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Socially engaged artist residency to celebrate 50 years of National Women’s Council

Published: Monday, May 15, 2023

Create and The National Women’s Council (NWC) are delighted to announce artist and activist Grace Dyas as the recipient of an Artist Residency Award.

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of NWC, the leading representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland. Established in 1973 as the Council for the Status of Women, NWC today has over 190 member groups representing women in their diversity from across the island of Ireland and a large and growing community of individual supporters.

This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements for women and women’s rights in Ireland and recognise the important, often invisible, contribution of women’s organisations and activists in bringing about this positive change. NWC are setting out to achieve this through a combination of creative approaches and engagements, discussion and debates as well as celebratory events and moments throughout the year. The Artist Residency Award is a key artistic strand of these activities. The residency is supported by funding from The Arts Council / An Comhairle Ealaíon.

Grace Dyas is an established artist and activist with nearly twenty years of experience making socially engaged art. She often engages with people who have survived trauma, making work collaboratively about social justice issues. Grace employs the mediums of live performance (theatre), film, installation and conceptual art, over the past decade creating landmark works of art which raise provocative questions about power, ethics, morality, class and social justice.

Grace says "I am only delighted to have been chosen to spend time and make work with the members of the National Women's Council across the country exploring the last fifty years of feminist struggle on this island. My practice is focused on how art can hold opposing truths.  I look forward to making art that facilitates a celebration of the collaboration, critical thinking, and love that makes up the legacy of the National Women's Council on their 50th anniversary".

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council, says “We are delighted to announce Grace Dyas as our Artist in Residency as part of our 50 years celebrations. This project will be a unique opportunity to engage creatively with our broad and diverse membership, reflecting on the achievements for women’s rights and equality over the past five decades and imagining our feminist future for the next 50 years to come.”

Damien McGlynn, Director of Create, says “Create is proud to be collaborating with the National Women’s Council as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. The opportunity for an experienced socially-engaged artist to work with the membership of such a significant national organisation is incredibly exciting and we are delighted to have made the award to Grace Dyas. Grace brings a fantastic track record of work which delves deep into the way we think and the way we connect with each other. We are looking forward to supporting the artist in engaging with the diverse membership of NWC and sharing the stories that emerge.”

 The residency will take place during the 50th anniversary year of the National Women’s Council in 2023. The artist in residence will be embedded within NWC and work collaboratively with member organisations to identify the subjects and issues that matter most to them. There is no prescribed output at the outset of the residency as the emphasis is on providing the artist and member organisations with the time and space to hold exploratory conversations and see what emerges in an organic process.


For more information, please contact:

Silke Paasche, National Women’s Council, Tel. 085 858 9104

Keelin Murray, Create, Tel. 01 473 6600

Grace Dyas, Artistinresidency@nwci.ie

Create is the national development agency for collaborative arts. Our work initiates cross-sectoral national and international partnerships which support artists and communities to co-create work of depth, ambition and excellence. Our mission is to lead the development of collaborative arts practice by enabling artists and communities to create exceptional art together. Create believes that by working together, artists and communities can purposefully explore how collaborative arts engage in distinct, relevant and powerful ways with the urgent social, cultural and political issues of our times.


The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. The NWC has over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs their work, both nationally and internationally, to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights.