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The LAB Gallery, Dublin City Arts Office
Dates: Wednesdays 4-6pm, 3, 10, 24 March & 14, 21, 28 April

The Practice of Looking is a six-week, online course to learn about Visual Thinking Strategies and its use in Dublin, and to practice its facilitation. It was born out of the growing interest in the adoption of Visual Thinking Strategies at the LAB Gallery and in the partnerships and networks that have evolved around it. The LAB Gallery, Dublin City Arts Office, The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and VTS Neighbourhood Schools are partnering to host an online course that offers the opportunity to learn from trained VTS coaches in the existing network. The course will have a strong focus on facilitation practice and reflection. You will receive a certificate of attendance after completion of the course.

Please note that to participate to the course, you need to:

For more information and to register, please see here: http://www.dublincityartsoffice.ie/the-lab/vts-projects/the-practice-of-looking

 

 

The Ark
Date: 25 February 2021

The Ark invites you to ‘Creativity in the Online Classroom Made Easy’ CPD workshop for teachers, where you will learn a range of easy, accessible skills to help you bring creativity into your online teaching. Find out how easy it can be to breathe imagination into an online class, inspiring both your students and yourself. The ideas shared will be useful for both teaching online and when you are back in the classroom.

Perhaps you are overwhelmed with the technical aspects of moving your teaching online, or feeling frustrated with the limitations and struggling to make your online lessons creative and engaging. Or perhaps you are simply looking for some fresh inspiration for ideas that can work well in the online space. Join the Ark for this morning of inspiration and art-making to help you address these challenges, led by artist Duffy Mooney-Sheppard who has been leading online classes for children for the past year.

During this session you will gain valuable time to explore various tools available on Zoom to develop, hone and gain confidence in digital art lessons. Ideas shared will be adaptable and transferrable to other online platforms you may be using also. The possibilities in virtual learning spaces are wide and we are all learning! We will ask questions, share challenges, try things out and build our knowledge as a group.

This is a free CPD event for teachers, but advance booking is essential. For more details please go to: https://ark.ie/events/view/cpd-creativity-online-classroom

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.

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

 

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

In February 2018 Landmark Productions and Everyman Theatre Cork approached us to ask what ancillary activities would we be organizing around the production of ‘Asking For It’ they were planning to stage in June and which would subsequently transfer to the Abbey in November.

We all saw the necessity to involve young people in the story and so aside from the Abbey’s usual provision of post-show talks and podcasts we decided to take the work into schools as directly as possible. We planned a structure of pre and post show workshops to support any school who was going to see the play. We also committed to the creation of a teachers study pack which could appeal to many levels of ability.

After speaking about schools visits to Louise O’Neill, the author of the novel on which the play was based, it became clear that we needed specific training in dealing with this project. Louise’s disturbing experience had been that in nearly every school she had visited herself at least one young woman had disclosed she had experienced sexual assault.

On 24th July we hosted a workshop by Tender UK a theatre company that specializes in exploring issues of abuse with post primary students. On their advice we changed the original plan of having a sole female facilitator to having workshops run by both a male and female so they could model healthy gender relationships. That’s when I stopped just managing the project and stepped in as co-facilitator.

Based on her previous work with the Abbey we contacted actor and facilitator Aoibheann McCaul and she and I planned the post-show workshop together. Aoibheann also attended a training session at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

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

Aoibheann and Phil started visiting schools in October using applied drama to explore the students’ sense of the characters involved in the story and any links they had to students’ own sense of gender roles, friendship dynamics and sexual consent. These pre-show workshops were introductory and often didn’t go into the ethics of consent or even the plot of the play if the students’ weren’t already aware of the story. We wanted the students to experience it theatrically. For those that were aware of the book though, we found that for some the issues of assault were still unclear, “Well she took him into the room so she was asking for it, wasn’t she?”

The groups went to performances of ‘Asking For It’ at the Abbey Theatre and met a couple of the cast afterwards.  The actors had all volunteered to talk to the students and were eager to engage with their responses. These ranged from the shy and practical (“How do learn your lines?”) to more in depth enquiries “How do you play someone so nasty?” “Why did you choose to do this particular play?” “What’s it like having to play Emma over and over again?”. One all-girl’s school which had been skeptical about assault changed their view completely and demanded their teachers give them better sex education in future especially about consent.

Aiobheann and Phil then returned do the schools for a two hour long post show workshop that built on the previously introduced techniques of statues, tableaux and walking in character to explore how both the characters and the students themselves had changed over the course of the evening.

As with the pre-show workshops we used a basic drama technique to encourage recollection  of a lived moment e.g. “How did you feel at the interval of the play?” or “What moment do you remember most about the beginning of the show?” and then encouraged others to ‘read’ these and reflect upon them.  The majority of the workshop was taken up with creating tableaux of the most striking moments of play and then exploring what could have been going through the characters minds at the time. This meant we could explore many of the themes of the work –gender dynamics, peer pressure, sexual consent, family tension – from inside realistic illustrations of how these manifest in behavior. Some highlights of this were the complex dynamics of single gender friendship groups, what was going through the minds of the young men while they were assaulting Emma, how Emma’s father uses emotional blackmail to reinforce her decision to drop the charges.

We also looked at how characters’ lives were changed by the events of the play and again found quite a range of responses from those who thought e.g. Zoe would be 1/ glad that she could now “Take over Emma’s place as top girl.” to  “/ Zoe will be even more cowed by the knowledge her assailant, Dylan, has avoided prosecution for a second assault. It was in this section that the students really got to see the differences in their views.

There was quite a range of responses with the majority of students becoming more understanding and articulate about the circumstances that led to Emma’s choices and how she had been raped. Our touchstone was whether they saw Emma’s encounter with Paul at the party as consensual or not (Emma is plainly on drugs and asks him to wait which he ignores). Before the show this encounter separated out those who had considered the theme of consent in any depth from those who followed conventional option.

Generally the more depth of engagement with the story and characters resulted in a more sympathetic response to the play and more varied and satisfying discussion. One school was already putting on their own play about consent looking at an incident from different viewpoints and our work here became much more do do with teasing out the nuances of motivation in the subsidiary characters e.g. why the mother was drinking, or how the father was avoiding responsibility when asking Emma if she really wanted to drop the charges.  We were surprised to find in another school they still felt Emma had been “asking for it” because she had taken drugs and therefore implicitly consented. In this school there was less empathy for the characters and many of them talked about Emma as ‘a girl like that would’ indicating the distance they felt to her. The work here was harder because the students seemed entrenched in their positions and surprised and resistance to being asked to question them.

