about noel

Noel Connor

The artist and poet Noel Connor was born in West Belfast in 1954. His mother had been a linen mill worker from the Falls Road and his father an English soldier stationed in Northern Ireland. Connor studied Fine Art there and in the North-East of England, where his father was born. On completion of his degree he was awarded a Master of Philosophy scholarship to pursue his Fine Art studies alongside research into Irish Literature. Since then, his visual work has always maintained a close affinity with the written word and his images and writings have appeared in various publications including the Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Krino, Lexicon, Stand and Outposts. As a freelance illustrator for the Oxford University Press he also produced work for a number of school poetry anthologies. Based in the Staffordshire Moorlands, for over twenty-five years he worked with some of the most talented art students in the county. He continues to exhibit widely in Britain and Ireland and has been involved in many collaborations and publications. He is also particularly noted for his innovative promotion of poetry through a range of ambitious site-specific and public engagement projects. He spends part of each year working on the north west coast of Ireland.


Selected Publications / Exhibitions / Residencies


1979      In the Egyptian Gardens, a poem-print collaboration with Tom Paulin (Issued by Sunderland Press)

1979      Gravities – a book of drawings to poems of Seamus Heaney (Charlotte Press, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

Assemblages and Drawings – Spectro Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

1980     Five Artists – Arts Council Gallery, Belfast.

Books for the Eighties – Sunderland Arts Centre.

1981      Book of Juniper – a more extensive collaboration with Tom Paulin (Bloodaxe Books)

1982      Wall – a collection of poems and drawings edited and contributed to by Noel Connor (L.Y.C. Gallery and Press, Cumbria) with associated exhibition and readings.

               Drawing from Poetry – Tom Caldwell Gallery, Belfast.

               Drawing from Poetry – The National Poetry Centre Gallery, London

1983      Talitha cumi – a collection of poems and drawings edited and contributed to by Noel Connor (Bloodaxe Books)

1986     Green Meets Grey – The Potteries Museum and Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

1987     Selected Artist – First Annual Open Exhibition, The Potteries Museum and Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

1988      Relic – The Collective Gallery, Edinburgh Festival.

1989      Pictured Books – Lancaster Literature Festival.

1990      The Game of Love and Death – poems by John Heath-Stubbs, illustrated by Noel Connor, (Enitharmon Press).

1991      Selected Works – The National Poetry Library, South Bank Centre, London.

1992      Confounded Language  – a collaboration with nine Irish poets, including Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon, (Bloodaxe Books)

1993      Sheltering Places – a collaboration with the poet Gerald Dawe. Exhibited at the Linen Hall Library, Belfast, and as Invited Artist at the Cuirt Literature Festival, Galway.

              Common Ground – Irish Artists Working in Britain, The Crescent Arts Centre, Scarborough.

1994      Wall of Words – Artists and Poets Working Together – Brighton Festival.

1995      Initials – an exhibition of painting and prints, The Kenny Gallery, Galway.

1996      Words Revealed, a collaboration with the poet Maura Dooley commissioned by the Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham and the Irish Crafts Council.

               Four Green Fields and a Postcard Home – an exhibition of contemporary Irish Art – The Royal Dublin Show.

1997       Beyond Photography – The Photo-Arte Gallery, London

1998      Drawn to Words – an exhibition at the Portico Gallery, Manchester.

Poetry Instants – poem-print ‘scratchcard’ collaborations with twelve British and Irish poets. Exhibited at The National Poetry Society, London and The Portico Gallery, Manchester.

Poetry Instants – an event organised for the Manchester Irish Festival and Manchester Central Library, enabling readers to produce and exhibit their own poetry instant scratchcards in collaboration with the poet Roger Garfitt.

2000      You are here – eight site-specific poems written and displayed to match existing information stands, during residency at Jodrell Bank Science Centre and Arboretum.

2002      Text Messages – An exploration of the written word in fine art and craft, Rufford Craft Centre, Nottinghamshire.

2002/3   Punctuated Epiphanies  – a set of prints based on selected pages from Ulysses by James Joyce, displayed for ‘Bloomsday’ at the Context Gallery, Derry.

2004/5   Inkwells – on-line publication/exhibition for the Potteries Museum and Gallery.

