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16 On Now

New collaboration exploring the modern state of masculinity

4th Oct 2023
Short Read

We’re excited to share news about our collaboration What Does He Need?

What Does He Need? (WDHN) is a long-running Dublin-based collaborative arts project developed by artist/educator Fiona Whelan, Rialto Youth Project and theatre company Brokentalkers, exploring how men and boys are shaped by and influence the world they live in.

Last weekend we had the pleasure of hosting Fiona; Feidlim and Gary (Brokentalkers); and Dannielle (Rialto Youth Project) and introducing them to our partner organisations in St Helens.

Together, we’ve been developing conversations around the modern state of masculinity as experienced by boys and men in St Helens and Dublin. Like many towns and cities, the areas face similar challenges around inequality, austerity and marginalised, overlooked communities.

We spent time hanging out with long-term collaborator Gary Conley, hearing about his experiences as a former miner and working with fellow former miners and artist Jaume Plensa on the co-creation of the Dream sculpture.

We chatted to boxing coaches at Parr Sports and Community Centre and heard from them about the positive impact that dedicated and passionate youth services can have on the lives of young people, as well as the impact of austerity on youth services. We also took a tour around St Helens town centre with local community worker Jamey and went to see the rugby!

Earlier this year, Heart of Glass visited Dublin, where Rialto Youth project welcomed us at Dolphin House Community and Health Centre. We got a chance to hear more about their work supporting communities and providing a youth service, based on the needs of young people and in particular those most at risk. We also learned about the WDHN team’s long-term collaborative art and research projects with boys and young men, including workshops, philosophy, audio work, theatre and film, in particular their Boys in the Making creative programme. Read more about their work.

Thanks to Gary Conley for the beautifully sunny tour of Sutton Manor Colliery and the Dream sculpture; to Dom, Jimmy, Joanne and Kyle at Parr Sports and Community Centre for their warm welcome; and to Jamey for his tour around St Helens town centre. Special thanks to our funders Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Follow us on social media for further updates.

Our collaborators


Fiona Whelan

Listen to Fiona Whelan on Conversations Over a Brew