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BLAST Bringing Live Arts to Students and Teachers


BLAST Logo design by Lily Fleming from sixth class in Bunscoil Rinn An Chabhlaigh, Rushbrooke, Cobh, Co Cork.

The Department of Education developed an innovative Arts-in-Education BLAST Residency Programme in 2021, which enables up to 400 new Arts-in-Education Residencies in schools each year.

This initiative aims to support the integration of the principles and key skills outlined in the Arts in Education Charter and the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022), Pillar 1 Creative Youth.

This initiative aims to support the integration of the principles and key skills outlined in the Arts-in-Education Charter and the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022), Pillar 1 Creative Youth.

The aim of this scheme is to give students in schools all over the country the opportunity to work with a professional artist on unique projects to be planned and developed between the artist, the teacher and the school under the co-ordination of the Education Support Centres Ireland ESCI network of 21 full-time education centres. This initiative supports children and young people for the future, where skills like the ability to connect and collaborate with others, engage in creative and critical thinking and practice inclusivity at every level will be paramount to peace, stability, sustainable economic growth and equality.

What is proposed is a unique streamlined process whereby schools apply for an artist on the Online Register of Approved Artists who are already trained for the new BLAST Arts-in-Education Residency Programme, managed by the local education centre. The education centre will also pay the artist which will further remove the administrative burden on teachers and schools.

How this BLAST residency initiative will operate

The Education Centre

Schools will apply for a BLAST Arts-in-Education Residency to the full-time education centre in their area. The Register of Approved Artists in each education centre will be arranged by artist and discipline, include relevant required and approved training experience, examples of previous work and examples of relevant or related experience in an educational and community context.

The Artist

Artists from any artistic discipline who have been trained in partnership working with schools will be registered with each of the 21 full-time education centres. Artistic disciplines include visual arts, crafts, music, dance, drama, literature and film. Creative disciplines will be expanded as the BLAST Residency Programme develops over the next number of years.

The artists on the Register of Approved Artists will have been previously trained and have engaged in school residencies under Teacher-Artist Partnership CPD and Residency initiative or the Arts in Junior Cycle Programme which are both approved and led by the Department of Education. Artists are currently trained and registered on the Online Register of Approved Artists managed by the education support centre network nationally. Garda Clearance for artists for successful school applications will be sought by the education centre. The education centre will also arrange for payment of the artist which will further remove the administrative burden on teachers and schools.

The School

The school must be in the catchment of the local full-time education centre. Schools may submit only 1 application.

This initiative encourages:

  • schools, primary and post-primary, that have not recently had an opportunity to participate in such creative initiatives
  • schools supporting inclusion and enhanced arts-in-education engagement with students from disadvantaged backgrounds and SEN
  • schools that have a track record in teacher-artist partnership working in the classroom and school
  • a whole-school commitment to the project, but it is not a requirement that all classes work with the artist
  • projects should have regard to the relevant school curricula where appropriate and have a focus on process

For more information or to apply, see www.gov.ie/blast/

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