Sligo Local

Artist Name(s) Neva Elliot & Lynn Harris
Artwork title Sligo Local
Context/Background Sligo Local was designed from an artist's perspective, to address cultural production, individual artists' motivations, access to audiences and support within an institutionally centered art world. Specifically, we were looking to work with artists local to non major urban centres, where the notion of being 'local' comes into greater significance.

We originally identified that within arts centres and institutions, there can be difficulty consolidating local artists needs with running a contemporary arts program. This can lead to local artists feeling disaffected; feeling that they have little ownership of their local arts space, and misunderstanding the arts centre as having an obligation to giving space and exposure to them. Equally an over dependence on a singular space (the local arts centre) precludes artists engaging with a wider arts sphere or developing their own initiatives.

We looked at the relationship between these spaces (local arts institutions and centres) and the local arts community, in artists' relationships with each other and the possibility for the development of professional stability and self-sustaining forms of engagement for artists within an active, supported community.


Sligo Local looked to generate support systems and the means to facilitate the self management and empowerment of artistic practice. Specifically at how discussion, collaborative engagement, artist-led activity and networks offer the kind of non-hierarchical support that grows a practice naturally.

Elliott Harris
actively researched artist's practice within a community; reliance on the main arts institution within a particular location, support for local artists, artist-led initiatives and contemporary art production. Engaging the audience throughout the process to develop 'tools' that to represent the research and which could be used by the community to highlight, facilitate or stimulate professional practice within a local setting.

While many artists' initiatives have addressed issues of community and contemporary art production, we aimed to address the issue in a pragmatic manner through discussion, negotiation and facilitation, building relationships and sustainable systems that could be maintained and adapted through an active community as an integral part of an ongoing program.

We feel that transparency, dialogue, collaborative engagement, flat hierarchies and networks are relevant to a contemporary engaged artistic practice. As such these are the tactics we used to elicit participation towards the development of concepts designed to serve this community.

Sligo Local
was conceived as a constructive intervention designed through negotiation. The research from Sligo Local has been used to inform local institutions policies and approaches towards local artists' initiatives and has proved a catalyst for several local artists coming together to create artist led platforms and forms of self-initiated activity.


1. S.L.A.M! Sligo Local Artists Movement blog,

2. ArtMart Studios

3. S.L.A.M! Art Crawl for Culture Night,

4. Facebook page:

We put forward a proposal for Culture Night Sligo on behalf of local artists to offer a platform for the artists we met during the project to get together and make some work, develop relationships, and to potentially form collaborations.

From this invitation, artists Sophia Murray, Lisa Cannon, Siabhra O'Brien and Shane Finnan formed S.L.A.M! (Sligo Local Artists Movement) to, in the short-term, consolidate efforts towards Culture Night and in the longer-term, to provide and develop an ongoing active art scene and create regular events, talks and happenings for artists and other creatives in Sligo and surrounding areas.

S.L.A.M! then found an empty shop front, negotiated a very good deal on rent and set up ArtMart studios, consisting of studio and exhibition space for several artists.
For Culture Night, S.L.A.M! organised an Art Crawl, which included the participation of approximately 50 local artists, across several venues in Sligo town and with the  support of several businesses in Sligo town.

S.L.A.M! blog (2010): 'S.L.A.M! (Sligo Local Artists Movement) is a network established by local artists Lisa Cannon, Shane Finan, Sophia Murray & Siabhra O' Brien. It is for Artists working in all genres living in the Sligo area and the NorthWest. The intention of SLAM is give Artists the opportunity to organize, produce & curate their own events, exhibitions & talks rather than waiting for organizations to accommodate them. SLAM wishes to create a community of Artists from all genres to work together and take their own initiative.'

Elliott Harris only instigated these activities through conversation. S.L.A.M! and participating artists devised, developed and sustain all groups and activities.


Neva Elliott
Neva Elliott is an Irish Artist living and working in London and a Masters graduate of Central Saint Martins College. Exhibitions have included in 2007 Singing the Real, at The South African National Gallery, Capetown, curated by Patrick Murphy, Director of the Royal Hibernian Gallery, Ireland. In 2006 Archiving Skibbereen at the West Cork Arts Centre, Fresh, Re-Imagining The Collection curated by Pippa Little at the Limerick City Gallery of Art and The Taylor Arts Award Retrospective at the National Gallery Dublin. In 2006 Elliott also represented Ireland at the International Artists´Residency in Argentina (RIAA, Residencia Internacional de Artistas en Argentina). Curatorial projects include in 2008, Judi Werthein's Brinco, for The Dock, Leitrim. Her writing can be seen in Visual Artists Newsletter, a-n and Creative Choices.

Lynn Harris

Lynn Harris is an American artist living and working in London for the past 10 years and also a Masters graduate of Central Saint Martins College. She collaborates prolifically and is Co-founder of web-based Unrealised Projects and experimental POD project: AND Publishing. She was Co-editor of [deletia] from 2006-2009. She was recently awarded a residency at the Museum of Image and Sound, São Paulo and spoke at annual the Verbo Conjugado Festival, Galerie Vermelho/CCSP regarding research project, Unrealised São Paulo.

She has shown extensively in the UK and Europe and has spoken at several symposia including at the Design Museum, Bartlett School of Architecture/Slade School of Fine Art, Kent Institute of Art and Design, Leicester City Gallery, and Galway City Gallery. She was nominated for Beck's Futures in 2003 and Jerwood Artists Platform in 2005.

Commission Type The Arts Council,Other
Commissioner Name The Model, Sligo
Commissioning process Direct commission
Artform Visual Arts,Other
Funded By Sligo County Council,Other
Budget Range 0 - 10000 euro
Location Sligo 
County Sligo
Content contributor(s) Neva Elliott and Lynn Harris
Relationship to project Artists
Public engagement

Artists from and local to Sligo



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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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