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I am an interdisciplinary artist, curator and PhD researcher based in Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland. My current PhD research project is an exploration of the entanglements of the experience of birth with place.
This feminist social art practice-with-research project sits at the intersection of reproductive justice, posthumanities, new materialism and feminist environmental humanities engaging with the complex geopolitical and transcoporeal implications of the rupture of birth from place, particularly rural places and communities.
The focus is on our changing relationship with birthplace in memory, place and matter. The work is concentrated on Co. Clare where I have conducted multi generational interviews which are informing the direction of this work and my deepening interest in the implications of environmental humanities concerns and implications for a place-based ethics of maternity care.
In July 2020 the article ‘Does the place where we are born matter?’, an introduction to my research question was published in
Between 2014-2019 I was curator, artist and activist with the a voluntary birth activist group who successfully campaigned for new legislation to secure automatic mandatory inquests for all maternal deaths in Ireland. The collaborative multimedia art exhibition Picking Up the Threads: Remaking the Fabric of Care was central to this campaign and toured nationally. In 2018 the book that emerged alongisde this campaign included a chapter by me, Hidden in Plain Sight: Mapping the Erasure of the Maternal Body from Visual Culture was included in the book
In 2017 The Body Politic artwork was included in Left Overs exhibition in London, organised by the innovative organisation
This organisation was set up to creatively support artists who are also mothers.
Also in 2017 my daughter Theo and I created an installation On Constructing a Feminist Mother/Daughter Space as part of A Feminist Space at Leeds: Looking back to Think Forward Symposium, honouring the career of feminist art historian and theorist, Professor Griselda Pollock. Prof Pollock’s work has been a strong influence on my work over the years. Link to event:
In 2013, I co-convened the international transdisciplinary research symposium
with Dr Doreen Balbanoff, architectural glass artist, at University College Dublin which was a critical engagement with debates surrounding the visual culture of childbirth.
Between 2008 and 2010 I was lead artist/co-ordinator with Keeping Mum, a collaborative art project with members of Clare Birth Choice activist group highlighting the need for maternity services in Co. Clare. This work was exhibited nationally and internationally for example at the Association of Research on Motherhood (ARM), later re-named the Motherhood Initiative for Research & Community Involvement (MIRCI), York University, Toronto, Canada.
In 2010 Joining the Dots … Mapping Maternal Identity in Ireland was published in The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How to Do It.
During 2006-2008 I created and taught the MA Module, Women and Visual Culture as part of the Women’s Studies Programme at NUI Galway. In 2007 I co-ordinated the symposium with Griselda Pollock and artist, psychoanalyst, theorist Bracha Ettinger titled, Matrixial Eros and Com-passion Artworking.
The initial event that sparked my interest in the entanglements of maternal identity, childbirth practices with the social, cultural and political spheres was being invited to curate the exhibition Women Beneath the Skin as part of the conference Returning Birth to Women, co-convened by Jo Murphy-Lawless and Patricia Kennedy, jointly hosted by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin in 1996. This exhibition included work from artists such as Pauline Cummins, Aine Nic Giolla Choille, Abigail O’Brien among others.
2018 to date PhD Doctoral Scholar, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway
1995-1996 M.Phil in Women’s Studies, Trinity College Dublin
1991-1994 BA (Hons) Visual Art, University of Wales
2021: 'If Not Now When? Online Exhibition,
2015-2019: Eight Commemorative Portraits, Picking Up the Threads, Remaking the Fabric of Care (Maternal Deaths Remembered), The Elephant Collective, Birth Activists: Portraits Exhibited in venues listed under ‘curator’.
2018: Art Installation: Martina Hynan & Theo Hynan-Ratcliffe, International Women’s Day, Limerick Women’s Network, Moyross, Limerick
2017: Art Installation: Martina Hynan & Theo Hynan-Ratcliffe, On Constructing a Feminist Mother/Daughter Space A Feminist Space at Leeds: Looking Back to Think Forward Symposium, University of Leeds, UK
2017: The Body Politic, Left Overs Exhibition (Group Show), Procreate, 198 Gallery, Herne Hill, London
2017: The Body Politic/Hidden in Plain Sight, The Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI) Conference, Institute of Lifecourse & Society, NUI Galway
2012: Re/Imagining Birth, Red Couch Space, Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, Co. Clare, Ireland
2009: Sheela-na-Gig, Association of Research on Mothering, York University, Toronto, Canada
2008: Selection of Work, International Women’s Day, Ennis, Co. Clare
2007: Silent Books & Media Mits: University of Limerick, Women’s Studies Centre, & Equal Opportunities Office
2007: Being Liminal, Site specific piece, ‘Muscailt’ Arts Festival, NUI Galway
2005: Stitch Up…Think Woman, Women’s Studies, NUI Galway
2005: Clare Women’s Network Conference, ‘Sharing Experiences-Changing Lives’
2005: Stitch Up…Think Woman, De Valera Gallery, Ennis, Co. Clare
2004: Multi-Cultural Story Bag Exhibition, SPARC, Dartington, Totnes, Devon, U.K.
1998: International Women's Day Exhibition, Model Arts Centre, Sligo.
1997: Martina Hynan and Simon Ratcliffe, The Castle Gallery, Sligo.
1997: International Women's Day Exhibition, Model Arts Centre, Sligo.
1996: Women Beneath the Skin, Mother and Child 2000 Conference, UCD.
