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2022 Portal Documentation Award Update


Creating lace pieces - ‘Finding the Common Thread’ International Teacher Artist Partnership Project - St Kilian’s National School, Mullagh, Co Cavan

Creating lace pieces - ‘Finding the Common Thread’ International Teacher Artist Partnership Project - St Kilian’s National School, Mullagh, Co Cavan

The Portal team have had an exciting few months on the road visiting the recipients of the 2022 Portal Documentation Awards.

‘Music Makes Me Happy’ Creative Cluster

In May and early June we visited three Limerick based schools who have been collaborating as part of a Creative Cluster Project under the theme ‘Music Makes Me Happy’. The focus of the two year project has been to create more opportunities for the pupils of all three schools to experience music; to learn an instrument, listen to live music, perform and explore music through creative collaboration.

In this, the second year of the project the students and teachers from all three schools have been continuing to collaborate with local musician Mike Hogan in learning the ukulele. On our visit to St Patrick’s Boys National School, the 5th class pupils and their class teacher Mr Murray shared with us some of the songs they have been working on for a group performance at the end of the school year.

Ukulele Player at St Brigid’s National School - ‘Music Makes Me Happy’ Creative Cluster Project

Ukulele Player at St Brigid’s National School – ‘Music Makes Me Happy’ Creative Cluster Project

In St Brigid’s National School and St Patrick’s Girls National School the students have been delving deeper in their exploration of the cluster theme through the BLAST initiative. On our visit to St. Patrick’s Girls NS we met visual artist Chelsea Canavan who has been collaborating with the 5th class students and their class teacher Ms Farrell in the creation of a large scale artwork that will become part of the school’s new building. Taking inspiration from music the pupils have been designing patterns based on the honeycomb shape and fretwork patterns found on the end of a concertina instrument. During our visit the children were creating prints using stamps they had made, exploring different shapes and combinations.

At St Brigid’s NS, class teacher Ms Nihill and the 5th class pupils have been collaborating with composer Fiona Linnane in the c0-creation of a musical composition inspired by the cluster theme. During our visit the class were writing lyrics to add to melodies they had created and were starting to put the elements of the song together. For the song the children used a combination of instruments including the ukulele’s the class had been using for their sessions with Mike Hogan.

‘Finding the Common Thread’ International Teacher Artist Partnership Project

St Kilian’s National School, County Cavan is situated in a state-of-the-art school where its beautiful design makes you feel like you are outdoors when indoors, surrounded by nature wherever you look. This influence of nature was evident when visiting Breeda’s classroom. Artist Vera McEvoy, class teacher Breeda Kenny and the students have been exploring a local bog using art, textiles and many other means.

On the first day of our visit, the children were developing lace pieces based on flowers found in the bog. Each child had created an intricate sewn piece which re-imagined tiny plants which they discovered on trips to the bog. It was amazing to see how engrossed the children were in their needle work. The intimate nature of the work seemed to draw out different conversations amongst the children, giving them time and space to think and talk in an unstructured way.

Exploring the bog - ‘Finding the Common Thread’ International Teacher Artist Partnership Project - St Kilian’s National School, County Cavan

Exploring the bog – ‘Finding the Common Thread’ International Teacher Artist Partnership Project – St Kilian’s National School, County Cavan

On the second day, we had a magical visit to the bog. Vera and the students set up a clothes line where they pegged on their lace pieces, letting them flutter in the wind. We were introduced to the various plants that had inspired their lace works – and were amazed by how tiny but complex they were. The students performed a song, using their voices and bodies to create ripples across the bog.

Over the summer months the Portal team will be working on editing the documentation footage captured during the school visits. We look forward to sharing the Documentation video’s for both project’s in the Autumn. Stay tuned!

School Level

Primary