In 2024, Void Art Centre will commence a living practice of socio-permaculture. The concept of social permaculture is the application of permaculture principles to human relationships, communities, social systems and organisational models. Social permaculture is about connection between people, economies, and governing structures – creating the conditions for humans to flourish on a societal level, thus to develop beneficial relationships with the ecosystems which sustain us.
In order to do this, we’ve hired two new fantastic team members to help us on our journey. We’d like to extend a warm welcome to our new Head Of Sustainable Growth, Mitch Conlon and our new Curator of Civic Engagement, Mhairi Sutherland. We’re incredibly excited to have them as part of the team here at Void Art Centre.
With both of them having a wealth of experience in working in the arts across Ireland and further afield, they bring so much talent, knowledge and expertise to the team and we are delighted to see what the future holds for Void.
Mitch Conlon is an artist and organiser who has worked across the creative sector and visual arts here in the North for over ten years. Having lived in a number of cities across the island Mitch is deeply passionate about living and working in Northern Ireland and specifically artists’ role as active citizens within our society. He has continuously prioritised working collectively, collaborating with others as a rewarding and fulfilling choice that runs contradictorily to the recommended path, that of individualism and competition within our creative sector. Sharing and learning with like-minded, empathetic organisations such as FRUIT SHOP, PS2, Array Collective, COLLECTED, Catalyst Arts and Knee-jerk, Mitch has chosen to work in peripheral locations within DIY structures and self-organised groups. This eco-system of experimental and community-led infrastructure is critically undervalued in the North and is the seabed from which our larger civic institutions are dependent. It is this similarly minded network in Derry that he will seek to establish the foundations from which a sustainable organisation and programme can flourish.
Mhairi Sutherland is a visual artist working in photography, video, and drawing, awarded a PhD in 2012 from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and an MFA (Distinction) from the University of Ulster, Belfast (1994-96). An experienced freelance facilitator, mentor and coach in digital storytelling, photography and the visual arts, Mhairi has recently facilitated a CAWT programme (2022) with rural and other groups through the Verbal Arts Centre, and was Creative Producer as part of the Third Space team, a cross-border PEACE IV programme, delivering a digital storytelling programme to 600 young people across NI and border areas. (2017-21) Previous facilitation clients have included Void Gallery Engage programme, Prison Arts Foundation (PAF), Community Foundation NI, Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny, The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children Dublin and the Moville and District Family Resource Centre.
Public projects include a commission from the Hasselblad Foundation and Valand Academy, Sweden, for Drone Vision: Warfare, Surveillance and Protest, a group triptych exhibition shown in Gothenburg, Lahore and Nicosia in May 2018, The Dome, a site-specific research project, supported by a SIAP Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and PRONTO, commissioned by 1418NOW and Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, as part of the ‘Radio Relay’ cultural programme for Northern Ireland, 2016. Her work has been exhibited in one person exhibitions in the Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton (After the Blacksmith, 2018) Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny (Arc of Fire, 2011) OMAC, Belfast (Fig: YS, 2008) Context Gallery, Derry (Fathom, 2002) and Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow (Blackout, 1999), numerous group exhibitions and is represented in private and public collections in the UK and Europe. Mhairi has been involved with collaborative and site-specific projects beginning with the Sitework Public Art team, Orchard Gallery, Derry (1988-89), a founding member of artists’ group Not in Kansas, Glasgow (1998-2003) and is currently a member of LOCI (2014-) a group of women artists, researchers and writers.
Photographer: Sara Leahy
Void Gallery is supported using public funding from Arts Council Northern Ireland, Arts Council National Lottery Fund, All Island Fund, Austin and Hope Pilkington Foundation, Arnold Clarke Foundation, Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, Community Foundation Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enkalon Foundation, National Lottery Community Fund, The Ireland Funds, Foundation Foundation.