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Part 1 – Announcing the 2022 Arts in Education Portal Documentation Award Recipients

The Portal Team are delighted to announce the first of the two recipients of the 2022 Arts in Education Portal Documentation Award. We are very excited to be working with each recipient in the coming months to document their projects. These projects will be showcased on the portal as the documentation progresses.

About the recipients….
Project Title: ‘Music Makes Me Happy’ BLAST Project 

This project began as a Creative Clusters Project between St Brigid’s National School, St Patrick’s Girls National School and St Patrick’s Boys National School in Limerick.

As part of the project, we engaged with the school self- Evaluation process and identified music as an area for improvement in all three schools in the cluster. We agreed that we would like to create more opportunities for our pupils to learn an instrument, listen to live music and perform. We connected with local musical groups such as Comhaltas, The BUG’s ukulele group, St John’s Brass and Reed Band and local musicians. We designed a programme of work for the year to include opportunities for the children to learn ukulele, tin whistle whilst also bringing live musicians to our schools. We also set up after school ukulele clubs for both pupils and staff. This was led by Robert Moloney, a teacher in St Brigid’s National School.

We worked collaboratively to identify a theme for the project. The overarching theme of the project is ‘Music Makes me Happy’. The focus of the project is on participation and enabling as many children as possible to actively engage with the project. Pupils were involved in the early stages of planning through our Student Council.

Pupil voice will be key to the BLAST project. This will be achieved in very real terms with pupils in 5th class composing a Music Makes Me Happy inspired anthem in conjunction with Fiona Linnane, our BLAST composer. A staff ukulele group has also been established between the cluster to ensure the longevity of the project can be sustained through teacher CPD. Wellbeing has been an added bonus with staff being inspired by the project and creating an overall sense of excitement and fun.

Creative Cluster Artists

The Creative Cluster project currently engages with two musicians namely Paula O’Regan, a connection made through Comhaltas and Mike Hogan, a connection made through The BUGS ukulele group. These musicians visit the three schools weekly to teach tin whistle and ukulele.

BLAST Artist: Fiona Linnane

Composer Fiona Linnane will be working with St Brigid’s National School as the association BLAST artist.

Fiona Linnane is a composer based in County Limerick. Fiona is a Teacher – Artist Partnership Programme trained Lead Artist and has been involved in Artist in Schools schemes for almost 20 years. Her workshops are enthusiastic, energetic and fun and aim to give students a new perspective on sound, music and composition.

Fiona was awarded the Limerick City and County Council Individual Arts Bursary in 2018 and 2019, for work in the field of opera and Art song. She is a recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland Music Bursary Award 2020 and has been commissioned by Opera Workshop supported by the Arts Council of Ireland Commissions Award 2020.

Fiona will be working on the composition aspect of the music curriculum with the pupils in Mrs Sinead Nihill’s 5th class to create a ‘Music Makes Me Happy’ inspired anthem. All of the pupils will be incorporated into the composition process in various ways including our ukulele and tin whistle classes as well as our Peace Proms group.

Teacher: Avril Cross

Avril Crosse is a primary school teacher in St Brigid’s National School, Singland, Limerick. She graduated from Mary Immaculate College in 2013 after completing a Bachelor or Education with a specialism in Gaeilge and has recently completed a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and Management. Avril has always been interested in the creative arts and bringing learning to life; she tries to incorporate fun and playful learning experiences in the classroom including that of music. Avril is part of the staff ukulele group and can play the tin whistle and piano.

BLAST Artist: Chelsea Canavan

Chelsea Canavan is a Limerick based multidisciplinary artist interested in exploring ecological and naturalised belonging. Looking at invasive and naturalised plants as a way to challenge constructed narratives around globalised society within landscapes and nationalism. Chelsea received the Arts Council Agility Award 2021 to explore a practice drawn from kinships with invasive species through hyper-connected thinking similar to that of Anna Tsing, Timothy Morton, and Deleuze and Guarttari’s ‘Rhizome’ theory.

Chelsea is also involved in the Creative Schools Programme, Teacher-Artist Partnership Programme and BLAST Schools’ Project.

Chelsea Canavan will be working with St Patrick’s GNS as their associated BLAST artist.

Teacher & Creative Coordinator: Evelyn Hartigan

Evelyn Hartigan has been a teacher in a primary school setting since 1999. She has a keen interest in the Arts, and feels that exposing children to art in its many genres is a very important part of the curriculum. Currently teaching in SET and use various art forms weekly as a source of well-being for children with additional needs. Evelyn completed the Teacher-Artist Partnership project in 2019 which involved working with an artist where 2nd class learned all about the Ilen ship and signal flags. They designed and created their own flags, one which made it to a school in Madeira and another hangs in Limerick City Hall. Evelyn am currently involved in coordinating on both Creative Cluster and Blast projects at St Patrick’s Girls National School.

Teacher: Clare Farrell

Clare Farrell is the current fifth class teacher and Deputy Principal in St. Patrick’s Girls National School in Limerick. Clare have been teaching there since she graduated in 1999. She have always been interested in Art and using all strands of the art curriculum to enhance and promote, not only, creative thinking and expression in each student but also a love and appreciation for art in the world around us. “Allowing students to experience area of the curriculum permits opportunities for pride in their work, not limited by how well or not they can draw, write, or even complete mathematical equations. Art also allows the students exposure to personal expression and choice in a way that no other subject really does. Freedom of expression of personal choice and acceptance of difference of opinion is activity encouraged and developed in the looking and responding aspect of the curriculum. Having a real artist in the classroom encouraging and inspiring their ideas and work is an opportunity that cannot be underestimated”.



School Level