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This is Not My Beautiful House II


A seminar exploring choice, participation and rights in relation to older people and the planning and design of social and built communities.

Booking Information

This is Not My Beautiful House II

dlr LexIcon, Dublin, Ireland


9.30am – 5.30pm

€15, concessions €5
Free to Bealtaine participants & supporters 65+

Booking Information

This is Not My Beautiful House II

dlr LexIcon, Dublin, Ireland


9.30am – 5.30pm

€15, concessions €5
Free to Bealtaine participants & supporters 65+

As we get older, the spaces and places we inhabit need to be more connected, accessible, and secure, without compromising on beauty. This is Not My Beautiful House II, which is developed in partnership with Create, the National Development Agency for collaborative arts and the Irish Architecture Foundation, is the second in a series of Bealtaine seminars exploring key issues impacting on our social, economic and cultural rights to adequate housing, public space and cultural and creative lives as we get older.

The seminar will specifically look at how the arts and creativity can generate debate about choice, participation and rights, with, and for, older people in relation to the planning and design of social and built communities. It will also consider how collaborative arts and architectural practices can influence a paradigm shift in how, as a society, we think about housing and public space beyond a top down and market-led model, to more community orientated and sustainable frameworks.

Over the course of a day, the seminar will draw on current trends in research, policy, planning and creative practices engaged in developing alternative designs for intergenerational living within a spatial justice frame. We interpret spatial justice as the organisation – in terms of the acquisition, development and management – of public spaces and places and how these processes generate forms of justice (and injustice) in societies.

This event is aimed at policy makers, community workers, researchers, architects, artists, planners and older people active in housing issues as well as the general public.

Opening Address Helen McEntee T.D., Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People

Chaired by Catriona Crowe (Academic and Archivist) with a keynote by Prof. Jan Baars (Philosopher/Critical Gerontologist based in the Netherlands) speakers include The Decorators & Joe Coveney, Prof. Mary P. Corcoran, Prof. Gerry Kearns, Jack Keyes, Dr. Deirdre O’Mahony, Dr. Sophie Handler, Fionnuala Rogerson, Sinead Shannon, Dr. Christine McGarrigle and Sarah Wigglesworth.

This is Not My Beautiful House II is a Seminar as part of Age & Opportunity‘s Bealtaine Festival 2017, which uniquely celebrates the arts and creativity as we age. The festival is run by Age & Opportunity, the national organisation that promotes active and engaged living as we get older.


Homes for Smart Ageing

Housing Agency: Housing for Older People


Sarah Wigglesworth

Sarah Wigglesworth set up practice in London in 1994. Since then she has developed extensive expertise in green and sustainable design and masterplanning which was recognised in 2004 by the practice winning the RIBA Sustainability Award for their mixed use house/office in north London. The practice has since extended its approach to low energy design through a wide range of project types and now specialises in design for education, housing – especially housing for older people – cultural, neighbourhood and community projects. The practice has won numerous awards for its work.

Dr Sophie Handler

Sophie Handler works at the intersection of social policy, urban theory and creative practice exploring the spatial politics of ageing through creative writing, participative urban interventions, research and policy development. She is author of The Fluid Pavement (a large print psychogeographic novel on ageing), An Alternative Age-friendly Handbook and is chair of the RIBA working group on Research and Ageing. Her practice-based work operates under the platform Ageing Facilities.

Joe Coveney

Joe Coveney is an Irish Artist, Designer, Maker. He works across disciplines to realise ideas that bring value to our everyday experiences. Joe has worked for the past 15 years on a range of exhibitions, workshops and community projects. Joe is currently involved in Public Age is an open call commissioned by the dlr CoCo/HSE Arts and Health Partnership with additional grant aid from the Arts Council, in partnership with the Irish Architecture Foundation.

Fionnuala Rogerson

Fionnuala Rogerson is a member of RIAI Universal Design Task Force and a former RIAI vice president. Since 2005 she has been director of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Work Programme on “Architecture for All”. She has over 30 years’ experience as principal of an architectural practice working mainly in the areas of urban design, housing, community, sports and education facilities.

Dr Deirdre O’Mahony

Deirdre O’Mahony’s research and art practice is grounded in collaborative engagements with different publics and communities, primarily in rural contexts. She completed her PhD, New Ecologies Between Rural Life and Visual Culture in the West of Ireland: History, Context, Position, and Art Practice at the University of Brighton in 2012. As part of her research she re-opened a disused post-office as a public artwork, X-PO, to research, interrogate and complicate perceptions of contemporary rural life, and make visible some of the invisible histories, unconscious projections and expectations that underlie place-based and landscape attachments. X-PO has since been recognized as an exceptional socially-engaged artwork, named in Modern Ireland in 100 artworks by Art Historian Catherine Marshall in the Irish Times/RIA publication, and is in the Arte Util Archive, VanAbbemuseum.

The Decorators

The Decorators is a multidisciplinary design collective founded by Suzanne O’Connell, Xavi Llarch Font, Carolina Caicedo and Mariana Pestana.

Combining the disciplines of landscape architecture, interior architecture and psychology, The Decorators work on spatial design projects that aim to reconnect the physical elements of a place with its social dimension.

As a socially engaged practice they put conversation at the heart of their design process. Driven by the principle that people make places, they create spatial opportunities for social interaction. Through collaborative frameworks that involve many actors, The Decorators imagine alternative futures for everyday spaces.

