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First Cut! Youth Film Festival
Dates: 17 April – 9 May 2021

First Cut! Youth Film Festival returns for its 12th year showcasing new films by young filmmakers. Running from 17 April – 9 May 2021, offers an imaginative, thought-provoking and entertaining programme for young people aged 12-24yrs. Audiences from all over Ireland, and from abroad, are invited to join them virtually for a completely free programme of events including: Open call short film and feature film screenings, workshops, panel discussions with some of the leading filmmakers in Ireland, a host of special guest appearances and more.

Workshops include: Puppetry for Film and Television Workshop, Stormtroopers SFX Workshop and more.

Dates: 17 April – 9 May 2021

To see the full programme, see: https://firstcutfilmfestival.com/

Source Arts Centre
Date: 24 April

The Source Arts Centre is hosting a series of online workshops until June as part of their ‘Y’ Arts Programme. The ‘Y’ Arts Programme encourages young people aged between 13 and 18 to create new works of art using a task and challenge based approach. The programme aims to encourage an understanding of contemporary art and avant-garde art.

Workshop : Dream Like Maya Deren
12pm-1pm, 24th April 2021

Maya Deren was a Ukrainian-born American experimental filmmaker  in the 1940s and 1950s. In this workshop, participants will look at her most famous film ‘Meshes Of The Afternoon’ and examine how dream states or the subconscious are depicted in art.

For more information, see here: www.thesourceartscentre.ie/events/info/dream-like-maya-deren-workshop

In 2020 ‘The Lonely Traveller’ Project was one of the recipient’s of the Portal Documentation Award. View the project documentation video here.

Tell us the story of your project – What was the impetus? What was it about? Who was involved? How did you begin?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

The initial aim of the project was simple: increase the access that deaf children have to the music and find new ways of delivering and differentiating the music curriculum for this cohort of pupils.  I enrolled on the Teacher-Artist Partnership (TAP) CPD summer course at Limerick Education Centre with the specific purpose of gaining a residency with a musician in order to achieve what I set out to do.

After being paired with Limerick composer Fiona Linnane we got the opportunity to get to know one another and discuss our project ideas at length during the TAP lead facilitator training which we were both chosen to attend. With an initial very loose plan/structure in place we kicked off the school based part of our project with a trip to University Concert Hall, Limerick to attend a “Music in the classroom” performance with the pupils.

A lot of background work was undertaken in the classroom prior to our engagement with Fiona. As my pupils had differing levels of hearing loss from mild and moderate to severe and profound it was important to explore with them how sound travels and how we can all experience sound in different ways ie some with ears and hearing some with hands and touch. It was important also to make the children aware that being deaf was not a barrier to experiencing, enjoying and producing music. In our english lesson we wrote to Dame Evelyn Glennie, a world famous percussion artist from Scotland who herself is deaf. The children were thrilled when Evelyn wrote back to them offering words of encouragement and praise. Ms.Glennie proved to be a very positive role model for all the pupils throughout the course of this project and her composition “The Lonely Traveller” became the central point around which our project evolved.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

Much of my preparation for this project involved meeting the students and gaining perspective on their experience of sound and music; the mix of abilities within the group; and how I would need to refine my practice to maximise the impact of the workshops for the group. This ranged from managing my communication style to allow for the use of ISL within the classroom to leaving more space in each session for students to move at a pace that worked best for them. I joined the teachers and students as they attended a “Music in the Classroom” performance at the University Concert Hall, Limerick and this provided me with great insight into how these children would respond to musical ideas.

How were the ideas developed and how did the young people, artist and teacher work together?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

Fiona took the lead by facilitating engaging and experimental weekly workshops which were loads of fun. Both myself and the class SNA’s were on hand to assist with ISL and the provision of additional support to any pupil that needed it. After the first couple of sessions the pupils became very familiar and at ease with Fiona and after this point we all very much worked as a unit and in partnership with one another developing ideas and expanding on themes. Much of my curriculum planning for other curricular areas was influenced by the enjoyment that the children were experiencing in Fiona’s workshops. We chatted at length about “The Lonely Traveller” who it might be and where they might be travelling to/from in our oral language sessions. In history we explored the voyages of St. Brendan and the Imram tradition and in SPHE we spoke lots about how being deaf is no barrier to achieving one’s dreams as Dame Evelyn Glennie had illustrated.  Our workshops with Fiona influenced our class work and equally our class work across other curricular areas influenced the direction of our workshops with Fiona.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

I first designed and facilitated a series of workshops on experimental composition starting with simple rhythm exercises and graphic notation. Once I had established where the students were in their musical development, we began to plan a theme for our project. By linking in with the student’s interest in the work of Evelyn Glennie I introduced a simple piece (by Glennie) which I felt we could work within the framework of the project. Using chime bars and the graphic notation learned in the first phase of the project, we began writing songs and improvisation using The Lonely Traveller as a starting point. The students immediately responded enthusiastically to songwriting and so I began to look at ways to expand on this.

What was your personal experience of the project in terms of successes and challenges?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

This was an incredibly successful project on so many different levels. Fiona was a joy to work with. She was always so patient, kind and enthusiastic. She brought an open mind, in depth knowledge and a great sense of fun to the project. She engaged with learning ISL from the pupils and  always followed their lead no matter where it went. We very quickly established a three way partnership between pupils, artist and teacher which worked for everyone. This project started out as something quite simple and small but very quickly grew to become a fairly ambitious project. We had secured funding from Limerick Education Centre for a follow on workshop with local Puppeteer Emma Fisher to develop the visual aspect to our project. Unfortunately with the arrival of the covid 19 pandemic, extended school closures and no visitors policies we were unable to go ahead with this. However a promise is a promise and when schools reopened I took what little knowledge of shadow puppetry I had gained from my conversation with Emma and made this the focus of our art classes to complete the visual aspect of our project. The film was made with a mix of live acting and shadow puppetry. Working with deaf pupils in near darkness wearing visors and masks whilst maintaining social distance and pod groupings was challenging indeed but we got there in the end and we all agreed on seeing the final piece it was worth it.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

This project’s success was driven by the investment by the teacher, Jacintha Mullins.  It is difficult, as an artist to attempt to link in the topic your are covering with the subjects in the classroom as we are only physically in the classroom for the sessions.  Jacintha immersed the class in the project by linking it with other aspects of her teaching.

The usual challenge of engaging all students, even reluctant ones, was present but not to the same extent as other projects.  Again, I feel this was thanks to Jacintha’s leadership.

Obviously the big challenge arrived in the form of schools being closed in March.  We had just enough material already recorded to put the film together but plans to continue our work together had to be put on hold.

What was significant for you about the project that is worth sharing?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

The increased levels of self esteem and confidence that our pupils displayed both during and after this project were incredible. They were immensely proud of the work they had done and what they had achieved. Singing was something that these children had always done primarily with their hands through ISL. Hearing them spontaneously burst into song with their own compositions on a regular basis in our classroom and around our school is something really special indeed.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

I listened to the announcement of school closures in my car just before what would be our final session.  It was an especially poignant session – I remember feeling a sense of calm in the classroom, while chaos ensued in the world around us.  It would be my last engagement with a school for the rest of the year and, most likely, until September 2021.

Has anything changed in your work as a result of the project?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

Working in partnership with a professional in the area of the curriculum that I found challenging was a very valuable experience. It showed me the value of arts in education and how bringing someone into the classroom can open up endless possibilities and new ways of teaching and learning for all involved. I will be seeking out opportunities to engage in further partnerships in the future.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

I recognise the importance of real engagement by the teacher.  Also not to feel like everything about the project is my responsibility, allow others to cover their areas of expertise.

On the flip side in future I will allow myself to be more involved in the artistic outcome.  Before this I had always allowed the students complete control over the final work, however, as I finished editing the sounds we had recorded it occurred to me that if I take on the more technical work myself it allows more time for the students to explore the more creative aspects of the projects.

 

Irish Film Institute – IFI@Schools

Stream new films into your school with a brand new film platform from the IFI@Schools, launching in October.

With school trips on hold and very different learning situations arising in schools across the country, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) is launching an online streaming platform, offering films to support a whole range of subjects and interest areas.

In return for a one-off annual fee to cover film rights, your school can access the complete catalogue, using an easy, user-friendly teacher pass.

For more information email schools@irishfilm.ie

Irish Film Institute

Deadline: 5pm, 12th October

The Irish Film Institute wishes to appoint two Education Officers to contribute to and develop its education programme both onsite and online.

Key Responsibilities for the roles include:

Download the full job description here – ifi.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Job-Description-Education-Officer.pdf 

Applicants should forward a cover letter and CV by email to Alicia McGivern, IFI Head of Education, at amcgivern@irishfilm.ie, or by post to Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Dublin 2.

Closing date for applications is 17.00 on Monday, October 12th.

FÍS Film Project

Home Movies Anyone? Let’s Have Some Fun While Learning At Home!

FÍS Film Project would like learners to use the current COVID-19 social distancing policy as an opportunity to learn film-making skills for making really cool home movies!

Their new blog series #MakeFilmsAtHome is aimed at children and their families who might like to try their hand at making a stop motion animation or short live action film during the stay home phase and beyond.

With two separate blog postings per day. 1 for animation and 1 for live-action film-making. Presented in a simple easy to use format, with sample films made by Irish primary school children for the FÍS (film in schools) project and are accompanied by short video tutorials made by undergrad students at the National Film School in IADT.

Film-making is a fun, creative, imaginative and educational process and FÍS hope that families will find the tips and tools provided useful. They are encouraging parents / guardians a child or children who make a film to upload to you tube, vimeo, instagram or similar platform to share.

All you need is a mobile phone or tablet device and lots of imagination!

So, let’s have some fun and get filming!

To view the blog go to fisfilmproject.ie/blog/

Irish Film Institute

Date: 4 March 2020

The Irish Film Institute (IFI) and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, in association with Screen Skills Ireland, will once again offer an inspiring and innovative day of events for young people interested in finding out more about working in the film and tv industries.

This event, aimed at Senior Cycle second-level students aged 15 to 18, is an opportunity for students to hear from a whole variety of film industry practitioners, to learn about their work, how they got there and what advice they might give to young people starting out. Whether it’s the craft side of the industry, working in front of the camera or behind, as well as other areas such as production or casting, there will be something for every interest.

A number of third-level institutions will also be on hand to offer guidance on the day.

Last year’s guests included director Lenny Abrahamson, producer Ed Guiney, costume designer Consolata Boyle and DOP Cathal Watters.

Booking essential. See www.ifi.ie/schools

 

Irish Film Institute (IFI)

Date: 18 December 2019

In advance of the Irish Film Institute’s (IFI) annual Careers in Screen Day, 2020, IFI Education, in partnership with Screen Skills Ireland, is offering a First Steps morning event, to introduce participants to the world of short filmmaking, through presentations from three flourishing filmmaking companies.

