In INTIMACY we explored close relationships between friends, family and partners, but we also looked at moments of closeness between strangers, and tried to create some of them in the gallery with an experimental exhibition model. As part of this public engagement model, we had a programme of mediator-led events for the first time, which were programmed, hosted, facilitated and performed by Science Gallery Dublin mediators, the staff who normally work on the floor in our exhibitions. The events took place in our FOR PLAY gallery space.
Social psychology research, including by Arthur Aron, the researcher who inspired the popular '36 Questions to Fall in Love' featured in the exhibition, has shown that people tend to grow closer together when they are doing something new together. With this in mind, myself and my fellow lead mediator Jenn Moore worked with the mediator team to programme a series of events that would give visitors opportunities to explore INTIMACY from different angles and have a bit of fun while they were at it.
The mediators are a fantastically multidisciplinary team and the events reflected the diversity of their expertise and areas of interest:
- a letter-writing station,
- a playful workshop looking at mirroring and mirror neurons,
- a pop-up polaroid portrait studio,
- a mixtape-making workshop,
- a massage workshop looking at the intimacy of treatments,
- a panel discussion on ageing and intimacy,
- an artist talk focusing on intimacy between an artist and her social media followers,
- an event about intimacy and genetics,
- a meditation and collage workshop focusing on intimacy with the self,
- a one-on-one discussion about the intimacy of medical histories,
- a discussion on intimacy for neurodiverse young people,
- an event about toxic relationships,
- and a creative workshop inspired by an Audre Lorde essay on the power of the erotic.
Between the mediator-led programming and other talks and workshops, 27 events were held in FOR PLAY over the course of the exhibition, with over 700 participants. According to the feedback we received, visitors found the events to be fun, relaxed, and insightful, and many also remarked that it was an interesting way to meet new people. A big thank you to all our mediators who have been part of the FOR PLAY programme, and to all of you who came to explore INTIMACY with us!
We will be continuing to host mediator-led events during OPEN LABS, our next exhibition, which launches on March 14th. Keep an eye on our website to find out about upcoming free events, and to register.
Joan Somers Donnelly
Lead Mediator for INTIMACY
Image: Mediator Clio Ryan's event 'SHARE YOURSELF"