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Creative Lab Residency

Cat and Éiméar McClay

Mon 3 October — Sun 30 October 2022

A render of the interior of a cottage, there's a bed, table, and hearth surrounded by a cross, lamp, and icon of Jesus.

Cat and Éiméar McClay

Cat and Éiméar McClay's explore the corrupt histories of the Magdalene Laundries in the post-colonial Irish Free State through archival research, 3D-modelling, and moving image.

Recently, our moving-image practice has focused on the corrupt network of social institutions — Magdalene Laundries, mother and baby homes, etc. — run by the Catholic church in Ireland across the 20th century. This research has aided our understanding of contemporary Irish society and identity, particularly regarding the political influence of the Catholic church in Ireland since the formation of the post-colonial Free State. During our Creative Lab residency, we continued to expand on this project through investigating contemporary and historical Irish mental health institutions and the sociopolitical and economic factors that influenced their development. Alongside this, we began developing concept imagery for our project through creating 3D-modelled objects and scenes inspired by our research. Also, with the support of the CCA, we contacted local archives in Ireland to organise a research trip to Co. Donegal in November 2022, during which we will gather primary information regarding St. Conal’s Hospital, a former psychiatric hospital in Letterkenny. Based on this research, we will develop a 3D-animated film, which will use St. Conal’s as a case study to speak about Irish mental health care provision during the 20th century. Using patient case files and other relevant documents, we aim to advocate for a bottom-up form of historiography, which platforms those who have been historically disempowered rather than the institutions or biopolitical forces that have contributed to their marginalisation.

About the artists

Cat and Éiméar McClay are Irish-born collaborative artists based in Glasgow. Their practice considers queerness, abjection and patriarchal power and oppression through an interdisciplinary body of work comprising video, prose, 3D models and installation. Creative writing is central to their film work: through text, they explore historical material using experimental approaches, including what Saidiya Hartman describes as ‘critical fabulation’. This technique involves the combination of historical and archival research, critical theory, and fiction into narratives that attempt to fill gaps in historical records. Recently, they had been selected for numerous exhibitions, screenings, residencies and awards, including: Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020 (2020); Friends of the University of Edinburgh Visual Art Award (2020); Circa Class of 2020 (2020); They Had 4 Years, GENERATORprojects (2021); 17th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, New Cinema Award (2021); Market Gallery Collaborative Residency (2021); Agility Award 2021, Arts Council of Ireland (2021); CCA Londonderry digital residency (2021); Hospitalfield Graduate Programme (2022); RSA New Contemporaries 2022 (2022); RSA Stuart Prize (2022); 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (2022); Nowe Horyzonty Film Festival (2022); Queer Lisboa (2022); 25 FPS 18th International Experimental Film & Video Festival (2022); Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival: MANIFEST (2022); aemi @ GAZE: Making & Unmaking, Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin (2022); Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival (2022); Festival du Noveau Cinéma, 51e édition (2022); Intersección Contemporary Audiovisual Art Festival, MAV Award (2022); Agility Award 2022, Arts Council of Ireland (2022); and CCA Glasgow Creative Lab Residency (2022).

Event Collection

Part of Creative Lab Residencies #




Event Type



Creative Lab


All ages


Free and unticketed

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