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Ireland’s National School Photography Awards
Finalist Mini Expo now online

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards (INSPA) are delighted to launch their Finalist Mini-Expo online. The theme for this year’s National School Photography Awards was Accessible Places | Safer Spaces. A national panel of judges have made the selections from a wide range of entries from primary schools around Ireland. The exhibition is open until October 2021 at INSPA’s online gallery.

The INSPA team would like to take this opportunity to congratulate every primary school who participated in the 2020/21 National School Photography Awards. Through photography, INSPA introduces creative wellbeing into the lives of primary schools, while building a future generation of people who are confident, resilient, connected, kind and ready. This programme provides an inclusive model for children of all backgrounds and abilities to get involved.

The awards are free and offer a range of fantastic prizes including experiences at the Amber Springs Hotel for principals, teachers, pupils and families, cameras for winners and schools, framed photographs, certificates, photo fundraising days and national recognition as a Positive Primary School. To date, INSPA has seen over 450 primary schools register and take their first step on their Positive Primaries Journey.

To view the free online exhibition of photograph, see www.inspa.ie/inspa-enter-exhibition

If your school would like to begin its own journey and participate in the 2021/22 awards, you can register your school at the INSPA website.

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards        

Deadline extended: 31 May 2021

INSPA 2020/21 sees the fourth open call for Ireland’s prestigious National School Photography Awards [INSPA]. INSPA is a national children’s photography competition and Positive Primaries Programme which introduces Creative Well-being into the lives of primary schools and their communities by engaging with the magic and art of photography.

This year’s theme ‘Accessible Places | Safer Spaces’ is run in association with the Children’s Rights Alliance and is looking for images that focus on giving a voice to children in their new and changing environments. Therefore, we are calling on students and teachers in primary level education, to once again, get creative and integrate the camera into their school day. To begin your Positive Primaries Journey and participate in the awards you must register your school at www.inspa.ie

The INSPA’s are having a massive impact in classrooms across Ireland, helping to boost the well-being of students by simply integrating the camera into your school day.  Participating in the awards helps your students increase their Confidence, Resilience, Connection, Kindness and Readiness. It also gives a platform for teachers to creatively explore their wider curriculum, allowing students from all backgrounds to actively engage with subjects in new and exciting ways.

Once you activate your school account, you will be able to upload your school activities, share ideas and engage with other Positive Primaries as they prepare to enter the awards. You will also be able to access our free and easy-to-follow Creative Well-being Activities. These will help you integrate the camera into your school-day and allow the children to lead the way.

This year, the awards are offering a range of fantastic prizes for the whole school community including; Weekend breaks away to the Amber Springs Resort Hotel, free Instax cameras and printers, Positive Portrait fundraising days, certificates and of course your schools Positive Primaries Flag. All entries will be judged by a national panel including Mary Magner (INTO President), Colm O’Gorman (Director: Amnesty International Ireland), Damian White (IPPN President), Karla Sánchez (Curator, Art Historian & Educator), Áine Lynch (CEO of National Parents Council Primary), and Richard Carr (Artist & Partnerships Manager for INSPA).

In whatever way you choose to respond to this year’s theme, be creative, take lots of photos and most importantly have fun. We look forward to seeing all your schools’ entries and all those positive changes you are making in your school. If you think your school could become one of Ireland’s next Positive Primaries, register as soon as possible at; www.inspa.ie

For further information and to apply to go www.inspa.ie.

A Day in the Life of Rathkeale opened in Rathkeale Arts Centre in February 2020 and will be exhibited again in Limerick City Gallery of Art and in The People’s Museum of Limerick on August 27, 28 29 & 30 2020 as part of the Scairt na hÓige festival presented by the Local Creative Youth Partnership.