The most dramatic changed came with one all girls school who in the pre-show had felt Emma had encouraged Paul. By the end of the show and in the post show workshops they were clear that the sexual double standards evident in society and the lack of appropriate sex education in the field of content were unacceptable.

At the time of writing this we have two more schools to visit. One, a private male only boarding school, will offer the most challenging work as some of the pupils were already defensive and dismissive of the whole premise of the story, believing it to be unrealistic and diverting the debate with arguments that some women lie, men get raped too etc….we were specifically asked to work here by an existing teacher because they felt attitudes towards women needed to be challenged.

For follow on work we created a Study Pack with an analysis of the play and its themes but also extra ancillary material on the history of consent in Ireland, plans of the pre and post show workshops, blogs by students form Cork who’d seen the original production and an example of a homegrown consent workshops. We also asked the pack’s main author, critic and activist Saoirse Anton, to contribute an essay on the connection between consumer culture and rape culture.

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

Phil Kingston, Community & Education Manager & Co-Facilitator

After speaking to Louise I had concerns about the work triggering traumatic experiences in the participants while remaining convinced it was essential young people be given a chance to engage with the issues directly; no amount of older generations talking about the topic of consent was going to make nearly as much difference as exploring it with their peers. I saw this clearly when attending a town hall meeting arranged by the Everyman Theatre and Land mark productions in Ballincollig where teacher Tim Burke arranged for his class to discuss the play with Louise O’Neil, Mary Crilly of the Cork Rape Crisis Centre. It was obvious the students previous discussions contributed to the depth and sympathy of their opinions as well as their intolerance of the lazy, self interested and vicious social forces that perpetuate rape culture.

So the visit of Tender UK was an eye opener about the depth of ignorance and indifference to young women’s agency they had encountered in schools already.  This prepared me for the casualness with which both young men and young women dismissed lead characters Emma’s behaviour as “asking for it”. It was still a challenge though especially when revisiting one inner city school after the play to find that many of the students opinions hadn’t changed and that “girls like that are half responsible”.

Methodologically all six schools proved so varied in responsiveness that we had to continually adapt our approach. This is more a highlight than a challenge because one of the pleasures of applied drama are those in-the-moment improvisations that help coax a non-responsive teenage into someone passionately arguing their point of view. It was also a pleasure to work closely with another facilitator, to be able to hand on to them and observe the different spin the took on what the young people were producing, to debrief and discuss afterwards and to have the space observe the students out of the main focus while your partner led.

All the groups became more responsive and engaged as the workshops went on, often prompting surprised teachers to exclaim how certain pupils were ‘coming out’ of themselves or asserting themselves more than usual. This may have been to do with the kinesthetic aspect of the work unlocking some student’s expressiveness ( a common enough result for applied drama) but also, especially with the young women, a reflection that the topic of gender inequality and consent was important enough to them to ‘raise their game’.

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

Seeing the play, which is very clear that the protagonist does not explicitly consent, wasn’t always enough to cut through the view that young women who take drugs, dress with sexual confidence and have sexual appetites must take responsibility if they are raped.

Every teacher we talked to was adamant their charges needed to be talking about this topic and as early in their school lives as possible.

There was one all boys schools that we were explicitly asked to visit because of the teachers’ concern about attitudes to women. The young men were indeed defensive and quick to offer counter examples of women lying about rape and we had to be clear the book and play of Asking For It are unequivocal in their depiction of an actual assault. The instinct to deflect the discussion then took an unusual route when they started to dismiss the story itself as unrealistic (“Those pictures would never have been left up there for so long”) and therefore not needing to be engaged with.

Despite having been worried, as mentioned previously, and prepared for the possibility that some participants might disclose that they had experienced assault the fast moving and generally fun nature of the workshops meant we never got to a space where this might have happened. We ensured that schools counsellors were aware of the work and many of them attended or kept in close communication. While the topics weren’t treated frivolously there was more a sense of the young people appreciated the respect shown by having them discuss them.

We were also worried that rules about reporting young people under 17 who revealed they had active sex lives would inhibit the discussion. This never happened and we managed to talk at length and in depth through the lens of the play and its characters without compromising any of the individuals involved.

Students Responses

‘The play had a huge effect on my awareness of my surroundings and really made me appreciate the life I have as the struggles portrayed in the play were devastating’. 

‘When the play was over it made me think how the word ‘rape’ is not being discussed as a problem. People are uneducated about the topic when they should’.

‘The play was very intense, the actors were very good at acting out their roles. By them doing this, it made the play very realistic’. 

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

A renewed enthusiasm to work with young people on ‘difficult’ topics.

A desire to continue to co-facilitate where resources allow.

A plan to use young people’s voice s more in the creation of study packs

Update from Phil Kingston, Community & Education Manager & Co-Facilitator

Facilitator Johanna Webb and I returned to the all boys school and were told a third of the class were in Australia on a school trip and this meant our two workshops would be smaller.

This was a very different encounter with these privileged and, mainly, self-confident young men. Before, with larger groups of 20-25, the atmosphere had been alternately raucous and resistant with obvious leaders asserting their authority and more introverted personalities being muted by the sheer size and testosterone levels.

This time there wasn’t any possibility of hiding and Joanna and I chose to take a very candid approach in the hope it would create openness all round. We told them how concerned we had been at the previous workshops, how genuinely interested in their responses we were and how we appreciated the difficult position they were in (that they had little contact with young women and that they might feel attacked by the topics we were discussing). After moving through some responses obviously designed to give us what we wanted they started to actually say what they thought, prefaced with such remarks as ” I know this is an unpopular opinion but..” Once they saw they weren’t getting jumped on the whole workshop took off.

(My thanks here to Louise O’Neill who sent me an article about sex education in America which prompted us to focus more on these young men’s ignorance than their antagonism.)

We kept to our existing structure of exercises which explored the play ( walking around as different characters at different points in the story, making tableaux of significant moments) and the commitment was as mixed as any group but really these were just a springboard to keep discussing the themes of the play. Some preoccupations emerged – how culpable are you for your actions if you are drunk, how inhibited by convention the parents were, how over the top the lads were presented. The turning point was asking them, if were they Conor, would they take advantage of Emma’s offer to have sex in the second half of the play. Their outraged refusals introduced the idea of conscience and by the end of each workshop they had all agreed that really you always ‘know’ if you are overstepping the bounds of respect for another person’s autonomy regardless of how drunk you are.

