37-39 Queen Street, Belfast, BT1 6EA

Pollen Studios and Gallery

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Upcoming exhibitions and events

Still Life and the Screen

Thursday 1st August

Time: 6pm-9pm

Solo exhibition

Still Life and the Screen explores the passions of local artist and textile designer, Ruth Crothers. Her fascination with ceramics and the decorative arts is explored through sculpture, print, painting and collage. Presenting a bold body of work which is both quirky and refined.

Ruth graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2015. She has since worked as a freelance textile print designer and facilitator of workshops. Recently she completed her MFA in Design at Ulster University, gaining a distinction. Her favourite colours are, all the colours.

This exhibition will be available to visit by appointment after the opening, please contact pollenstudiobelfast@gmail.com to make arrangements.

Pollen Gallery is located on the 1st floor of the building, there is no lift access.


Thursday 6th June

Time: 6pm - 9pm

Group photography exhibition

When the idea for a group photography show first came to mind, I knew exactly the three people I would ask; three recently qualified and talented artists all with very different approaches and from different areas of Northern Ireland.

Our first conversation took place in Belfast and messages relayed to Kate, living in Amsterdam. David, Chad and myself talked of European and local politics and I expressed my despair at widening social divisions and the tribal like bonds that seemed to be strengthening.

And so, the images exploring social integration and exclusion developed.

Jennifer Davies, curator.

David Copeland is completing an MFA in Photography at Ulster University. His work explores ideas and rituals around the everyday, examining ‘locality and the human condition within place and documenting vernacular landscape’. Intrigued by photography’s ability to reflect on the human condition, experience, role and relationship within place, he makes additions through metaphor, context and by the simple act of consciously choosing to photograph the banal and the ‘normal’. An attempt to elevate the subject beyond its seemingly trivial existence.

Project statement: ‘Co-operates well with others’

This series was made in my old primary school the year before it closed to be replaced by a much-needed new facility. Returning to the school almost a decade since I had left, I found quiet spaces that spoke of a contradiction in my personal experience and that of the recorded experience in my annual school report from which the title ‘Co-operates well with others’ derives from.

A place of curriculum-based learning, and perhaps the place where we are taught to be inclusive, and yet simultaneously partake in the act of doing and learning to exclude. Becoming increasingly interested in ‘cause and effect’, not only in the creation of ‘place’, but the sociological and psychological effects on humanity and myself, this work continues to explore the experience of place, both past and present.

Chad Alexander is a photographer born and based in Belfast. He holds a first-class Honours degree from the Belfast School of Art, where he was the artist in residence during 2017/2018 and obtained a fellowship in teaching and learning.

Since graduating he has continued making work in and about Northern Ireland and has exhibited locally and internationally. Jacqueline Bates, curator and photography director for the California Sunday, recently selected him for gallery representation in the USA.

Series title: ‘Bonfire Portraits’

Kate Donaldson is a photographer born in Armagh and studied in Ulster University, Belfast, graduating with a 2:1 in Fine Art Photography. Kate has recently moved to Amsterdam where she is based working full time and freelancing.

Kate’s work has featured in Belfast’s Tangerine Magazine and also in previous Late Night Art shows in Goose Lane Gallery, where she showcased her final year project titled [22].

Kate works closely with intimacy and identity in her portraits where she illustrates with nature and floral details that are stemmed from her mother’s floristry career. ‘

Her recent move to Amsterdam has produced Kate’s newest series “All the Kings men” a project connecting her upbringing to the Dutch culture.

Bbeyond Live Project


Thursday 9th May 

Time 7-9pm

Performance evening 

“A culture is not an abstract thing. It is a living, evolving process. The aim is to push beyond the standard-setting and asserting human rights to make those standards a living reality for people everywhere” Mary Robinson 

Humanism in process: female performance artists at work, addresses issues of feminism and art, promoting visibility of inequalities and strategies to address these situations, creating openness, awareness and supporting women’s wellbeing through performance art. Demonstrating how performance art has been and is a contemporary art form that suits the needs of human diversity and expressions of freedom. 

The project resonates with feminist demands for spaces, activities and a culture for expression to their needs, demands and concerns. Since the 60s, women and feminist struggles have embrace performance art in order to convey their concerns, positions and demands, forming political empowered communities. 

The female artists we have invited to this event have fought, embodied and influenced their artists communities and, to a certain extend, their societies, opening new ways to approach issues of gender through their artistic practice, sometimes under hard conditions. These artists have a valuable experience to share with artists and women in Northern Ireland and continue the historical rehabilitation of women's rights and the humanistic process of equality, based on creativity, knowledge, reflection and debate. 

The overall project includes invited artists Mónica Mayer (Mexico), Denys Blacker (Spain) Sandra Johnston, Jayne Cherry(NI), Aine Philips (Ireland) and SARC artists (Sonic Art Research Centre) Una Lee and Paula Guzzanti. The May programme is as follows: 

Event Dates & times

Thur 9 May, Performance Evening, 7 -9pm, Pollen Studios 7 Queen St, Belfast BT1 6EA.

Artists: Mónica Mayer (Mexico) Victor Lerma (Mexico) Jayne Cherry (NI) and Elvira Santamaria (Mexico/NI).

Fri 10 May, Performance Event: El Tendedero (The Clothesline) by Monica Mayer (Mexico), Fri 10, 12noon, City Hall vicinity.

Sat 11 May, Talk and Roundtable: 2pm, Golden Thread Gallery,  Speakers: Mónica Mayer, Bronagh Lawson, Conny Ortiz, Siobhan Craig, Emma Cambell and Elvira Santamaria.

Image courtesy of Mónica Mayer

Pollen members Sinead Breathnach-Cashell and Zara Lyness are taking part in a collaborative studio exchange project. The Expanded Studio Project is an exciting and Nationally significant studio exchange programme proposed for 15 Belfast based and 15 Nottingham based artists. 