Presenting samples of their work and talking about their paths into the industry, guest speakers from Paper Panther Productions, Tailored Films and Failsafe Films, will each discuss their own career and answer participants’ questions relating to their work and their roles in the industry. The event is ideally suited to young people who are exploring different career options, perhaps considering third level courses in film, media or TV, or keen to learn from Irish filmmakers about working in the thriving screen industries.

Admission costs €5 per person and tickets are strictly limited. Suitable for ages 15-18. Event will last approx. 75 mins.

For further information go to ifi.ie/careers

 

Audi Dublin International Film Festival

21st February – 4th March 2018

Fantastic Flix, ADIFF’s strand for young people aged 4-16, returns for its third thrilling year with the support of Cheestrings and featuring an exciting programme of international films for school groups.

Director of Collapsing Horse Theatre, Dan Colley, will give post-screening talks at both At Eye Level (12+), a father and son reunion tale, and Liyana (12+), a beautiful Swazi documentary with animated elements about a girl who goes to great lengths to save her younger brothers from harm. Director Meikeminne Clinckspoor will attend two screenings of Cloudboy (9+), an enchanting film about Niilas, who is sent to visit his mother in the wonderful forests of Lapland and learns about the Sami people.

Nora Twomey, director of the much-anticipated The Breadwinner, will introduce a screening of children’s classic My Neighbour Totoro. Brown Bag Films’ Vampirina (4+) and the Fantastic Flix Shorts (4+) are sure to delight the youngest budding cinemagoers.  Actress Wilma Lundgren will attend the festival for her film, Room 213, a seriously spooky Swedish mystery. Other highlights include the terrific animations from France, The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales (6+), and Japan, Mary and the Witch’s Flower (6+).

The Fantastic Flix Children’s Jury, a collaboration with The Ark’s Children’s Council and the Irish Film Classification Office, returns for a second year, as do a fascinating choice of workshops in collaboration with The Ark.

Schools Programme

Primary Level

My Neighbour Totoro  – Thursday 22nd February – Light House 1 – 11am – Age Recommendation 5+

Cloudboy – Thursday 1st March – Omniplex Rathmines – 10am & Friday 2nd March – Light House 3 – 11.30am – Age Recommendation 9+

At Eye Level – Thursday 1st March – Movies @ Dundrum – 1pm – Age Recommendation 12+

Vampirina – Friday 2nd March – Light House 3 – 10am – Age Recommendation 4+

Room 213 – Friday 2nd March – Omniplex Rathmines – 11am – Age Recommendation 12+

Post – Primary Level

At Eye Level – Thursday 1st March – Movies@Dundrum – 1pm – Age Recommendation 12+

Room 213 – Friday 2nd March – Omniplex Rathmines – 11am – Age Recommendation 12+

Liyana – Friday 2nd March – Movies@Dundrum – 12.30pm – Age Recommendation 13+

Career’s Day – Thursday 1st March – IFI – 10am – Tickets €5 – Age Recommendation 14+

This one day event, aimed at Senior Year Secondary Level students will unpack some of the many di erent lm and television departments and skills required for a career in the lm industry. There will be insights from sparks and foley artists, script supervisors and VFX supervisors, and will feature some of the Irish lm industry’s most talented artists including Darragh O’Connell (Brown Bag Films), Louise Kiely (Casting Agent), Piers McGrail (Cinematographer), Steven Fanagan (Sound Editor & Composer).

The Career’s Day is a joint initiative from
Audi Dublin International Film Festival, the Irish Film Institute, Irish Film Board and Broadcasting Authority Ireland.

For more information go to www.diff.ie

 

 

 

 

Roscommon Arts Centre

This spring Roscommon Arts Centre will host a series of films for schools:

Goodbye Berlin – IFI TY/Senior Cycle German Film

Maik is a daydreamer who goes unnoticed by his classroom crush; Andrej is an oddball kid from Russia with an eccentric taste for Hawaiian shirts. The two form an unlikely bond when Andrej shows up at Maik’s door with a “borrowed” blue Lada, and the prospect of an impromptu road trip beckons. Based on the bestselling German novel Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf, Tschick is a funny, endearing, coming-of-age film with fresh verve of its own. TUESDAY 20th FEBRUARY | 11am | €2

My Life As A Courgette – IFI TY/Senior Cycle French Film

Nine-year-old Icare, nicknamed Courgette, moves to a foster home, a place full of rejected kids fighting for survival among the rest of the bullies, loners and misfits. Adapted from a YA novel by Girlhood director, Celine Sciamma. TUESDAY 24th APRIL | 11am | €2

The Golden Dream – IFI TY/Senior Cycle Spanish Film

A group of Guatemalan teenagers attempt to make their way to the U.S.A., dreaming of the better life that the country promises, but they are ill equipped, both physically and emotionally, for the challenges they face getting there. This is an absorbing and suspenseful drama, excellently acted by its three non-professional leads. TUESDAY 20th MARCH | 11am | €2

For more information and bookings go to www.roscommonartscentre.ie

Tom Dalton

Tom Dalton is an artist and arts worker at Mayfield Arts Centre, Cork. The arts centre is a unique, dedicated arts space based in the heart of Mayfield in Cork city, at Newbury House Family Centre. Mayfield Arts provides opportunities for participants to connect, learn, reflect and act through creative processes. It is an example of best practice in the fields of community arts, social inclusion, non-formal and community education. Mayfield Arts develops, manages and delivers arts programmes, training and education in consultation with the local community and provides access to art activities and processes that facilitate personal and community development to people of all abilities.  A graduate of CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Tom’s role in the arts centre is to support the artistic and creative development of the Cúig studio artists through individual and group mentoring. Cúig artists are five artists in supported studios in Mayfield Arts Centre. The Cúig project, supported by POBAL, has been running at Mayfield Arts Centre since 2008, and is the only supported studio of its kind in the country. Tom also coordinates and facilitates outreach projects to school and community groups throughout the city.

“What I Do When I Feel Blue”

The teenage years and early adulthood can be particularly tricky times to navigate in life. According to the ‘My World’ National Survey of Youth Mental Health one in three young people have experienced mental health difficulties at some point (Headstrong and UCD School of Psychology, 2012).

Developing coping strategies and building self-esteem can offer a strong protection as young people move into adulthood. A secondary school setting offers an opportunity to reach young people in their formative years and provide tools for mental and emotional resilience, equipping them with skills to cope with the bumps in the road into adulthood and beyond. Funded through Creative Engagement (NAPD) and St. Patrick’s College, “What I Do When I Feel Blue” is a collaborative animation project between Mayfield Arts Centre and St. Patrick’s College in Cork.

June McCarthy, Transition Year coordinator, identified a desire on behalf of the school to engage students in areas of mental health, wellbeing, peer support, community and belonging. St. Patrick’s College has a strong history with Mayfield Arts, having engaged in many Creative Engagement Projects over the years. An introductory meeting with June allowed us to get a sense of the student group as a whole, learn about their previous experiences with art and to get an idea of what they and the school hoped to achieve through this project. Film was something previously unexplored in St. Patrick’s College and seemed particularly appropriate for a project of this kind. Video and stop-motion are communicative, accessible and fun mediums to work within. The potential to share their film through social media and Youtube also gives potency to the work of the students.

Every Friday for six weeks, a group of twelve transition year girls made the short journey up the road to Mayfield Arts. For most of the girls it was their first time inside the building. On day one students were introduced to basic principles of filming and stop-motion using slideshows, demonstrations, examples and warm-up exercises. Once the group was familiar with the process, we all sat together, drank tea and chatted about their ideas for the project. Students were invited to name and respond to important issues that impact their lives and that of their peers. I was taken by the openness of the girls in sharing their stories. Through facilitated discussions, it became clear that the group wanted to create something positive that could help their friends and others experiencing difficulties.

We went about compiling a list of things they do when they are feeling down; things that can help lift them out of difficult times. We quickly filled an entire blackboard with suggested actions; ‘go outside!’, ‘eat chocolate!’, ‘Ring your friends!‘ Through a voting system the group arrived on the six top things they do to make themselves feel better when feeling down. We then brainstormed how we might illustrate these suggestions through animation. Roles within the group formed naturally; some were eager to be in front of the camera, while others prefered ‘out of frame’ activities like setting up cameras, framing shots, controlling light and directing actors. The girls worked great as a team, generating ideas, sharing equipment, helping each other and discussing their outcomes. Footage was collected and reviewed in groups with editing carried out with support from facilitators. Regular feedback was sought from groups to access progress and offer support where needed.

The final film, a three-minute animation that acts as a ‘tool-kit’ for resilience, was launched and screened during the school’s Transition Year closing ceremony. A couple of the girls introduced the project, sharing their ideas, methods and processes with their peers, teachers and parents. Once uploaded to Youtube, the film and its message began to spread beyond the school grounds.

Feedback from the group was really positive and there was a tangible sense of pride in what had been achieved.

“I liked everything about this project but especially that we could do it all by ourselves with just a little bit of help.”

 “I wouldn’t change anything, it was very interesting and fun.”

 Take a look at the girls’ film here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cku_n_IJ4w

This project was funded by Creative Engagement (NAPD) and St. Patrick’s College, Gardiner’s Hill. For more information visit mayfieldarts.ie

 

 

 

“Build Your Own Unknown” is a collaboration between Artist Louise Manifold, Cregmore NS and TULCA partnering with The Marine Institute.

Tell us the story of your project – What was the impetus? What was it about? Who was involved? How did you begin?

Joanna McGlynn, Education Coordinator / Project Developer, TULCA

TULCA OFFshore is a unique collaborative project whereby students, teacher, artist and scientist, learn and work together in the classroom as co-creators and collaborators. At the core of the project is engaging with and understanding the essential principles and fundamental concepts of ocean science literacy in a meaningful way, through the Arts. Beyond a wide range of materials, practices, histories and techniques, concepts and theoretical frameworks, artists – like scientists – are trained to use a unique set of skills, processes and methodologies. Learning through the Arts, is the essential ‘other’ of STEM education, in developing a unique set of holistic skills, transferable across multiple sectors in preparation for adult life. Young students will have the opportunity to connect STEM skills through core processes of interpretation, communication, analysis and synthesis, resulting in a broader awareness of complex ocean issues and its relevance in our everyday. TULCA and the Marine Institute are uniquely positioned to provide collaborations between some of Ireland’s leading artists and marine scientists, creating a platform of connection and interdisciplinary reach in an educational environment. For this pilot project, TULCA are delighted to partner artist Louise Manifold and scientist Dr. Andy Wheeler with Cregmore National School, Co. Galway. The project began in February 2017 and will run until July with 10 in school working sessions culminating in a public exhibition at SeaFest 2017. This Project/Partnership represents the process to date.

