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Music Consumption and Young People’s Negotiation of Space in Direct Provision: An A/r/tographic Inquiry

This project brings together social scientists and arts practitioners to communicate a complex societal issue - the realities of enforced institutional living for young people in 21st century Ireland - and to develop innovative and participatory ways of exploring and representing these realities through a/r/tographic inquiry.

Aims and Objectives

The project’s core aim is to explore how young asylum seekers use music consumption strategies to negotiate private and public space in Direct Provision centres. Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective that is informed by social policy, cultural geography, popular music studies, and participatory arts practice, it invites young people to represent and communicate their experiences of living in Direct Provision, through the prism of music consumption, to a public audience.

The key objectives of this project are to work with young asylum seekers in:

  • considering how music consumption contours their everyday lives;
  • communicating their experiences of living in Direct Provision - through the prism of music consumption - to a public audience;
  • using a/r/tographic methods to represent their use of music consumption to negotiate and shape public/private space in Direct Provision centres;
  • showcasing young people’s a/r/tographic artefacts in an exhibition which will be hosted by The Glucksman Gallery in UCC.

The creative outputs of this a/r/tographic inquiry will be showcased in an exhibition entitled Change the Beat, which will be held in the Glucksman Gallery. The Glucksman Gallery has already produced a number of exhibitions with children and young people living in Direct Provision including Once Upon a Place (2016), I Went to the Woods (2017), The Big Picture (2017), A Greener Brighter View (2017), Arriving into View (2017), and Blueprints (2018). 

A/r/tography, as a form of practice-based research within the arts and education, is an ideal methodological approach for investigating liminal spaces, both in young asylum seekers’ lives and in this interdisciplinary research terrain. 

Project Funding & Dates 

This project is funded by the Irish Research Council (New Foundations Scheme) and runs from May 2019 - May 2021.

Project Team:

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between colleagues in ISS21 including:

  • Dr Eileen Hogan (PI) School of Applied Social Studies, whose research explores intersections of popular music, identity, and well-being;
  • Dr Caitríona Ní Laoire, School of Applied Social Studies, whose research expertise is in geographic research with young migrants; and
  • Fiona Kearney and Tadhg Crowley, respectively Director of and Curator of Education in UCC’s Lewis Glucksman Gallery.

Contact: Dr Eileen Hogan 

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30