Artist Name(s) Sean Taylor
Artwork title The STEPS

A sound/movement-based artwork with an aerobics class in the University of Limerick Sports Arena.

The STEPS evolved from a desire to interact with the 6pm-7pm aerobics class at the University of Limerick Sports Arena, which is a group that I have been observing for some time. Every public space has a unique soundscape that arises from an immersive environment. The aerobic class that I wanted to work with already had an established soundscape that triggered a variety of investigative responses. These responses became starting points for the possible development and creative expansion of that environment. The communal and structured repetition of the class's set aerobic dance patterns controlled by the instructor's whistle, were also key elements that I thought I could begin working with.  

I initially approached Patricia Moriarty, the Arts Officer at the University of Limerick with an idea to create a collaborative artwork with the class, she was intrigued by the idea of working with the aerobic class within a set one-hour time frame, and agreed to support the project. I had also approached Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), as part of my role as a member of the IMMA artist panel, to seek approval to deliver a series of workshops to the class here in Limerick. These workshops were based on video works from the permanent collection of the museum, and became part of the initial developmental phase of the project.

The next step was to convince the aerobic instructor Ritchie Clifford to participate in the project. I introduced my own working methodologies to Ritchie and we began a dialogue about changing the context of the aerobic workout and creating a new sound/movement based artwork with the class. Ritchie agreed to participate and we began a general recruiting campaign within the existing aerobic classes at the Sports Arena. Management of the Sports Arena in UL agreed to give us a dedicated time slot from 7pm to 8pm every Friday night in which to develop the project. I had also received a Daghdha Dance Company Micro Bursary to work on the choreography for The STEPS project, and I completed a working draft outline of the project whilst on a short residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, which became a starting point for dialogue within the group.

We began working in September 2008 with about twelve participants and gradually built the numbers up to about forty over the next few months. The working methodologies we developed over these months evolved into a familiar workable pattern; viewing video work from the IMMA collection during class, discussing this work during and after class, where appropriate. Then we began screening related research-based video clips, to map out the territory of where the project might locate itself, and again discussions shaped this direction. The choreography and lyrics developed in much the same way, everything was introduced, discussed, tested and agreed with the group as the project progressed. Having agreed a flexible completion date for the project with the Arts officer at UL and IMMA, allowed us the time and space to develop the work at a pace that best suited the group and the project. We agreed to film the finished artwork and to showcase a number of live performances of The STEPS to an invited public audience in the Sports Arena building at the University of Limerick in May 2009. 


Catalogue and DVD of The STEPS available from Irish Museum of Modern Art Bookshop. More information at: and 


Taylor received a Diploma (with Distinction) in Fine Art, from Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork, Ireland (1982). He was awarded an MA in Fine Art from the University of Ulster in Belfast (1983), and received a Postgraduate Scholarship from The Kunstenacademie, Rotterdam, Holland (1989). In 1989 he moved to Glasgow and worked as a community artist, and was also a Director of the Glasgow Sculpture Studios. The artist moved to Limerick in 1996 and is currently a Lecturer in the Sculpture & Combined Media Department at Limerick School of Art & Design, Limerick Institute of Technology.

In 1999 he established the art/ science collaboration Softday with software engineer Mikael Fernstrom. Since 1984 he has exhibited internationally and his work is available in both private and public collections throughout Europe, Mexico, Asia and the USA. He has achieved numerous artistic awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland, The British Council and the Arts Council of Scotland.

Selected commissions include work for the Office of Public Works, National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks, Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the Arts Office, University of Limerick.

Currently a Director of the National Sculpture Factory and a board member of Wired FM, Visual Artists Ireland (VAI), Irish Visual artists Rights Organisation (IVARO), the Irish Musicians Rights Organisation (IMRO), the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin (CMC), and The Ground-Up Artists Collective.

Examples of his work at available on the following websites at: and

Artist website:

Commission Type Other
Commissioner Name University of Limerick Arts Office, Irish Museum of Modern Art
Commissioning process Direct
Project commission dates August 31, 2008 - May 7, 2009
Public Presentation dates May 7, 2009 - January 1, 1970
Artform Dance,Visual Arts,Music,Other
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Other
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Project commission start date 31/08/2008
Project commission end date 07/05/2009
Location University Of Limerick Sports Arena
County Limerick
Content contributor(s) Sean Taylor
Relationship to project Artist, Choreographer, Collaborator
Public engagement

University of Limerick Aerobic Class

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Aerobic Instructor, Sound Engineer, Film Editor



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