On the first weekend of each month, Project Arts Centre will publish a new work in partnership with RTÉ Culture.

Project have invited a number of artists and social activists, with a lived experience of intersectional discrimination and disadvantage, to produce a series of ambitious and provocative new works, encouraging crucial dialogue around the impact of social and economic inequality.

Negotiate by Róisín Power Hackett, Emilie Conway and Sighile Hennessy is the third work in this series - read the introduction by Róisín Power Hackett below, followed by a link to the publication itself.

There are several definitions for the word 'negotiate'. It can be understood as 'having formal discussions with someone, in order to reach an agreement', ‘to travel along a difficult route’ or ‘to deal with something difficult’. Negotiate responds to a policy developed by Project Arts Centre in 2021 - Towards Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (TEDI). This work includes responses from three artists with disabilities including Emilie Conway, Róisín Power Hackett and Sighile Hennessy, who work across a variety of different media and contexts.

All three artists know what it is like to negotiate inequality, exclusion, and ableism on a daily basis. Ableism is insidious, it is ingrained in public laws and policies, in all government departments, in our health care, public transport, and education. Every system is made ableist. The general-public and sometimes even our doctors, teachers, parents, family, and friends are ableist or benevolently ableist without even knowing it.

As a result of systems that ask the question ‘What is wrong with you?’, instead of ‘What is wrong with the system?’, people with disabilities live in the space between two realities. On one hand we are praised for just existing and on the other we are consistently forced into isolation.

Ableism excludes us and forces us to limit our potential. Limit our education and career prospects. Limit our ability to socialise and explore culture. Limit our friendships, and sexual and romantic relationships. With limitations everywhere, negotiation is often our only means of living in the world.

The Towards Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (TEDI) Policy is a great first step towards reducing systemic ableism and we feel that other arts organisations across Ireland should be encouraged to examine and adopt the broader aspects of this policy. However, to prove its worth it must first be rigorously enforced by Project and exist beyond the pages.

Read Negotiate here.

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Watch: Video response to Towards Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Untitled and Consultation 2022 by Emilie Conway

Photographs by Emilie Conway, Eoin Byrne and Luke Brabazon

Commissioned by Project Art Centre with support from the Arts Council and Dublin City Council