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

This project evolved from exploratory discussions and consultations between Limerick Youth Service in Rathkeale Youth Space and the Local Creative Youth Partnership based at Limerick and Clare Education & Training Board.  Following a number of exchanges, Limerick Youth Service Coordinator, Lisa Quirke identified photographic artist, Stephen Lappin as someone with whom the young people in the centre already had a relationship.  With support from the Partnership, Lisa engaged Stephen as the facilitating artist for the project.

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

Stephen Lappin, Photographic Artist

The main focus of this project was to allow the young people as much creative freedom as possible without straining to instill a technical ‘know-how’ of photography.  I believe that dwelling on things like aperture/depth of field/lighting etc. would only bog down and ultimately put off such young participants.  My approach, rather, gave the young people freedom to explore the subjects they wanted to shoot, developing their own creative ideas with minimal instruction from me.  This style of facilitation allowed the young people to own their creative process with my support around technical issues such as setting up the camera for a particular shot.

With this in mind we decided to go with a ‘street photography’ theme where the participants would try to capture candid and unforced scenes of everyday life in their hometown of Rathkeale. We discussed where would be good to photograph in the area, who might make good subjects and how we should go about taking the photos?   Between us we thought it practical, as the number of participants was large and their age so young, to split the group in two with one group led by the artist and teacher and other led, initially, by youth workers.  Both groups explored the streets of Rathkeale for an hour to take photographs before returning to discuss and review the material. We repeated this method on three occasions until we had accomplished a requisite portfolio of work.

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

Having previously worked with Stephen, he was the perfect ‘fit’ for this project. The programme was designed, developed and completed by the young people. They guided the programme though each step; coming up with a concept, how it should be carried out, what pictures should be selected, what title we should give them, where the exhibition should take place, etc. They had the main pivotal role at all stages of the programme.

The young people thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They had great fun using the cameras and enjoyed telling us stories about the places that mean something to them in Rathkeale.  The young people gained skills and confidence through this experience. The programme showed the great pride young people have in their community and the response from the local community was amazing. It was pleasure to see young people being acknowledged for something positive in their community.

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

Stephen Lappin, Photographic Artist

There were so many successes with this project:

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

This project not only showed the pride the young people have in their community but it also served to enhance the community spirit in Rathkeale as it created a real ‘buzz’ in the area. It also enhanced the relationship young people have with some older individuals in their community.

This programme highlighted the importance of sourcing the right tutor and the significance of the working relationships between all parties involved. It’s vitally important that all people involved have the same goal and values or the programme may not succeed. On this occasion, LYS, the tutor and the LCETB/LCYP  were very lucky in that we all had and continue to have an excellent working relationship and kept our target group in mind thorough all stages of the programme. After all, the programme is about the young people!

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

Stephen Lappin, Photographic Artist

To see a complete cycle of events unfold during the project was significant. From the inception and initial discussion, to basic composition and camera handling, to then going out and taking the photos and editing them, selecting and framing all proved rewarding. The final stage of the cycle, finishing with the exhibition and how well it was received by the townsfolk and broader community was truly amazing.

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

As a youth organisation, we continually strive to support young people to get involved in their community, to have their voices heard and the engage with their local community at various levels. This programme was an excellent example of how young people can have a positive impact on all individuals in a community – young and old, different backgrounds and cultures, the isolated and sometimes the forgotten. In essence, this programme highlighted those people that are visible to young people in their community but often invisible to the wider community.

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

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

I will certainly consider planning more creative programmes and will look to the Local Creative Youth Partnership for advice and direction in exploring funding opportunities in this area.

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards

The INSPA team would like to congratulate every school who participated in the 2019/20 National School Photography Awards. The national winner is Dominika Ilecko from Stepaside ETNS who submitted the photo entitled Two Chairs into the Senior Category of the awards. The winner of the Junior Category is Jack Kelly Sharkey from Courtnacuddy NS with his entry Old Phone Box Library.

Dominika Ilecko, Two Chairs, Stepaside ETNS, Senior Category

Dominika Ilecko, Two Chairs, Stepaside ETNS, Senior Category

INSPA is the national children’s photography competition and online academy which is open to all primary schools in the Republic of Ireland. This year, young creatives from around the country were encouraged to engage with digital technologies and the creative process to explore the theme; Second Life.