The final exercise is choosing lines from the play (spread out on the floor in front of them) and talking about why they are significant. Several of these are from Emma when she is doubting her own position “e.g. Maybe I am a slut”. They were all clear this was an example of someone betraying themselves out of a desire to ‘get back to normal’. They also talked about their own fears of how to approach the whole area of sex and when two exchange students from France and Spain talked with obvious experience of having reflected on these topics you could see, past the odd embarrassed titter, that the Irish boys were impressed less at the achievement and more at the maturity. They all acknowledged the urge to brag about sexual conquests and how difficult it was to talk with the sensitivity they were displaying now when in the company of other young men. We did point out they were doing it there and then.

They came across as frightened, confused and tender-hearted, with no problem individually understanding Emma’s situation but also subject to a culture that made this empathy almost impossible to act upon. They seemed glad to have had the chance to talk openly and were noticeably more honest in the first workshop when we were left unsupervised for the last ten minutes.

Out of a possible 30 we only worked with 20 but these included the young man who’d previously called one of the characters ‘a pregnant bitch’ ( showing not only casual misogyny but a complete misunderstanding of the play) and another who’d been disruptively cynical. Both these behaviours disappeared quickly in the atmosphere of seriousness that the topics demanded. The teachers were amazed by how responsive some of the boys were but I wasn’t surprised that once they were listened to they re-discovered this sense of responsibility.

Before, after first visiting this school, I felt I’d seen the breeding ground for not only the rugby players in the Belfast rape trial but also the barristers who so calmly used their privileged education to spin the events to their clients’ advantage. Now I saw young men who could be advocates for more compassionate attitudes. So long as they resist the pack mentality.

Grow from Seeds Programme

Date: 17 January 2020

The Grow from Seeds project intends to provide a programme designed to foster intercultural dialogue in Primary Schools recognising European Parliament priorities to address anti-social behaviour through social cohesion and inclusion, active citizenship and the empowerment and participation of pupils. The methodology used to deliver this education programme adopts multiple strands of Creative Drama, storytelling and performing arts which are proven to be highly motivating, multi-sensory and active learning tools. The Grow from Seeds project engages partners from Ireland, Germany and France, and is supported by Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership.

Teachers, policy makers, researchers, artists, drama practitioners and academics are invited to attend the International Conference in Intercultural Education for Primary Schools to explore new ways of understanding Intercultural Education in Primary Schools and the use of the creative arts as a tool to foster intercultural dialogue in primary schools..

Keynote Address

The conference event will include a keynote talk from Joe Little, RTÉ Religious and Social Affairs correspondent. The event will also showcase the work from the Grow from Seeds project as well as presentations and contributions from practitioners and educators through a panel discussion.

Venue: Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin

Date: 17th January 2020, 9.30am registration

RSVP by January 6th to educate@gaietyschool.com

 

 

The Ark

10 – 11 January 2020

As the fun of the festive season fades and the new year sets in, this early years drama workshop for little ones aged 2-4 will explore how to cope when things go wrong. Part of First Fortnight festival and led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence, Joanna Parkes.

Oh dear! Elliott the Dragon is having a bad day. It’s a cold, snowy day and he’s fed up. Everything’s going wrong and he doesn’t know what to do. He says he’s going to give up and not try anymore but… maybe we can help him? Maybe we encourage him to try again? Maybe we can help him bounce back?

Join in to discover, explore and find out if you can help Elliott figure out how to be resilient in this delightful workshop adventure.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

For further information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-first-fortnight2020

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

 

The Ark

Dates: 14 – 29 December 2019

Little Bigtop in Association with The Civic

Escape into space in this fantastic interactive theatrical adventure for ages 3-5 from Little Bigtop in association with The Civic.

Moon Woke Me Up Nine times
It was still 4am
So I built a rocket with my friends
And went on a journey that never ends

Come up and away with us. Come and play with us.

You are invited to come and build a rocket that will BLAST OFF and take us on a magical adventure. Once inside their homemade rocket children are treated to a magical shadow show as they journey to the moon! Come with us all the way, up there, into outer space!

I wonder if it smells of cheese?
I wonder if it will make me sneeze?

Let’s find out!

Inspired by a Haiku of the same title by Basho Matsuo, Moon Woke Me Up is an interactive theatrical adventure to space for ages 3-5, using a wonderful blend of performance and interactive drama, construction play and sensory explorations.

For further information and bookings go to https://ark.ie/events/view/moon-woke-me-up

 

 

Liz Coman is an Assistant Arts Officer with Dublin City Council.  She is a certified Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator with VTS/USA and has completed training to coaching level.  She is responsible for monitoring the quality of Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – an EU project for Dublin City Council that is testing the VTS training pathway with educators in classroom and gallery settings. Liz has a background in History of Art and Museum Studies and fifteen years experience in designing innovative projects that support arts, education and learning.  She has led trainings in enquiry led approaches to mediating artwork for visual art facilitators in The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, The National Gallery of Ireland, and The Turner Prize, Derry and offers ongoing mentorship for individual artists, arts educators and teachers.

“Observation is more than one thing –  we use our eyes to analyse an image, and we also use thinking, and our senses and emotions to interpret what we are seeing” – Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder  – Blog 4

A Conversation with Primary School Teacher, Jane Malone

For this fourth and final blog about Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder, it is timely for me to reflect on some of our learnings from the VTS training pathway for educators.  Over 150 educators, from classroom and museum settings, were supported to access the VTS training pathway with VTS/USA. This happened, through a partnership approach that allowed a range of partners across local, national and European to fund a unique training programme.

The research evaluation framework for Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder will capture the ‘impact’ of the VTS training pathway on educators training and practicing VTS in schools and museums across.  Findings will be presented by VTS Nederland at our Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder Conference on 21 April 2020 in Dublin Castle.

Between now and then, we are considering what is next for our work with VTS.  What are the existing mainstream teacher and artist training pathways that could offer support to the VTS training pathway?  How do we hold on to the value of  peer to peer learning across a the mixed cohort of educators – artist, art educators, secondary (art) teacher and primary school classroom teachers? How do we support mixed groupings of trainees to continue to access enjoyable and deep VTS learning experiences about art, learning, classroom and community where every individual voice is valued and heard?

The cross-disciplinary potential for VTS is striking.  Art is the starting point and the transferrable skills for the trained VTS educator and for the participating group become more and more obvious with regular practice.  For me, the most obvious win for VTS practice is within the primary school or early years classroom.  In these classrooms, multiple subject areas sit alongside each other, but objectives for building patterns of learning, thinking and communicating are overarching priorities. This is approach to learning is more and more mirrored in the modern workplace.  Artists, lawyers, farmers, employees and entrepreneurs across all disciplines must show flexibility in their thinking and their approach to running their business/getting their product out there/meeting their client needs. Problem solving and team communication skills are key in order to do that.  Teams must use their observational skills and thinking skills in tandem with a bigger picture approach which is supported by being open to differing points of view, to allow for benefit from other people’s experience along with their own.

