Spring Survival School


Unqualified contemporary survivalist [graduation diploma] (2022)
Screen print on primed poplar wood, black ink
250 x 350 mm

Spring Survival School
’s syllabus revises and scraps outdated forms of survivalism with the aim of (re)imagining new ways of living.

Departing from archaic survivalist endeavours that promise not improvement but rather endless struggle, the school’s curriculum is informed by ecological, socialist and abolitionist coalitions which pave pathways for thriving rather than just surviving. In all its capacities, Spring Survival School values community over individualism with the school’s motto:


Working with rather than against nature, each Spring Survival School student is equipped with an eco-friendly school starter pack! By the end of the four-week crash course, you too will graduate as an unqualified contemporary survivalist!

Are you an experienced survivalist? - No? Me neither.

Spring Survival School doesn’t believe in traditional forms of education but rather explores shared learning through horizontal collectivism wherein each individual's contribution is of equal importance in the entity of the collective group. There is no experience needed within a traditional art frame, but rather a willingness and openness to share space, time and respect with other individuals.

Spring Survival School was a free art programme for adult participants with a special interest in ecologies, socialism and anti-capitalist standpoints. These series of workshops were part of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios’ public engagement programme Making Connections.

Week 1: Setting up Camp
Léann Herlihy + Órla Goodwin

Similar to your first day at school, this first Spring Survival School session focuses on introductions and a gentle easing into the physicality of collectively sharing space. Each participant is asked to bring their own survival object which is shared amongst the group. A top tip when packing for survival is to pack light and smart! Instead of lugging around extra equipment, carry the knowledge and skills you have already acquired from life and utilise them to create the conditions to survive straight from the landscape. During this show-and-tell, Léann Herlihy will facilitate an open group conversation about what we think survivalism is in contemporary times.

Week 2: “No More Miserable Monday Mornings”
Léann Herlihy + Sinéad Kennedy 

This Spring Survival School session gains its title from the introductory chapter of Post Capitalist Desire: the Final Lectures,1 a book which has become the fulcrum of a socialist reading group organised by Sinéad Kennedy. Relating this reading group back to survivalism, Sinéad and Léann open the room into a communal reading session and shared dialogue about navigating the crumbling terrain of Dublin’s cultural scene. Speaking from her experience of impromptu coalition building, Sinéad will lead us through the steps of rallying a movement which counteracts Dublin’s shadowy side of neoliberal existence in its emphasis on precocity trumping security and self-preservation trumping flourishment.

1 Colquhoun, M., 2021. Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures. London: Repeaters Books.

Week 3: “With Everything We’ve Got!” 2
Léann Herlihy + Roma Mary Loudan Hardaker

With Everything We’ve Got! is a collaborative workshop led by ongoing support systems: Roma and Léann. 

In a conversation transcribed in Mousse Magazine,3 Alex Baczynski-Jenkins and Eliel Jones discuss their understandings of collaboration within and beyond their art practice.

EJ: It’s a complex family of sorts, without wanting to sound too incestuous.

ABJ: I’ve said it before: who you want to work with is who you want to share your life with.

Acting as a prompt to week 3, Roma and Léann lead a workshop on building and sustaining collaboration through connections; a crucial aspect of flourishment in both of these artist’s practises. Speaking to her experience of opening up her studio space as a training ground for trans wrestlers or as a rehearsal stage for trans choirs, Roma will lead us through the importance of giving spaces to communities so that they not only survive but thrive and how these communities become infiltrated into her art practice.

2 Bassichis, M., Lee, A. and Spade, D., 2011. Building an Abolitionist Trans and Queer Movement With Everything We've Got. In: E. Stanley and N. Smith, ed., Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. Oakland: AK Press.

3 Baczynski-Jenkins, A. and Jones, E., 2022. A Queer Politics of Entanglement: Alex Baczynski-Jenkins. Alex Baczynski-Jenkins in conversation with Eliel Jones. [online] Mousse Magazine.

Week 4: Towards Post-Survalism
Léann Herlihy + Diana Bamimeke 

Using the tools, knowledge and skills which they’ve already acquired, amateur archaeologist Diana Bamimeke attempts to unearth and (re)build relations through which more equitable worlds can not only be imagined but sustained.

The penultimate week looks towards post-survivalism within and beyond the framework of art spaces. This collective gathering opens up a dialogue towards what we want the future of art-making to be and most importantly, what must we do to make that attainable and sustainable. 

Week 5: Graduation
Léann Herlihy

Graduating from this crash course, you will learn how to start you’re own friction fire using the school’s emblem: a wooden cock. After you gain you’re right of passage, you screenprint your own Unqualified Contemporary Survivalist diploma on a t-shirt, bag or any scrap piece of fabric you already had!