Artists from Pollen, Creative Exchange, Array, Platform, Flax Art and QSS Studios, with Belfast manager and curator, Deirdre Morrisey, PS2,  will work with partners in Primary Studios Nottingham. 

Primary Studios is an artist-led space in Nottingham, UK, that exists to support creative research and to develop new ways of engaging audiences through offering a range of spaces. 

The project involves studio visits in Belfast and Nottingham and will result in an travelling exhibition in August in PS2, Belfast and Nottingham. 

The Belfast artists paid a cultural visit to the Primary Studios in April 2019, meeting the partner artists, giving artist talks and negotiating working partnerships. 

We look forward to providing updates as the project develops.



The Storyteller

Thursday 2nd May

Time 6pm - 9pm

Performance starts at 8pm

Solo installation and performance by Jennifer Davies

Jennifer Davies trained in London as a theatre designer and worked throughout the country on diverse live performance projects. Jennifer has also worked with many community groups and in healthcare environments.  Her recent work has focused on a more personal exploration of human relationship incorporating installation, sculpture, painting and extended drawing.  

In addition to her own practice Jennifer is also committed to curating solo and group shows for students and emerging artists. 

"The Storyteller" is the culmination of a body of work exploring the artists relation to her unknown birth parents and tangible loving bond with her adoptive parents.  Having been born in a Catholic mother and baby unit in the 60s life was transformed by the transference to a privileged home close to London. 

The passage of time has enabled Jennifer to explore her own life story and the relationships that came about by the simple fact that her mother was for some reason unable to care for her.  Similarly, the installation of acquired objects has become the tale of each piece's own life story and rehoming. 


Thursday 4th April

Time 6pm - 9pm

Group exhibition by the Artists at the Mill

You are cordially invited to Pollen Studios and Gallery where we welcome the Artists at the Mill to exhibit a snapshot of the eclectic mix of materials and work produced at Conway Mill for Late Night Art Belfast in April 2019.
Artists at the Mill are a group of independent practitioners, with a broad spectrum of disciplines, who occupy studio spaces at the top floor of the Mill on the corner of Conway Street/Falls Road..
The exhibition features work by:
Anna Donovan 
Alice McGuinness 
Marie-Louise Gormley 
Andrew Wood 
Hugh Clawson 
Grace-Margaret McGowan 
Sally Young 
Rosie Moore 
Karen Daye-Hutchinson
Rachel Julca 
Melanie Woolley

Pollen Studios and Gallery is on the 1st floor of 37-39 Queens Street.There is no lift access in the building.

Anna Donovan is a visual artist. Her mixed media practice includes a wide spectrum of disciplines, mainly ceramics. Encompassing sculpture, and wall mounted work, Anna plays with the human form, manipulating textures and form through layers, exploring different techniques and experimentation. Anna credits her time working as a prop maker and scenic painter for many years as a huge influence on her artist practice. Contact https://annadonovan176.wixsite.com/annadonovanart/about
Rachel Julca makes pictures with little ceramic street scenes in. Some are local places, some commissions and some just made up, taking her inspiration from her surroundings in Ireland.. She has been at the Mill for almost two years. Contact www.racheljulcadesign.com
Rosie Moore works mostly with textiles, using methods such as weaving, felting embroidery and applique.  She is very involved in community arts, teaching different skills and facilitating workshops for all age groups and abilities.  When she has time she makes costumes for theatre, film and television, and for relaxation she loves to knit. Contact https://www.facebook.com/CutOutDoll/ 
Marie=Louise Gormley has worked extensively in the community arts sector for the past 15 years and has resumed her own practice in textile art, particularly felted paintings. Partaking in group and solo exhibitions, pop up shops and selling her work through gallery's and private commissions. She enjoys the meditative aspect of working with her hands so process is an essential part of her work. and is as important as the end result. She uses the age old tradition of felt making which gives her the opportunity to let her intuition guide the mediums she uses to make their own mark.


Sally Young  Constantly trying to square the circle of arts admin, workshops and artist’s practice, looking at what’s inside in an attempt to make sense of what’s going on round the outside.


Cut It Out

Thursday 7th March

Time 6pm=9pm

Performance at 7pm (approx 15 mins)

Solo exhibition and performance by Phil Keers

Phil Keers (b. 1994) is an artist living and working in Belfast and is currently one of the graduate artists in residence at Belfast School of Art. He recently graduated in July from Ulster University with a BA in Fine Art. His work is multi-disciplinary taking the form of sculpture, performance and sound installation.

Cut It Out aims to summarise an ongoing project within the performance element of Keers’ practice.

Deconstructing and examining language used in a derogatory or inflammatory way and questioning why they are still part of common vocabulary today.





You need to man up

Boys will be boys

Grow a pair.

Artist’s Statement:

My work is primarily mixed media sculpture with elements of performance and sound installation. Inspiration for my work comes mainly from relationships with those around me but is also greatly inspired by where I fit into society in Northern Ireland as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

As a self professed Text based Artist, language plays a key role and sometimes takes the centre stage of my work in the literal use of letters in sculptural form. However, it also comes in more subtle ways through heavily thought out titles I give other sculptures, exhibitions and performances.

In my performance work I am currently concerned with language that I finds toxic and outdated. Words that are used to cause upset. Bringing these words to the forefront to highlight their misuse and to also try to take a proud new ownership over them relishing them useless.

I use text as the main element in my work as I see this as such an immediate form of communicating my point or idea and literally spelling it out to the viewer. I am fascinated by the origins of words, double meanings and homophones. In my sculptural work I try to harness this fascination creating letters forming words that change when you look at them from a different direction. There is always another way to look at things.

