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Minister Foley announces 425 new BLAST Arts in Education residencies in schools and 40 new Creative Clusters commenced

Image Credit: 'Music Makes Me Happy’ Creative Cluster and Blast Project, St. Patricks Girls NS, Limerick

Department of Education

Minister for Education Norma Foley recently announced the latest updates to BLAST (Bringing Live Art to Students and Teachers) and Creative Clusters as part of the Creative Youth Plan 2023 – 2027. 425 schools have been selected to take part in the BLAST 2023 initiative and 40 new Creative Clusters were created.

The aim of the BLAST scheme is to give students in schools all over the country the opportunity to work with a professional artist on unique projects to be planned and developed between the artist, the teacher and the school under the co-ordination of the Education Support Centres Ireland ESCI network of 21 full-time education centres.

Announcing the creation of 425 new BLAST Arts in Education Residencies, Minister Foley said:

“The initiative will provide additional opportunities for schools to collaborate with established artists and creatives, supporting our children and young people to collaborate and engage in creative and critical thinking – all crucial skills for their futures…  Each residency is worth €1,100 which is fully funded by the Department of Education and the local Education Centre will pay the Artist for a 20-hour residency which will be delivered throughout the academic year, commencing from September 2023. I look forward to seeing how these exciting artist in residency opportunities in schools develop over the coming year.”

With the creation of 40 new Creative Clusters, Minister Foley said:

“Now more than ever, it is important that our students are supported to develop their creativity and given flexibility to express themselves in a variety of exciting new ways. Today I am proud to announce the 140 schools that are coming together to form 40 new Creative Clusters. I look forward to seeing how these exciting projects develop over the coming two years. This year has once again seen a very significant level of interest from schools applying to participate in the 2023 Creative Clusters initiative across the country.

Each Creative Cluster will receive grant funding of €3,000 per school over a two-year period to implement their project in the 2023–2025 school years (e.g. a cluster of 3 schools would receive €9,000 over two years while a cluster of 5 schools would receive €15,000 over two years). Clusters will receive 50% of the total grant funding in Year 1, with the second 50% being provided in Year 2.  In addition, but separate to the grant funding, all successful clusters are further supported with: A fully paid Creative Cluster Facilitator; paid Teacher Substitution to attend training and meetings; room hire, travel & subsistence.

To read the full statement from the Department of Education, visit:



School Level

Primary & Post-primary