In 2019, Matthew McCarthy travelled to the University of South Carolina on a SUSI Award to learn about the historical and contemporary realities of civic engagement in the US. As a Graduate of the BA in Fine Art at Crawford College of Art and Design CIT, Matthew was a mentor for the AnSeo Student Engagement Office, encouraging students to succeed academically and pushing for a greater level of engagement in student and national politics. He believes that the place of the artist in society is as an activist and visual historian. He has participated in national and international art projects such as ‘Ironr18’ in the National Sculpture Factory, and ‘Bauhaus100’ Dessau, Germany.
“The past summer I had the opportunity to go to South Carolina and spend 4 weeks there learning about American culture and society. It was such an incredible experience. Through debates, discussions and visiting speakers myself and the other students learned so much about US systems of government, civil rights history and it’s ongoing struggle and the volunteering culture in the states. Visiting other cities like Philadelphia and Washington D.C. was mesmerizing. These are places you see on T.V. as a child and to actually be there, learning so much is so unbelievable. I have been able to come home with so much new and exciting material for my art practice and would highly recommend this venture for all students.
Without a doubt the greatest outcome of my study visit to the U.S. was the friends I made from across Europe and America. I met so many new and interesting people, some of whom I hope to call friends for a long time. I cannot thank the Fulbright Commission Ireland, U.S. Embassy, University of South Carolina and FHI360 enough for this experience.”