Website: philkeers.com

Instagram: @philkeers

Email: p.keers@hotmail.com

The Odd Collection

Thursday 7th February

Time 6pm - 9pm

(Gallery also open Friday 8th February 12pm-3pm)

Cabinets of Curiosity, also known as ‘wonder rooms’ have displayed collections since at least the 1500’s. They have been used to categorise natural history objects, tell stories about the world and it’s history (sometimes not letting the truth get in the way of a good story) and served to establish a social ranking in society. The Odd Collection exhibition was inspired by the odd collection of favoured objects and the collection of odd objects that find their way into our homes and especially artists studios.

With invited artists, we will convert the Pollen Gallery into a 'wonder room', with a nod to the history of museum natural science collections and wink to the possibilities of undiscovered treasures.

Participating artists : Aimee Magee, Aisling Magee, Aisling O’Beirn, Alice Clark, Deirdre McKenna, Jayne Cherry, Jenny Davies, Johanna Leech, Kate Ritchie, Locky Morris, Nathan Crothers, Sharon Adams, SInéad Breathnach-Cashell, Zara Lyness

Aisling O.Beirn

O’ Beirn’s current work explores space as a physical structure and political entity by making and animating forms relating to observed and theoretical structures being studied by contemporary astronomers and physicists. Much of my recent research, facilitated by Armagh Observatory, Dunsink Observatory and The Centre for Astronomy NUIG, Galway is an extension of previous work on the relationship between the politics of place uncovering the tensions between disparate forms of official and of unofficial information.

This work is interdisciplinary, exploring the relationship between art and science. It manifests variously as sculpture, installation, animation and site-specific projects. Documentation of my previous work can be seen on www.aislingobeirn.com

O’ Beirn is based in Belfast and has exhibited nationally and internationally. She was on of the artists chosen for Northern Ireland’s first participation in the 51st Venice Biennale. She is a member of the group Centrifugal consisting of artists architects, theorists and curators from Zagreb Helsinki and Belfast, investigating the notion of periferality in a European context. She is also a cow founder of CROW (City Right of Way) organising monthly walks in Belfast.

O’ Beirn is also an Associate Lecturer in Sculpture at the University of Ulster

‘Transit’  video, 1min 10 sec

With special thanks to John McFarland of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium


Locky Morris

Small extract from an essay written by Anne Tallentire for an upcoming publication, with reference, in part, to his Instagram project 'especiallyeverything' @lockymorrisartist   
'(It) is perhaps useful when thinking how the unexpected and unpredictable observations that inform Morris’s work give agency to the activities of his everyday. In his notation and exploration of what surprises, excites and puzzles him in and around his neighbourhood we encounter his practice. ....The terrain that is his neighbourhood has been the subject of Morris’s work for the last three decades... '
Extract from especiallyeverything - the practices of Locky Morris by Anne Tallentire  
Alice Clark

A Cabinet of Curiosity is a curious concept and feels like a throw back to an era of exploration and discovery. But as artists, and as people, we are all collectors of one sort or another. I find myself reflecting on my art practice and how my attention is always drawn to objects of little value except for how unusual or beautiful they are.

My cabinet is a collection of found boxes and drawers mostly filled with small objects from nature or small found objects of culture. These are the objects with a history for me and the curiosity will be for the viewer to find the connections between them. My recent practice has involved walking and one of the activities while walking is collecting discarded or lost small items. It is my intervention walking the landscape and collecting which gives these objects their mutual history and connectivity.

The stacked boxes with their compartments are also reminiscent of the rooms of a doll’s house, the classically female equivalent of a cabinet of curiosity. I have curated a collection of ready-mades with a narrative informed by my art practice and my way of living.

Jenny Davies

Observing the human form provides a viewer the prospect of interpreting the size, shape and nuances of colour and texture of the person, contained within the figure. This process leads the viewer to investigate and translate clues to construct the physical and emotional history.

Johanna Leech

My practice stems from a broad fascination with the world around me. Realised through: drawing; archives; digital imagery; interactive social practice; story; moving image; and installation. My work has an informal archival feel of association that contains moments of the unexpected. These allow the viewer to create their own narratives as they are brought through unusual rumors, local lore, historic or accurate happenings to moments of collective consciousness.

The viewer is presented with an amalgam of installations, minimalist drawing and make-shift collections. Stemming from a lifelong obsession with collecting, the subject matter combines influences from travel, social interactions, history, iconography, myths, legends and museum categorization. These are presented in humourous ways that entice the viewer to decipher connections and explore the multiple narratives set before them.I see my art practice as an adventure.  I’m an explorer presenting my discoveries. I select and create imagery that draws in the viewer through the familiar and the commonplace.

For further information www.johannaleech.com

Kate Ritchie

My art is about the aesthetics of everyday experience of the world, both natural and man-made, and about man’s impact on the environment. My recent practice involves walking the coastline, and collecting marine litter, principally plastic waste, which I then sort and classify, combining it in assemblages, sculptures and installations in the studio. While walking I notice and photograph ephemeral beach “art”, made by the action of wind and tide, and I make my own ephemeral assemblages of found materials which I record by photography and video. I aim to evoke in the viewer of my work some interest in, and appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of the materials and objects I select. I hope to stimulate reflection on environmental issues. In a small perhaps futile way, by collecting and re-using and recycling this marine litter, I also contribute to cleaning the coast.

Sharon Adams:

Sharon Adams is an applied artist who lives and works in rural Co Antrim. After living in London for over 20 years, it was the experience of attending art school in Brighton (2008-2011) that brought Sharon back to live and work in the townland where she was born and raised and where her father’s family have farmed for five generations.

Sharon’s practice became personal when she connected her love of working wood and metal with the inherent beauty of simple tools and machinery, objects which had populated the landscape of her agricultural childhood, and been left in a forgotten past. Just as she emerged from office life and picked up a hammer, Apple launched the iPad, telling us ‘you already know how to use it’. Even the physicality of skilled work was being reduced to a lowest common denominator of clicking and scrolling.

