‘We live by the stories we have about our lives; they shape our lives’ (Bearing Witness;  Katherine Ley, 2010).

38 Women was a class and performance project for women aged 15 to 65+, led by Philippa Donnellan, Director & Choreographer of Coiscéim Broadreach.

In April 2016, I was comissioned to produce marketing images and document the project until its culmination in December 2016. Having previously undertaken work for Coiscéim, this was an exciting piece of work in that I would be engaged from the outset. Meeting with Philippa to pre-visualise images for marketing, sparked many ideas, as well as how imagery might be incorporated into the overall body of work. The initial work was very much about creating, not only images, but also the (sometimes very literal) shape of how the performance might develop. 

Your turn, your move – your word. What experiences have shaped your life? How have they changed you?

The notion of 'shape' and 'shaping' was explored in initial shoots, as was doorways, which referenced These Rooms, into which the project was tied.

38 Women formally began in September as part of the public engagement programme of the CoisCéim/ANU co-production These Rooms.

Involving over thirty women of different ages from across Dublin and beyond, the project took place at CoisCéim studio and at Collins Barracks, the National Museum of Ireland (Decorative Arts and History). The participants took part in weekly technical Contemporary dance classes and exploratory movement sessions. Guided by the Philippa as choreographer, the participants collaborated to invent new narratives and varied physical imagery in a process drawing from personal experience and utilising text, sound, and visual material.

38 Women culminated in three performances by the participants on 3 and 4 December 2016 at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks.

In addition, a selection of the great many images I took over the months were framed and exhibited in the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, USA in early 2017 [see photoblog]. At this time, Philippa Donnellan hosted a movement-based workshop, in conjunction with (Re)Public, offering an opportunity for women to explore and share life experiences with other women. 

The lead sponsors for the event were Create - National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts and Culture Ireland.