Local Heroes of Climate Action

Local Heroes of Climate Action

Panel discussion on Saturday November 14th, 7pm with Dr Niamh Shaw and local artists, make-up artist, James MacInerney and artist and activist, Annie Holland

Dr. Niamh Shaw, Laois’s Climate Action science communicator in residence is based in the heritage town of Abbeyleix. She is involved in finding creative ways to help the people of Abbeyleix and the wider area to really get to grips with climate change – what is it, and what can we all do about it. This role is supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme [2017-2022] in partnership with Laois County Council and Midlands Science, and in association with Abbeyleix Tidy Towns.

For Science Week, Niamh has been hosting three exciting live panel events, which are supported by Science Foundation Ireland. The final event will take place this Saturday, November 14th and will stream live at 7pm on the Laois Heritage Forum Facebook page here. There is no need to register or book – just click on the Facebook page at 7pm to watch the panel and join in on the conversation in the comments section.

Two local artists will be taking part in the Saturday November 14th discussion on the theme of Climate Action and our Quality of Life. Make-Up artist, James MacInerney who came to prominence in the BBC/Netflix global series “Glow Up” takes the inspiration for many of his artistic creations from the natural world, and Annie Holland, artist and activist who uses art as a means of engagement to create awareness around plastics and waste.

James MacInerney is an Abbeyleix native and has a BSc in Multimedia  Studies. Dublin City University.  He is a graduate of VanityX Makeup Academy Dublin and has been working as a professional artist In London for the past 2 years. Previous work includes the recent Netflix film release of “Rebecca” and popular CBBC series ‘Horrible Histories’ an encyclopaedic for outlandish character makeup, SFX & body art. James has a flare for the creative end of makeup artistry and loves to think outside the box with perspectives that are often inspired by nature. His biggest inspiration comes from his hometown of Abbeyleix, natural surroundings and his upbringing with animals. James said,

Local Heroes of Climate Action

The exploration of nature in art can take endless forms, because nature provides us with such a vast wealth of inspiring phenomena. Flowers, plants, trees, botany, animals, cells, anatomy, bodily systems, weather, geology, matter, energy, fossils, any of the natural sciences, water, fire, environment, conservation, natural history, processes, evolution, birth, growth, aging, decay, change…. However, the onus is on us to not just admire our natural world but to engage locally in discussions on climate action and to work together to safeguard our future.”


The other panelist on Saturday, November 14th is Annie Holland, a local of Ballinakill and she will discuss how artists and creatives can help us all to understand and engage with difficult topics like climate change. According to Annie,


“We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it”.

Local Heroes of Climate Action

Annie has 18-years of experience working as a part-time art teacher in schools and in the community, and through creative engagement she initiates meaningful conversations with children and young people – primary and secondary schools, early school leaver centres and youth clubs about how to edge our way out of the current plastic crisis. She co-founded ‘People Against Plastic’a website to create awareness on how landfill sites are overflowing with plastic refuse and how Ireland needs to work to diminish the use of plastic within our daily lives, lobbying governments and manufacturers for change and working towards a sustainable recycling infrastructure. Annie said,


“Plastic pollution is now the number one contaminant of all. We find it in our oceans, on land, in animals, in foodstuffs and now in our drinking water.


Annie began making headdresses from her own plastic refuse and that of the schools and centres (disposable cutlery, plastic drinks containers, sandwich containers, bottles tops etc). She choose the headdress form for its aesthetic value and because of the link – ‘if it’s on my head – it’s my responsibility!’.

Local Heroes of Climate Action

The last panel discussion in this current series with Dr Niamh Shaw in Abbeyleix will take place on Saturday November 14th 7pm live on and will also include Mark Clancy from Abbeyleix Tidy Towns and Una Halpin, Wildways Adventurers and environmental educator. Laois has been busy tackling climate change at a local level for a number of years through a range of community activities. The panel discussions highlight this work, letting people know about what has been happening and hopefully by profiling local climate heroes in as part of the Midlands Science Festival, the aim is to involve more people in a way which is less overwhelming and which may help it to resonate more personally. It’s an important time for us all to consider how to make lasting and positive change to our local environment and ultimately our planet. For more information on this Climate Action project, email