Image Credit: 'Music Makes Me Happy’ Creative Cluster and Blast Project, St. Patricks Boys NS, Limerick
The Minister for Education Norma Foley recently announced the awarding of BLAST residencies to 629 schools in 2022-2023, the second year of the BLAST (Bringing Live Arts to Students and Teachers) programme. Minister Foley also welcomed the creation of an additional 21 Creative Clusters for 2022-2024, comprising a further 77 primary and post-primary schools. This doubles the number of participating schools and clusters this year, up from 21 clusters announced already in September 2022, in response to the demand from schools.
The BLAST programme has seen a significant increase in residencies from the 489 primary and post-primary schools that took part in the programme in its first year and demonstrates the strong interest and engagement from schools in working with creative professionals through this programme.
“Creative thinking and creative expression benefit our students both by providing opportunities for learning and through enhancing wellbeing. Engaging in creative projects enables children and young people to express themselves, provides them with opportunities for connection and collaboration, and gives them the space to explore new ideas and learn new skills.”
School Clusters in this year include, for example, one cluster of schools that cater for students with autism, which aims to create tactile and interactive outdoor play areas, and another cluster of primary schools working together to create a shared interest and knowledge of coding. Such varied themes reflect the local experience and unique perspectives of each cluster, and demonstrate how students can benefit from creative engagement in multiple ways.
The Minister has also welcomed the publication of the research and evaluation report, Creative Clusters: A Collaborative Approach to Cultivating Creativity in Schools. This report, commissioned by the department, provides a valuable assessment of the strengths of the programme and contains recommendations to further strengthen the design, delivery and reach of Creative Clusters.
To read the full statement from the Department of Education, visit: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/8a543-minister-foley-welcomes-hundreds-of-additional-schools-to-creative-clusters-and-blast-arts-programme/