“Dreamin’ Skibbereen” was a workshop developed by Cork Nature Network (West Cork) with Sustainable Skibbereen and facilitated by Orlagh O’Brien and Moze Jacobs.

It took place in the West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen in the context of William Bock’s exhibition Land Walks, Land Talks, Land Marks which also included a series of exciting events and talks around the central theme of ‘land’ and how we relate to it, use it, change it. The exhibition was expected to run until April 4 but the Arts Centre had to close its doors on March 13  due to COVID-19.

The aim of the workshop was to provide a ‘safe place’ for a relatively small number of people, who had all been invited, to dream up a sustainable scenario for Skibbereen ‘in 2035′ without thinking of possible obstacles but with a focus on the best possible outcome in terms of biodiversity, food security, community, and nature.

Using graphic recording tools and trajectories designed to aid collaboration and creativity, Orlagh helped the participants express (in keywords and storyboards) and visualize the collective concepts they came up with for a future that at times seemed to hark back to a pre-industrial past when life unfolded at a slower pace. The latter began to seem less far-fetched under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Regardless of its devastating consequences, the completely altered circumstances also allowed people to reassess, to some extent, their relationship to others, to nature and to the relentless speed of modern society.

Dreamin’ Skibbereen Part 2 was originally planned for 25 March as a response to the concept and ideas that emerged in Part 1. It is now due to take place online in the late summer or autumn of 2020.


Photography: Michael Stevens