Folk Radio

Artist Name(s) Tom Flanagan
Artwork title Folk Radio
Context/Background Folk Radio is a public art project in the form of a new artist-led radio station based at X-PO in Kilnaboy, a village in the heart of the Burren community in Co. Clare, and is commissioned through Clare County Council’s Gaining Ground programme. Folk Radio engages the wider and existing communities active in and around X-PO. This former post office is a site for cultural and community exchange, initiated as a public art project in 2007 by artist Deirdre O’Mahony. Today its numerous activities include a weekly singing meet-up, skills exchange workshops, historical talks, a film club and a mapping group, all run by volunteers from the area. Led by artist Tom Flanagan, the X-PO community is in the process of making sound recordings, audio works and programmes exploring the hinterlands of North West Clare.

An artist-led radio station based at X-PO in Kilnaboy, a village in the heart of the Burren community in Co. Clare, commissioned through Clare County Council’s Gaining Ground programme. Folk Radio engages the wider and existing communities active in and around X-PO

Folk Radio is curated by Anne Mullee, with artist Tom Flanagan and curatorial advisor, Deirdre O’Mahony. Folk Radio is a concept for a new artist-led, analogue broadcast and online radio station based at X-PO in Kilnaboy, a village in the heart of the Burren community in Co. Clare.

This community-based project seeks to engage the wider and existing communities active in and around X-PO, a former post office. The project explores the meaning of ‘the rural’, in the context of a community that is made up of both local people and newcomers to the area.

Folk Radio relates to a long tradition of radio in empowering local communities with the tools to interrogate cultures and opinions of people and their traditions. It also relates to X-PO’s own history, as its late postmaster, John Martin “Mattie” Rynne, was a keen shortwave and citizen broadcasting enthusiast.

Artist Tom Flanagan explains, “Encompassing the objectives of Gaining Ground, the radio station will provide a platform for interested locals / artists and XPO volunteers to develop innovative radio broadcasts under the projects conceptual framework, with the potential to explore new forms of expression which challenge and explore our understanding and engagement with the medium.

” The programme will culminate in a two week period of amalogue broadcasts on 87.9FM from 3–16 February 2020. On Saturday, 8 February, a public event takes place, where artists, community members and policy makers will engage in talks and a discussion forum on the potential of radio and creative practices, and the challenges of rural life in North Clare.



Tom Flanagan is an artist, filmmaker and educator based in Galway. His solo and collaborative work with artist Megs Morley is an ongoing investigation of the language of cinema and its relationship to political power and collective memory. Flanagans' moving image and photographic works examine real and imagined politically complex sites and forgotten histories and attempts to intervene into collective understandings of the present, by exploring the space between images, memory, knowledge and power.

Flanagan’s work has been exhibited, broadcast and screened nationally and internationally in both gallery and film festival contexts. Recent solo and group exhibitions include:EVA International 2016, Still the Barbarians, TG4 'Splanc' Commission - Allagóirí Chumhachta (Allegories of Power) for national broadcast in 2016 as part of their commemoration programming. Irish Art Does Not Exist (2014), Station Independent Projects, New York; Agitationism (2014), EVA International, Ireland; Building on Ruins(2013), Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles; Lucca Experimental Film Festival (2013), Tuscany, Italy; Labour and Lockout (2013), Limerick City Gallery of Art; Momentous Times (2013), CCA Derry~Londonderry; Guth Gafa International Documentary Film Festival (2013), Kells, Meath, Ireland; Peaks of Present, Sheets of Past (2013), Mermaid Arts Centre; Rencontres Internationales(2011), Centre du Pompidou, Paris, and Berlin (2012); A Series of Navigations (2012), The Model, Sligo; Post-Fordlândia (2012), The Good Children Gallery, New Orleans; Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival (2012), Hawick, Scotland; Post-Fordlândia (2011), Galway Arts Centre.

Tom has been lecturing in Fine art and Media with various institutions nationally since 2002. For the past 9 years Tom has worked extensively with the GRETB delivering courses in Film Radio production. He has hands on experience working with community radio and was instrumental in the training /development and licencing for Kinvara FM over the past two years.

