Panel Talk: Practice and Parenthood

Critical Academy


11am-1pm Sat 20 July
Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland
The Printworks, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2


Practice and Parenthood invites four practitioners within the arts to discuss the topic of parenthood in the 21st Century with a focus on parenting artists. We welcome Susan Bright to speak about her PhD research Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood, and the reasons and motivation behind the process. Home Truths was published in 2013 by Art/Books and consequently exhibited in 2014-15. Bright will discuss the ideas that conceptually united the publication and the show, and threaded through the research. Home Truths challenges stereotypical or sentimental views of motherhood handed down by traditional depictions, and explores how photography can be used to address changing conditions of power, gender, domesticity, the maternal body, and female identity.

Michelle Browne – co-founder of The Mothership Project will discuss the current situation for parenting artists, as much as other arts professionals, and propose how cultural organisations can contribute to the inclusiveness of parents and children, through programming and artist development. Browne will be joined by Rosie O’Gorman and Frank Abruzzese of Cow House Studios. Last year, Frank and Rosie developed Satellite, in collaboration with The Mothership Project. Satellite was a pilot residency for parenting artists, through provision of time and space, and included childcare and accommodation on-site for children and partners.


Susan Bright is a Paris-based curator and writer. She has curated exhibitions internationally at institutions including: Tate Britain, The National Portrait Gallery in London and The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, amongst others. The exhibition How We Are: Photographing Britain (2007) was the first major exhibition of British photography at Tate. The exhibition Home Truths (The Photographers’ Gallery and the Foundling Museum) was named one of the top exhibitions of 2013-14 by The Guardian and The Chicago Tribune. She is the guest curator in 2019 for the International Festival of Photography and Visual Arts PHotoESPAÑA. Bright holds a PhD in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Michelle Browne is an artist and curator based in Dublin. She is one of the founding members of The Mothership Project, a network of parenting artists in Ireland. Browne’s work is performance-based and collaborative. She has performed and exhibited internationally, with recent exhibitions including My Brilliant Friend at Temple Bar Gallery+Studios, Future Histories at Kilmainham Gaol, Using the Museum at Van Abbenmuseum in Holland, and more. Browne has also curated a number of exhibitions including Tulca Season of Visual Art2010, These Immovable Walls at Dublin Castle, amongst others. Browne studied Sculpture at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and has a Masters in Art Praxis from the Dutch Art Institute in Holland. She is currently a lecturer in Sculpture and Expanded Practice at NCAD.

Rosie O’Gorman is an artist and educator. In 2000 Rosie graduated with a BA in Art and Design Education from NCAD. In the same year she received two national awards; the Larkin Memorial Award for teaching, and the Taylor Award for painting. With the support of a Fulbright Scholarship, Rosie attended the San Francisco Art Institute, California, receiving her MFA in 2004. Frank Abruzzesehas obtained his BA in Moving Image Arts from the College of Santa Fe, and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. His work has been featured in Domusmagazine, was part of the 2012 Istanbul Design Biennial and resides in the permanent collection of the Office of Public Works. He is an artist and educator, and exhibits internationally in galleries and universities. Rosie and Frank have established Cow House Studios in 2005,  a progressive artist-run school and residency in County Wexford.


The Critical Academy offers a growing series of seminars around key aspects of contemporary Arts practice aimed at developing and strengthening key skills and mindsets, taught in participatory environments with clear and focused aims.

The Critical Academy opens up a new radical space to learn, research and examine contemporary art practices around Photography and their contexts, as much as the arts management and cultural policy that affect them.

The seminars look at very specific skills that are commonly considered secondary in the teaching of artistic practices, mostly focused on methodologies and theory. We consider these skills not complementary but fundamental for a sustainable practice and a wholesome life, and they contribute to a continuous self-development.

These relate to essential aspects and core values of a stable Arts practice, from daily administration routines, to competence in resolving grant aid paperwork, and understanding the importance of applied self-discipline; others refer to entrepreneurial matters, acknowledging both the artist’s output and the artist’s needs.