galway, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, University Limerick and Clinical Research Development Ireland. Clinical targets include cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, musculoskeletal and respiratory illnesses as well as soft tissue and wound healing. CÚRAM brings together clinical, industry and research teams with expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, glycoscience and device design. Read more at www.curamdevices.ie or follow on Twitter @curamdevices.

About NUI Galway

The University was established in the heart of Galway City, on the west coast of Ireland, in 1845. Since then it has advanced knowledge teaching and learning, through research and innovation, and community engagement.

Over 18,000 students study at NUI Galway, where 2,600 staff provide the very best in research-led education.

NUI Galway’s teaching and research is recognised through its consistent rise in international rankings. The University is placed in the Top 250 of both the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2016/2017 and the QS World University Rankings 2016/17.

With an extensive network of industry, community and academic collaborators around the world, NUI Galway researchers are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our times. Internationally renowned research centres based here include CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Moore Institute, Institute for Life course and Society and The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy.

NUI Galway has been listed as one of the most beautiful universities in Europe according to Business Insider. For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie or view all NUI Galway news here.

*The University's official title is NUI Galway.

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