JULIE FORRESTER Multi-disciplinary Visual Arts Practitioner

My process begins with a particular creative encounter …..and then proceeds through a series of responses … documenting the unfolding experiences using a variety of media….

Coming from a background in mixed media sculpture, Julie Forrester’s practice prioritises process based approaches, from drawing to installation, lens media and the moving image to public sculpture. Work is characterised by an enquiry into narrative forms, often arising from shared experience.

Recent work (2022) on TAP and BLAST residencies with primary and secondary schools includes: ceramic tile-making with the whole school during theeir ‘arts week’ exploring numbers and geometry for a mosaic mural (Davis College, Mallow); wall sized textile banners of hand dyed and fabric pieces sewn and embroidered from family collections about our cultural origins and identities (5th classes St Marie’s of the isle National School), print making and clay vessels responding to fairy tales (2nd years, Coláiste Ėamann Rís, Deerpark); animations about an island of our own, built from rubbish (2nd class St Michael’s N.S. Blackrock); Experimental drawing with junior infants, exploring sensory perception and emotional expression through mark-making, media, colour and collaboration (Scoil Iosagáin, Mallow) An installation exploring the dark side of the textile industry and coming up with eco-informed solutions and fun with fabrics (Cork Educate Together Secondary School 1st years). Projects are planned with the teacher, taking the lead from student interests, and projects can mutate as student discoveries about process and alternate narrative paths emerge.

JF is an Education Panellist with numerous arts organisations, and she works regularly with The Crawford Art Gallery, where she delivers programmes in response to artworks and exhibitions, often working collaboratively with other colleagues on the Education Team. She also works as an exhibition tour guide, delivering insights into artworks and curated exhibitions for schools and groups. She runs the popular Animation Summer camp in the Gallery.

JF is an Associate Artist with Cork County Council’s new “Frameworks” Scheme (2021-22), which places artworks from the council’s collection in schools and invites the students to engage with ideas of contemporary arts practice and creative responses to the artworks in situ. She is currently working with 5th class, Glenville National School.

Much of JF’s work ‘in context’ is co-created on residency, since 2000 she has collaborated multi-annually with children and teachers on residencies with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and annually since 2010 with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

JF is a recent recipient of Young People Children and Education Bursary, awarded by The Arts Council of Ireland for her project Narratives with Nature. Her projects with children have been supported by Cavan and Wexford County Councils and by Cork City Council’s Arts in Context Awards. She has been commissioned by the Department of Education and Science to make participatory public artworks under the Per-cent for Art Scheme. JF has a socially engaged practice, working collaboratively with people across a spectrum of contexts, from Youth & Community to Health & Education.

JF has delivered TAP training online for the Arts in Education Portal and led group mentoring sessions for Art Teachers in secondary schools for the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. She has been invited provocatuer for artists in education,(Artelier, Tasmania). For many years JF delivered the annual CPD training in visual arts practice for primary teachers at West Cork Education Centre.

JF has exhibited across Ireland and her collaborative projects have been selected for exhibition at The Irish Museum of Modern Art and The National Museum of Ireland and The Ark. She is currently leading a site specific project Gleann na Phúca, which has arisen out of her Narratives with Nature Project and invites artists’ proposals to engage with the ecological, historical and cultural heritage of the Glen River Park.

JF has also been Artistic Director of Art Trail Cork, responsible for the overall curation and management of an Internationally acclaimed site-specific Festival involving 80 artists, exhibitions, live events and works across multiple venues in Cork City. She was Co-Curator and Production manager of SOUNDWORKS, a site specific Sound Art event in Cork involving 50 artists by invitation and international Call Out.

JF is Garda vetted and is a Member of VAI since 2000