Below, Jane Malone, a primary school teacher from St Catherine’s NS, Donore Avenue, talks about how VTS has strengthened her practice in facilitating students’ learning; how this practice is a tool for communication skills, such as deep listening and respectful discussion;  how it is a tool for opening students up to their own thinking processes to support how they learn, access knowledge and problem solve; how this practice can transfer from art, to maths, to science to SPHE, to oral language development, to project development.

What do you find VTS brings to your practice as a primary teacher?

In a primary school classroom of today, we are facilitators of learning, more so than the traditional idea of teachers. VTS definitely highlighted to me the skill of being a facilitator. You facilitate the thinking skills you want them to have or the writing skills you want them, but where they take it is theirs, as long as it’s appropriate.

I find our VTS sessions are a great tool for demonstrating and practising active listening.   When someone is making their observation, and when I’m paraphrasing back, they are all listening. Their hand isn’t up with their point, it’s a shared listening experience where they can see what the speaker is seeing. That has really helped in terms of general classroom management, but also for turn taking in terms of respectful conversation.  This is something that can’t be explicitly taught. At the same time, it permeates all the other lessons, because we all get so used to the process.

I also find our VTS sessions very inclusive, because it’s not about ability, it’s about the picture or the piece of art that you were looking at, and ‘my opinion’ is not the rightopinion, it may vary very differently to what ‘your opinion’ is. It’s accessing art on all levels for all children of all abilities, not just for the ‘arty’ children or the people who like that piece of art.  It takes how art used to be untouchable, it was in galleries, behind frames, it’s opening it up to multiple possible interpretations.

For me, VTS impacts all the curriculum areas, particularly the language elements and the social and emotional aspect of things as well. I use it with ‘Number Talks’, and with anything I’m doing in SESE where I’m facilitating project-based learning and they’re determining where they’re going to take the project. VTS fits well in particular, with the New Language Curriculum, with Irish and English, and how it describes the role of paraphrasing the students comment, that no comment is incorrect, but the paraphrase back is the teaching and learning moment. The children are becoming more aware of how I am teaching them, more familiar with the paraphrasing process, and this gives them the confidence to make the comment, in a language lesson, without worrying about being right or wrong.

What have you noticed happening in your work in the classroom with VTS?

The group I have this year is sixth class. I had them in fourth class, when I started practicing VTS in the classroom. So this year, when I do VTS with the children, I begin a session by talking with them about the broad concept of thinkingthat happens when we do VTS – ‘what is observing?’ We talk about using our eyes, and the role of listening. We go deeper with an art image and talk about how we use our senses to observe, and also how our emotional response informs our thinking.

I began this year’s science curriculum with an exercise where we took a roll of Sellotape and passed it around the room. Each child had to make an observational comment about it, as it was passed from person to person. The reason why I blended VTS with this exercise, is because in VTS with art images, you are naturally talking about story, setting, materials, bringing in previous experience and knowledge. So, in this Sellotape exercise, I was really conscious that it can push them to build more sophisticated language for what they are describing.  I keep my paraphrasing conditional and label the thinking processes so that the children can recognise that their thinking processes can transfer from the VTS exercise we do with art, to this exercise, which is more about introducing scientific language for observation. It’s a really successful exercise because you can hear them talking about texture of the Sellotape, using language to describe it based on their senses, describing it’s shape based on their knowledge of maths, making metacognitive statements that are bringing information from other bodies of knowledge.
I see that this is how I am going to bring my VTS practice forward.  In the classroom, I’m trying to create an atmosphere of STEAM versus STEM.  VTS is one of the methodologies that supports me to do this.  I use mind maps and Elklan (a process to meet the speech, language and communication needs of children) with topics where we build vocabulary and language. I find VTS coming into play more for the more technical curriculum subject areas such as the literacy skills of breaking down a language, looking at and attempting maths problem solving, and also for science.

How important do you think that silence at the beginning to observe is?

Very. But we do that in another form in our ‘number talks’ as well, so you put up your number sentence and then you literally wait. It’s very hard when you’re initially doing it as a teacher, to wait long enough, standing in silence is quite difficult. Because we had been doing it in ‘number talks’, I was then able to marry it, so I give them quite a bit of time. It does occur to me each time I do it “I wonder how long everybody else gives?” Sherry Parrish is the number talks guru, so if you watched one of her videos you’d understand the similarities. It’s “how would you do this?”, “how did you come to your conclusions?”, “now, tell the rest of the class how you got that answer or why you went that way” or “what does everybody else think of the way X did that sum?”. So again, it’s similar a similar process of supporting thinking and social learning.

Can you recall a favourite VTS Image Discussion?

One of my favourite VTS sessions was when I was practicing on the Permission to Wonder training in Helsinki.  I was looking at the image for the first time and not sure where it would go with the group.  There were many different interpretations of the image from individuals and so I had to really concentrate on my paraphrasing.  It showed me that my paraphrasing was really working well for me, I was hearing as I was speaking. It was really challenging, but there seemed to be a flow. I remember this as I learned so much from it.

Another one that sticks out in my mind, with sixth class last year, they kept on trying to identify the images as being staged. ‘Oh this has been deliberately set up as though it was in the 1960s and it was deliberately provocative because….’ – they were really cynical about the image and it felt like there was an inflexibility of their engagement with it.  They were more about creating the backstory about why the artist did it, than observing what it was in front of them. I found that really interesting.

One other one, was a picture of a woman in a subway surrounded by a lot of men. She is to the foreground, and one of the children that has anxiety identified it as her experiencing great anxiety and nobody around her knowing it. So that kind of projecting their own emotional states onto the images we are looking at, I find that really interesting.

It sounds like for you, in a VTS image discussion you are observing the ‘thinking’ going on – either your own thinking or the students thinking?

It definitely would be part of my practice as a teacher.  We are here to teach skills, in particular to understand that there are thinking processes and to help them to figure out how to support these processes for themselves in the future. So they can access the facts.  Who remembers all the rivers and mountains of Ireland, it’s more about how you going about researching that information and your thinking process around researching the question that’s important.

How did Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder support you to develop your VTS practice?

It greatly supported me to put aside my learning and experience and become open to a new way of engaging with languages. I found that really interesting as languages are ‘my thing’. I have a degree in French and Italian, English and Gaeilge are my favourite subjects to teach, and I love grammar, so it was fascinating to me how I struggled with the VTS questions at first. They felt so American and strange to me but when I saw the huge body of research behind them and experienced firsthand how effective they were in keeping a rein in on the facilitator’s natural bias, I was completely converted. It was also really comforting to work with such experienced artists and art professionals and see how my lack of experience did not impede my ability to facilitate a VTS session. Finally, it was an exhausting but really wonderful experience on a personal level. I really feel I grew as an individual and my love of learning was reignited. So thank you to all involved.

