The Trial

A four channel video installation created, directed and produced by artist Sinead McCann

The Trial is a 4 channel synced video and sound installation created, produced and directed by artist Sinead McCann in collaboration with community based organisation The Bridge Project, and the School of History University College Dublin (UCD). (2017-2019)

An artwork that bravely explores health inequalities and the human right to healthcare in the Irish prison system past and present featuring actor and former prisoner Tommy O’Neill (Fair City).

The artwork is based on creative workshops, interviews and conversations carried out by the artist with men who had served life sentences in the Irish prison system, and draws from historical research by Associate Professor Catherine Cox and Dr Fiachra Byrne UCD.

Originally created site specifically for the Old Court room in Kilmainham Jail Museum Dublin with a private launch and discussion with key sector stakeholders. Following this presentation, a national tour in Ireland (2019) to the former prison at Spike Island Cobh Co. Cork, Dublin Castle, and The Courthouse Donegal.


The Trial, isn’t a documentary, but an intriguing merging of research, contemporary experience and artistic expression, creating a short immersive flow that offers another layer to a Gaol visit.
Deirdre Falvey, The Irish Times


Excellent and powerful installation.
Audience member


What an amazing way to explore multiple voices and perspectives on a complex and nuanced topic.
Audience member


As an artistic experience, it is both very impressive and communicates the stories of prisoners in a fascinating way.
Audience member

The Trial is a collaboration with Associate Professor Catherine Cox (UCD), as part of the Wellcome Trust Award for Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000. Video production in collaboration with Sixbetween

The Trial is supported by funding from Participation Award and Touring and Dissemination of Work Award Arts Council Ireland, Community Award Dublin City Council, with support from University College Dublin and Wellcome Trust.

Running time: 22 minutes

Image credit: Artist Sinead McCann, The Trial (2018), 4 channel video and sound installation. Installation photograph, Courtroom Kilmainham Jail Museum Dublin. Photographs by Conor Mulhern. Courtesy of the artist.

Image credit: Artist Sinead McCann, The Trial (2018/2019), 4 channel video and sound installation. Installation photograph, former childrens’ prison Spike Island, Cork. Photographs by Jed Niezgoda. Courtesy of the artist.

The Trial, How is it Made? An interview with artist Sinead McCann and curator Jonathan Carroll about The Trial, Visual Artist Ireland. 2019.

The Trial Case Study, Arts and Health, Centre for Arts and Health, University Hospital Waterford.

The Trial; Screams that could be heard all over the prison. Deirdre Falvey, Irish Times, 2018.

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