2015-2019: Picking Up the Threads: Remaking the Fabric of Care (Maternal Deaths Remembered)
Multi-media exhibition hosted by The Elephant Collective, Birth Activists. Exhibited in 11 Venues:
2015: DIT Dublin: 2016: Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre: Wexford Film Festival: Culture Night, Ennis: The Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon: Festival of Feminisms, Clare Women’s Network, Ennis: 2017: Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway: Limerick Women’s Network, Ormston House: The Motherhood Initiative for Research & Community Involvement (MIRCI) International Conference, NUI Galway: 2018: Excel Arts & Cultural Centre, Tipperary: Aula Maxima, UCC: 2019: The Copper House Gallery, Dublin
2013: Reimagining Birth: International Research Symposium, Humanities Centre, University College Dublin
2010: Keeping Mum, Birth Project Conference, Trinity College Dublin
2009: Keeping Mum, Violence Against Women Conference, Thomond Park, Limerick
2009: Keeping Mum, ARM (Association for Research on Mothering), York University, Toronto
1997: International Women's Day Exhibition, Model Arts Centre, Sligo
1996: Women Beneath the Skin, Mother and Child 2000 Conference, UCD
Teaching Experience / Workshop Facilitation
2019: International Day for Eradication of Poverty (4 workshops), Family Resource Centre, Kilrush, Co. Clare on behalf of National Women’s Council of Ireland
2019: Created Map for Galway Traveller Movement, Misleór, Nomadic Cultures Festival, NUI Galway
2015, 2013, 2012: Workshops with Limerick Women’s Network, Moyross, Limerick.
2013: Workshop with Midwifery Students, University of Limerick
2009-10: Workshop with Midwifery Students, Trinity College Dublin & Midwifery Students, University of Limerick
2009: National Women’s Council of Ireland / Banulacht, International Women’s Day Conference, Dublin: Workshop Facilitator: Drawing on Feminism
2008-2010: Project Facilitator: Keeping Mum, Birth Stories, Community Art Project, Ennis, Co. Clare
2006-08: Lecturer: Women & Visual Art, European Women’s Studies module, BA programme, NUI Galway
2006-2007: Lecturer, ‘Women & Visual Culture’, MA Women’s Studies, NUI Galway
2005: Life Drawing Tutor, Ennis, Co. Clare
2004: Art & Women’s Studies Tutor, Women’s Equality Project, Kilrush, Co. Clare
2004: Women’s Art Workshops, SPARC, Dartington, Totnes, Devon, U.K.
2001-2003: Children’s Art Workshops, Salisbury, Wiltshire, U.K.
1997-1998: Life drawing classes for Women, the Model Arts Centre, Sligo.
1997: Mural with 5th and 6th class, Cliffoney Primary School, Co. Sligo.
1996: Feminist Theory Tutor, Aontas, NOW Programme, NCIR, Ranelagh, Dublin
Chapter: Practising Birth Activism: The Campaign for Mandatory Inquests for Maternal Deaths in Ireland & Chapter: Uprooting Childbirth: from Home to Hospital Birth in Twentieth Century Ireland in Birth and the Irish: A Miscellany ed Dr Salavador Ryan, NUI Maynooth
2020: ‘Does the place where we born matter? In Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, Special Issue: Maternal Health and Well-Being, Spring 2020, Vol.11, Issue 1.
2018: ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Mapping the Erasure of the Maternal Body from Visual Culture’, Untangling the Maternity Crisis. Editors Nadine Edwards, Rosemary Mander & Jo Murphy-Lawless, Routledge, London
2010: ‘Joining the Dots …Mapping Maternal Identity in Ireland’ The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How to Do It, edited by Andrea O'Reilly, York University, Toronto, Canada
2006: ‘We have hardly begun’. Feminist Art History – Conference Review’ Irish Feminist Review, vol.2, National University of Ireland, NUI Galway
2005: ‘Stitch-Up’, Irish Feminist Review, vol.1, NUI Galway, 2005
2019: Birthing Grounds: Mapping Places of Birth in Rural Ireland, c.1918-2012, MIRCI Conference, York University, Toronto, Canada
2019: Birthplace or Place of Birth? Mapping Places of Birth, Sibeal Conference, NUI Galway
2019: Home or Hospital: What is your place of birth? Centre for Irish Studies Conference, NUI Galway
2019: Art in Activism …. in conversation with Orla Ryan & Tony Walsh, Wexford Art Centre
2019: Birthing Grounds: Mapping Places of Birth in Rural Ireland c.1918-2012, Motherhood Initiative for Research & Community Involvement (MIRCI), York University, Toronto, Canada
2019: Update on Elephant Collective, Silence + Voice Festival, Clare Women’s Network, Co. Clare
2013: Co-convenor: Reimagining Birth: International Research Symposium,,Humanities Centre, University College Dublin
2013: Visions of Reproduction: The Anatomical Venus in Victorian Dublin Irish Association of Art Historians/Artefact Study Day, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
2013: Visions of Reproduction: The Anatomical Venus in Victorian Dublin, RCPI History of Medicine Award, Dublin
2009: Joining the dots..connecting birthing experiences with maternal identity’, Irish Feminisms and the Future Conference, UCC
2009: Keeping Mum, Community Art Project, Association for Research on Mothering (ARM), York University, Toronto, Canada
Galway Doctoral Scholarship (2018-2022)
Thomas Dammann Award (2013)
Create R&D Artist in the Community Award (2007)