Museum of Literature Ireland

The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) are excited to offer a free primary school creative programme ‘Shut your eyes and see’ to Irish primary school teachers and students in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th class. Workshops explore Irish literature, past and present, hoping to inspire the next generation to read, write, and unlock their creative potential in whatever form it takes.

Developed in collaboration with students from our learning partner schools, teachers, educators, administrators and librarians, our programme is designed with different learning styles in mind.

We offer a two-hour experience in MoLI from 10am–12pm, during term time. Teachers and students participate in a creative workshop and a tour of our exhibition space and gardens.

Connecting to our exhibitions and gardens, and reflecting elements of the school curriculum, workshops seek to develop critical thinking and research skills as well as visual, verbal and information literacy.

When booking, primary school teachers can choose from one of three workshops:

To book go to moli.ie/book-a-primary-school-workshop/

For further information and to download a teachers resource pack go to moli.ie/learning/schools-and-teachers/

 

The Ark 

Date: 1 & 2 November 2019

Embrace the wonders of the wind in this fun drama workshop for little ones aged 2-4, led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence, Joanna Parkes.

It’s a whirly, swirly, windy day and the Wind Wizards are busy at work. Not everyone likes the wind though, as it whips up fallen leaves and tousles their hair. Can the wind wizards help people see how wonderful the wind can be?

Join in to explore, imagine and discover your own secret love for the whistle and whoosh of the whispering wind.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

Dates & Times: 

Friday 1st November, 10.15am & 2pm
Saturday 2nd November, 10.15am & 11.45am

For ages 2- 4

45 minutes

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-whirly-swirly-wind

The Ark 

Dates: 10 October – 2 November 2019

The Ark invites schools to the world premiere of a brand new show by Wayne Jordan and Tom Lane for Ages 8+.

Labhraidh Loingseach has a secret. He wears his hair long and he has it cut only once a year. Once a year on the same night in the same place and in the same style. But never by the same barber.

The Haircut is a cautionary tale with a live musical soundtrack. The Haircut is a fairytale remixed and retold.

The Haircut is a play about secrets and about creativity stifled. About fighting for what you believe in and standing up to power.

About music and magic and hair.

Set in a magical modern day Ireland, The Haircut is a new commission written by Wayne Jordan, delivered with ineffable charm by bright new talent Thommas Kane Byrne and accompanied by Tom Lane’s vibrant score played by three outstanding musicians.

Classroom Activity Pack

A new Classroom Activity Pack is available for teachers is available to download to accompany the production.  Created by Joanna Parkes and Anita Mahon – renowned specialist facilitators for educational drama and music programmes – the pack uses the show’s rich themes and ideas as a starting point for a range of engaging classroom activities and is a useful resource to teachers, whether or not they have seen the performance.

To download the full Classroom Activity Pack for The Haircut! go to ark.ie/news/post/just-released-the-haircut-classroom-activity-pack

Dates & Times

10 October – 2 November

School Days
Wednesday 16, Friday 18, & Wednesday 23, Friday 25 Oct @ 10.15am & 12.15pm

Mid-Term Break
Tuesday 29 October – Friday 1 November @ 2pm
Wednesday 30 October @ 7pm

Relaxed Performance Wednesday 30 October @ 2pm

For further information and ticket booking go to ark.ie/events/view/the-haircut

 

 

 

The Ark 

Dates: 4 & 5 October 2019

Get cosy for the autumn in this early years drama workshop for little ones aged 2-4 led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence, Joanna Parkes.

Autumn is here, leaves are falling and the animals in the woods are preparing for their long winter sleep. But Howie Hedgehog is not ready. He has no food supplies and no shelter to sleep in. He will need some help from the wood elves to collect food and build himself a warm and cosy den.

Join in to discover, explore and find out if you can help Howie build his den in this delightful workshop adventure.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

Dates & Times: 

Friday 4th October, 10.15am & 2pm
Saturday 5th October, 10.15am & 11.45am

For ages 2- 4

45 minutes

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-howie-the-hedgehog

The Ark

Date: 9 October 2019

Are you an artist with an interest in creating work with or for children?

The Ark invites you to pop in for a welcoming cup of coffee or tea and meet with other like-minded artists.
Suitable for artists new to work with children and those with more experience with this unique audience, this event will be very relaxed – and there may even be cake!

There will be time to chat to other artists as well as some of The Ark team.

No booking required. Just turn up – the kettle will be on!

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/artists-coffee-morning-oct-2019

The Ark 

Date: 16 November 2019 

The Ark are delighted to invite Primary School educators to join dance educator Emma O’Kane for this enjoyable CPD course that to deepen and expand the understanding of Dance within the P.E. curriculum with an emphasis on creativity. In a relaxed and playful atmosphere teachers will be provided with the necessary tools to deliver dance activity with confidence for all ages and classes. The course will demystify dance for teachers and focus on the exploration, creation and performance of dance through easy exercises and manageable approaches.

Working within an integrative approach the course will explore how dance can also support learning across the curriculum in relation to SPHE, English and other subjects.

Suitable for all levels of confidence. No experience necessary.

Date & Time: Saturday 16 November, 10.30am-1.30pm

For further details and ticket booking go to ark.ie/events/view/teachers-cpd-creative-dance

Liz Coman is an Assistant Arts Officer with Dublin City Council.  She is a certified Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator with VTS/USA and has completed training to coaching level.  She is responsible for monitoring the quality of Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – an EU project for Dublin City Council that is testing the VTS training pathway with educators in classroom and gallery settings. Liz has a background in History of Art and Museum Studies and fifteen years experience in designing innovative projects that support arts, education and learning.  She has led trainings in enquiry led approaches to mediating artwork for visual art facilitators in The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, The National Gallery of Ireland, and The Turner Prize, Derry and offers ongoing mentorship for individual artists, arts educators and teachers.