The awards are having a massive impact in classrooms and homes across Ireland as they provide an inclusive model for children of all backgrounds and abilities to get involved. Through photography, INSPA introduces creative well-being into the lives of primary school students while building a future generation of people who are confident, resilient, connected, kind and ready.

The awards are free and offer a range of fantastic prizes including trips and stays at the Amber Springs Resort for principals, teachers, pupils and families, cameras for winners and schools, framed photographs, certificates and national recognition as a Positive Primary School. All entries are judged by a national panel of experts and over 300 primary schools have already registered their accounts.

We would like to take this opportunity, once again, to congratulate Dominika from Stepaside ETNS and Jack from Courtnacuddy NS on their recent successes and we look forward to working with all finalist schools when they re-open in September.

If your school would like to begin its Positive Primary Journey and participate in the 2020/21 awards, you can register your school at the INSPA website – www.inspa.ie

National Gallery of Ireland

A comprehensive new photography resource has been developed for the National Gallery of Ireland by artist/educator Brian Cregan.

Medium, Materiality and Magic: Photography at the National Gallery of Ireland is suitable for both primary and post-primary schools. It provides an introduction to photography, exploring key works in the Gallery’s growing photography collection, along with ideas for students to create their own photographs.

The resource is accompanied by a video tutorial providing an easy step-by-step guide of how to make a photogram. Some of the Gallery’s most popular resources are now also available in Irish: Tuiscint ar Thaispeántas; Céard é Portráid; & Tírdhreacha in Ealaín na hÉireann.

For more information go to www.nationalgallery.ie/what-we-do/education-department/schools/resources-schools

Download Medium, Materiality and Magic here.

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards

Deadline: Tuesday 21 January 2020

INSPA 2019/20 sees the third open call for Ireland’s prestigious National School Photography Awards [INSPA]. INSPA is a national children’s photography competition which is open to all primary schools located in the Republic of Ireland. This year, the awards are brought to you by the INSPA team in partnership with ReCreate.ie, FujiFilm Instax Camera’s and the Amber Springs Resort Hotel.

The awards aim to encourage young creatives in primary level education to engage with both digital technology and the creative process to create striking visual images. They will inspire and ignite passion in students, increase engagement with digital arts within primary level education while at the same time educating students about the importance of the creative process.

The awards are offering a range of fantastic prizes for finalists, winners and their schools including; Free entry to the Amber Springs Easter Train Experience for the overall winner and their classmates, FujiFilm INSTAX cameras for winners and their schools, a year’s membership for the winning school to ReCreate’s ‘Warehouse of Wonders’, a two night stay in the Amber Springs for the Principal of the winning school, a one night stay in the Amber Springs for the teacher of the winning class, INSPA certificates, framed photographs and an #INSPAsmiles School Photography Fundraising Day in aid of the 2019/20 charity theme partner; ReCreate.ie

This year’s theme is titled ‘Second Life’ which asks both teachers and their students to integrate the camera into the school-day, allowing their students explore their classrooms, corridors and schoolyards. We are specifically looking for fun images that focus on the wonders of waste while utilising the creative techniques of photography to transform spaces/places or give a new lease of life to familiar objects/things.

All entries will be judged by a national panel including Cristín Leach (Art Critic: The Sunday Times Ireland), Feargal Brougham (INTO President), Cathy Baxter (Manager: Green Schools), Páiric  Clerkin (CEO of IPPN), Anya von Gosseln (Curator & Co-Founder of Kamera8 Gallery), Ángel Luis González Fernández (CEO Photo Ireland Foundation), Mandy O’Neill (Visual Artist) and Richard Carr (Artist & Partnerships Manager for INSPA).

