A Letter from Kate. May 5th 2020

I am an artist with a broad social practice that includes printmaking, the production of social spaces, collective food making and sharing, and publishing. Early this year, in a very different world, I proposed the project HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Today, I should be living in Inchicore. Instead, I am on a farm in Kerry rethinking what HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? means in the current catastrophe of a global pandemic.

The initial research phase was to involve meeting key community members in order to explore local issues collaboratively through print media and The People’s Kitchen. Instead I am reconfiguring my practice and the work through collaboratively exploring ‘the right to the city’ with collaborators across three continents. This has given me the time and space to step back from the work. Spatial injustices which are intrinsic to our urban reality can be seen through redevelopment across our cities. This has led me to starting The Just City Reading Group between Dublin, Limerick, New York, Sydney, Cork, Helsinki, New Mexico, Barcelona and Berlin. I feel like I am often having the same conversations around housing, privatisation, alienation and displacement with collaborators around the world, so it is exciting to create a social space online for in depth analysis of spatial injustices within our worlds. This will be invaluable for when I finally get to be on the ground again working with people and figuring out the answers together.

I am currently learning GIS (Geographical Information Systems) in order to analyse data connected to Dublin 8. This work will explore counter narratives within Dublin 8 to those presented by the media, the state and private interest groups. Such data is often used as a justification to push through developments that may have a negative impact on the existing community as they are profit-led. The data is additionally used to support strategic policy making that favours politicians and developers interest. Therefore, the idea is to instead use the data to make visible the notion of an endemic spatial injustice and make that perspective visible through print. This will make such data accessible and tangible to the general public.

In world of social-distancing, those on the margins are being pushed further away. This catastrophe has shone a torch on the structural inequalities embedded in the crisis of capitalism. How do we strengthen our communities and stand together in the face of what is to come?

Kate O’Shea
The Just City. The Counter Narrative Neighbourhood Residency Award’