Since 2004 Sharon’s father has recorded the daily rainfall. This material record of the Frocess townland is the starting point for Sharon’s piece in The Odd Collection. Thorns extracted from farm hedges represent the monthly rainfall, and imagined tools suggest the gathering of raindrops.

Further info:




Nathan Crothers

Nathan Crothers’ practice investigates the potential of moving image within the white cube environment. Challenging how image is constructed, encountered and interpreted. His work aims to offer alternative ways of experiencing narrative in contrast to traditional viewing conventions of cinema and theatre.

His current work is concerned with the internet and how truth and meaning function online. Focusing on the consumption of media and examining how users engage in online activities, with an aim of developing an understanding to what extent the internet underpins daily life.

Within his work, he often appropriates popular culture, specifically using film, television and web media, as a vehicle to explore ideas of authorship and copyright. His work critiques institutional, political and cultural hierarchies, questioning the complacency of how the world is viewed.

Jayne Cherry

Cherry makes art to try to comprehend her personal experiences and emotional wanderings.Visiting the subject of death holds an intrigue and a restorative exploration. Using intricate investigations with drawing, painting, needlework, installation and live art performances she attempts to decipher any

covert signs and leave clues that may be helpful to those who come behind her. Life as a nurse and organic farmer informs her interactions between flora, fauna of the earth and humans.

Zara Lyness

My drive is to make work that sparks recognition in the viewer and generate conversations relating to personal histories. The exhibition title ‘The Odd Collection’ made me think about the treasures we box and hoard. Reflecting on the close association between Cabinets of Curiosity and the development of the feminine version of dolls houses I remembered my own treasured hoard.

As children, we improvised, imagined and made objects through play. My dolls house links inherited items and the material research and creations of childhood with studio crafted objects. A miniature reflection of training for domesticity. 

Aisling Magee

Flights of fancy, hoarded feathers,

Plucked up from beaches by small hands,

quickly hidden, in coat pockets, before parental eyes.

“Cool Coins” first seen on a footpath,

A falcon on a two pence piece!

Such excitement, discovering, in usually routine.

Experiences of places, countries and of cultures,

Many far-flung trips to find friends,

Badges earned, skills learnt. Eagerly worn with pride.

Childhood treasure, a teenage joy,

Imagining flights of fancy,

Adult intrigue, altogether, an artist’s box of dreams.

Collecting has always been intriguing for me. As a child I would often collect feathers, stones, animal skeletons and insects. This interest morphed into a coin collection as I grew up. When I joined Girl Guiding I became interested in collecting badges from countries that I’ve visited and experiences that I’ve had. In the artist travelling box are some of the “odd collections” that have become a part of my life and which have informed my artistic practice.
Aimee Magee

Aimee Magee studied Art Foundation in Ulster University, before completing her Sculpture BA in Wimbledon College of Art and Erasmus studies in Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. 

She is currently working on her practice as a member of Pollen Studios Belfast. 

This work, inspired by home brewing, the circus and the mysticism of cabinets of curiosity, is an ongoing investigation into the use of materials which are kind to the environment, such as bread dough, as a way to make art whilst sparking intrigue and conversation. 

From foraging and fortune-telling to fermentation, "Half-Baked" nods toward doing things for yourself and living life with an open mind.

Sinéad Breathnach-Cashell

Sinéad Bhreathnach-Cashell's practice thrives on finding social interaction in the most unlikely places. She can often be encountered with playmates plundering the streets of Belfast and abroad, making playful interventions in search of a beach under the pavement. Her cabinet of curiosities is just a glimpse of some of the tools of her trade, which have surprised airport security guards during bags searches as she travels to perform.
Deirdre McKenna
The nature of my work stems from my desire to visualise stories, while allowing room for the viewer to extend upon the narrative or meaning. The outcomes of my practice, results in a broad material, visual & conceptual manifestation. I feel a great need to be free of a “signature” type approach to what I do, and aim to offer viewers a vision of something with integrity, both in its conceptual value and artistic realisation.  Each work has its own statement to make. I make work that is of an auto/biographical nature, preferring to take a more oblique angle.
McKenna’s practice incorporates sculpture, installation, lens, audio, painting and curation. 

An Evening of Performance

Saturday 12th January  2019

Time 6pm - 9pm

Welcome to an evening of solo performance art in Pollen Studio featuring Timo Viialainen (Finland), Salla Valle (Finland), Sinead O'Neill-Nicholl (Northern Ireland), Elaine McGinn (Northern Ireland) and Chloe Austin (Ireland/Northern Ireland)

This event is organised by Timo Viialainen

Timo Viialainen is a performance artist, sound artist and visual artist based in Helsinki currently residing in Belfast. His first artistic live appearance was in the performance art festival Exit in 2001. In the early 2000s he performed mostly with sound and experimental music related projects. The first solo performance art pieces started to form around 2011 and since then he has performed in numerous festivals and events in 18 different countries. The performances he creates are always site and situation specific.
Timo Viialainen has previously studied music technology and theatre sound. Currently he is studying fine arts Fine Art Academy in Helsinki. To Belfast he ended up thru exchange program in the Master of Fine Arts in the Belfast School of Arts.

Salla Valle (b.1990) is a Helsinki based performance artist having a background in visual art. Valle is interested in minimal aesthetics, durations of materials and socio-economic questions. She builds her works in relation with the surroundings using body, sound and space as her tools. For her it is important to share time and space physically with other people.

Sinead O'Neill-Nicholl is a multi-disciplinary artist using sculpture, video, audio, installation and performance to examine issues that relate to gender identity. Having graduated from Ulster in summer 2018, Sinead is a founder member of Second Collective, an organisation which creates opportunities for emerging artists to exhibit their own work.

Elaine McGinn is a Northern Irish Artist working internationally, in the areas of art education/art therapy. McGinn is a visual artist, focusing extensively on performance around the themes of play, memory, childhood, trauma and loss.
“I cast a net over an ocean of experience and extract my truths through variegated metaphor.”
I cultivate an essence of emotional release and force the lock on resurgence, I use gesture, sound, process and object to present a fragmented narrative of trauma towards recovery. In some respects, the work reveals both personal and formative responses.

