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Activism • Social Change • Photography


PROTEST! charts how photography has recorded and affected social change.  Ireland has witnessed an unprecedented series of societal changes in recent decades, where regressive and repressive forces at work in institutions and in our public life have been challenged and often overcome. This social revolution has encompassed a spectrum of local and national issues from the anti-drug movement, Travellers’ rights, water charges protests,  civil rights and conflict in Northern Ireland, through to international movements for change worldwide including Women's Rights, LGBTQIA+, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.

PROTEST! considers the vital role photography has played in making visible the struggle for equality, diversity and inclusion in Ireland across a tumultuous period in Irish history.   Featuring photographs by Irish and international photojournalists, documentary photographers and socially-engaged artists, the exhibition surveys the various ways photography has been employed to affect and reflect movements for social change.

Outlining a chronology of protest and resistance in the forms of personal agency and artist activism through to collective action, PROTEST! draws upon the archives of the Gallery of Photography Ireland, Belfast Exposed Gallery, National Museums NI, National Library of Ireland, Queer Archives, the Irish Times, RTÉ Archives, DCU Media History Library together with contributions from guest curators and individual photographers. The exhibition encompasses a broad range of images: from iconic photographs to works that have not been shown publicly in Ireland.  The curatorial team have sought to include to reflect diverse photographic positions and perspectives.

Curatorial Team:
This exhibition is co-curated with a team of guest-curators with specialist knowledge in this area:  
Deirdre Robb, Belfast Exposed Gallery,
Kate Horgan /Kate Horgan Bespoke Books,
Brendan Maher, Photo Researcher & Curator
Pauline Vermare, Independent Curator

In Our Own Image: Photography in Ireland, 1839 to the Present is a landmark centenary programme that examines how photography has served as a mirror for shifting experiences of what it means to be Irish, charting how the medium has both reflected and shaped Irish cultural identity, from the work of the earliest photographic pioneers up to today acclaimed contemporary artists.  

Multi-site exhibitions, events, interactive timeline, online programmes and publications combine to examine how photography has recorded and shaped diverse cultural identities in Ireland. Innovative public art and online programmes invite audiences to contribute to conversations around what it means to be Irish today.

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