If you think your school has Ireland’s next top creative, all you have to do is register your school at the INSPA website – www.inspa.ie. The deadline for entries is midnight on Tuesday 21st January 2020. However, make sure you register your school asap to give yourself time to activate your school account and upload your students’ entries.

For further information go to www.inspa.ie

 

This year sees the inauguration of Ireland’s prestigious National School Photography Awards [INSPA]. INSPA is a national children’s photography competition which is open to all primary schools located in the Republic of Ireland. These awards are brought to you by Image Masters Photography in partnership with Dublin Zoo, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and MummyPages.

The awards aim to encourage young creatives in primary level education to engage with both digital technology and the creative process to create striking visual images. They will inspire and ignite passion in students, increase engagement with digital arts within primary level education while at the same time subtly educating students about the importance of the creative process.

The awards are offering a range of fantastic prizes for finalists, winners and their schools including; Free Entry to Dublin Zoo for the overall winner and their classmates, digital cameras for winners and their schools, framed photographs, certificates of achievement and school photography fundraising days in aid of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

This years’ theme is titled ‘Making Memories’ which asks both teachers and their students to integrate the camera into the school-day to generate discussion and understanding around the idea of memory/memories. All entries will be judged by a national panel including John Boyle (INTO President), Ronan Smith (Chair of ASI Irish Dementia Working Group), Aideen Howard (Director: The Ark, Dublin), Catherine Bowe (Visual Art Manager: Wexford Art Centre) and Richard Carr (Artist & School Liaison).

If your school would like to get involved they can request their schools access codes from the INSPA website – www.inspa.ie – here you will be able to activate your school account and begin uploading your students’ entries.

The deadline for entries is midnight on Friday 19th January 2018 so make sure you have activated your school account well in advance of this date.

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.


!!!! Online Exhibition: Ireland’s National School Photography Awards 2021

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards
Finalist Mini Expo now online

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards (INSPA) are delighted to launch their Finalist Mini-Expo online. The theme for this year’s National School Photography Awards was Accessible Places | Safer Spaces. A national panel of judges have made the selections from a wide range of entries from primary schools around Ireland. The exhibition is open until October 2021 at INSPA’s online gallery.

The INSPA team would like to take this opportunity to congratulate every primary school who participated in the 2020/21 National School Photography Awards. Through photography, INSPA introduces creative wellbeing into the lives of primary schools, while building a future generation of people who are confident, resilient, connected, kind and ready. This programme provides an inclusive model for children of all backgrounds and abilities to get involved.

The awards are free and offer a range of fantastic prizes including experiences at the Amber Springs Hotel for principals, teachers, pupils and families, cameras for winners and schools, framed photographs, certificates, photo fundraising days and national recognition as a Positive Primary School. To date, INSPA has seen over 450 primary schools register and take their first step on their Positive Primaries Journey.

To view the free online exhibition of photograph, see www.inspa.ie/inspa-enter-exhibition

If your school would like to begin its own journey and participate in the 2021/22 awards, you can register your school at the INSPA website.

!!!! Opportunity for Schools: Ireland’s National School Photography Awards Open for Entries

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards        

Deadline extended: 31 May 2021

INSPA 2020/21 sees the fourth open call for Ireland’s prestigious National School Photography Awards [INSPA]. INSPA is a national children’s photography competition and Positive Primaries Programme which introduces Creative Well-being into the lives of primary schools and their communities by engaging with the magic and art of photography.

This year’s theme ‘Accessible Places | Safer Spaces’ is run in association with the Children’s Rights Alliance and is looking for images that focus on giving a voice to children in their new and changing environments. Therefore, we are calling on students and teachers in primary level education, to once again, get creative and integrate the camera into their school day. To begin your Positive Primaries Journey and participate in the awards you must register your school at www.inspa.ie

The INSPA’s are having a massive impact in classrooms across Ireland, helping to boost the well-being of students by simply integrating the camera into your school day.  Participating in the awards helps your students increase their Confidence, Resilience, Connection, Kindness and Readiness. It also gives a platform for teachers to creatively explore their wider curriculum, allowing students from all backgrounds to actively engage with subjects in new and exciting ways.