Louise Manifold, Artist

Build Your Own Unknown was developed in response to TULCA’s OFFshore proposal to create an art project with 4th class, Cregmore National School that responded to the recent discovery of a field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge during a research voyage led by Dr Andy Wheeler on the Celtic Explorer. In response to the call, I proposed to develop a series of workshops that will result in the production of a mini sci-fi film, in which students will work  together to design, build and create their own sci-fi narrative reenacting the discovery of Moytirra – the name of the ridge of hydrothermal vents.

Stephanie Herwood, Teacher

Myself and my class were approached last year to see if we were interested in a new film project. The film project was of huge interest to us because I believe film and animation are a brilliant and innovative new way to encourage children to communicate stories, ideas and concepts in a creative and original way.  The class have experience producing a film, when they created an animation film on ‘The Miracle of Milk’ in October 2016. The production of the film gave the class a taste for film making and the processes involved. When we heard the theme of the project was the Moytirra discovery, we knew straight away it was going to be a very exciting adventure. Water is such a big part of our lives here in Galway and this project is only one of many water projects the school have engaged in. ‘Something Fishy’ is another project the class are working on and this has introduced the class to The Lifecycle of the Salmon and Water all around the World. The two projects have complemented each other nicely and gave the children a good foundation before embarking on Build your own Unknown. Myself and the class had an opportunity to meet Louise Manifold and Joanna McGlynn and straight away the class warmed to the two ladies and a rapport was established. Louise introduced us to some of her work and her earlier projects. We sat down together and decided on a timetable and a schedule so we could get started on the project.

How were the ideas developed and how did the young people, artist and teacher work together?

Joanna McGlynn

In developing a project like this, it is essential to recognise all collaborators as experts in their own fields, with each contributing resources for the generation of new ideas in the classroom thus  recognising the children as authors of their own imaginations. In support of this cross-disciplinary process a definite structure was put in place to include four phases;  research and development, engagement, final production and installation /exhibition. Artist, teacher and student participate collectively in realising each project phase. Having passed through the R & D phase, the project is now in the exciting process of hands on making.

Louise Manifold

One of the central themes within my artistic practice explores how society uses fiction in order to understand fact. The result of this exploration has developed into a process I frequently use to work with ideas in educational contexts. I am fascinated by the relationship between science and cinema, with particular reference to how scientific discoveries, that are beyond human encounter, have been retold in early sci-fi film. Considering this, the project takes reference from one of the earliest science fiction films: Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902) created by turn-of-the-century French filmmaker Georges Méliès. Drawing from this genre and linking it to the popular DIY science projects (such as miniature erupting volcanoes), the project titled Build Your Own Unknown asks the students to work collectively to create a deep-sea ecosystem film set for their own sci-fi film production. It will work with early cinematic techniques of stop motion animation and compositing as a means to reinterpret marine science discovery into cultural forms of storytelling, sculptural and role play. Students are working in four teams and have been asked to develop their set designs in response to a number of real and imaginary sources to include: actual digital film footage of the vent field sourced from the ROV Holland research expedition; interviews with real scientist such as Dr Andrew Wheeler and Rosemarie Butler (vessels operator at the MI); sensory and embodied exercises; investigating the creatures that live there and the Irish mythology of Moytirra. The students will also get to work with Galway Atlantaquaria, to develop underwater aspects of the film and to document deep sea environments for underwater scenes and sonic recordings as part of the creation of a surreal underwater landscapes. Students are encouraged to work together using a number of resources and strategies to solve problems. In this way the project aims to emphasise collaborative learning and to create a sense of ownership on how the work will be delivered as an outcome.

Stephanie Herwood

Our first step in the project was research.  We learned as much as we could about the ‘Moytirra’ discovery, the field of Hydrothermal vents along the Mid Atlantic Ridge, The Celtic Explorer and Dr. Andy Wheeler. During our early sessions with Louise Manifold and Joanna McGlynn, the children discovered all the main facts and details about the discovery. The visits involved dividing children into groups and sharing their ideas and facts in a group setting.  Based on the facts learned children engaged in creative writing lessons, drama activities and art classes. The early lessons shaped and refined their knowledge and understanding. We also had the opportunity to experience sea life first hand when a skype call was organised with Louise on board the Celtic Explorer. Prior to the call the children engaged in brainstorming activities within their groups on appropriate questions to ask Louise. This call gave children a real feel for life on board the ship and it was definitely a highlight of the project to date. In the later sessions the children started building their sets in their groups and creating story boards for their film. The class also had the opportunity to film in the Galway Aquarium in a selected number of tanks using go pros. Groups also started recording sounds in the Aquarium which will be used throughout the project. All of the lessons have been very well structured with clear objectives and learning outcomes set out in every time slot.

What was your personal experience of the project in terms of successes and challenges?

Stephanie Herwood

Collaborative work in the classroom has huge benefits which range from building self esteem, developing oral communication skills, enhancing student satisfaction and the learning experience and above all it retains the children’s attention in the classroom. One huge success of this project will include the ability to share the knowledge and findings easily with their peers in the school and the world. I believe this will be a fantastic starting point for building up ties and a sense of community across borders with students around the world. The whole school are behind the class and are very excited to see the final film. The class have also gained huge experience using equipment they have not worked with before e.g. go pro cameras and hand-held recording devices. This project also provides an exciting and dynamic platform to learn about a new topic. Students are engaging with new and exciting people, which are exposing them to new knowledge and new pathways in life. Since this project started many members of the class have expressed an interest in becoming a Marine Scientist, an Artist, an Explorer etc. The main challenge I have encountered in the class is time. I would love to dedicate more time to this project but unfortunately there is a very large curriculum of work to cover so three hours a week will have to suffice for now.

Louise Manifold

The project so far has been extremely successful. I feel there is a very strong connection and support network between all the partners involved in the project. The children have responded well to multiple sources of information in developing their project ideas. Initially I was concerned that the length of our workshop time might be a challenge however this is not the case. We work 3 hours in the classroom a week per session – 1.5 hours would be a typical session time of previous projects I worked on with young students.  So far this added durational aspect has provided an opportunity for more student led direction into the nature of the research, including devising their own sets of questions to interview Dr. Andy Wheeler directly. It also adds to the project’s momentum providing an opportunity for a deeper engagement with both artistic and scientific enquiry and importantly really helps my role and relationship in the class as I got to know the group much quicker.

What was significant for you about the project that is worth sharing?

Joanna McGlynn

As the project is mid process, it is only beginning to reveal itself but I am excited by the possibility of working through a collaborative approach.  Linking technology into the project and creating unique opportunities such as a live SKYPE to Louise on board the Celtic Explorer from the classroom and filming off-site using GoPro camera, outside of the school environment have injected an excitable energy of discovery into the project. TULCA propose to co-develop a set of cross disciplinary lesson plans informed by this process which will be made available online through the Explorers Education Programme™, extending the legacy of this unique project into other schools and classrooms nationwide.

Louise Manifold

What makes the project significant to me is the sense of creative possibility. I feel the number of stakeholders in the project allow for a greater diversity of input and contribute to this sense of possibility. There is a very strong support network between both TULCA and the school, which has really encouraged the ambition of the project’s development. It is also a really interesting subject to respond to as an artist.

Stephanie Herwood

The most significant thing about the project I think that is worth sharing is the joy that the class are experiencing during this project. No two days have been the same and the class are completely and utterly absorbed in the information and lessons. I was always a huge believer in collaborative learning but this project has reinforced the huge advantages that can be seen in group work. I also believe that all students should learn about the new world that has been discovered deep under the ocean. I had not heard about the discovery before I was introduced to the project and I would love the findings to be shared with as many people around the world.

Has anything changed in your work as a result of the project?

Louise Manifold

In respect to where we are right now in the project I would have to say that I am still understanding the value of the work. I can say so far it has given me a deep awareness on the value of creativity as a means for young children to understand often complex scientific discoveries and the use of art process as a means to think through and invite curiosity on environments that are inaccessible to us.

Stephanie Herwood

This project has opened up my ideas on art lessons within the class. Louise has introduced us to so many materials which I have never worked with before e.g. plaster of paris and chicken wire. This project has given me the confidence to expand my ideas when it comes to art and themes within the class. We have also engaged in more Skype calls since the beginning of the project. Skype has allowed us to connect with experts in so many different fields and the children are constantly coming up with new people to contact and learn about. This will definitely be a tool I will use more of in the future.

 

Briefly tell us the story of your project – What was it about? Who was involved? How did it get started?

Jennie:

In early 2014 I received the Thinking Visual Residency Award, run by Wicklow County Council & Mermaid Arts Centre. I proposed a new type of residency within Blessington Community College, where artists John Beattie, Sven Anderson and myself as project curator would work with transition year students to explore activities that lay between producing new artwork and developing a conceptual framework within which to present it. This residency provided a unique experience for both the students and the school to focus on this process-driven phase of contemporary art production, and highlight vital links between the artist as researcher and students as inventive learners. John Beattie gave a focus to moving image work and Sven Anderson evolved sonic frames of reference with the students.

Sven:

The curator Jennie Guy invited me to take part in a six-week residency programme working with transition year students in Blessington Community College in County Wicklow, in late 2014. Between October – December, I met with the students, Jennie Guy, and the art teacher Turlough Odonnell once a week.

Much of my practice is focused on contemporary sound art practices, so I initiated the project with an energetic workshop based on physically manipulating vinyl LPs. Using blades, electrical tape, and sandpaper, the students made physical marks on the surfaces of records that I sourced in a bargain bin in a charity shop in Dublin. Most of the students had never been near a record before .. and immediately we found ourselves having conversations about media manipulation, the sense of hearing, noise and silence, and what distinguishes noise from music from art.

I spent the next sessions presenting a variety of material to the students – some of it interactive, some of it more based on creating the time and space to listen to and comment on significant artworks in this field. These conversations crossed many boundaries by addressing subjects and techniques that were outside of what many of the students would consider as art. Each week provided the chance for another listening session – and we listened to works by Max Neuhaus, Bill Fontana, John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Christina Kubisch, Sam Auinger, and Luc Ferrari (amongst others).

After one particular conversation about sound installations in public places, the students began to express a strong interest in making a sound installation for their school. We quickly focused on conducting site surveys of the schools grounds (looking for the right site to work into), developing a concept for the work’s structure and content, and going over all of the practical aspects of making such an installation. We invited the school’s principal to the next workshop and the students themselves made a presentation proposing the installation, and asking for permission to construct it.
On the final day of the residency, I spent the entire day at the school working on the installation.

The final sound installation (installed by the students with help from their teachers from art, woodworking, metalworking, and the school’s maintenance staff) is formed by four boards spanning over 40 ft, mounted overhead in the outdoor passageway. The boards are fitted with sound transducers, transforming the boards into resonating speakers. The students choose combinations of sounds from an online database of field recordings uploaded by various sound artists that drift between boards throughout the day (played back from a computer / hardware setup installed in one of the classrooms), providing a backdrop to the everyday sounds taking place outside their school. This piece is still installed outside of the school in early 2015.

