Co-produced by Deirdre O’Mahony for CERERE and Caroline Cowley, Public Art Co-ordinator for Fingal County with support by Fingal County Arts Office and CERERE, Teagasc.
CERERE (Cereal Renaissance in Rural Europe) is a thematic network that puts together scientists with practitioners. Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.
How can we enhance innovation in how the renaissance of Ireland’s heritage cereals is imagined and practiced? How can we integrate scientific and practical knowledge from seed to fork across the process of food production and consumption? A starting point is bringing diverse people together. Artist Deirdre O’Mahony’s Mind Meitheal brough together a group of people expert and passionate about cereals on 29th Septmber in Noel McAllister’s field in Portrane, to focus on the history and practice of cereal cultivation in North County Dublin
CERERE is a multi-actor network involving farmers, food scientists, sociologists, agronomists and many others. Its aims are to raise awareness about the value of good food, to identify cereals supply chains which use low inputs, and to empower farmers and those actors who work with alternative food systems.
Led by Áine Macken-Walsh, the Irish partner in CERERE is Teagasc, Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority. The Teagasc team is responsible for producing guidance to the CERERE network’s multi-actor innovation brokering activities. In this context, a paradoxical challenge is for CERERE to achieve relevance to the multiple, existing realities of diverse actors while also stimulating innovation across those realities through multi-actor collaboration. For innovation to occur, a further challenge is that new ideas must be freighted by scientific, technological, socio-cultural and economic possibilities in the real world.
In the context of all these challenges, artistic praxis is envisioned as a powerful tool for provoking multi-actor and public engagement. Opening up CERERE to society by creating expressions of its multiple scientific, tacit, consumerist facets; using aesthetics to draw the gaze of those uninvolved in cereals to important public concerns; and renaissance of cereal identities through spectacularised gastronomy are examples of the unique contributions of public art in contemporary innovation projects. CERERE has commissioned Deirdre O’Mahony to work with the multi-actor consortium in delivering a public art project that, although Ireland-based, is intended to provide an example Europe-wide.