The Cork city landfill site was open between 1964 and 2009. What makes me stop and think is that if you lived in Cork in those years and threw anything out, then it’s still underground in Tramore Valley Park under the grassy hill. Pressed deep underfoot in layer after layer, are people’s throwaway things squashed together, all those dolls, butter tubs, shampoo bottles, can-openers, shoes, lamps, and CD’s. The Park is an archaeology of my past, my friends’ pasts, and all of us that lived and grew in the city in those years, I’m part of that park, I own some of the history of that landscape.
It’s been months of planning and preparation but we’re finally launching a new art project today, The KinShip art project is an ambitious public artwork based in a former landfill site south of Cork City. The aim of this year-long project is to develop a kin-like connection between the non-human inhabitants of Tramore Valley Park and its surrounding community, encouraging people to treat the wider community of life in the park with the same respect we’d extend to members of our own family.
The KinShip project is led by artists LennonTaylor (Seán Taylor and myself Marilyn Lennon), in partnership with Cork City Council. It is a recipient of the inaugural Creative Climate Action fund, an initiative from the Creative Ireland Programme in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communication. This initiative supports creative, cultural and artistic projects that build awareness around climate change and empowers citizens to make meaningful behavioural transformations. Local project partners include Cork Healthy Cities, Cork Nature Network, Cork UNESCO Learning Cities, Green Spaces for Health, MTU Clean Technology Centre and UCC Environmental Research Institute.
Over 2022 the art project offers artists and interested communities an opportunity to gather, and to respond creatively and critically to the ecological and climate action challenges we face today. The overall aim of the art project is to develop a sense of connection between the people of Cork and the ecology of the park.
Thinking about the recent history of the park, we first became really excited about the unfolding story of two disparate types of places, a landfill site, and a public park, layered onto one space. On the one hand all that waste buried underground, a complex engineering project and record of over forty years of consumption, and on the other hand the human endeavour to create a public park, a space that exists because of the cooperation of human management and natural rewilding. Amy Marris writes about the Post Wild World, she says we can’t just rely on saving pristine natural places, we must learn to cultivate and nurture the wild things. The idea of kinship with nature is not new, but in our modern urban lives we unlearn some habits, habits that cultivate respect and interdependence with a full range of biodiverse life. The KinShip project aims to reconnect us to plants, animals, insects, microbes, water, and air and so on through creativity, community connection and the imagination.
There are a number of ways to get involved in the project, there is a year-long creative programme of citizen-led skills and knowledge based exchanges, artist’s placements, a KinShip EcoLab construction commission, and a focused series of creative interventions in the park. All of these elements will endeavour to put the local community at the heart of the KinShip project.
For more info and ways to get involved see; https://www.corkcity.ie/en/kinship/