Turlough:

Between September and December 2014 Jennie Guy (Art School / Mobile Art School) curated an artist residency in Blessington Community College. The residency consisted of six workshops for the Transition Year students. There are two classes in Transition Year in Blessington, one class worked with artist Sven Anderson and the other class worked with artist John Beattie. Over the six weeks students were introduced to the work of their resident artist, experimental workshops were carried out where students explored the processes involved in Sven and John’s work. From these explorations proposals for works in video and sound were developed. These proposals were then presented to the School Management and ultimately art works were produced with the artists working closely with the students at all times.

What aspects of the project made you smile? What aspects of the project made you feel challenged?

Jennie:

As each subsequent week of the residency went by I looked forward to each residency session as I knew that there would a lot of unexpected laughs generated by each artist’s session. John Beattie really pushed the boundaries of the students perceptions of experimental moving image works. He gave the groups he worked with such freedom that they were able to devise and follow through with their ideas from session to session. Seeing the students achieve such experimental works was really exhilarating for me as an observer and really fun for the students. At times I felt quite challenged at the end of each session in trying to describe what had happened from the artists and students perspective. I knew the ideas and research that the artist was trying to evolve but somehow trying to make it relevant to this student audience I would begin to stutter in my round-up. Turlough O’Donnell the art teacher has a really unique talent of being able to process the ideas the artist was bringing to his classroom and school but somehow contextualise it as a teacher and then re-present each session with great articulation to his students that I felt that I was learning a lot from him.

John:

During my third session with the students, I set a self motivated brief for the day, to give the students an opportunity to experiment with ideas independently using the camera & lens, throughout the grounds of the school. The students explored ideas and methods discussed and demonstrated from previous sessions. At the end of the task, students gathered in the art room, and I projected all images the students had shot large scale for all to view and critique. To my delight, a group of students had created a sequence of images, illustrating one of their peers “flying” steadily, in the air, through the school building. Using a Stop-Motion camera technique, the students discovered an imaginative approach, which later became the central focus of the projects final video. A fantastic moment.

Working with large groups of mixed teenagers can be very challenging to ensure that each individual feels apart of the process. Also, monitoring how engaged students are, and if students are engaging at all. It’s crucial for me that I create that space for students to feel comfortable and confident to come forward and be involved in the creative process. This was the most challenging yet rewarding aspect of the project.

Sven:

There were so many moments working on this project that made me smile. One of the funniest moments occurred when we were talking about the artist / composer John Cage, in particular his composition 4 minutes 33 seconds. This piece is a performance in which the audience (and performer) remains silent for this exact duration of time, highlighting the ambient sounds of the performance space and demonstrating that there really is no such thing as silence – and that many incidental sounds can become ‘material’ when given appropriate focus. We were in the middle of uploading our own version of this piece via a new 4’33” iPhone App – sitting in a circle, listening to the sound of nothing – of our breath, of the creak of chairs, the subtle passing of cars outside. This duration can feel like a long time for a group of teenagers – sitting still, trying not to laugh, trying to stay quiet. One of the students was holding a ‘virtual baby’ / ‘infant simulator’ – one of these fake baby dolls that the students have to take care of, tending to their needs. Suddenly – in the middle of our silence – the baby let out a computerized cry. The laughter that had been hiding behind the silence suddenly broke and we were all laughing, the sound being uploaded to the app to be stored with hundreds of other ‘silences’ recorded around the world.

There were many moments like this – in which our focus on listening, and on the medium of sound, forced us to negotiate with many aspects of space and experience that we would never have had to confront if we were working in a more visual medium. By the end of the residency, I felt that we had a strong group dynamic, and a good understanding of how we could work together as a group both to understand more difficult concepts, and to work towards producing a significant impact on our environment – as evidenced through the successful installation of the sound installation outside of the school.

Turlough:

Seeing the student’s reaction to appearing in the video work really made me smile, particularly because the young girl who became the focus for the main video piece is a very quite student, and she got a real kick out of making the piece. Also the first video piece involved another student being given the power to move chairs with his mind this also was very funny to see his performance in front of the students.

In the sound work shop seeing all the students engage with the artist made me smile. I and the students really enjoyed the field recording trip to Dublin also. On this trip we recorded the everyday sounds of the city; these sounds were later incorporated into a piece of sculpture the students had made in response to Sven’s sound workshop. The whole project / residency challenged the students notions of what is and what is not art and they now have a broader appreciation of what is involved in contemporary art practise.

What insights from the project are worth sharing?

Has anything changed as a result of the project?

Jennie:

I must acknowledge the strength and benefit of forming strong background relationships that substantiate residencies like this. For example, without the backing, support and most importantly the creative vision of Wicklow Country Arts Office and Mermaid Arts Centre this project would never happen. My approach to creating firm and supportive relationships has deepened even more, this does take more time but now that I can see how exciting ongoing connection with schools can emerge from this type of relationship gives everybody involved in this type of project a great sense of achievement. The same approach goes for really involving the artist as early as possible before a project, either in conversation and or doing site visits and being able to communicate as much as possible before a project starts. This project has given a lot of confidence to approach new contexts.
John: I heard from the schools art teacher that after one of our sessions, a usually quite student came up to him and said that the session and work done was; “poetry in motion”.

Another aspect worth sharing from the project, is the careful and considered level of detail carried out by curator Jennie Guy, with the school and art teacher Turlough, to co-ordinate and manage this process. The atmosphere and fundamental creative environment, had been set in place and in motion, making this an extremely smooth and successful project.

I think there is a large number of things that have changed as a result of the project, some measurable, many others not so easy to measure: For the school, Principal, art teachers, and most importantly the students, to experience a sense of what is possible, what can be done, of how to step outside of the school curriculum and produce innovative and challenging work. I feel people’s perspective and perceptions changed in relation to art within the secondary level education system. This also goes for myself as an artist and educator, that we can bring dynamic, relevant, and engaging art practices into the school education system, and produce work and working relationships, where the integrity of project is completed with the highest level of engagement.

Sven:

The project’s structure – established by the curator Jennie Guy – was quite a substantial framework to begin with. I have had experiences with workshops in which the artist is completely responsible for establishing frames of reference with the teaching staff, the school, and the students. In this case, the curatorial framework that Guy established with Turlough ODonnell (the art teacher) set the ground for more adventurous work within the residency – in which I was free to develop my own ideas in response to the students’ interests as they emerged / developed over the course of the residency. The resulting environment (within these sessions) allowed us to move very quickly and to cover quite a bit of ground in six weeks, and the support and exchange with the students, the art teacher, and the curator all felt substantial and easy to balance.

I sense that the impact of having the sound installation – quite a substantial experiential structure – built outside of the school in Blessington marked a significant change in all of our expectations concerning how far we might go with this kind of experimental learning framework. This was not an expected outcome of the project – and beyond the process of producing what I consider to be a considered artwork, our experience working together and learning to ask for a chance to shape or author our environment – in this case the environment of the school – was quite significant. I believe that enabling the students to make a legible mark on their surroundings is a valuable experience in breaking down the borders between self / space (environment) / and authority, resulting in a more active approach to establishing democratic spaces.

Turlough:

The approaches of both artists have given the students great insight into the working practices of contemporary artists. Sven’s work in the field of sound sculpture has the potential to create a greater awareness in students to their surrounding particularly to the sound environment of the school. As a teacher the engagement with both artists has had a very positive effect on my own approach to teaching. I believe that it is very important as a teacher to open the subject up and by getting professional artists into the art room with the students has an energising effect.

I think that students will be more open minded as a result of the project. Some students have even started to explore new media on their own. One group of students created their own video piece in and entered it in a competition called “Youth Connect”. Their work was short listed to 12 which were screened in the Savoy cinema last week. I have no doubt that the video residency with John would have influenced and informed their approach.

Students’ report

Our names are Shona O’Connor and Aoife Mescall, we were students involved in the residency who worked with Sven in the area of sound sculpture.
On the day we were introduced to Jennie and Sven, Sven told us about his area of work and told us what he wanted us, as a class, to learn from the residency. To introduce us to the basics of sound, he brought us in old records with very different genres and sounds and played them on his record player, which he also taught us how to use throughout the day. As an experimental activity, we each chose a record at random and used tape, sand paper and knives to mark and scratch the record to make different sounds and interruptions on the track when it played.

Following up on working with records, Sven gave us the task of making some sort of sculpture using the record covers. The class decided to build a ‘sound tower’ by taping the covers together in various different ways and installing small speakers to the sculpture.

After a couple of weeks, along with Sven, the class came up with the idea of making putting up a semi-permanent sound installation somewhere in the school to make others aware of the sounds around them. We came up with the concept of attaching four small speakers to four long planks of wood that would go up on the ceiling of the shelter outside the first year corridor.

In preparation for proposing our idea to Mr Burke, our principal, we had to plan to tell him what we wanted to do, how we were going to do it and what we wanted to get out of this project. We chose two pupils to help Sven to pitch the idea to Mr Burke and from the very start he was on board with helping us complete the task. Different people were given different jobs that they had to complete as their part-taking in the completion of the project. Some were in charge of preparing the wood for the speakers to be securely installed and others helped in choosing the sounds we were going to play.

At first no-one could really hear the sounds we were trying to make noticeable, so Sven and Mr O’Donnell worked on fixing it and making it louder.
On the last week in the residency, Sven came in and helped us put everything together. Outside Sven helped other pupils feed wires and cables through the wall to ensure we would be able to connect the speakers to electricity, while the rest of the students helped Donal, our care taker, secure the planks to the ceiling of the shelter to be ready to be connected. Other students stayed inside to make a final decision on the sound they were going to play and what went well together. Everything was just about finished when the final bell of the day rang. To thank Sven and Jennie for all their hard work and time they had spent with us, we presented them with a bottle of wine as a small token of our appreciation.

When people were beginning to become aware of the sounds being played, confusion was their initial reaction. They were curious as to where it was coming from, as they were not aware we had been working on this project. However when they got used to it, they listened closely and carefully to the sounds and tried to figure out the type of sound that was being played.

We feel our class really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about how art is not just in pictures and paintings. We all got along really well with Sven and found it a very interesting and new experience. We were also thought about how interesting it is to stop and listen to how versatile the sounds in a particular environment can be.

Overall we think the project was a massive success and really enjoyed working in such a different area of art.


!!!! First Cut Youth Film Festival 2021

First Cut! Youth Film Festival
Dates: 17 April – 9 May 2021

First Cut! Youth Film Festival returns for its 12th year showcasing new films by young filmmakers. Running from 17 April – 9 May 2021, offers an imaginative, thought-provoking and entertaining programme for young people aged 12-24yrs. Audiences from all over Ireland, and from abroad, are invited to join them virtually for a completely free programme of events including: Open call short film and feature film screenings, workshops, panel discussions with some of the leading filmmakers in Ireland, a host of special guest appearances and more.