We Are Mirrors” – Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder  –
Blog 3

A Conversation with Visual Artist, Kathryn Maguire

Visual Thinking Strategies is a research based method, founded on the doctoral work of Abigail Housen(Co-Founder of VTS) and her research on aesthetic development. Housen’s research focused on the question – ‘What Happens Cognitively When You Look at a Work of Art?’  Her methodologydevised an ‘Aesthetic Development Interview’ to understand how a spectrum of differentviewers understand and interpret the same artwork.   With this data,and drawing on constructivist learning theories, in particular Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget, she designed a stage theoryfor aesthetic development.  Her stage theory tracked common features of five stages.  According to Housen, each stage is inherently important.  No stage can be rushed or bypassed. Growth occurs with repeated and regular exposure to viewing art.  In her collaboration with Philip Yenawine and MOMA, New York, Housen’sresearch identified that the majority of visitors attending the museum and its programmes were stage 1 & 2 viewers.  Stage 1 & 2 viewersjudge an artwork is based on what they know and like, their observations may appear idiosyncratic and imaginative, and they have their own sense of what is realistic and this standard is often applied to determine value.  Stage 1&2, as aesthetic learners, are  storytellers.  Storytelling is a universal means of making meaning. Meaning making requires critical thinking, personal reflection, the consideration of multiple possibilities, communication and respectful debate.

Part of the challenge for me was unlearning earlier teaching practices. I had to…learn a new paradigm, one that put people ahead of art, one that focused on enabling not just engaging people. I had to step back from what I thought people should learn, to create a teaching/learning method that would help them realize their full potential at any given moment.  – Philip Yenawine

Professional visual artists, that have trained in Visual Thinking Strategies with us, tell us that VTS can offer them a useful framework to critically appraise their own artwork in development. It is a tool that can inform their understanding of a diversity of interpretations that audiences will bring to the artwork.  This can be a valuable input into an artwork’s development before it arrives into the gallery or public space.  Visual artists that have trained with us, and been implementing VTS as part of their practice, specifically in schools,  report that the neutrality and rigour of the VTS method is their biggest challenge.  For me, this is completely understandable. When you love art and have dedicated your life to its study and practice, you want to share all your knowledge and skills with your audience.  The visual artists we work with are very generous and committed to sharing with their audiences.  However, the time and appropriate support to do this is usually very limited.

Within schools, there may only be one shot – the one class visit to a gallery in a year.  Or a school or artist might get support for a suite of sessions or a medium-term residency. Following  Housen’s theory, we can propose that more consistent and supported time for art and artists to work with students allows greater opportunity for embedding aesthetic growth and learning.  In addition to the time limitation, there are very few training opportunities for artists in understanding pedagogy, curriculum and developmental stages of children and young people according to age, ability and cultural tradition. Therefore, the skill of facilitating meaning making with visual art and children and young people, for many artists, is based on their own process of discovery and how discovery emerges in their practice.

Kathryn Maguire’s practice is inspired by science, history and the social world.  She works in the field of socially engaged art,  therefore, contrary to making an artwork in isolation, she develops artwork with a community in a way that honours both her areas of inspiration and a community’s vested interest in their neighbourhood.  Kathryn has effective collaboration skills that allow space for experts and knowledge from varied backgrounds and sources to inform the development of her work. She is a sculptor, and in particular, specialises in social sculpture.   She uses mirrors regularly in her work and understands the value of using mirrors as a reflective tool, that can work equally well in the gallery/museum and also outside, in nature.  An example of this is Kathryn’s artwork is ‘Us’ Again – a floating mirrored shed, created in 2013, in collaboration with the Men’s Shed Group based in Rialto’s St Andrew’s Community Centre as part of Maguire’s residency at 468, Common Ground.

Image of ‘Us’ Again -Kathryn Maguire

Image of ‘Us’ Again -Kathryn Maguire

The shed, made completely of mirrors, journeyed along the Grand Canal, Dublin, to celebrate the impact the waterway has had on labour and leisure in Rialto and as demonstration and reflection on community and commonality.  Kathryn’s mirrored shed informs her practice today, as she continues to investigate what is the common between us and our environment.

What do you find VTS brings to your practice as an artist?

As an artist, I feel like an investigative journalist in some ways.  I gather knowledge and information and transfer it into an artwork. VTS is a powerful tool for me, as a learner. I’m constantly learning so VTS allows for my knowledge to be fluid. It is really important to me, in my life, and as an artist, that there is more than one answer. Facilitating VTS allows me time to listen to the different ideas coming from each person, to stay neutral, and not buy into one opinion or another. It is really important to stay listening to all the different facets of the conversation.  We all come with so much ancestral knowledge. Perhaps allowing time and space for different perspectives, hopefully we can find our way to some common ground.  This is what ultimately keeps me motivated – the search for our commonality. It’s why I still work with mirrors – we are mirrors.  As an artist, I feel now is an important time.  Artists have an incredible opportunity to look more closely, then take that knowledge and make it into an artwork and then take that artwork and go to the audience – it’s a gentle, fluid, domino effect.

What have you noticed happening in your work with schools and galleries in VTS image discussions? 

I am currently Artist in Residence with Rathfarnham Educate Together National School (RETNS). I recently did a VTS facilitated discussion the school’s 5th class children at The LAB Gallery and Anita Groener’s incredible exhibition ‘The Past is a Foreign Country’. I observed that the children were highly environmentally aware and were able to articulate very clearly their understanding that if our environment is not harmonious, then that is not good for us either. They mirrored, for me, my own thinking that we are all part of the same ecosystem. This is an emotionally charged exhibition, exploring migration and the migrant crisis in Syria. I didn’t have to tell the children what the work was about.  I didn’t have to give them a script.  The script was inside them already.  It just needed a gentle prise open.  VTS allowed us time, and slowing down, deep looking, being comfortable in the silence.  There is so much chatter, phone or screen time in our lives that just listening and communicating with each other is an amazing thing.  This amazing thing happens when we communicate in a VTS session and I’m still not sure what the ‘thing’ is.  This ‘thing’ is what Permission to Wonder has given to me as a person and as an artist.

Can you recall a favourite VTS Image Discussion?

I have been testing the VTS Image Curriculum and the Permission to Wonder images for the project image bank.  I have been practicing VTS with test images in Scoil Mhuire, Marino and St Vincents BNS.

Some feedback on the VTS sessions with Kathryn from the 3rd class boys of Scoil Mhuire, Marino, gathered from teacher, Jennifer Gormley

‘It was very enjoyable and I liked that it wasn’t just based on one artist. I liked the way we got asked to say what we thought of the picture.’

‘It was really nice and I liked the way it was arranged, like the questions we were asked.’

‘It was really fun. I liked looking at the pictures and telling what I thought of them.’

‘I thought the paintings were really good and it was fun answering questions.’

Out of this image testing I find that Remedios Varo ‘Creation of the Birds’ 1957 gets a very powerful response, no matter what the age and stage.

