Trish Brennan is head of fine art &applied art at CIT Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork.
Best recent book you’ve read:
I’m just finishing Edna O Brien’s Girl. Her early book Country Girls had a lingering impact on me on a young woman, as she really articulated my experience.
Girl, written in her 80s, illustrates she still has the most incredible ability and empathy to write from the experience of the missing girls in Nigeria.
Best recent film you’ve seen:
Our BA Hons Fine Art students had a screening at The Gate, scheduled within Cork’s Indie Film Festival of short ‘ART-ist’ film screenings. Really inspiring to see student films on large screen.
Best recent show you’ve seen:
Loch na hEala at Cork Opera House — incredible theatre and dance production as part of Sounds from A Safe Harbour Festival. I still feel uplifted thinking about it.
Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old):
Right now i’m loving Rejjie Snow, originally Nigerian-Irish but based in LA, I think. You might describe it as Dublin LA style R&B! I also love Stormzy — inspirational, on somany levels.
First ever piece of music or film or show that really moved you:
My first ever gig was Bob Marley at Dalymount Park in Dublin in 1980.
I was 15, pretending to be older, and lucky in my choice, as getting to Dublin for a gig was a major thing.
I was really overwhelmed by the immersive experience of the gig: the music, the lyrics, the cool crowd, and was really trying to follow the dance routines of The Wailers backing vocalists, they were so amazing.
The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!):
Michael Kiwanuka at Cyprus Avenue about two years ago.
Tell us about your TV viewing:
Most recently Bonus Family on Netflix. It’s a brilliant Swedish drama series, dealing with the hilarious complexities of family relationships.
Radio listening and/or podcasts:
Saturday morning RTÉ Radio 1, and the podcast Radiolab — it’s American with really clever editing and focuses on art and science.
Another podcast, Tablemanners, is really fun where Jessie Ware and her fabulous mother invite noted celebrities to lunch. And Blindboy’s podcasts, of course.
Your best celebrity encounter:
Margaret Atwood gave me her own homemade marmalade, and it was delicious.
Is it possible to pick out one graduate from your years at Crawford that you knew was going to make it as an artist?
In recent years it had been wonderful to watch the work of emerging Crawford College graduate artists: Rachel Doolin, Jack Hickey, Stephen Doyle & Clare Scott.
You are curating your dream exhibition — which three artists are on the bill (living or dead)?
Dorothy Cross, Olafur Eliasson and Nancy Spiro.
Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?
Oh, they are all interesting, in a glamorous midland farming sort of way!
Unsung hero — individual or group you think don’t get the praise they deserve:
Artists. Art has the power to nurture us intellectually, to inspire and help us understand the worlds we live in, and I don’t feel artists are elevated or get the respect they deserve as a grouping of professionals.
Every time I experience a great exhibition, a gig or an event, I am deeply appreciative to the artist who took the leap of faith and committed themselves to gifting us with their work.
You are queen for a day of the Irish arts world — what’s your first decree?
Make Art, Design & Creativity a core subject in both primary and secondary education.
All the future forecasters have identified developing creativity and curious thinking as key for development.