Workshops include: Puppetry for Film and Television Workshop, Stormtroopers SFX Workshop and more.

Dates: 17 April – 9 May 2021

To see the full programme, see: https://firstcutfilmfestival.com/

!!!! Opportunity for Young People: Source Arts Centre Online Workshops

Source Arts Centre
Date: 24 April

The Source Arts Centre is hosting a series of online workshops until June as part of their ‘Y’ Arts Programme. The ‘Y’ Arts Programme encourages young people aged between 13 and 18 to create new works of art using a task and challenge based approach. The programme aims to encourage an understanding of contemporary art and avant-garde art.

Workshop : Dream Like Maya Deren
12pm-1pm, 24th April 2021

Maya Deren was a Ukrainian-born American experimental filmmaker  in the 1940s and 1950s. In this workshop, participants will look at her most famous film ‘Meshes Of The Afternoon’ and examine how dream states or the subconscious are depicted in art.

For more information, see here: www.thesourceartscentre.ie/events/info/dream-like-maya-deren-workshop

!!!! Teacher-Artist Partnership (TAP) Project – The Lonely Traveller

In 2020 ‘The Lonely Traveller’ Project was one of the recipient’s of the Portal Documentation Award. View the project documentation video here.

Tell us the story of your project – What was the impetus? What was it about? Who was involved? How did you begin?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

The initial aim of the project was simple: increase the access that deaf children have to the music and find new ways of delivering and differentiating the music curriculum for this cohort of pupils.  I enrolled on the Teacher-Artist Partnership (TAP) CPD summer course at Limerick Education Centre with the specific purpose of gaining a residency with a musician in order to achieve what I set out to do.

After being paired with Limerick composer Fiona Linnane we got the opportunity to get to know one another and discuss our project ideas at length during the TAP lead facilitator training which we were both chosen to attend. With an initial very loose plan/structure in place we kicked off the school based part of our project with a trip to University Concert Hall, Limerick to attend a “Music in the classroom” performance with the pupils.

A lot of background work was undertaken in the classroom prior to our engagement with Fiona. As my pupils had differing levels of hearing loss from mild and moderate to severe and profound it was important to explore with them how sound travels and how we can all experience sound in different ways ie some with ears and hearing some with hands and touch. It was important also to make the children aware that being deaf was not a barrier to experiencing, enjoying and producing music. In our english lesson we wrote to Dame Evelyn Glennie, a world famous percussion artist from Scotland who herself is deaf. The children were thrilled when Evelyn wrote back to them offering words of encouragement and praise. Ms.Glennie proved to be a very positive role model for all the pupils throughout the course of this project and her composition “The Lonely Traveller” became the central point around which our project evolved.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

Much of my preparation for this project involved meeting the students and gaining perspective on their experience of sound and music; the mix of abilities within the group; and how I would need to refine my practice to maximise the impact of the workshops for the group. This ranged from managing my communication style to allow for the use of ISL within the classroom to leaving more space in each session for students to move at a pace that worked best for them. I joined the teachers and students as they attended a “Music in the Classroom” performance at the University Concert Hall, Limerick and this provided me with great insight into how these children would respond to musical ideas.

How were the ideas developed and how did the young people, artist and teacher work together?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

Fiona took the lead by facilitating engaging and experimental weekly workshops which were loads of fun. Both myself and the class SNA’s were on hand to assist with ISL and the provision of additional support to any pupil that needed it. After the first couple of sessions the pupils became very familiar and at ease with Fiona and after this point we all very much worked as a unit and in partnership with one another developing ideas and expanding on themes. Much of my curriculum planning for other curricular areas was influenced by the enjoyment that the children were experiencing in Fiona’s workshops. We chatted at length about “The Lonely Traveller” who it might be and where they might be travelling to/from in our oral language sessions. In history we explored the voyages of St. Brendan and the Imram tradition and in SPHE we spoke lots about how being deaf is no barrier to achieving one’s dreams as Dame Evelyn Glennie had illustrated.  Our workshops with Fiona influenced our class work and equally our class work across other curricular areas influenced the direction of our workshops with Fiona.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

I first designed and facilitated a series of workshops on experimental composition starting with simple rhythm exercises and graphic notation. Once I had established where the students were in their musical development, we began to plan a theme for our project. By linking in with the student’s interest in the work of Evelyn Glennie I introduced a simple piece (by Glennie) which I felt we could work within the framework of the project. Using chime bars and the graphic notation learned in the first phase of the project, we began writing songs and improvisation using The Lonely Traveller as a starting point. The students immediately responded enthusiastically to songwriting and so I began to look at ways to expand on this.

What was your personal experience of the project in terms of successes and challenges?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

This was an incredibly successful project on so many different levels. Fiona was a joy to work with. She was always so patient, kind and enthusiastic. She brought an open mind, in depth knowledge and a great sense of fun to the project. She engaged with learning ISL from the pupils and  always followed their lead no matter where it went. We very quickly established a three way partnership between pupils, artist and teacher which worked for everyone. This project started out as something quite simple and small but very quickly grew to become a fairly ambitious project. We had secured funding from Limerick Education Centre for a follow on workshop with local Puppeteer Emma Fisher to develop the visual aspect to our project. Unfortunately with the arrival of the covid 19 pandemic, extended school closures and no visitors policies we were unable to go ahead with this. However a promise is a promise and when schools reopened I took what little knowledge of shadow puppetry I had gained from my conversation with Emma and made this the focus of our art classes to complete the visual aspect of our project. The film was made with a mix of live acting and shadow puppetry. Working with deaf pupils in near darkness wearing visors and masks whilst maintaining social distance and pod groupings was challenging indeed but we got there in the end and we all agreed on seeing the final piece it was worth it.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

This project’s success was driven by the investment by the teacher, Jacintha Mullins.  It is difficult, as an artist to attempt to link in the topic your are covering with the subjects in the classroom as we are only physically in the classroom for the sessions.  Jacintha immersed the class in the project by linking it with other aspects of her teaching.

The usual challenge of engaging all students, even reluctant ones, was present but not to the same extent as other projects.  Again, I feel this was thanks to Jacintha’s leadership.

Obviously the big challenge arrived in the form of schools being closed in March.  We had just enough material already recorded to put the film together but plans to continue our work together had to be put on hold.

What was significant for you about the project that is worth sharing?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

The increased levels of self esteem and confidence that our pupils displayed both during and after this project were incredible. They were immensely proud of the work they had done and what they had achieved. Singing was something that these children had always done primarily with their hands through ISL. Hearing them spontaneously burst into song with their own compositions on a regular basis in our classroom and around our school is something really special indeed.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

I listened to the announcement of school closures in my car just before what would be our final session.  It was an especially poignant session – I remember feeling a sense of calm in the classroom, while chaos ensued in the world around us.  It would be my last engagement with a school for the rest of the year and, most likely, until September 2021.

Has anything changed in your work as a result of the project?

Jacintha Mullins, Teacher

Working in partnership with a professional in the area of the curriculum that I found challenging was a very valuable experience. It showed me the value of arts in education and how bringing someone into the classroom can open up endless possibilities and new ways of teaching and learning for all involved. I will be seeking out opportunities to engage in further partnerships in the future.

Fiona Linnane, Composer

I recognise the importance of real engagement by the teacher.  Also not to feel like everything about the project is my responsibility, allow others to cover their areas of expertise.

On the flip side in future I will allow myself to be more involved in the artistic outcome.  Before this I had always allowed the students complete control over the final work, however, as I finished editing the sounds we had recorded it occurred to me that if I take on the more technical work myself it allows more time for the students to explore the more creative aspects of the projects.

 

!!!! IFI@Schools New Film Platform

Irish Film Institute – IFI@Schools

Stream new films into your school with a brand new film platform from the IFI@Schools, launching in October.

With school trips on hold and very different learning situations arising in schools across the country, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) is launching an online streaming platform, offering films to support a whole range of subjects and interest areas.

In return for a one-off annual fee to cover film rights, your school can access the complete catalogue, using an easy, user-friendly teacher pass.

For more information email schools@irishfilm.ie

!!!! Job Opportunity: IFI Education Officer

Irish Film Institute

Deadline: 5pm, 12th October

The Irish Film Institute wishes to appoint two Education Officers to contribute to and develop its education programme both onsite and online.

Key Responsibilities for the roles include:

Download the full job description here – ifi.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Job-Description-Education-Officer.pdf 

Applicants should forward a cover letter and CV by email to Alicia McGivern, IFI Head of Education, at amcgivern@irishfilm.ie, or by post to Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Dublin 2.

Closing date for applications is 17.00 on Monday, October 12th.

!!!! FÍS Film for Schools Project – #MakeFilmsAtHome

FÍS Film Project

Home Movies Anyone? Let’s Have Some Fun While Learning At Home!

FÍS Film Project would like learners to use the current COVID-19 social distancing policy as an opportunity to learn film-making skills for making really cool home movies!

Their new blog series #MakeFilmsAtHome is aimed at children and their families who might like to try their hand at making a stop motion animation or short live action film during the stay home phase and beyond.

With two separate blog postings per day. 1 for animation and 1 for live-action film-making. Presented in a simple easy to use format, with sample films made by Irish primary school children for the FÍS (film in schools) project and are accompanied by short video tutorials made by undergrad students at the National Film School in IADT.

Film-making is a fun, creative, imaginative and educational process and FÍS hope that families will find the tips and tools provided useful. They are encouraging parents / guardians a child or children who make a film to upload to you tube, vimeo, instagram or similar platform to share.

All you need is a mobile phone or tablet device and lots of imagination!

So, let’s have some fun and get filming!

To view the blog go to fisfilmproject.ie/blog/

!!!! Students are invited to the Careers in Screen Day 2020

Irish Film Institute

Date: 4 March 2020

The Irish Film Institute (IFI) and the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, in association with Screen Skills Ireland, will once again offer an inspiring and innovative day of events for young people interested in finding out more about working in the film and tv industries.

This event, aimed at Senior Cycle second-level students aged 15 to 18, is an opportunity for students to hear from a whole variety of film industry practitioners, to learn about their work, how they got there and what advice they might give to young people starting out. Whether it’s the craft side of the industry, working in front of the camera or behind, as well as other areas such as production or casting, there will be something for every interest.

A number of third-level institutions will also be on hand to offer guidance on the day.

Last year’s guests included director Lenny Abrahamson, producer Ed Guiney, costume designer Consolata Boyle and DOP Cathal Watters.

Booking essential. See www.ifi.ie/schools

 

!!!! Careers in Screen: First Steps Event for Post-Primary students at the Irish Film Institute

Irish Film Institute (IFI)

Date: 18 December 2019

In advance of the Irish Film Institute’s (IFI) annual Careers in Screen Day, 2020, IFI Education, in partnership with Screen Skills Ireland, is offering a First Steps morning event, to introduce participants to the world of short filmmaking, through presentations from three flourishing filmmaking companies.