Another memorable experience was a Wonder Club session with a Patrick Scott artwork in The Hugh Lane Gallery.  The discussion went from a very religious metaphorical discussion into a more polarised religious and political debate.  This was surprising as the beautiful abstract painting was a vehicle for adults to vocalise knowledge, and equally prejudices, that the group and I had to negotiate.  Perhaps most valuable with adults, you get to access people’s wealth of knowledge due to their lived life.

** Wonder Club is monthly VTS sessions for adults that take place in Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane and The LAB Gallery

How did Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder support you to develop your VTS practice?

I would describe VTS practice like muscle that needs to be exercised.   In Permission to Wonder, the trust within the group of educators, and the care within the partner group was really special.  There was a silent strength in this support that was very nurturing for me to help me push me out of my comfort zone and become more confident in how I facilitate a VTS session. The logistical supports that were put in place for me were really important.  Financial access to the training in Europe and then also being supported to practice at home in the schools and galleries allowed me to build this confidence.  On foot of it, opportunities for me to work with galleries and schools have been increasing.  In the past year, I’ve been really lucky to work with The LAB Gallery, The Hugh Lane Gallery, IMMA, The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny and all have been very supportive of me using VTS as a strand of my sessions with school groups.  I use VTS at the beginning of my sessions almost as a way to bring students into a space where they will absorb the artists’ intentions by osmosis and then the session will evolve from there.   I usually do a VTS session, followed by an observational drawing, followed by more formal object making in the education room.  I find that the students, when they are sketching after the VTS image discussion, are not copying each other, they are more confident in how their own ideas are coming out of the artwork.

What would you like to work on next in your VTS practice?

The most important thing that I feel I need to work with most is staying neutral.  I think that art can bring up a lot of stuff for people, very strong opinions are aired, a lot of debate and also emotional responses.   I have to be careful to manage my own assumptions about why somebody might make a particular remark.  I have to remember, that it’s okay if a group member does not want to contribute or may pull back or be quiet in the discussion.  The strength of the silence may indicate that there may be a reason why somebody remains silent, something may be triggered for that person within the image or the discussion. There is learning in discomfort, but also learning to keep in mind safety and care for the group, and also keep in mind self care for me.  I will always talk to a teacher at the outset of a session to find out if I need to be mindful of a member of a group. It’s that communication that needs to happen between us as educators – between teacher and artist – in order that the viewer is allowed to be silent or to be heard, depending on their need.

I would envision that I would like to push my VTS practice further.  To move my VTS facilitation outside of art, into other areas such as science, history, mathematics.  That I can move it out of the artworld and into other areas of education. I think VTS sits in the artworld but also has the flexibility and ability to move beyond the artworld.

 

Dublin City University 

Deadline: Wednesday 4 September 2019

Practicing professional artists are invited to apply for a residency opportunity at DCU Institute of Education for the academic year 2019-2020. Applications are welcome from individual artists who work in an interdisciplinary form, or from an ensemble of artists. The closing date is Wednesday September 4th 2019 at 5pm.

The residency is hosted by DCU Institute of Education’s School of Arts Education and Movement. This opportunity is one of a number of artist residencies supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon in the context of Initial Teacher Education. Each residency aims to:

For more information on this opportunity and how to apply, go to DCU Institute of Education’s website at – www.dcu.ie/arts_education_movement/news/2019/Aug/Call-for-Artists-Residence.shtml

If you have any queries please contact regina.murphy@DCU.ie

 

National Gallery of Ireland

Date: 14 November, 2019

Save the date! Join the team at the National Gallery of Ireland for a day of inspirational talks, activities and practical advice to get you thinking about what a creative career might mean for you!

Meet gallery staff members and learn about careers in areas such as curatorial, conservation and education. Special guests from other creative fields will also talk about their work and how they got to where they are today.

Suitable for post-primary students (4th Year – 6th Year).

More details to follow, and tickets available from September.
Contact codonnell@ngi.ie for more information.

National Gallery of Ireland

Dates: Thursday 10 October 2019, 4pm – 6pm

The National Gallery of Ireland work with all teachers – to encourage confidence and agency in using art as a tool for learning. To support this they collaborate with DES and teaching practitioners to run accredited CPD courses, study days and conferences, and provide a wide variety of resources online.

Join Catherine O’Donnell, Education Officer for Teachers, Schools & Youth, for an evening exploring three very different exhibitions: Bauhaus 100: The Print Portfolios, Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, The Zurich Portrait Prize, and The Zurich Young Portrait Prize 2019.

Learn more about their current schools programme, how you can utilise the Gallery’s collections and exhibitions for cross-curricular learning, and network with colleagues. Attendees can avail of a free ticket to a lecture about Sorolla by Christopher Riopelle, Neil Westreich Curator of Post-1800 Paintings, the National Gallery, London.

This event is free, but booking is required. To book, follow this link or contact education@ngi.ie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dublin City Council Arts Service

Closing date for receipts of tenders: 12 noon, Friday September 6th

Dublin City Arts Service has just announced an opportunity to tender for multi-party framework for Programming & Coordination of Children’s Art in Libraries.

Dublin City Arts Service is working to increase opportunities for children and young people to access quality arts experiences through partnerships with city departments and complementary arts and cultural organisations. The Children’s Art in Libraries Programme (CAL) seeks to provide innovative high quality arts experiences for children of all ages. Since 2010, the CAL Programme – an initiative of the Dublin City Arts Office – has worked in partnership with Dublin City Public Libraries to deliver innovative programming for children across a broad range of art forms.

In more recent years the CAL Programme began to develop its Creative Hub initiative. Creative Hubs seek to sustain high quality arts experiences for children, schools and families, enabling access in their library and locality through the development of enhanced educational, community and cultural partnership. In 2017 CAL began to develop its first Creative Hub in Ballyfermot Library this has been followed by a second Hub in Cabra Library in 2019.

Interested parties can find the e-tender notice on www.etenders.gov.ie , tender reference: RTF ID 155564

The Ark 

Dates: 2 & 3 August 2019

The Ark continue our monthly early-years programme Seedlings with a special workshop perfect for children ages 2-4 to get creative with their older relatives.

We’re heading to the sea this August in this early years drama workshop for little ones led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence Joanna Parkes.

Come on an imaginative journey to the beach! It’s a fine sunny day and the children are having fun playing in the sand. Then some unexpected visitors arrive and seem to behaving in a suspicious manner.

What is going on? Join in and explore what happens in this delightful workshop adventure by the sea.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

Dates & Times

For further information and ticket bookings go toark.ie/events/view/seedlings-early-years-workshops-aug19

The Ark 

Dates: 19 – 23 August 2019

Back for a fourth summer, The Ark are excited to present this really popular engaging arts summer course focusing on the two curriculum areas of Drama and Music.

