The Just City
The Just City, Counter Narrative Neighbourhood Residency Award was advertised in late 2019. This coincided with Common Ground marking its 20th year and at a time when Dublin 8, the area in which we are located, continued to experience multiple changes to its urban and social fabric.
It was in response to the cumulation and proliferation of these changes and the impact across Dublin 8 that Common Ground devised the Counter Narrative Neighbourhood Residency Award. The residency offered a collaborative or socially engaged artist or arts collective the opportunity to engage in Dublin 8 over a two year period. This would provide the successful artist(s) the opportunity to interface with a sophisticated and experienced community development and activist matrix in the locality. Central to the development of the award was the prioritisation of the question of spatial justice, in particular the way in which the urban and social fabric of inner city Dublin encounters forms of spatial injustice through the acquisition, development and management of neighbourhood housing, private rented accommodation and public space.
The two year residency was awarded to artist Kate O’Shea who was due to move into studio 468 in March 2020 when suddenly the country went into lockdown. Kate was forced to reimagine her response to the award ‘How much is enough?’ in a different way. In April 2020, Kate O’ Shea established an online reading group of international activists, community workers, artists and academics from eight cities around the world. This evolved into The Just City Collective.
Another iteration of Kate’s residency was ‘Half Way to Falling’ a collaborative and collective response to The Just City. ’Half Way to Falling’ was exhibited in 2021 at the Lord Mayors Pavilion, Cork presenting a series of collaborative printworks, sculptural work, a film piece and responses by The Just City Collective.
From May to July 2021 Kate co-curated a series of four online talks ‘Networks of Solidarity’ with writer/researcher Enya Moore from the Just City Collective. The talks brought together artists and activists from Ireland, Greece and Gadigal Land (Sydney, Australia) in an online space. ‘Halfway to Falling’ was exhibited again in studio 468 for Culture Night 2022.
In early 2023 ‘How Much is Enough?’ was published in partnership with Half Letter Press, Common Ground and Create on Kate’s practice. It reflects on Kate’s response to The Just City, her practice and the conditions needed to support collaborative art practice.