Anne Mullee is a curator, researcher and art writer based in Co. Clare and Dublin. Her main areas of research include hospitality, travel and communication, with an approach characterised by the act of doing; by initiating discursive activities, often realised in non-traditional gallery spaces as off-site, temporal events.

She holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from UCD, a HND in Fashion Journalism from the University of the Arts (London), and a Certificate in Art & Design Certificate from DIT. She has devised and curated many exhibitions in Ireland, seeking to push the boundaries of the presentation and dissemination of contemporary art.

She was curator of The Courthouse Gallery & Studios, Ennistymon, Co. Clare (2016-2019), and is currently Visiting Curator at South Tipperary Arts Centre. Mullee initiated the independent site-specific curatorial projects To Follow The Water (2016) and The Artist’s Armada (2015), each exploring the ontological nature of waterways, and was commissioned to produce the ongoing curatorial enquiry All Bread is Made of Wood, by Fingal Arts Office Public Art Manager Caroline Cowley, working with artists Fiona Hallinan and Sabina MacMahon (2015 - ).

Mullee is the recipient of awards from the Arts Council, European Connections in Digital Arts (EUCIDA), Clare County Council and Dublin City Council, and has participated in residencies at The Good Hatchery (Co Offaly) and Kooshk Residency (Tehran, Iran). She has discussed about her work at institutions including IMMA, glór, and the Botanic Gardens, and has been a visiting lecturer at IADT and Burren College of Art. Her writing has appeared in Paper Visual Art, the Visual Artists News Sheet and in academic publications.

Deirdre O’Mahony is a visual artist whose practice is informed by a deep interest in rural sustainability, farming, food security and rural/urban relationships. For more than two decades she has investigated the political ecology of rural places through public engagement, archival and moving image installation, critical writing and cultural production.

Her PhD New Ecologies Between Rural Life and Visual Culture in the West of Ireland: History, Context, Position, and Art Practice at the University of Brighton in 2012 revived a defunct rural post-office as a public space, “X-PO”, to reflect the complex social, psychological, economic and natural issues affecting rural life and landscapes. Animated by a process of collaborative exhibition-making and the co-creation of artworks, X-PO made visible some of the invisible histories, unconscious projections and expectations underlying place-based attachments. The project was the 2007 artwork in Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks and is included in Tania Bruguera’s Arte Útil Archive.

Subsequent research on the creation of space for public discourse on food security, seed sovereignty and mêtis or tacit knowledge was developed through the SPUD project, reflecting on ideas of sustainability, food security and rural/urban relationships through potato projects in Ireland, USA, Spain and the UK. A Village Plot was part of the Grizedale Arts research residency for A Fair Land at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. SPUD culminated with The Persistent Return, produced by Callan Workhouse Guild, a moving image installation at VISUAL Carlow and the Natuurmuseum, Leeuwarden as part of the ECOC. A book about the overall SPUD projects will be published in 2020.

She was commissioned to make Groundworks, a public artwork for Aarhus ECOC in 2017 and selected for the first Welcome Trust residency at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) in Reading in the UK producing a moving image work Speculative Optimism, exhibited at Galway International Art Festival in 2018. In 2018/19 she produced and curated a project for Teagasc, the Irish Agricultural research agency as part of a Horizon 2020 project, CERERE.

In 2020 O’Mahony will launch POST_ , a new audio work for Saolta Galway Hospital Arts Trust/Galway 2020 ECOC, A Space for Lismore for Lismore Castle Arts, and UNTITLED an ACA publication by Asketon Contemporary Arts.

Awards in 2018 include an Arts Council and the Irish American Cultural Institute O’Malley Award. She has received numerous awards from the Irish Arts Council and received an international Pollock-Krasner award in 1996. Formerly a lecturer in Fine at Centre for Creative Arts, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology she now lives and works in Callan, County Kilkenny.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Clare County Council
Commissioning process Competitive Open Call / Clare County Council’s Gaining Ground Public Art Programme 2017-2020
Project commission dates June 1, 2018 - February 29, 2020
Public Presentation dates February 3, 2020 - February 16, 2020
Artform Other
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Clare County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Project commission start date 01/06/2018
Project commission end date 29/02/2020
Location X-PO
County Clare
Town Kilnaboy
Street Address Bunnanagat South
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Siobhán Mulcahy
Relationship to project County Arts Officer
Public engagement

Local community


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