Chloe Austin is a visual artist, often exploring the misrepresentation of women through lens-based media. She is currently undertaking her MFA at Belfast School of Art. This is Austin’s first live performance entitled ‘Stains’. The work focuses on trauma, rape culture and women’s rights. She attempts to remove and cleanse the residues of a trauma that has happened to this body while also trying to claim liberation.
“Yes, injured Woman! rise, assert thy right!” 

Recent Works

Joint exhibition by Susan Hughes and Tony Hill

Thursday 17th January 2018

Time 7pm - 9pm

Gallery open from 10am-3pm om Friday 18th and there will be music with Susan Hughes on Saturday 19th January from 2pm - 3.30p,

Tony Hill and Susan Hughes have diverse approaches to process and technique but are linked by their sensibilities to place, landscape and the natural world. 

Exhibitions over

Summer of Light

Solo exhibition by Grainne Dowling

Thursday 1st November 2018

Time 6pm - 9pm

Grainne Dowling is an Irish artist whose inspiration comes from the coastline of West Ireland, where she was born, and Curragh, Co. Kildare, where she lives now.


My work is a gestural and expressive description of landscape,drawing on the subconscious to access sensations, emotions and memories of time and place.

I want to celebrate the subtlety and nuance of the natural world.

Using the recognised language of landscape such as horizon lines and boundaries, the paint is pulled across the canvas, scraped back, re-worked, all the while being mindful of the shapes and edges created by accident, which speak to me of waves, clouds, rocks, light, shadow, colour and form.

My hope is that this sensitivity will strike a chord of recognition in those who view the work.

"The overall impression conveyed to the viewer is of being held in a liminal space, between the elements, between the abstract and the material, a sense of inhabiting this landscape that is gifted to us b the artists engagement with place and with the medium she employs to represent it so powerfully" 

Excerpt from "Liminal Landscapes", Jill Murphy PhD,review of "Island to Island", Galleri Roda Stugan. Sweden 2014

Image supplied by the artist:  Title: "For all that you gave" from "The Summer of Light" series, 100x100cm oil on canvas

Pollen Studios and Gallery are located on the 1st floor of the building so we apologise but there is limited disability access.

The Very Skin

Installation and performance by the Pollen Studio 2018 Graduate Award winner  Lykke Sønderkær

Thursday 4th October 2018

Time: 6pm - 9pm

Performance Time: 6.30pm (duration approx 20 mins)

The touch of the cold, warm, thin, thick, rough, or soft.

Only part of nature as per our acceptance,  

let language be the soft vulnerable skin

and the likewise vulnerable armour.

The Very Skin is a glimpse into the artist’s experience and fascination with nature, and the human meeting with this. Ideas of natural and unnatural, of being other, beauty in the detail, absent or present, are processed through a combination of performative elements, photography and sculpture.

Parts of the exhibition pays homage  and references Ana Mendieta, and Francesca Woodman whose work and dreams have provided huge inspirations to the artist.

Artist statement

(living - interdisciplinary -  part of nature - female - artist - being-  body)

Nature, humbles me with it’s elements and the countless ways it outsmarts and makes us humans, feel inferior. Yet it comforts me, as I am constantly reminded of my connection to it, the fact that I am part of nature.

Photography, performance art and objects, are all part of my practice and often in reference to the present/non-present body. Contrast fill my work, visually as well as conceptually. The open/closed, live/lived, fragile/strong, natural/obscure, inside/outside, warm/cold, light/dark, hidden/revealed, presence/non-presence.

My story, life, surroundings, body, touch and the camera are my materials and I respond to the world around me, gathering materials, creating connections through images and objects. My  experience of being in-between cultures and homes, gives rise to endless questions and my practice is a space for me to reflect inside on the outside. Questions of culture, identity, belonging, home, claimed and assigned space.

The internal and external join together in visual and tactile reflection of my perception. I reflect on,  and work with; time space and touch, the traces and remains of life lived.

Artist bio: Lykke Sønderkær was born in 1993 in Copenhagen. Always having pursued art, she traveled to Scotland in 2014 to study Art and Contemporary Practice and Philosophy at Dundee University. She recently graduated from Ulster University in Fine Art where she was shortlisted for RDS Visual Awards 2018 for her performance work.

website: lykke-s.com

instagram: @lykke.soenderkaer

email: lykke.soenderkaer@gmail.com

Practised Hands
Performance by Pollen members Jayne Cherry and Alice Clark
Venue: The Drying Room at Conway Mill, Belfast
Dates: 4th & 5th October 2018
TImes: 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Over forty years since production ended in Conway Mill, the Drying Room will be reanimated with the sights and sounds of our linen industry. Artists Alice Clark and Jayne Cherry invite you to their mesmerising new performance in harmony with excerpts from the Digital Film Archive of our industrial part. Join us either evening to discover what will emerge from this alchemy of raw materials and raw footage.

This live cinema event is a partnership project by Northern Ireland Screen, Film Hub NI and Pollen Studio. It is curated by Sinead Bhreathnach Cashell and funded by BFI Audience Network supported by the National Lottery.

Image courtesy of NI Screen part of BFI unlocking film Heritage from the collection of NMNI, original footage by Lord Wakehurst.

For more information: www.linenbiennalenorthernireland.com


Solo video-install-action by Eleni Koliopoulou

Thursday 27th September

7.00pm - 10.00pm

Participation between 7,00pm and 8.00pm

Discussion between 8.00pm and 10.00pm

Video-Install-performance by Eleni Koliopoulou

Sky-field is the third installation project by performance artist Eleni Koliopoulou that forms part of her practice based PhD research in Ulster University.
The event will be a video-install-action that explores and seeks to expand our body's relationship with our surroundings. The audience will become co-creator of the installation and will be encouraged to participate to it.
There is no need for any kind of prior experience to take part to Sky-field and you might feel free to join it for as long as you as you are present or to step back occasionally and then re-join the flux.

