Colm Cille’s Spiral

Colm Cille’s Spiral is a re-imagination of the legacy of sixth-century Irish monk Colm Cille, or St Columba, through a series of contemporary art and literature commissions and dialogues that unfolds across Ireland and the UK, starting and ending in Derry-Londonderry as part of City of Culture 2013.

Following a notional spiral, six contemporary artistic interpretations, resulting from a collaboration of artists, writers and academics, will link revered and significant sites along once-vital perimeters and sea routes. The commissions will launch on 9 June with a voice performance by Ceara Conway in the River Foyle, Derry-Londonderry, and will include poetry commissions and sound installations on Lindisfarne and Bamburgh, and a video installation as part of a walking tour of significant objects and sites in Dublin. The six commissions will be accompanied by talks, discussion and online exchange in each ‘knot’ of the Spiral, inspiring new understandings of a fascinating shared history of these islands. The six commissions will then be re-presented alongside a concluding ‘creative conversation’ in Derry-Londonderry in December 2013.

The project will cross the modern national borders of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland at a pertinent moment in their collective histories. Yet, the 6th century picture was very different. Colm Cille was a key figure at the heart of the explosion of culture and learning that emanated from early medieval Ireland and spread through and beyond the British Isles. Carried on this wave of monastic innovation, a new culture of word and image spread open access to knowledge. Some of our contemporary principles of tolerance and social justice, which will be explored by the project, can be traced back to Colm Cille’s legacy.

Colm Cille’s Spiral is a Difference Exchange project in partnership with The Centre for Late Antiquities and Medieval Studies (CLAMS), and King’s Cultural Institute, King’s College London.


The Six Knots’ of Colm Cille’s Spiral

The Voice

Derry-Londonderry (7-9 June)

Performance and voice installation by Ceara Conway on the River Foyle arising from walks by the artist at significant Colm Cille sites from Donegal to Derry-Londonderry. Derry~Londonderry will also host the culminaton of Colm Cille’s Spiral in December involving further performances, a ‘creative conversation’ and final exhibition. Curated by Greg McCartney with curatorial support by Maggie McKeever. More…


A Convocation

Western Isles and Glasgow, Scotland

Two ‘illuminators’ will creatively document the journey of thought and creative enquiry taken by a group of artists and academics, starting with a rumanatio – a rumination of ideas over six days on the island of Raasay, and ending with an exhibition and gathering – a revelatio – at CCA Gallery and Glasgow School of Art. Curated by Jenny Brownrigg, Mackintosh Museum, in collaboration with Atlas. More…


The Word

Newcastle, Lindisfarne and Bamburgh

Poets including Sean O’Brien and Colette Bryce will work with artist Tom Schofield from the Culture Lab, Newcstle Univeristy, to install sound works in St Aidan’s Church Bamburgh, and the Lookout Tower, Lindisfarne. Commissioned works by regional poets will be published in a print-media pamphlet. Curated by Professor Linda Anderson, Director of the Centre for the Literary Arts, Newcastle University. More…


Ethical Knowledge

London and Essex

Early career researchers will work with Marc Garrett from media arts group Furtherfield to explore and present insights on the ethics of knowledge at Bradwell-on-Sea, site of St Cedd’s church. This will provide a springboard for a response and commission by artist Erica Scourti. More…


The Book

Llandeilo, Wales and Lichfield, Staffordshire

A contemporary response to the Chad Gospels linking Lichfield and Llandeilo re-examining the distant past exchanges between these cultures, with installations in vitrines at Lichfield Cathedral and St Teilo’s church, Llandeilo, and talks in both locations. Curated by Mike Tooby with support from Literature Wales. Curated by Mike Tooby. More…


The Object

Dublin, Ireland

A re-interpretation of historical objects in contemporary contexts with installations creating a new exploratory walk through the city and series of talks by artists and academics in November 2013. Curated by Cliodhna Shaffrey with Ruairí Ó Cuív, Public Art Officer, Dublin City Council. More…