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The Umbrella Project

Artist Name(s) Rhona Byrne
Artwork title The Umbrella Project
Context/Background The Umbrella Project was an event-based, participatory art project that invited people to join walking tours and explore the urban environment of North East Inner City area of Dublin; its people, architecture and natural wildlife. This part of Dublin is not usually associated with tourism, but is steeped with layers of history and is an area that is undergoing profound regeneration both architecturally and sociologically. 

The event took place on Saturday the 11 March 2006, inviting people to take part in one of six walking tours. The six walking tours were led by key local figures and specialists in their field. The tours included an Urban Wildlife Tour, Historical Tour, Architectural Tour, Docklands Area Tour, Multicultural Shopping Tour, New Architecture and Urban Planning Tour (this tour was cancelled due to illness). 

Participants were asked to carry specially designed umbrellas, creating a visible pattern of umbrellas moving through the streets of the North Inner City. On route the tours were entertained by'The Young Dramateers NEICA' performing "Singing in the Rain". Each person chose to go on only one tour, but were encouraged to share their experience of the tours afterwards at the LAB, Dublin City Councils Arts Office and Gallery, where refreshments were provided. The project was documented extensively and later exhibited at the LAB as a film and photography exhibition. There was also a publication produced with essays by Gemma Tipton and Shane O'Toole.


A book about The Umbrella Project was published and is featured in the Artists Books section of this site.


Often responding to a place or situation, Rhona Byrne makes objects, site-specific, gallery and context-based installations, films, publications, and collaborative event-based projects that focus on the interplay between people and their surrounding environment at both macro and micro levels. 

Site specificity is usually the point of departure for her creative process, involving research into a place and everyday relations. Byrne's works explore and engage with multi layered surfaces and workings of the built environment and navigates the intangible and transient layers of physical and psychological space. 

Recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions include: Architectures of Control, Radar, Loughborough University, UK, (2009), It's a Roller Coaster Four at the Kerlin, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, (2008); Nothing Happens, Gallery for One, Dublin, (2007); The Umbrella Project, The LAB, Dublin, (2006) (publication); Home, Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun, (2005) (publication). Selected group exhibitions include; lived experience, Ard Bia, Berlin, (2008); Bridge Architecture, The Dock, Leitrim; Changing spaces, The Concourse-Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, (2007); Work, Haus der Architektur Graz, Austria, (2006); Locws International 3, Swansea, Wales, (2007); Here there and Otherwise, Broadstone Gallery, Dublin, (2005); Offside, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, (2005); Billboart Gallery Europe (presented in 13 European capital cities); (2004) Transformation, Serbia Montenegro (2004).  

Recent commissions include percent for art projects with Dublin City Council, OPW and Cork City Council. In 2009 Byrne was an artist-in-residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and recently received the New Work Award from the Arts Council of Ireland.  

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name The Fire Station Artists Studios
Project commission dates March 1, 2005 - December 1, 2006
Partners The Fire Station Artists Studios
The Arts Council
Dublin City Council
Atelier David Smith
The Irish Architecture Foundation 
Artform Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Dublin City Council,The Arts Council,Other
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Project commission start date 01/03/2005
Project commission end date 01/12/2006
Location North East Inner City Dublin 
County Dublin
Town Dublin city
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Content contributor(s) Rhona Byrne
Relationship to project Artist