Sky-Field is part of her practice based research upon the Butoh body notion as enriching elements of installation art (both formally and conceptually). Butoh is a contemporary Japanese dance form that arose in parallel with happenings in the Western art world. It encompasses a creative meditative state and body awareness, aiming primarily to an alternative dwelling of the environment. Install-action is a term coined by Brian Connolly and marks an interdisciplinary grey area of research.

The event will be a welcoming and engaging experience commencing at 7pm and lasting for about an hour.
An informal discussion of the experience is going to follow right after the event, at around 8pm, to which you are invited and encouraged to contribute by sharing your own thoughts.

If possible, please come dressed in white clothing.

The Lace Guild of Northern Ireland

Group exhibition by guild members

Thursday 6th September 

7.00pm - 9.00pm

Lace making workshop in the gallery on Saturday 8th September from 2.30pm - 4.00pm

The Lace Guild of Northern Ireland was established in 1987 with the aim of achieving the following:

1.  To promote lace making in Northern Ireland
2.  To encourage and educate its members in the skills of lace making.
3.  To organise speakers and teachers to further the purpose of 1and 2.
4. To arrange exhibitions of the members work.

Meetings - are held on the second Saturday of each month - September to June at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, Holywood, County Down.

For more information:www.lacguildni.weebly..com

No lift access. Gallery on 1st floor.

This Other Place

Solo Exhibition by Stuart Cairns

Thursday 2nd August 

6.30pm - 9.00pm

This Other Place is an installation by Artist/Silversmith Stuart Cairns exploring the language of the landscape and materiality through domestic objects and space. A series of vessels and utensil type objects set in and around structures which echo both the natural landscape and the setting of the home. The installation uses precious, non precious metals, found objects and natural materials in combination to evoke a sense of being, of lives lived within the landscape.
The gallery will then be open Thursday to Saturday 12.30pm - 4pm or by appointment.

Please contact info@stuartcairns.com

Access to the 1st floor gallery by stairwell only.

Drawn to Sound

Open invitation to draw in the gallery

Thursday 7th June

6.30pm - 8.30pm

For late night art the gallery has been converted into a drop in drawing space. Please join us in responding to live sounds with a variety of off beat drawing implements.

The Big Red Button (New opening date)

Group exhibition: Belfast Artists Paper Society

Thursday 3rd May

7pm - 9pm 

A year after their first exhibition B.A.P.S. are back. The Belfast Artists Paper Society have turned their attention to Armageddon, the End of the World and The Big Red Button. How do you prepare? What will you need? Who will you need? Is there anywhere you can go for advice?

Artists Sue Cathcart, Jayne Cherry, Susan McKeever, Emma McAleer, Nathan Crothers, Emma Whitehead, Deby McKnight, Zara Lyness and Georgia Eliott have done some research on your behalf and present the results.

Sue Cathcart:

I work in fairly small scale using traditional techniques, gluing and painting and stitching pictures and creatures together out of forgotten scraps, all of my work costs nothing to make. I invest time and effort in creating things that I want to see and that make me laugh. I collect phrases from overheard conversations scuttling home to make a picture or creature using them. I might change a word or put in a space, cutting out the words and shifting them around for ages until it pleases me.


‘I like the excitement of creating an object out of diverse and worthless materials to produce something thought provoking and interesting. 

Jayne Cherry (Pollen Studios) Working on the concept of surviving Armageddon, with visions of viral and bacterial epidemics sweeping the planet, I wanted to concentrate on the beauty of death, as its inevitability will remain undiminished. How long will our stores of antibiotics last and am I willing to change my personality to fight for survival. I think not. My position will be too allow the myriad of poisonous pigments from fever and illness to take my mind on a kaleidoscopic journey to my natural demise.

Susan McKeever: Graduated from the University of Ulster in 2000 with a BA Hons in Fine Art. She lives and works in Belfast.

My imagined doomsday world is set thirty years in the future

on a distant planet named after the German collage artist Hannah Hoch.

Planet Hoch has been newly populated with wealthy earthlings who have brought with them artificial intelligence, a love of excessive cosmetic surgery, animal/human mutation, body image disorders and fashion victim tendencies.

On the surface and on social media everyone is happy.

Contact E: .s.mckeever@yahoo.co.uk T: 07815713963

Emma McAleer

The Big Red Button is more than a physical object at the hands of power hungry men - it represents our treatment of the planet without considering consequences. Have we already pushed the big red button? 

  In Northern Ireland we face serious threats to the environment such as Gold mining in the Sperrin Mountains based on cyanide processing, sand extraction from Lough Neagh (regarded as the biggest illegal quarry in Europe) and Mobuoy landfill site in Derry (considered as Europe’s biggest illegal dump). These issues are serious whether we choose to face them or not. 

There are two problems for our species’ survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and       we’re hurtling towards them. Knowingly.”          Noam Chomsky

This body of work explores how the natural world, even after a terrible man-made environmental disaster - can begin again - perhaps not like before, but slowly adapting to shape its surroundings over time. 

Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans"          Evo Morales

Emma Whitehead is a textile and mixed media artist based in Saintfield, County Down.

Growing up amidst the 80’s paranoia of looming nuclear apocalypse she took comfort once she learned we’d only be blowing up life on earth rather than imploding the entire planet.
Here she plays with concepts of space, time, scale, change and decay. In this short series she explores our impact (or the lack of it), re local political contexts and the wider universe.
Contact info@topfloorart.co.uk /07828570837

Deby McKnight's focus is embellished illustration. Inspired by the ridiculous and comical, she combines this with Medieval-inspired illuminated manuscripts to create pieces exploring how bizarre, fleeting thoughts become serious when they seep into the everyday.

