Dublin City Arts Office
The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1

+353 1 222 5455

Past Exhibition

What Does He Need?

Fiona Whelan, Brokentalkers and Rialto Youth Project

May 24 - June 07 2021

The What Does He Need? project in partnership with The LAB gallery presents two interconnected public art works: a 30 minute audio piece and a public poster project, both exploring the ways in which men and boys are shaped by, and in turn influence the world around them.

The What Does He Need? audio piece tells the story of a fictional boy from the day of his birth to early adulthood. Throughout his young life, the boy is confronted by a series of situations, weaving between themes of empathy, power, the suppression of vulnerability, violence, mental health, pornography and suicide. The audio piece is intended to explore societal expectations placed on boys and men, and how learned behaviours are perpetuated, particularly by the influence of other men. While the audio can be listened to anywhere, the artists invite the public to listen to the piece while walking or seated outdoors in their own local area, connecting the narrative of the audio with the listeners’ own lived experiences and observations.

The What Does He Need? public poster project presents a range of viewpoints on the needs of men and boys in different scenarios and at different stages of life. These short texts are responses to the central question ‘What Does He Need?’ and were gathered from conversations with adults and young people. The presentation of contrasting viewpoints is intended to provoke a public dialogue around the subject of masculinity.

The public poster project was launched in December 2020 in the windows of The LAB gallery. For two weeks in May 2021, the posters will be displayed on billboards in three new locations; Saint Mary’s Place (Dublin 1), Church Street (Dublin 7) and Dolphin’s Barn (Dublin 8). These posters include a QR code which links directly to the What Does He Need? audio piece.


This audio piece and public poster project are part of What Does He Need? – a long-term project by artist and writer Fiona Whelan, theatre company Brokentalkers and Rialto Youth Project, exploring how men and boys are shaped by and influence the world they live in. The project aims to create a significant public dialogue about the current state of masculinity. http://www.whatdoesheneed.com/

The What Does He Need? audio piece was written in 2021 by Fiona Whelan and Brokentalkers and emerges from a phase of work supported by the Arts Council, Dublin City Council, The LAB Gallery, Project Arts Centre and Rialto Youth Project.

The public poster project was developed in 2020 through a partnership with The LAB gallery, and funding from the Arts Council. The development stage of this work was supported via a Brokentalkers residency through Create/Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP) and ‘the lives we live’ Grangegorman Public Art and an invited residency for Fiona Whelan at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.




Photographer:  Louis Haugh

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