Once you activate your school account, you will be able to upload your school activities, share ideas and engage with other Positive Primaries as they prepare to enter the awards. You will also be able to access our free and easy-to-follow Creative Well-being Activities. These will help you integrate the camera into your school-day and allow the children to lead the way.

This year, the awards are offering a range of fantastic prizes for the whole school community including; Weekend breaks away to the Amber Springs Resort Hotel, free Instax cameras and printers, Positive Portrait fundraising days, certificates and of course your schools Positive Primaries Flag. All entries will be judged by a national panel including Mary Magner (INTO President), Colm O’Gorman (Director: Amnesty International Ireland), Damian White (IPPN President), Karla Sánchez (Curator, Art Historian & Educator), Áine Lynch (CEO of National Parents Council Primary), and Richard Carr (Artist & Partnerships Manager for INSPA).

In whatever way you choose to respond to this year’s theme, be creative, take lots of photos and most importantly have fun. We look forward to seeing all your schools’ entries and all those positive changes you are making in your school. If you think your school could become one of Ireland’s next Positive Primaries, register as soon as possible at; www.inspa.ie

For further information and to apply to go www.inspa.ie.

!!!! A Day in the Life of Rathkeale

A Day in the Life of Rathkeale opened in Rathkeale Arts Centre in February 2020 and will be exhibited again in Limerick City Gallery of Art and in The People’s Museum of Limerick on August 27, 28 29 & 30 2020 as part of the Scairt na hÓige festival presented by the Local Creative Youth Partnership.

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

This project evolved from exploratory discussions and consultations between Limerick Youth Service in Rathkeale Youth Space and the Local Creative Youth Partnership based at Limerick and Clare Education & Training Board.  Following a number of exchanges, Limerick Youth Service Coordinator, Lisa Quirke identified photographic artist, Stephen Lappin as someone with whom the young people in the centre already had a relationship.  With support from the Partnership, Lisa engaged Stephen as the facilitating artist for the project.

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

Stephen Lappin, Photographic Artist

The main focus of this project was to allow the young people as much creative freedom as possible without straining to instill a technical ‘know-how’ of photography.  I believe that dwelling on things like aperture/depth of field/lighting etc. would only bog down and ultimately put off such young participants.  My approach, rather, gave the young people freedom to explore the subjects they wanted to shoot, developing their own creative ideas with minimal instruction from me.  This style of facilitation allowed the young people to own their creative process with my support around technical issues such as setting up the camera for a particular shot.

With this in mind we decided to go with a ‘street photography’ theme where the participants would try to capture candid and unforced scenes of everyday life in their hometown of Rathkeale. We discussed where would be good to photograph in the area, who might make good subjects and how we should go about taking the photos?   Between us we thought it practical, as the number of participants was large and their age so young, to split the group in two with one group led by the artist and teacher and other led, initially, by youth workers.  Both groups explored the streets of Rathkeale for an hour to take photographs before returning to discuss and review the material. We repeated this method on three occasions until we had accomplished a requisite portfolio of work.

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

Having previously worked with Stephen, he was the perfect ‘fit’ for this project. The programme was designed, developed and completed by the young people. They guided the programme though each step; coming up with a concept, how it should be carried out, what pictures should be selected, what title we should give them, where the exhibition should take place, etc. They had the main pivotal role at all stages of the programme.

The young people thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They had great fun using the cameras and enjoyed telling us stories about the places that mean something to them in Rathkeale.  The young people gained skills and confidence through this experience. The programme showed the great pride young people have in their community and the response from the local community was amazing. It was pleasure to see young people being acknowledged for something positive in their community.

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

Stephen Lappin, Photographic Artist

There were so many successes with this project:

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

This project not only showed the pride the young people have in their community but it also served to enhance the community spirit in Rathkeale as it created a real ‘buzz’ in the area. It also enhanced the relationship young people have with some older individuals in their community.

