The Kitchen Sessions

Artist Name(s) Michael Fortune
Artwork title The Kitchen Sessions
Context/Background The public art commission of artist Michael Fortune, through the Per cent for Art Scheme, sought from the outset to expand conventional definitions of both art and community-based arts practice.


The project began in 2008 and centred on the housing estate of Fana Burca in Knocknacarra, Galway City. The project featured a participatory process whereby the residents of Fana Burca were invited to join the artist in learning digital video, photography, animation and web-based media, and in turn to share and articulate their personal experiences of their home on the estate. Following this open call, a group comprising of five families and friends came together to work alongside the artist. Due to the commitments, demands and time restraints faced by many families, he devised a model of working to fit around each household's timetable, and in their own homes.

This creative exchange resulted in the production of a limited number publication which documents the unfolding stories of each family's life mapped through conversations and observations of the objects and temporary traces of everyday life in their homes. Also featured in this publication is a specially commissioned essay by Sarah Tuck, the Director of Create, the National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts, entitled The Kitchen Sessions - Public Art and Domestic Space which explores the complex meanings of community and artists working in the public realm.

In order to harness their new skills the participating families also developed a new website and working alongside Michael hosted a YouTube film festival in the Fana Burca estate from 18-19 December 2009.

The publication was launched in Galway Arts Centre on the 17 December 2009 by Sarah Tuck, Director of Create and Jenny Haughton, Public Art Advisor for the Arts Council.

The publication is also available to download from: and


A small catalogue/handout was produced specifically for the project, while the project received wide coverage in the National Library news sheet and the Beltaine catalogue and website. The project also received wide coverage in Wexford papers The People and The Echo.


Michael Fortune was born in rural Co. Wexford, in 1975. His practice revolves around the collection of material. He does not script or storyboard, instead he generates material out of the relationships and experiences he develops with the people and circumstances he encounters. In much of his video work the camera remains static, where editing is only ever employed out of necessity rather than luxury. Although referring to the form of the documentary, all evidence of the documenter or narrator is removed. The intimate nature of the relationships with the people and circumstances he encounters, and the subsequent reflective treatment of the material at hand is a key feature of his work. 

Fortune presents work internationally mostly in a variety of contexts, ranging from video installations in galleries through to single screen presentations in film and video art festivals. Since the beginning of 2007 his work has been presented in over ninety-five shows in a total of twenty-five countries spanning from Armenia to Venezuela and from Kilnaboy to Claremorris. Further information on

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Galway City Council
Project commission dates August 31, 2008 - December 1, 2009
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Galway City Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 31/08/2008
Project commission end date 01/12/2009
Location Fana Burca 
County Galway
Town Galway City
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Megs Morley
Relationship to project Public Art Co-ordinator 



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Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

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