Core collaborators


Brokentalkers are led by co-artistic directors Feidlim Cannon and Gary Keegan. They have been described as ‘one of Ireland’s most fearless and path-breaking theatre companies’. They devise original, accessible live performance and explore new forms that challenge traditional ideologies of text-based theatre. Their working method is founded on a collaborative process that draws on the skills and experiences of a diverse group of contributors from different disciplines and backgrounds. Some are professional artists, performers, designers and writers and others are people who do not usually work in the theatre but who bring an authenticity to the work that is compelling. Brokentalkers make work that responds to the contemporary world, using elements such as original writing, dance, classic texts, film, interviews, found materials and music to represent that world in performance. Brokentalkers also work within the participatory arts sector, collaborating with communities to produce works of artistic excellence as well as providing quality arts experiences for participants.

Fiona Whelan

Fiona Whelan is a Dublin based artist, writer and lecturer at the National College of Art and Design. Her arts practice is committed to exploring and responding to systemic power relations and inequalities through long-term cross-sectoral collaborations with diverse individuals, groups and organisations. This work typically manifests as visual, performative or dialogical encounters in which multiple power relations are exposed and interrogated. Since 2004 Fiona has worked closely with Rialto Youth Project through a series of durational projects exploring lived experiences of systemic inequalities with young people and adults.  As an educator, she is committed to the professional development of artists with participatory and collaborative practices. Her writing focuses on the complex relationality, labour and ethical challenges of this practice and includes co-writing with sociologist Kevin Ryan, in a collective writing platform ‘Two Fuse’. In 2019, Fiona received her PhD at the Centre for Socially Engaged Practice-Based Research at TU Dublin.

Rialto Youth Project

Charged with providing leadership and fostering new approaches to engaging openly and respectfully with young people at risk, the Rialto Youth Project has defined its mission as follows: In an age of inequality, where working class communities are oppressed, the Rialto Youth Project is working towards bringing about social change, providing an integrated youth service, based on the needs of young people and in particular those most at risk. In practice, this has involved a particular commitment to working within two major local authority flat complexes, Fatima Mansions and Dolphin House, while also maintaining an area-wide youth service and other forms of regional, city-wide and national affiliations.


Sharon Todd

is Professor of Education and member of the Centre for Public Education and Pedagogy at Maynooth University, Ireland. She has published widely in the areas of embodiment, ethics, and politics in education and is currently writing a book for SUNY Press tentatively titled, The Touch of the Present: Educational Encounters, Becoming, and the Politics of the Senses. Her work has been informed by continental philosophy, feminist theory, aesthetics, and Buddhist scholarship. She is author of Learning from the Other: Levinas, Psychoanalysis and Ethical Possibilities in Education (SUNY, 2003) and Toward an Imperfect Education: Facing Humanity, Rethinking Cosmopolitanism (Paradigm, 2009). Her co-edited volumes include Re-imagining Educational Relationships: Ethics, Politics, Practices with M. Griffiths, M. Honerød and C. Winter (Wiley, 2014); Philosophy East/West: Exploring the Intersections between Educational and Contemplative Practices with O. Ergas (Wiley, 2015).

Kathleen Lynch

is the UCD Chair and Professor of Equality Studies (Emerita).  She is also a Full Professor (Adjunct) in the UCD School of Education. Her teaching and research are guided by the belief that the purpose of scholarship and research is not just to understand the world but to change it for the good of all humanity. To that end, she played a leading role in establishing the UCD School of Social Justice in 2004/5 and was the founding co-ordinator of the UCD Equality Studies Centre in 1990. She has worked collaboratively with community, voluntary and statutory bodies to promote equality and social justice throughout her academic life, both inside and outside the university. Kathleen has published many papers on equality and justice issues. Her co-authored books include New Managerialism in Education: Commercialization, Carelessness and Gender (2012, 2015), Affective Equality: Love, Care, and Injustice (2009), Equality: From Theory to Action, 2004, and Equality and Power in Schools (2002). Her forthcoming book, Care and Capitalism, which will be published by Polity Press, Cambridge in 2021.

Jim Lawlor

is committed to working for social change. He believes passionately in the value of youth and community work and the possibility for development with clear collective action. Jim recognises the power of creativity and how it can transform the lives of young people. He also believes the real challenge is achieving systemic change and that collaboration is key to this. Jim trained in Youth and Community Work in the Ulster Polytechnic from 1973 to 1975. On completion of his studies, he worked in the Ferns Diocesan Youth Service as a field-training officer, later working in Limerick Youth Service as a youth worker, with an integrated approach to youth and community work. In 1981, Jim moved to Rialto Youth Project at a time of transition and development in youth work, and remained at the heart of the organisation until his departure as Manager in 2020. He has represented the Rialto community on a number of boards as well as working on strategic groups in the Rialto area, and is currently involved in a range of groups and campaigns advocating for social change.


  • Children and Youth Action Group of the North West Inner City Network
  • Project Arts Centre
  • Dublin City Council Arts Office
  • The LAB Gallery
  • Sr. Susanne Bosch (Artist/Researcher)
  • Dr. Rob Grant (Philosopher)
  • Paper Panther Productions (Animation)
  • Denis Clohessy (Composer)
  • Dr. Ciaran Smyth (Researcher – Vagabond Reviews)


To date this project has received funding from

  • Arts Council Theatre Artist in Residence Award for Brokentalkers and Fiona Whelan, 2020 in partnership with Dublin City Council Arts Office and Project Arts Centre
  • National Youth Council of Ireland – Artist in Youth Work residency for Fiona Whelan and Rialto Youth Project, 2020
  • Arts Council Arts Grant for Brokentalkers, 2019/2020
  • National Youth Council of Ireland – Artist in Youth Work residency for Fiona Whelan and Rialto Youth Project, 2019
  • Arts Council Arts Participation project award for Fiona Whelan, 2019
  • Arts Council Artist in the Community scheme for Rialto Youth Project, Fiona Whelan and Brokentalkers, 2019


  • IMMA residency for Fiona Whelan & Brokentalkers as part of ‘A Radical Plot’, 2021.
  • Create / CAPP and ‘…the lives we live’ Grangegorman Public Art residency for Brokentalkers, 2019/2020
  • IMMA invited residency for Fiona Whelan, 2019

Drawing by Fiona Whelan