This programme highlighted the importance of sourcing the right tutor and the significance of the working relationships between all parties involved. It’s vitally important that all people involved have the same goal and values or the programme may not succeed. On this occasion, LYS, the tutor and the LCETB/LCYP  were very lucky in that we all had and continue to have an excellent working relationship and kept our target group in mind thorough all stages of the programme. After all, the programme is about the young people!

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

Stephen Lappin, Photographic Artist

To see a complete cycle of events unfold during the project was significant. From the inception and initial discussion, to basic composition and camera handling, to then going out and taking the photos and editing them, selecting and framing all proved rewarding. The final stage of the cycle, finishing with the exhibition and how well it was received by the townsfolk and broader community was truly amazing.

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

As a youth organisation, we continually strive to support young people to get involved in their community, to have their voices heard and the engage with their local community at various levels. This programme was an excellent example of how young people can have a positive impact on all individuals in a community – young and old, different backgrounds and cultures, the isolated and sometimes the forgotten. In essence, this programme highlighted those people that are visible to young people in their community but often invisible to the wider community.

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

Lisa Quirke, Youth Work Coordinator

I will certainly consider planning more creative programmes and will look to the Local Creative Youth Partnership for advice and direction in exploring funding opportunities in this area.

!!!! Ireland’s National School Photography Awards – Winners Announced

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards

The INSPA team would like to congratulate every school who participated in the 2019/20 National School Photography Awards. The national winner is Dominika Ilecko from Stepaside ETNS who submitted the photo entitled Two Chairs into the Senior Category of the awards. The winner of the Junior Category is Jack Kelly Sharkey from Courtnacuddy NS with his entry Old Phone Box Library.

Dominika Ilecko, Two Chairs, Stepaside ETNS, Senior Category

Dominika Ilecko, Two Chairs, Stepaside ETNS, Senior Category

INSPA is the national children’s photography competition and online academy which is open to all primary schools in the Republic of Ireland. This year, young creatives from around the country were encouraged to engage with digital technologies and the creative process to explore the theme; Second Life.

The awards are having a massive impact in classrooms and homes across Ireland as they provide an inclusive model for children of all backgrounds and abilities to get involved. Through photography, INSPA introduces creative well-being into the lives of primary school students while building a future generation of people who are confident, resilient, connected, kind and ready.

The awards are free and offer a range of fantastic prizes including trips and stays at the Amber Springs Resort for principals, teachers, pupils and families, cameras for winners and schools, framed photographs, certificates and national recognition as a Positive Primary School. All entries are judged by a national panel of experts and over 300 primary schools have already registered their accounts.

We would like to take this opportunity, once again, to congratulate Dominika from Stepaside ETNS and Jack from Courtnacuddy NS on their recent successes and we look forward to working with all finalist schools when they re-open in September.

If your school would like to begin its Positive Primary Journey and participate in the 2020/21 awards, you can register your school at the INSPA website – www.inspa.ie

!!!! Medium, Materiality and Magic: A New Photography Resource for Schools at the National Gallery of Ireland

National Gallery of Ireland

A comprehensive new photography resource has been developed for the National Gallery of Ireland by artist/educator Brian Cregan.

Medium, Materiality and Magic: Photography at the National Gallery of Ireland is suitable for both primary and post-primary schools. It provides an introduction to photography, exploring key works in the Gallery’s growing photography collection, along with ideas for students to create their own photographs.

The resource is accompanied by a video tutorial providing an easy step-by-step guide of how to make a photogram. Some of the Gallery’s most popular resources are now also available in Irish: Tuiscint ar Thaispeántas; Céard é Portráid; & Tírdhreacha in Ealaín na hÉireann.

For more information go to www.nationalgallery.ie/what-we-do/education-department/schools/resources-schools

Download Medium, Materiality and Magic here.

