North-55 was co-founded in 2002 by artist Marie Barrett, Shauna McClenaghan, Joint Programme Manager Inishowen Development Partnership (IDP) and Denise McCool, Community and Education Officer Inishowen Development Partnership (IDP). Since its inception North-55 has collaborated with the (IDP) in the development and delivery of its programmes. The critical exploration and combining of both artistic and community development practice is at the centre of North-55’s socially engaged practice. North-55 refers to the line of latitude crossing the border between Derry and Donegal.
In terms of identity and location, North-55 projects have been cross-community, cross-border and also directly concerned with the border itself. A number of projects have harnessed the River Foyle as a particular site of meaning. Communities of interest have included youth, the unemployed, women’s groups, garment factory workers, emigrant and migrant workers. There is an emphasis within North-55’s practice on establishing long-term collaborative alliances: in some instances, it has been possible to re-engage with groups from earlier collaborations to explore a new set of project ideas.
Marie Barrett is a co-founder and currently Artistic Director of North-55. Her work has been primarily concerned with the development of innovative, process-based work in public space. Barrett has created a series of site-specific public art works, which have used processes of collaborative engagement and dialogue with specific communities.
Kate O'Callaghan joined the team in 2008 as Programme and Event Co-ordinator. Kate has an already established background in music, having managed and sung with the Inishowen Gospel Choir for four years. Kate served on the board of a range of community and voluntary organisations and has recently completed a course in community development using North-55 as a research model for promoting social and cultural change.
Shauna is a co-founder of North-55 and currently Joint Programme Manager of the Inishowen Development Partnership. Shauna has been responsible for the management of the Local Development Social Inclusion programme since 2000. Shauna has also contributed to the development of other interagency collaborations for Inishowen over the past ten years.
Denise is a co-founder of North-55 and currently the Community and Education Officer within the IDP where she is responsible for community development, training and education liaison. Her work includes promoting access and return to education, embedding community development principles across the sectors and liaising with education providers and those returning to education in the peninsula.