The What Does He Need? audio piece tells the story of a fictional boy from the day of his birth to early adulthood. Throughout his young life, the boy is confronted by a series of situations, weaving between themes of empathy, power, the suppression of vulnerability, violence, mental health, pornography and suicide. The audio piece is intended to explore societal expectations placed on boys and men, and how learned behaviours are perpetuated, particularly by the influence of other men.

Listen to the first minute here:

What Does He Need? audio piece

Written by Fiona Whelan and Brokentalkers
Sound Design by Denis Clohessy
Performed by Feidlim Cannon
Copyright Fiona Whelan and Brokentalkers, 2021

The What Does He Need? audio piece was launched in the summer of 2021, accessed via a QR code on the What Does He Need? public posters presented throughout Dublin city. While this 30 minute audio could be listened to anywhere, the artists invited the public to listen to the piece while walking or seated outdoors in their own local area, connecting the narrative of the audio with the listeners’ own lived experiences and observations.The audio was later included in the Pallas Periodical 11 exhibition, curated by Sheena Barrett, Alice Butler, Mark Cullen, Gavin Murphy. From March-May 2022, the audio was re-presented as part of the What Does He Need? exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). During a residency at IMMA, the audio also became a central component of a dynamic workshop developed by Fiona Whelan and Brokentalkers, which sees groups explore and respond to the themes of the piece through conversation and writing exercises.

What do you think he needs? Share your thoughts here.



The What Does He Need? audio piece was first presented in May 2021 in association with The LAB gallery, and emerged from a phase of work supported by the Arts Council, Dublin City Council, The LAB Gallery, Project Arts Centre and Rialto Youth Project. The development stage of this work was supported via a Brokentalkers residency through Create/Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP) and ‘the lives we live’ Grangegorman Public Art and an invited residency for Fiona Whelan at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Drawing by Fiona Whelan