2004      Birdsongs – Site-specific work commissioned for the Hebden Bridge Sculpture Trail.

2005      Waterwords – ‘Invited Artist’ at the Hebden Bridge Sculpture Trail.

2006      The Painted Pot – Newport Museum and Gallery, Wales.

2007/8  Reclaiming the Names – a site-specific work commissioned for the new La Salle College, Belfast.

2009      Pump Poems’ – an installation at a Lake District petrol station for the FRED Festival of Arts, Cumbria.

2010      Companion Stones – a collaboration with artist Adam Walkden to produce a companion piece to be placed alongside a three hundred year old ‘guide stoop’ on Beeley Moor, Derbyshire.

2011/12  Poets meet Painters – writing inspired by art works, published by the Mill Cove Gallery, County Cork.

2012      Streetscene  (Listening to a Painting…) – a poetry sound piece for the Grassington Festival Art Trail inspired by the Leeds Art Gallery’s Picture Lending Collection.

              Tidetrove – poetry and photography derived from the Atlantic coastline of Donegal for the exhibition Gold, Silver and Bronze at the Shire Hall Gallery, Staffordshire.

2012/13 Discovery and Loss – Poems to accompany the paintings of Paul Stangroom:
Exhibited at the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle-upon-Tyne / The Watchtower Gallery, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

2013      Wordfall – a collaboration with the textile artist, Donna Rumble-Smith, based on a poem especially written for her work at the Talking Textiles Exhibition, the Shire Hall Gallery, Staffordshire.

               Alchemies – (Paradise Mill – a re-imagined space) – a photographic study, at Jordangate House for the Barnaby Festival, Macclesfield.

In the Pause of Passing – Paintings of the North Pennines by Paul Stangroom, with poems by Noel Connor. (Whin Sill Press, Northumberland).

2014    Return to Birdoswald – an exhibition of drawings, photography and poetry at Birdoswald Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall, Cumbria.

Wirksworth Words – a photography/poetry sound piece, collaborating with the photographer Lee Hughes, for the Wirksworth Festival, Derbyshire.

2015     Three Counties Photographic Exhibition – selected images from the Ballinreavy series. Keele University.

The Painted Angel – shortlisted for the Corinium Poetry Prize and displayed at the museum’s Hare Gallery, Cirencester.

 ForM Sculpture Exhibition – a selection from the  Birdsong series of poetry plaques sited in the Bangor Castle Walled Garden.

2016     The Bilko Rosary and The Quiet Man: an interrogation – New Poems and Photoworks, The Verbal Arts Centre, Derry.

Coast – A selection of new photographs and poems especially produced for this group show at the Shire Hall Gallery, Staffordshire.

 Insiders and Outsiders – Artlink Members Show, Fort Duncree, Donegal.

2017    Convergence  –  a collaborative exhibition with the photographer David Gepp, The Verbal Arts Centre, Derry.

    The Canterbury Festival – shortlisted for Canterbury Festival, Poet of the Year.

2018   Wounded Words – a site specific installation of photoworks and new poetry in response to his research into the archives of the poet John Clare, The Dovecot at the John Clare Cottage Museum, Cambridgeshire.

    Aurivo Poetry Prize – Awarded the North West Words Poetry Prize (Donegal).

2019   The Bovedy Illuminations  – two complementary exhibitions, including a specially created short film, to mark the 50thanniversary of the Bovedy Meteorite, The Armagh Planetarium and The Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre.

            The Bovedy Illuminations – a showing of the film alongside readings and discussion with the poet Gerald Dawe at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, Co. Derry.

2019/20 Termon: A Place of Sanctuary – a short film projected into the vaulted ceiling of Coventry Cathedral on New Year’s Eve, part of an event with a live audience organised by Open Projections.

2020   Drawn from Borders – An artist led group exhibition exploring the concept and reality of borders, specifically the border created 100 years ago by the partition of Ireland. In partnership with the Nerve Centre and Tower Museum Derry, and Artlink, Donegal. As a result of the Coronaviris crisis lockdown the exhibition was presented in a virtual environment at the Saldanha Gallery, Fort Dunree.

            A  First Victim a section of The Bovedy Illuminations film shortlisted for the Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition, Cork Festival.