By conflating the Four Pantomime Horses of the Apocalypse with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Deby highlights the absurdity our present situation – hypnotised by the blue light of technology and self-imposing famine through best before dates, we're already in the end of days. Juxtaposing the pathos of apocalypse-by-modern-life with an illuminated Medieval chronicle, she records a warning for posterity: the signs are here, the big red button has already been pressed.

Special thanks to Emily McHugh for use of her inspirational horse drawings.

Zara Lyness (Pollen Studios) As a worrier and list maker I have been thinking about appropriate things to watch out for, have and do in preparation for Armageddon. Best to throw nothing out now.....it doesn't hurt to plan ahead .....

Melody of Dust

Artists : John MacCormack & Jasmin Marker

Curated by Colm Clarke & Tonya McMullan (CCTM)

Opening Thursday 5th April 2018

6pm - 9pm

Viewing by appointment between April 6th- 21st

Exhibition of two emerging Belfast talents whose work explores organic forms, traces and movement.


April 14th- 2pm

Infinity farm to host Action Learning workshop for those looking to develop sustainable practises. Free but booking is essential


Colm Clarke and Tonya McMullan (CCTM) work collaboratively as artists, curators and urban farmers. Their projects are site specific and responsive, including one day curatorial projects, artist run initiatives and interventions in the city.


Melody of Dust Artists

John Macormac



John Macormac (b.1981) is an artist living and working in Northern Ireland and a current co-director at Catalyst Arts. He has recently graduated from the University of Ulster with an MFA in Fine Art. John helped establish Cathedral Studios, a Belfast based artist run studio organisation in 2003. His art practice is multi-disciplinary, embracing performance, installation and drawing.


The two main aspects of my current art practice are wall drawing and drum performance. Drawn components become part of curated, atmospheric sets for performances. Sculptures are imposing and hard edged. Lighting is subdued, there is often a palpable sense of mystery.

I write recipe scores that prescribe what will be played using electronic drums and a loop station connected to an amplifier. I may perform pieces or invite other musicians to do so.

These scores provide rules or instructions. Sections become looped and layered. This approach interrupts a conventional, musical approach to drumming. They are written to encourage improvisation, each iteration will be different.

I find inspiration in many places, and enjoy clashing elements associated with disparate genres. The dark aesthetic draws influence from gothic and heavy metal subcultures. The synthesised palette of sounds built in to the electronic drum kit are associated with early techno. Drawn scores are informed by the experimental compositions of John Cage and jazz musician Anthony Braxton.

Performance clips




Image:  Geometric Monolith and Electronic Drums, wooden sculpture and object, Redeemer Central Church, 2016

Melody of Dust Artists

Jasmin Marker

Jasmin Marker is a Belfast-based, German born interdisciplinary artist who works primarily with members of the microbial kingdoms. Engaging with a variety of biocultures she seeks analogies to societal cultures, exploring relevant scientific and anthropological concepts and their philosophical paradigms. While her research originates from a dedication to environmentalism and sustainability it extends deeper into questioning the evolution of human psychology. Jasmin graduated from University of Ulster with a Bachelor in Fine Art in 2016, where she has completed a graduate residency in 2017. Since she has exhibited in various galleries in Northern Ireland including PS2 Gallery (March 2017), Catalyst Arts (October 2017) and currently shows as part of the group show Kills 99,9% of Bacteria at CCA Derry:Londonderry.

Image: Growing Noise - part 1, detail shot, March 2017, PS2 gallery

Practised Hands

Jayne Cherry and Alice Clark

Thursday 8th March

7pm - 8.30pm


To celebrate International Women's Day, Pollen Studio invite you to an evening of archival film and performance. Alongside the screening of scenes from the local linen industry and the significance it had upon working women, artists Jayne Cherry and Alice Clark will undertake a performance re-evaluating the significance of linen and the ways it can be repurposed for today. The cloth has an illustrious past but how do we imagine a future for the cloth in a consumer society which disregards waste.

This event is in partnership with Film Hub NI and showcases footage from the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive. It is funded by BFI Film Audience Network supported by The National Lottery. 


Solo performance by Sandra Corrigan Breathnach

Thursday 1st February

6pm - 9pm

What is Truth?, Coherence theory sits on the manifestation of truth being a consistency of belief, being true regardless of its basis, failing when conflicts arise as equal status would have to be given to other sets of mass belief. What happens when we examine our own truths our own beliefs? What happens if we find that they hold no roots in the physical reality which is the basis for the Correspondence theory of Truth. What if there is no theory that can quantify Truth?

Today we are caught in a cyber haze of doctored images and doctored truths, but looking back how can any Historical Truth! Be deemed factual, Can we hold true what we have been taught to believe, based on other humans beliefs or Histories? We are all flawed, Propaganda is nothing new our human history has been so distorted and tainted with repetitious propaganda for power plays and ruling agendas. Do we continue on the path of blind faith for fear of examining the what if?


Contemplation, Regression

Solo performance by Sarah Smith

Thursday 4th January 2018 

6.30 - 8.30 pm

BA Fine Art graduate, Sarah Smith, is currently in her first year of the Ulster University MFA course. Her work seeks to explore intrinsic interpersonal human issues both psychological and emotional. Current and recent work investigates how past traumas can resurface, manifesting themselves in the guise of compulsive behaviours, such as repetition of rituals and action(s), and become a basis for self-expression artistically or otherwise. She is interested in particular in the art-making process as a means of communication and ‘working through’ trauma, realising now how vital this communication through making has become. Recent exhibitions include RUA 2017 and NI Hospice Art Exhibition.

Poster image credit: Zara Lyness

Happenstance Exhibition

Thank you to everyone who braved the chill for Late Night Art Belfast on Thursday 7th December. For those of you who could not make it, please enjoy a look through the work here. Click on each image for more details.
We are extremely grateful to all the artists who so generously donated to this fundraiser. 
If you have been unable to purchase a £15 raffle ticket, we also have a spot prize raffle, at £5 a ticket for a variety of interesting prizes.