Lois Weaver

Lois Weaver is an artist, activist and Professor of Contemporary Performance at Queen Mary University of London.  She has been a writer, director and performer with Peggy Shaw and Split Britches since 1980. Her experiments in performance as a means of public engagement include Long Tables, Porch Sittings, Care Cafes and her facilitating persona, Tammy WhyNot.  Lois is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow for 2016-2018.


Prof Gerry Kearns

Gerry Kearns is Professor of Human Geography at Maynooth University and a member of the Geosciences and Geographical Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy. He is the author of Geopolitics and Empire, a comparison of the geographical ideologies of the British Empire at the start of the twentieth century and of the US Empire at the start of the twenty-first. He also co-edited with John Morrissey and David Meredith, the collection Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis. His work in the field of Art and Geography includes pieces of Olwen Fouéré’s riverrun, on Fiona Whelan’s art practice (in the most recent issue of Klaxon), on literature of the Irish diaspora (an essay with Karen Till for Irish Lifeworlds, forthcoming Cork University Press), and on the artistic projects around the anniversary of the 1916 Proclamation of Irish Independence (in press with Irish Review).


Prof Mary P. Corcoran

Mary P. Corcoran is Professor of Sociology at Maynooth University where she is also a member of the University’s Governing Authority. She is a graduate of the University of Dublin, Trinity College and Columbia University, New York.More recently, Corcoran has been developing her public culture work primarily through a series of collaborations with artists and arts practitioners. Most recently, she was an invited panellist at the Galway International Arts Festival speaking on Identity in Ireland 2016. In the spring of 2015 she was a participant in the Scientia Civitatis Missing Titles project at the Hugh Lane Gallery Dublin. That same year she contributed an interpretive essay based on interviews with participants to House Portraits, the book documenting visual artist Mary Burke’s representations of home in West Tallaght.

Catriona Crowe

Catriona Crowe is former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She was Manager of the Census Online Project, which placed the Irish 1901 and 1911 censuses online free to access. She is an Editor of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, which published its tenth volume, covering the period 1951 – 57, in November 2016. She is editor of Dublin 1911, published by the Royal Irish Academy in late 2011. She is Chairperson of the Irish Theatre Institute, which promotes and supports Irish theatre and has created an award-winning website of Irish theatre productions. She is an Honorary President of the Irish Labour History Society, and a former President of the Women’s History Association.

She is Chairperson of the SAOL Project, a rehabilitation initiative for women with addiction problems, based in the North Inner City, and also Chairperson of the Inner City Renewal Group, which delivers employment and welfare rights advice and support to the community in the North Inner City.

Dr Christine McGarrigle

Dr Christine McGarrigle joined The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) as a Social Epidemiology Research Fellow in 2012 and became Research Director in 2015 and leads on ensuring that TILDA is used to inform policy and practice with respect to population ageing in Ireland. TILDA is a nationally representative longitudinal study on ageing that collects information on all aspects of health, economic and social circumstances from people aged 50 and over in Ireland. Christine’s research is currently focused on intergenerational transfers, and the demographic, social and health factors associated with transfers between the generations. She received her BSc in Chemistry from University College Dublin, and her MSc and PhD in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London.

Jack Keyes

Following a career of successful leadership and management in the public and private sectors including 10 years as Cavan County Manager Jack now works as a senior advisor and is also involved in a voluntary capacity in many areas nationally. His strong people skills and management background help individuals and organisations reach their potential, plan strategically, manage change, develop innovative solutions, drive implementation and get results. He has a strong passion for advancing issues around inclusion and equality.  As Chair of the Cavan Age Friendly Alliance he oversaw the implementation of strategic actions shaped by older people. In recent years he has been involved with Age Friendly Ireland at national level and chairs the network of alliance chairs. He has delivered training across the local government sector on public realm and housing design for older people.  He was appointed by Government to chair the boundary committees for Athlone and Drogheda,  chair of the National Rural Water Services Committee and serve as a board member in the National Library.

Prof. Jan Baars

Jan Baars has been teaching for over 40 years as a Professor of the Social Sciences and the Humanities at several universities. Since 1985, aging has been  one of his special areas of interest. His research and publications have focused on basic concepts such as time and age that remain usually implicit in studies of aging. Moreover, he has published about the cultural and societal scripts that tend to dominate public debates and policies about aging. He has produced more than twenty books and edited volumes about aging. The most recent are ‘Aging and the Art of Living’ and ‘Aging, Meaning and Social Structure’. Presently he is writing a book about Aging and Social Justice.

Sinead Shannon

Sinead Shannon is the Project Manager for the Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative in Ireland (HaPAI). The HaPAI is a joint collaboration between the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, and Age Friendly Ireland which constitutes the research and evaluation pillar of the National Positive Ageing Strategy.  Sinead was previously Research Manager at Age Friendly Ireland and has worked on the development of an Outcomes Framework for Healthy Ireland (the National Health Strategy in Ireland) with the Department of Health.

Her publications on ageing include “The Demography of Aging” in Molecular Aspects of Aging: Understanding Lung Aging (Edited by Mauricio Rojas, Silke Meiners and Claude Jourdan Le Saux 2014) “A city to Age in” – in Dublin’s Future: New Visions for Ireland’s Capital (edited by Lorcan Sirr 2011), and “Ireland’s Age Friendly Cities and Counties: The Development of a National Program” (with Hugh O’Connor) in International Perspectives on Age-Friendly Cities (2016).

Photo courtesy of The Decorators