Presenting samples of their work and talking about their paths into the industry, guest speakers from Paper Panther Productions, Tailored Films and Failsafe Films, will each discuss their own career and answer participants’ questions relating to their work and their roles in the industry. The event is ideally suited to young people who are exploring different career options, perhaps considering third level courses in film, media or TV, or keen to learn from Irish filmmakers about working in the thriving screen industries.

Admission costs €5 per person and tickets are strictly limited. Suitable for ages 15-18. Event will last approx. 75 mins.

For further information go to ifi.ie/careers

 

!!!! Audi Dublin International Film Festival Fantastic Flix programme for schools

Audi Dublin International Film Festival

21st February – 4th March 2018

Fantastic Flix, ADIFF’s strand for young people aged 4-16, returns for its third thrilling year with the support of Cheestrings and featuring an exciting programme of international films for school groups.

Director of Collapsing Horse Theatre, Dan Colley, will give post-screening talks at both At Eye Level (12+), a father and son reunion tale, and Liyana (12+), a beautiful Swazi documentary with animated elements about a girl who goes to great lengths to save her younger brothers from harm. Director Meikeminne Clinckspoor will attend two screenings of Cloudboy (9+), an enchanting film about Niilas, who is sent to visit his mother in the wonderful forests of Lapland and learns about the Sami people.

Nora Twomey, director of the much-anticipated The Breadwinner, will introduce a screening of children’s classic My Neighbour Totoro. Brown Bag Films’ Vampirina (4+) and the Fantastic Flix Shorts (4+) are sure to delight the youngest budding cinemagoers.  Actress Wilma Lundgren will attend the festival for her film, Room 213, a seriously spooky Swedish mystery. Other highlights include the terrific animations from France, The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales (6+), and Japan, Mary and the Witch’s Flower (6+).

The Fantastic Flix Children’s Jury, a collaboration with The Ark’s Children’s Council and the Irish Film Classification Office, returns for a second year, as do a fascinating choice of workshops in collaboration with The Ark.

Schools Programme

Primary Level

My Neighbour Totoro  – Thursday 22nd February – Light House 1 – 11am – Age Recommendation 5+

Cloudboy – Thursday 1st March – Omniplex Rathmines – 10am & Friday 2nd March – Light House 3 – 11.30am – Age Recommendation 9+

At Eye Level – Thursday 1st March – Movies @ Dundrum – 1pm – Age Recommendation 12+

Vampirina – Friday 2nd March – Light House 3 – 10am – Age Recommendation 4+

Room 213 – Friday 2nd March – Omniplex Rathmines – 11am – Age Recommendation 12+

Post – Primary Level

At Eye Level – Thursday 1st March – Movies@Dundrum – 1pm – Age Recommendation 12+

Room 213 – Friday 2nd March – Omniplex Rathmines – 11am – Age Recommendation 12+

Liyana – Friday 2nd March – Movies@Dundrum – 12.30pm – Age Recommendation 13+

Career’s Day – Thursday 1st March – IFI – 10am – Tickets €5 – Age Recommendation 14+

This one day event, aimed at Senior Year Secondary Level students will unpack some of the many di erent lm and television departments and skills required for a career in the lm industry. There will be insights from sparks and foley artists, script supervisors and VFX supervisors, and will feature some of the Irish lm industry’s most talented artists including Darragh O’Connell (Brown Bag Films), Louise Kiely (Casting Agent), Piers McGrail (Cinematographer), Steven Fanagan (Sound Editor & Composer).

The Career’s Day is a joint initiative from
Audi Dublin International Film Festival, the Irish Film Institute, Irish Film Board and Broadcasting Authority Ireland.

For more information go to www.diff.ie

 

 

 

 

!!!! Films for schools at Roscommon Arts Centre

Roscommon Arts Centre

This spring Roscommon Arts Centre will host a series of films for schools:

Goodbye Berlin – IFI TY/Senior Cycle German Film

Maik is a daydreamer who goes unnoticed by his classroom crush; Andrej is an oddball kid from Russia with an eccentric taste for Hawaiian shirts. The two form an unlikely bond when Andrej shows up at Maik’s door with a “borrowed” blue Lada, and the prospect of an impromptu road trip beckons. Based on the bestselling German novel Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf, Tschick is a funny, endearing, coming-of-age film with fresh verve of its own. TUESDAY 20th FEBRUARY | 11am | €2

My Life As A Courgette – IFI TY/Senior Cycle French Film

Nine-year-old Icare, nicknamed Courgette, moves to a foster home, a place full of rejected kids fighting for survival among the rest of the bullies, loners and misfits. Adapted from a YA novel by Girlhood director, Celine Sciamma. TUESDAY 24th APRIL | 11am | €2

The Golden Dream – IFI TY/Senior Cycle Spanish Film

A group of Guatemalan teenagers attempt to make their way to the U.S.A., dreaming of the better life that the country promises, but they are ill equipped, both physically and emotionally, for the challenges they face getting there. This is an absorbing and suspenseful drama, excellently acted by its three non-professional leads. TUESDAY 20th MARCH | 11am | €2

For more information and bookings go to www.roscommonartscentre.ie

!!!! Guest Blogger: Tom Dalton, Artist & Arts Worker – Blog 1

Tom Dalton

Tom Dalton is an artist and arts worker at Mayfield Arts Centre, Cork. The arts centre is a unique, dedicated arts space based in the heart of Mayfield in Cork city, at Newbury House Family Centre. Mayfield Arts provides opportunities for participants to connect, learn, reflect and act through creative processes. It is an example of best practice in the fields of community arts, social inclusion, non-formal and community education. Mayfield Arts develops, manages and delivers arts programmes, training and education in consultation with the local community and provides access to art activities and processes that facilitate personal and community development to people of all abilities.  A graduate of CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Tom’s role in the arts centre is to support the artistic and creative development of the Cúig studio artists through individual and group mentoring. Cúig artists are five artists in supported studios in Mayfield Arts Centre. The Cúig project, supported by POBAL, has been running at Mayfield Arts Centre since 2008, and is the only supported studio of its kind in the country. Tom also coordinates and facilitates outreach projects to school and community groups throughout the city.

“What I Do When I Feel Blue”

The teenage years and early adulthood can be particularly tricky times to navigate in life. According to the ‘My World’ National Survey of Youth Mental Health one in three young people have experienced mental health difficulties at some point (Headstrong and UCD School of Psychology, 2012).

Developing coping strategies and building self-esteem can offer a strong protection as young people move into adulthood. A secondary school setting offers an opportunity to reach young people in their formative years and provide tools for mental and emotional resilience, equipping them with skills to cope with the bumps in the road into adulthood and beyond. Funded through Creative Engagement (NAPD) and St. Patrick’s College, “What I Do When I Feel Blue” is a collaborative animation project between Mayfield Arts Centre and St. Patrick’s College in Cork.

June McCarthy, Transition Year coordinator, identified a desire on behalf of the school to engage students in areas of mental health, wellbeing, peer support, community and belonging. St. Patrick’s College has a strong history with Mayfield Arts, having engaged in many Creative Engagement Projects over the years. An introductory meeting with June allowed us to get a sense of the student group as a whole, learn about their previous experiences with art and to get an idea of what they and the school hoped to achieve through this project. Film was something previously unexplored in St. Patrick’s College and seemed particularly appropriate for a project of this kind. Video and stop-motion are communicative, accessible and fun mediums to work within. The potential to share their film through social media and Youtube also gives potency to the work of the students.

Every Friday for six weeks, a group of twelve transition year girls made the short journey up the road to Mayfield Arts. For most of the girls it was their first time inside the building. On day one students were introduced to basic principles of filming and stop-motion using slideshows, demonstrations, examples and warm-up exercises. Once the group was familiar with the process, we all sat together, drank tea and chatted about their ideas for the project. Students were invited to name and respond to important issues that impact their lives and that of their peers. I was taken by the openness of the girls in sharing their stories. Through facilitated discussions, it became clear that the group wanted to create something positive that could help their friends and others experiencing difficulties.

We went about compiling a list of things they do when they are feeling down; things that can help lift them out of difficult times. We quickly filled an entire blackboard with suggested actions; ‘go outside!’, ‘eat chocolate!’, ‘Ring your friends!‘ Through a voting system the group arrived on the six top things they do to make themselves feel better when feeling down. We then brainstormed how we might illustrate these suggestions through animation. Roles within the group formed naturally; some were eager to be in front of the camera, while others prefered ‘out of frame’ activities like setting up cameras, framing shots, controlling light and directing actors. The girls worked great as a team, generating ideas, sharing equipment, helping each other and discussing their outcomes. Footage was collected and reviewed in groups with editing carried out with support from facilitators. Regular feedback was sought from groups to access progress and offer support where needed.

The final film, a three-minute animation that acts as a ‘tool-kit’ for resilience, was launched and screened during the school’s Transition Year closing ceremony. A couple of the girls introduced the project, sharing their ideas, methods and processes with their peers, teachers and parents. Once uploaded to Youtube, the film and its message began to spread beyond the school grounds.

Feedback from the group was really positive and there was a tangible sense of pride in what had been achieved.

“I liked everything about this project but especially that we could do it all by ourselves with just a little bit of help.”

 “I wouldn’t change anything, it was very interesting and fun.”

 Take a look at the girls’ film here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cku_n_IJ4w

This project was funded by Creative Engagement (NAPD) and St. Patrick’s College, Gardiner’s Hill. For more information visit mayfieldarts.ie

 

 

 

!!!! Build Your Own Unknown

“Build Your Own Unknown” is a collaboration between Artist Louise Manifold, Cregmore NS and TULCA partnering with The Marine Institute.

Tell us the story of your project – What was the impetus? What was it about? Who was involved? How did you begin?

Joanna McGlynn, Education Coordinator / Project Developer, TULCA

TULCA OFFshore is a unique collaborative project whereby students, teacher, artist and scientist, learn and work together in the classroom as co-creators and collaborators. At the core of the project is engaging with and understanding the essential principles and fundamental concepts of ocean science literacy in a meaningful way, through the Arts. Beyond a wide range of materials, practices, histories and techniques, concepts and theoretical frameworks, artists – like scientists – are trained to use a unique set of skills, processes and methodologies. Learning through the Arts, is the essential ‘other’ of STEM education, in developing a unique set of holistic skills, transferable across multiple sectors in preparation for adult life. Young students will have the opportunity to connect STEM skills through core processes of interpretation, communication, analysis and synthesis, resulting in a broader awareness of complex ocean issues and its relevance in our everyday. TULCA and the Marine Institute are uniquely positioned to provide collaborations between some of Ireland’s leading artists and marine scientists, creating a platform of connection and interdisciplinary reach in an educational environment. For this pilot project, TULCA are delighted to partner artist Louise Manifold and scientist Dr. Andy Wheeler with Cregmore National School, Co. Galway. The project began in February 2017 and will run until July with 10 in school working sessions culminating in a public exhibition at SeaFest 2017. This Project/Partnership represents the process to date.