Pollen Studio Fundraising Raffle

Thursday 7th December 2017

6pm - 9pm

Pollen Studios invite you to a preview exhibition of art work donated by artists based all over Ireland for our Christmas Fundraiser. The raffle will take place on Thursday 14th December with tickets priced at £15. Every ticket is guaranteed a prize so tickets are limited!


Solo exhibition by Dermot Gibson

Thursday 2nd November 2017

6pm - 9pm

Dermot Gibson is an artist and musician based in Belfast that works predominantly in painting, drawing and sound. He uses improvisation, collage and free expression to explore internal and external worlds. He is Interested in the human condition, the personal and political.


Solo exhibition: Artist - Ruth McGillicuddy

Exhibition opening 

Thursday 5th October 2017

6.30pm - 8.30pm

(Image credit: Megan Dallat)

Every year Pollen Studios selects and award an emerging artist from the Belfast School of Art Degree show to present an exhibition in the Pollen gallery space.

Pollen Studios and Gallery are pleased to present a solo exhibition by Ruth McGillicuddy titled ‘nude.’.

‘nude’ is a body of work derived from the need to evoke feeling others. Dwelling on family relationships and loss, Ruth has created an installation that reflects the interest we take in lived spaces. She concentrates on the reluctance to change the last trace of a loved one in a space, as if the moving of an object moves the person further from memory.

All That Sits Unsaid

Solo exhibition: Artist -  Stuart Cairns

Exhibition opening 

Thursday 7th September 2017

6.30pm - 9pm

All That Sits Unsaid is a reflection of Stuart Cairns’ interest in materials, places and things. It contains a series of objects found on various walks through forests and fields, along shorelines and urban streets. Some are set out as discovered, some are manipulated into new forms and some are fabrications responding to the rhythms and shapes of the others. This collection of objects, manipulated materials and fabrications act as a drawn language to suggest stories -of wanders by the sea, wonders in the forest and small moments in the city. They show the richness of the material world, the wonders of the everyday which can light up the imagination and speak volumes through their quiet, small forms sitting as poems to the landscape.

Film Makers

Sharon Adams | Sheena Devitt | Alison Fitzgerald | Nicola Gates | Ronan Lowry | Peter Surginor 

Featuring films by Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archives and TACA

Thursday 3rd August 2017

6.00pm - 9.00pm

Image credit: Bob Johnston making a Lambeg Drum for Ulster Television news, 1960 courtesy of UTV Archive and Ronan Lowry by TACA 2017

In celebration of Northern Ireland's rich craft landscape past and present, six makers were invited to produce new work in response to heritage footage from the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive. Film Makers emphasises the value of craft makers in the province and records a samples of their activities for future generations to enjoy through archive film.

Sharon Adams explores the theme of work and tools. Using wood, metal and textiles. she makes functionless tools which invite  the viewer to imagine what they might be for and comments on the value of skilled making.

Sheena Devitt carves into stone and slate to create site specific sculptural artworks. The designs are inspired by and respond to the site's topography and history, it's orientation and present inhabitants.

Alison Fitzgerald has been weaving willow since moving to Ireland over 25 years ago. Her baskets are admired internationally for their subtle blends of natural bark colours, strong curves and tactile qualities.

Nicola Gates is the founder of Olla Nua, a small weaving studio creating handwoven textiles that add warmth, comfort and tactility to the modern home and accessories that can be carried or worn.

Ronan Lowry runs Design Onion, a young energetic furniture design and manufacture studio. Working mainly to commission for both private and corporate clients, they create unique and innovative pieces of bespoke furniture fusing contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship and high quality materials.

Peter Surginor is an artist making beautifully devised works in porcelain that reflect his political consciousness. His interventions contribute to dialogue surrounding wider social injustices, memorial and a divided sense of national identity.

Extinct Sound Installation
Artist - Dr Josephine McCormick
Thursday 1st December 2016

Dr Josephine McCormick is an artist, printmaker and educator, based in Belfast, N.Ireland. Specialising in Fine Art Printmaking, Josephine’s practice interests span science and technology towards developing hybrid applications for fine art printmaking practice. Areas of special interest in her work are investigating the creative potential between sonic technologies and printmaking processes towards producing a hybrid body of sound embedded print work. She has captured frequencies to generate cymatic patterns, producing collographs from these and presenting the work in an installation format. She is currently capturing sound/voice to produce ‘visual spectrograms’, which are then used as a visual resource in the making of print work. She values collaboration and has worked with multi-disciplinary groups of engineers, scientists and sound artists in the making of print work.

The Lime Walk Project


Paola Bernardelli

Stuart Cairns

Alice Clark

Aidan Deery

Gail Mahon

Heather Dornan Wilson

Thursday 6th August 2015

Mak9 is showing The Lime Walk Project at Pollen Studios – opening at 6.30 on Thursday 6th of August and continues on the 7th and 8th of August from 12-4pm each day. The exhibition shows the continuing work of Paola Bernardelli, Aidan Deery, Alice Clarke, Gail Mahon, Stuart Cairns and Heather Wilson drawn from their shared experiences on a short residency at Castle Ward in 2014. Collectively the work covers many media including sound, film, installation, ceramic and lens based media with the practices overlapping in many instances. This exhibition was originally shown in Void Studios in Derry earlier this year, the show at Pollen is a progression from this and is only on for a short time so be sure not to miss it. Mak9 is a collaborative collective interested in making in all its forms headed up by a steering group of Heather Wilson, Gail Mahon and Stuart Cairns and its participants have all shown nationally and internationally.

Action Stations

Artists - Jayne Cherry, Karine Talec, Alice Clark, Claire Hall

Thursday 2nd April 2015

Live performance. 4 artists/4 tables.