Maria Coleman is a multidisciplinary, socially engaged artist. She is passionate about creativity in its many forms and her projects and workshops frequently seek to bridge the gap between professional and novice creatives. In 2022 she founded Samhlaigh Arts Collective as a means to work within the community and collaborate with other creatives as well as wellbeing, heritage and nature professionals. Samhlaigh are currently investigating community engagement and art festival feasibilities with Artlink in Inishowen and with Mary from Dungloe in West Donegal.
She is currently working on a film and mixed media work on the theme of An Cailleach with support from an Ealain na Gaeltachta bursary. In 2022 she led the socially-engaged youth film projects 'Filleadh Cholmcille' (supported by Connecting for Life Donegal and First Fortnight) and 'Fís Feasa' (Cruinniú na nÓg). In 2021 she wrote, directed and produced the art films 'An Caol Áit', 'Síle na gCíoch ar an Trá' and 'Macalla Cholmcille', the latter being a 40 minute lyrical look at the life of Colmcille with a focus on the arts. (Supported by Creative Ireland & Pleanáil Teanga na Rossan).
She has a strong history in the use of interactive multimedia. She has a degree in Fine Art (Sculpture) from LSAD and an M. Phil. in Music and Media Technology from Trinity College, with PhD research conducted at the School of Art, Design and Printing at DIT. From 2006-2010 she produced a major body of work through developing an interactive multimedia system called the BRS (Body Response System). This body of work, and more specifically, an improvised movement piece with audio-visual responses and audience interaction, name 'Goitse!' features in a chapter published in the book 'The Performing Subject in the Space of Technology.' (2015).
In 2012, a paper about multi-sensory art she published in Crossings eJournal of Art and Technology won the ARTStap Title Award for arts research. Her arts research has also been presented in 'Peripheries' (Gorey School of Art) at The Science Gallery (D.A.T.A) and at conferences in Trinity College, Derry and Chichester. Her art work has been supported by Donegal Co. Co., Dublin City Council and Limerick City Council. In 2010 she won the 'arts@DIT Award', which resulted in a series of performances including 'Project Brand New' at the Project Arts Centre, 'Quantified Self' at the LAB, Dublin City Council and 'Freeplay' in the Crypt at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. Maria is also a musician, with bands including 'Wee Small Gods', and 'Fracas'. She has had articles published as a Citizen Journalist on the European Ladder Project.
As well as her current work with Samhlaigh Arts Collective, she also has experience in arts administration through managing the Irish language theatre, Amharclann Ghaoth Dobhair, coordinating the peace building cross cultural project 'East Meets West Donegal' and, most recently, as a Regional Coordinator of First Fortnight; Ireland's Mental Health Arts & Culture Festival.
She's a qualified Yoga and Pregnancy Yoga teacher, and also a Sound Healing facilitator. She holds a QQI6 qualification in Mental Health Awareness and has presented the Donegal Mind Wellness 'Stress Control' course. She founded Comhcheol Arts and Wellness and Donegal Yoga Retreats in 2016..