Louise Manifold, Artist

Build Your Own Unknown was developed in response to TULCA’s OFFshore proposal to create an art project with 4th class, Cregmore National School that responded to the recent discovery of a field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge during a research voyage led by Dr Andy Wheeler on the Celtic Explorer. In response to the call, I proposed to develop a series of workshops that will result in the production of a mini sci-fi film, in which students will work  together to design, build and create their own sci-fi narrative reenacting the discovery of Moytirra – the name of the ridge of hydrothermal vents.

Stephanie Herwood, Teacher

Myself and my class were approached last year to see if we were interested in a new film project. The film project was of huge interest to us because I believe film and animation are a brilliant and innovative new way to encourage children to communicate stories, ideas and concepts in a creative and original way.  The class have experience producing a film, when they created an animation film on ‘The Miracle of Milk’ in October 2016. The production of the film gave the class a taste for film making and the processes involved. When we heard the theme of the project was the Moytirra discovery, we knew straight away it was going to be a very exciting adventure. Water is such a big part of our lives here in Galway and this project is only one of many water projects the school have engaged in. ‘Something Fishy’ is another project the class are working on and this has introduced the class to The Lifecycle of the Salmon and Water all around the World. The two projects have complemented each other nicely and gave the children a good foundation before embarking on Build your own Unknown. Myself and the class had an opportunity to meet Louise Manifold and Joanna McGlynn and straight away the class warmed to the two ladies and a rapport was established. Louise introduced us to some of her work and her earlier projects. We sat down together and decided on a timetable and a schedule so we could get started on the project.

How were the ideas developed and how did the young people, artist and teacher work together?

Joanna McGlynn

In developing a project like this, it is essential to recognise all collaborators as experts in their own fields, with each contributing resources for the generation of new ideas in the classroom thus  recognising the children as authors of their own imaginations. In support of this cross-disciplinary process a definite structure was put in place to include four phases;  research and development, engagement, final production and installation /exhibition. Artist, teacher and student participate collectively in realising each project phase. Having passed through the R & D phase, the project is now in the exciting process of hands on making.

Louise Manifold

One of the central themes within my artistic practice explores how society uses fiction in order to understand fact. The result of this exploration has developed into a process I frequently use to work with ideas in educational contexts. I am fascinated by the relationship between science and cinema, with particular reference to how scientific discoveries, that are beyond human encounter, have been retold in early sci-fi film. Considering this, the project takes reference from one of the earliest science fiction films: Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902) created by turn-of-the-century French filmmaker Georges Méliès. Drawing from this genre and linking it to the popular DIY science projects (such as miniature erupting volcanoes), the project titled Build Your Own Unknown asks the students to work collectively to create a deep-sea ecosystem film set for their own sci-fi film production. It will work with early cinematic techniques of stop motion animation and compositing as a means to reinterpret marine science discovery into cultural forms of storytelling, sculptural and role play. Students are working in four teams and have been asked to develop their set designs in response to a number of real and imaginary sources to include: actual digital film footage of the vent field sourced from the ROV Holland research expedition; interviews with real scientist such as Dr Andrew Wheeler and Rosemarie Butler (vessels operator at the MI); sensory and embodied exercises; investigating the creatures that live there and the Irish mythology of Moytirra. The students will also get to work with Galway Atlantaquaria, to develop underwater aspects of the film and to document deep sea environments for underwater scenes and sonic recordings as part of the creation of a surreal underwater landscapes. Students are encouraged to work together using a number of resources and strategies to solve problems. In this way the project aims to emphasise collaborative learning and to create a sense of ownership on how the work will be delivered as an outcome.

Stephanie Herwood

Our first step in the project was research.  We learned as much as we could about the ‘Moytirra’ discovery, the field of Hydrothermal vents along the Mid Atlantic Ridge, The Celtic Explorer and Dr. Andy Wheeler. During our early sessions with Louise Manifold and Joanna McGlynn, the children discovered all the main facts and details about the discovery. The visits involved dividing children into groups and sharing their ideas and facts in a group setting.  Based on the facts learned children engaged in creative writing lessons, drama activities and art classes. The early lessons shaped and refined their knowledge and understanding. We also had the opportunity to experience sea life first hand when a skype call was organised with Louise on board the Celtic Explorer. Prior to the call the children engaged in brainstorming activities within their groups on appropriate questions to ask Louise. This call gave children a real feel for life on board the ship and it was definitely a highlight of the project to date. In the later sessions the children started building their sets in their groups and creating story boards for their film. The class also had the opportunity to film in the Galway Aquarium in a selected number of tanks using go pros. Groups also started recording sounds in the Aquarium which will be used throughout the project. All of the lessons have been very well structured with clear objectives and learning outcomes set out in every time slot.

What was your personal experience of the project in terms of successes and challenges?

Stephanie Herwood

Collaborative work in the classroom has huge benefits which range from building self esteem, developing oral communication skills, enhancing student satisfaction and the learning experience and above all it retains the children’s attention in the classroom. One huge success of this project will include the ability to share the knowledge and findings easily with their peers in the school and the world. I believe this will be a fantastic starting point for building up ties and a sense of community across borders with students around the world. The whole school are behind the class and are very excited to see the final film. The class have also gained huge experience using equipment they have not worked with before e.g. go pro cameras and hand-held recording devices. This project also provides an exciting and dynamic platform to learn about a new topic. Students are engaging with new and exciting people, which are exposing them to new knowledge and new pathways in life. Since this project started many members of the class have expressed an interest in becoming a Marine Scientist, an Artist, an Explorer etc. The main challenge I have encountered in the class is time. I would love to dedicate more time to this project but unfortunately there is a very large curriculum of work to cover so three hours a week will have to suffice for now.

Louise Manifold

The project so far has been extremely successful. I feel there is a very strong connection and support network between all the partners involved in the project. The children have responded well to multiple sources of information in developing their project ideas. Initially I was concerned that the length of our workshop time might be a challenge however this is not the case. We work 3 hours in the classroom a week per session – 1.5 hours would be a typical session time of previous projects I worked on with young students.  So far this added durational aspect has provided an opportunity for more student led direction into the nature of the research, including devising their own sets of questions to interview Dr. Andy Wheeler directly. It also adds to the project’s momentum providing an opportunity for a deeper engagement with both artistic and scientific enquiry and importantly really helps my role and relationship in the class as I got to know the group much quicker.

What was significant for you about the project that is worth sharing?

Joanna McGlynn

As the project is mid process, it is only beginning to reveal itself but I am excited by the possibility of working through a collaborative approach.  Linking technology into the project and creating unique opportunities such as a live SKYPE to Louise on board the Celtic Explorer from the classroom and filming off-site using GoPro camera, outside of the school environment have injected an excitable energy of discovery into the project. TULCA propose to co-develop a set of cross disciplinary lesson plans informed by this process which will be made available online through the Explorers Education Programme™, extending the legacy of this unique project into other schools and classrooms nationwide.

Louise Manifold

What makes the project significant to me is the sense of creative possibility. I feel the number of stakeholders in the project allow for a greater diversity of input and contribute to this sense of possibility. There is a very strong support network between both TULCA and the school, which has really encouraged the ambition of the project’s development. It is also a really interesting subject to respond to as an artist.

Stephanie Herwood

The most significant thing about the project I think that is worth sharing is the joy that the class are experiencing during this project. No two days have been the same and the class are completely and utterly absorbed in the information and lessons. I was always a huge believer in collaborative learning but this project has reinforced the huge advantages that can be seen in group work. I also believe that all students should learn about the new world that has been discovered deep under the ocean. I had not heard about the discovery before I was introduced to the project and I would love the findings to be shared with as many people around the world.

Has anything changed in your work as a result of the project?

Louise Manifold

In respect to where we are right now in the project I would have to say that I am still understanding the value of the work. I can say so far it has given me a deep awareness on the value of creativity as a means for young children to understand often complex scientific discoveries and the use of art process as a means to think through and invite curiosity on environments that are inaccessible to us.

Stephanie Herwood

This project has opened up my ideas on art lessons within the class. Louise has introduced us to so many materials which I have never worked with before e.g. plaster of paris and chicken wire. This project has given me the confidence to expand my ideas when it comes to art and themes within the class. We have also engaged in more Skype calls since the beginning of the project. Skype has allowed us to connect with experts in so many different fields and the children are constantly coming up with new people to contact and learn about. This will definitely be a tool I will use more of in the future.

 

!!!! Thinking Visual

Briefly tell us the story of your project – What was it about? Who was involved? How did it get started?

Jennie:

In early 2014 I received the Thinking Visual Residency Award, run by Wicklow County Council & Mermaid Arts Centre. I proposed a new type of residency within Blessington Community College, where artists John Beattie, Sven Anderson and myself as project curator would work with transition year students to explore activities that lay between producing new artwork and developing a conceptual framework within which to present it. This residency provided a unique experience for both the students and the school to focus on this process-driven phase of contemporary art production, and highlight vital links between the artist as researcher and students as inventive learners. John Beattie gave a focus to moving image work and Sven Anderson evolved sonic frames of reference with the students.

Sven:

The curator Jennie Guy invited me to take part in a six-week residency programme working with transition year students in Blessington Community College in County Wicklow, in late 2014. Between October – December, I met with the students, Jennie Guy, and the art teacher Turlough Odonnell once a week.

Much of my practice is focused on contemporary sound art practices, so I initiated the project with an energetic workshop based on physically manipulating vinyl LPs. Using blades, electrical tape, and sandpaper, the students made physical marks on the surfaces of records that I sourced in a bargain bin in a charity shop in Dublin. Most of the students had never been near a record before .. and immediately we found ourselves having conversations about media manipulation, the sense of hearing, noise and silence, and what distinguishes noise from music from art.

I spent the next sessions presenting a variety of material to the students – some of it interactive, some of it more based on creating the time and space to listen to and comment on significant artworks in this field. These conversations crossed many boundaries by addressing subjects and techniques that were outside of what many of the students would consider as art. Each week provided the chance for another listening session – and we listened to works by Max Neuhaus, Bill Fontana, John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Christina Kubisch, Sam Auinger, and Luc Ferrari (amongst others).

After one particular conversation about sound installations in public places, the students began to express a strong interest in making a sound installation for their school. We quickly focused on conducting site surveys of the schools grounds (looking for the right site to work into), developing a concept for the work’s structure and content, and going over all of the practical aspects of making such an installation. We invited the school’s principal to the next workshop and the students themselves made a presentation proposing the installation, and asking for permission to construct it.
On the final day of the residency, I spent the entire day at the school working on the installation.