!!!! Opportunity for Schools: Ireland’s National School Photography Awards Open for Entries

Ireland’s National School Photography Awards

Deadline: Tuesday 21 January 2020

INSPA 2019/20 sees the third open call for Ireland’s prestigious National School Photography Awards [INSPA]. INSPA is a national children’s photography competition which is open to all primary schools located in the Republic of Ireland. This year, the awards are brought to you by the INSPA team in partnership with ReCreate.ie, FujiFilm Instax Camera’s and the Amber Springs Resort Hotel.

The awards aim to encourage young creatives in primary level education to engage with both digital technology and the creative process to create striking visual images. They will inspire and ignite passion in students, increase engagement with digital arts within primary level education while at the same time educating students about the importance of the creative process.

The awards are offering a range of fantastic prizes for finalists, winners and their schools including; Free entry to the Amber Springs Easter Train Experience for the overall winner and their classmates, FujiFilm INSTAX cameras for winners and their schools, a year’s membership for the winning school to ReCreate’s ‘Warehouse of Wonders’, a two night stay in the Amber Springs for the Principal of the winning school, a one night stay in the Amber Springs for the teacher of the winning class, INSPA certificates, framed photographs and an #INSPAsmiles School Photography Fundraising Day in aid of the 2019/20 charity theme partner; ReCreate.ie

This year’s theme is titled ‘Second Life’ which asks both teachers and their students to integrate the camera into the school-day, allowing their students explore their classrooms, corridors and schoolyards. We are specifically looking for fun images that focus on the wonders of waste while utilising the creative techniques of photography to transform spaces/places or give a new lease of life to familiar objects/things.

All entries will be judged by a national panel including Cristín Leach (Art Critic: The Sunday Times Ireland), Feargal Brougham (INTO President), Cathy Baxter (Manager: Green Schools), Páiric  Clerkin (CEO of IPPN), Anya von Gosseln (Curator & Co-Founder of Kamera8 Gallery), Ángel Luis González Fernández (CEO Photo Ireland Foundation), Mandy O’Neill (Visual Artist) and Richard Carr (Artist & Partnerships Manager for INSPA).

If you think your school has Ireland’s next top creative, all you have to do is register your school at the INSPA website – www.inspa.ie. The deadline for entries is midnight on Tuesday 21st January 2020. However, make sure you register your school asap to give yourself time to activate your school account and upload your students’ entries.

For further information go to www.inspa.ie

 

!!!! Irelands National School Photography Awards

This year sees the inauguration of Ireland’s prestigious National School Photography Awards [INSPA]. INSPA is a national children’s photography competition which is open to all primary schools located in the Republic of Ireland. These awards are brought to you by Image Masters Photography in partnership with Dublin Zoo, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and MummyPages.

The awards aim to encourage young creatives in primary level education to engage with both digital technology and the creative process to create striking visual images. They will inspire and ignite passion in students, increase engagement with digital arts within primary level education while at the same time subtly educating students about the importance of the creative process.

The awards are offering a range of fantastic prizes for finalists, winners and their schools including; Free Entry to Dublin Zoo for the overall winner and their classmates, digital cameras for winners and their schools, framed photographs, certificates of achievement and school photography fundraising days in aid of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

This years’ theme is titled ‘Making Memories’ which asks both teachers and their students to integrate the camera into the school-day to generate discussion and understanding around the idea of memory/memories. All entries will be judged by a national panel including John Boyle (INTO President), Ronan Smith (Chair of ASI Irish Dementia Working Group), Aideen Howard (Director: The Ark, Dublin), Catherine Bowe (Visual Art Manager: Wexford Art Centre) and Richard Carr (Artist & School Liaison).

If your school would like to get involved they can request their schools access codes from the INSPA website – www.inspa.ie – here you will be able to activate your school account and begin uploading your students’ entries.

The deadline for entries is midnight on Friday 19th January 2018 so make sure you have activated your school account well in advance of this date.

!!!! 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.