Alison McDonnell, Dublin
MFA in Photography, Ulster University 2014
Certificate in Photography and Digital Imaging, National College of Art and Design, 2011
MBS in Marketing, Dublin City University, 2007
Currently working on a new project, Incident. Incident documents the spaces where hate crimes have taken place in Ireland and across Europe.
My most recent series Transpose is the result of collaboration with transgender people in Ireland that set out to make environmental portraits in ‘safe spaces’ for transgender people around the country. Many of the portraits have been made at the wonderful space Outhouse on Capel Street. The work has grown over the last two years to become an appreciation of key trans activists and allies in Ireland at a particular moment. It is important to me to have a record of the people who are currently denied rights in our country as well as the people who are fighting for equality and advocating on behalf of trans* people. This is important to me not only because I identify as a bisexual woman and an activist but because the trans* community is one of the most marginalised groups in society.
In Ireland when this work was made transgender people could not have the gender on their birth certificate changed. Ireland was the only EU country that did not allow for legal recognition of transgender people. Other issues that transgender people faced were; forced divorce, adequate access to healthcare, lack of qualified and knowledgeable doctors.
Therefore I turn my camera to my life and the lives of the people and issues I care about in an attempt to highlight LGBT rights in Ireland. Is it fair to be denied rights, respect and dignity just because of your gender identity? A question the viewer might consider is how could anyone deny this person any right?
Transpose was exhibited in 2013 as part of the PhotoIreland festival in Dublin and as part of the group show, INTERIM at Belfast Exposed Gallery. This new work was published by TENI as part of a landmark report on transphobic hate crimes in Ireland. The most recent exhibit was opened by Paul Seawright at the MFA group show in the Gallery of Photography, September 2014.
Transpose was published by Studio Aad, the book can be purchased directly from myself or online here - http://www.whereweare.ie/projects/view/transpose
My work over the last number of years has focused on the rights denied to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Work has been published by Amnesty International, Diageo, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), PinkNews and other non-profits/commercial organisations. Images from the project Transgender Ireland have been published in the landmark publication "Touching the Surface - Trans Voices in Ireland" and "Equality and Identity" which were produced by TENI. The work has been exhibited in various galleries across Ireland and the UK.