The final sound installation (installed by the students with help from their teachers from art, woodworking, metalworking, and the school’s maintenance staff) is formed by four boards spanning over 40 ft, mounted overhead in the outdoor passageway. The boards are fitted with sound transducers, transforming the boards into resonating speakers. The students choose combinations of sounds from an online database of field recordings uploaded by various sound artists that drift between boards throughout the day (played back from a computer / hardware setup installed in one of the classrooms), providing a backdrop to the everyday sounds taking place outside their school. This piece is still installed outside of the school in early 2015.

Turlough:

Between September and December 2014 Jennie Guy (Art School / Mobile Art School) curated an artist residency in Blessington Community College. The residency consisted of six workshops for the Transition Year students. There are two classes in Transition Year in Blessington, one class worked with artist Sven Anderson and the other class worked with artist John Beattie. Over the six weeks students were introduced to the work of their resident artist, experimental workshops were carried out where students explored the processes involved in Sven and John’s work. From these explorations proposals for works in video and sound were developed. These proposals were then presented to the School Management and ultimately art works were produced with the artists working closely with the students at all times.

What aspects of the project made you smile? What aspects of the project made you feel challenged?

Jennie:

As each subsequent week of the residency went by I looked forward to each residency session as I knew that there would a lot of unexpected laughs generated by each artist’s session. John Beattie really pushed the boundaries of the students perceptions of experimental moving image works. He gave the groups he worked with such freedom that they were able to devise and follow through with their ideas from session to session. Seeing the students achieve such experimental works was really exhilarating for me as an observer and really fun for the students. At times I felt quite challenged at the end of each session in trying to describe what had happened from the artists and students perspective. I knew the ideas and research that the artist was trying to evolve but somehow trying to make it relevant to this student audience I would begin to stutter in my round-up. Turlough O’Donnell the art teacher has a really unique talent of being able to process the ideas the artist was bringing to his classroom and school but somehow contextualise it as a teacher and then re-present each session with great articulation to his students that I felt that I was learning a lot from him.

John:

During my third session with the students, I set a self motivated brief for the day, to give the students an opportunity to experiment with ideas independently using the camera & lens, throughout the grounds of the school. The students explored ideas and methods discussed and demonstrated from previous sessions. At the end of the task, students gathered in the art room, and I projected all images the students had shot large scale for all to view and critique. To my delight, a group of students had created a sequence of images, illustrating one of their peers “flying” steadily, in the air, through the school building. Using a Stop-Motion camera technique, the students discovered an imaginative approach, which later became the central focus of the projects final video. A fantastic moment.

Working with large groups of mixed teenagers can be very challenging to ensure that each individual feels apart of the process. Also, monitoring how engaged students are, and if students are engaging at all. It’s crucial for me that I create that space for students to feel comfortable and confident to come forward and be involved in the creative process. This was the most challenging yet rewarding aspect of the project.

Sven:

There were so many moments working on this project that made me smile. One of the funniest moments occurred when we were talking about the artist / composer John Cage, in particular his composition 4 minutes 33 seconds. This piece is a performance in which the audience (and performer) remains silent for this exact duration of time, highlighting the ambient sounds of the performance space and demonstrating that there really is no such thing as silence – and that many incidental sounds can become ‘material’ when given appropriate focus. We were in the middle of uploading our own version of this piece via a new 4’33” iPhone App – sitting in a circle, listening to the sound of nothing – of our breath, of the creak of chairs, the subtle passing of cars outside. This duration can feel like a long time for a group of teenagers – sitting still, trying not to laugh, trying to stay quiet. One of the students was holding a ‘virtual baby’ / ‘infant simulator’ – one of these fake baby dolls that the students have to take care of, tending to their needs. Suddenly – in the middle of our silence – the baby let out a computerized cry. The laughter that had been hiding behind the silence suddenly broke and we were all laughing, the sound being uploaded to the app to be stored with hundreds of other ‘silences’ recorded around the world.

There were many moments like this – in which our focus on listening, and on the medium of sound, forced us to negotiate with many aspects of space and experience that we would never have had to confront if we were working in a more visual medium. By the end of the residency, I felt that we had a strong group dynamic, and a good understanding of how we could work together as a group both to understand more difficult concepts, and to work towards producing a significant impact on our environment – as evidenced through the successful installation of the sound installation outside of the school.

Turlough:

Seeing the student’s reaction to appearing in the video work really made me smile, particularly because the young girl who became the focus for the main video piece is a very quite student, and she got a real kick out of making the piece. Also the first video piece involved another student being given the power to move chairs with his mind this also was very funny to see his performance in front of the students.

In the sound work shop seeing all the students engage with the artist made me smile. I and the students really enjoyed the field recording trip to Dublin also. On this trip we recorded the everyday sounds of the city; these sounds were later incorporated into a piece of sculpture the students had made in response to Sven’s sound workshop. The whole project / residency challenged the students notions of what is and what is not art and they now have a broader appreciation of what is involved in contemporary art practise.

What insights from the project are worth sharing?

Has anything changed as a result of the project?

Jennie:

I must acknowledge the strength and benefit of forming strong background relationships that substantiate residencies like this. For example, without the backing, support and most importantly the creative vision of Wicklow Country Arts Office and Mermaid Arts Centre this project would never happen. My approach to creating firm and supportive relationships has deepened even more, this does take more time but now that I can see how exciting ongoing connection with schools can emerge from this type of relationship gives everybody involved in this type of project a great sense of achievement. The same approach goes for really involving the artist as early as possible before a project, either in conversation and or doing site visits and being able to communicate as much as possible before a project starts. This project has given a lot of confidence to approach new contexts.
John: I heard from the schools art teacher that after one of our sessions, a usually quite student came up to him and said that the session and work done was; “poetry in motion”.

Another aspect worth sharing from the project, is the careful and considered level of detail carried out by curator Jennie Guy, with the school and art teacher Turlough, to co-ordinate and manage this process. The atmosphere and fundamental creative environment, had been set in place and in motion, making this an extremely smooth and successful project.

I think there is a large number of things that have changed as a result of the project, some measurable, many others not so easy to measure: For the school, Principal, art teachers, and most importantly the students, to experience a sense of what is possible, what can be done, of how to step outside of the school curriculum and produce innovative and challenging work. I feel people’s perspective and perceptions changed in relation to art within the secondary level education system. This also goes for myself as an artist and educator, that we can bring dynamic, relevant, and engaging art practices into the school education system, and produce work and working relationships, where the integrity of project is completed with the highest level of engagement.

Sven:

The project’s structure – established by the curator Jennie Guy – was quite a substantial framework to begin with. I have had experiences with workshops in which the artist is completely responsible for establishing frames of reference with the teaching staff, the school, and the students. In this case, the curatorial framework that Guy established with Turlough ODonnell (the art teacher) set the ground for more adventurous work within the residency – in which I was free to develop my own ideas in response to the students’ interests as they emerged / developed over the course of the residency. The resulting environment (within these sessions) allowed us to move very quickly and to cover quite a bit of ground in six weeks, and the support and exchange with the students, the art teacher, and the curator all felt substantial and easy to balance.

I sense that the impact of having the sound installation – quite a substantial experiential structure – built outside of the school in Blessington marked a significant change in all of our expectations concerning how far we might go with this kind of experimental learning framework. This was not an expected outcome of the project – and beyond the process of producing what I consider to be a considered artwork, our experience working together and learning to ask for a chance to shape or author our environment – in this case the environment of the school – was quite significant. I believe that enabling the students to make a legible mark on their surroundings is a valuable experience in breaking down the borders between self / space (environment) / and authority, resulting in a more active approach to establishing democratic spaces.

Turlough:

The approaches of both artists have given the students great insight into the working practices of contemporary artists. Sven’s work in the field of sound sculpture has the potential to create a greater awareness in students to their surrounding particularly to the sound environment of the school. As a teacher the engagement with both artists has had a very positive effect on my own approach to teaching. I believe that it is very important as a teacher to open the subject up and by getting professional artists into the art room with the students has an energising effect.

I think that students will be more open minded as a result of the project. Some students have even started to explore new media on their own. One group of students created their own video piece in and entered it in a competition called “Youth Connect”. Their work was short listed to 12 which were screened in the Savoy cinema last week. I have no doubt that the video residency with John would have influenced and informed their approach.

Students’ report

Our names are Shona O’Connor and Aoife Mescall, we were students involved in the residency who worked with Sven in the area of sound sculpture.
On the day we were introduced to Jennie and Sven, Sven told us about his area of work and told us what he wanted us, as a class, to learn from the residency. To introduce us to the basics of sound, he brought us in old records with very different genres and sounds and played them on his record player, which he also taught us how to use throughout the day. As an experimental activity, we each chose a record at random and used tape, sand paper and knives to mark and scratch the record to make different sounds and interruptions on the track when it played.

Following up on working with records, Sven gave us the task of making some sort of sculpture using the record covers. The class decided to build a ‘sound tower’ by taping the covers together in various different ways and installing small speakers to the sculpture.

After a couple of weeks, along with Sven, the class came up with the idea of making putting up a semi-permanent sound installation somewhere in the school to make others aware of the sounds around them. We came up with the concept of attaching four small speakers to four long planks of wood that would go up on the ceiling of the shelter outside the first year corridor.

In preparation for proposing our idea to Mr Burke, our principal, we had to plan to tell him what we wanted to do, how we were going to do it and what we wanted to get out of this project. We chose two pupils to help Sven to pitch the idea to Mr Burke and from the very start he was on board with helping us complete the task. Different people were given different jobs that they had to complete as their part-taking in the completion of the project. Some were in charge of preparing the wood for the speakers to be securely installed and others helped in choosing the sounds we were going to play.

At first no-one could really hear the sounds we were trying to make noticeable, so Sven and Mr O’Donnell worked on fixing it and making it louder.
On the last week in the residency, Sven came in and helped us put everything together. Outside Sven helped other pupils feed wires and cables through the wall to ensure we would be able to connect the speakers to electricity, while the rest of the students helped Donal, our care taker, secure the planks to the ceiling of the shelter to be ready to be connected. Other students stayed inside to make a final decision on the sound they were going to play and what went well together. Everything was just about finished when the final bell of the day rang. To thank Sven and Jennie for all their hard work and time they had spent with us, we presented them with a bottle of wine as a small token of our appreciation.

When people were beginning to become aware of the sounds being played, confusion was their initial reaction. They were curious as to where it was coming from, as they were not aware we had been working on this project. However when they got used to it, they listened closely and carefully to the sounds and tried to figure out the type of sound that was being played.

We feel our class really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about how art is not just in pictures and paintings. We all got along really well with Sven and found it a very interesting and new experience. We were also thought about how interesting it is to stop and listen to how versatile the sounds in a particular environment can be.

Overall we think the project was a massive success and really enjoyed working in such a different area of art.