This is a five day Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

Working with two outstanding creative practitioners, you will enjoy a week of experiential learning and development. Your confidence and skills in both music and drama will increase through highly participative and inspiring course content.

Using themes drawn from SPHE, English and other subjects, participants will explore a variety of imaginative approaches to integrated curriculum delivery. Teachers of all levels of experience will be able to fully engage in this rich week of professional development.

Course content and highlights will include:

 

Artists – Anita Mahon (music) & Joanna Parkes (theatre)

Dates & Times – Five Day Course
19-23 Aug 2019, 10am to 3pm each day

Presented by The Ark & Dublin West Education Centre

For further information and ticket booking go to https://ark.ie/events/view/teachers-5-day-course-creative-music-drama-1

 

 

The Ark

Dates: 5 & 6 July 2019

Enjoy participating in this joyful early years (ages 2-4) drama workshop about a beautiful imagined garden led by our The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence Joanna Parkes.

In this workshop, little ones will meet a king who loves spending time in his gorgeous garden surrounded by flowers, bees and butterflies.

One day he learns that other kings have wardrobes full of shiny cloaks and crowns so he buys himself a new cloak, and another, and another. Soon he has lots of dazzling cloaks of many colours but what about the garden? He has no money left to pay the gardeners and the garden is overgrown, the flowers are dying and the bees have gone.

Maybe you can make the King see sense and save his garden before it’s too late!

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together.

Dates & Times 

Friday 5 July at 10.15am & 2pm
Saturday 6 July at 10.15am & 11.45am

For further information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-early-years-workshops-jul19

The Ark

Dates: 12 – 16 August 2019

The Ark, Dublin are delighted to be presenting this course for the fifth year in a row. This hands-on, creative course focuses on a visual arts approach to exploring narrative, literacy & other subjects.

This is a five day Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

The aim of the course is to enable participants to start the new school year with an enhanced tool box of skills and knowledge, in order to effectively deliver the visual arts curriculum in the classroom. Participants will be engaged ‘hands-on’ throughout this course so learning will be through doing. Working in teams and individually, you will cover a range of curriculum strands including drawing, painting, print, 3D construction, fabric and fibre.

A strong emphasis will be on building skills and confidence. The group will also explore how visual art can be used to engage with aspects of the English, SPHE, History and Maths curriculum, as well as to promote visual literacy approaches. School self-evaluation exercises will be incorporated as an integral part of the course.

This course will appeal to teachers of all levels of experience and will be facilitated by the visual arts and education specialist and founder of Art to Heart, Jole Bortoli. This is a continuing professional development opportunity not to be missed!

For further information and booking go to https://ark.ie/events/view/teachers-summer-course-a-visual-arts-approach

Liz Coman is an Assistant Arts Officer with Dublin City Council.  She is a certified Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator with VTS/USA and has completed training to coaching level.  She is responsible for monitoring the quality of Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – an EU project for Dublin City Council that is testing the VTS training pathway with educators in classroom and gallery settings. Liz has a background in History of Art and Museum Studies and fifteen years experience in designing innovative projects that support arts, education and learning.  She has led trainings in enquiry led approaches to mediating artwork for visual art facilitators in The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, The National Gallery of Ireland, and The Turner Prize, Derry and offers ongoing mentorship for individual artists, arts educators and teachers.

Setting the Scene for Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – Blog 1

My first encounter with Visual Thinking Strategies was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in 2001.  I was on a public tour of the collection and the guide stood us in front of an artwork by Jackson Pollock and said ‘What is going on in this picture?’.  I was challenged by the question. I was also surprised by the long, silent pause that followed it! The group discussion began slowly.  All opinions offered by the group were considered by the guide, validated and acknowledged as a valuable contribution to the meaning of the work.  But in truth, I was disappointed that the guide did not offer any explanation about history of the artwork. Being a graduate of history of art, I had visited a lot of museums and always enjoyed the experience of being told information and stories about the artwork and the life of the artist. The Pollock work was figurative, with references to native American iconography.  I wanted to be told the ‘right answer’ about its intended meaning.

Soon after, I began an internship with SFMOMA and discovered that the discussion-based approach used on public tours was called VTS – Visual Thinking Strategies.  I began to think more about visual learning and constructivist pedagogy.  I was introduced to the basics of VTS facilitation – three questions – what’s going on in this picture? – what do you see that makes you say that? – what more can we find? –  backed up with carefully considered paraphrasing on the part of the facilitator.   I then did a piece of action-research with a group of adult learners with literacy difficulties from San Francisco Public Library which deepened my understanding of the role of the art museum as an active learning space which could  harness rich opportunities for literacy/language development.

Visual Thinking Strategies is a teaching framework and a practice. It was devised in the late 1980s by Philip Yenawine, art educator and Abigail Housen, cognitive psychologist. At the time, Yenawine was Director of Education at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City and was primarily concerned with making museum education programmes more effective. Yenawine and Housen’s research found that most viewers participating in museum programmes (specifically MOMA’s education programmes) were novice viewers, meaning that they had little experience looking at art, and their interpretations were relatively naïve.

VTS is based on three questions that aim to support novice viewers become more observant and more thoughtful about what they are looking at. This approach seems deceptively simple. However, with regular practice and when implemented effectively with a group, by a trained VTS facilitator, the (educational) outcomes are strong. Participants learn to acknowledge that every idea is important as they concentrate on justifying their idea with physical elements present in the work they are observing.  This improves observation skills and builds confidence in understanding works of art, giving participants a sense of ownership and empowerment over their opinions about art.   VTS involves no art-historical information and it does not require that the VTS facilitator have the answers to questions that arise in the course of discussion.  However, it does require educators to accept that they are not teaching aboutart.  Rather they are facilitating critical debate and thinking about art and indeed the bigger themes that emerge from an artworks’ powerful mirroring of the world.  I have learned from my own training with VTS/USA, that while VTS is a valuable method in my arts in education toolkit, my VTS practice requires consistency and reflection to genuinely support students’ thinking, learning and aesthetic growth.

While art museums are increasingly more open to audience centred approaches in mediating art, historically, this has not always been the case. French sociologist, Pierre Bordieu, went so far as to claim that the “true function” of the art museum was to “reinforce for some the feeling of belonging and for others the feeling of exclusion” and his research highlighted a public perception of art institutions as a type of holy shrine for artwork to be admired but not necessarily understood. [i] The opposite is the agenda for the durational work with VTS at Dublin City Council’s LAB Gallery.  As a contemporary art space for experimentation and risk taking in the visual arts in Dublin, The LAB Gallery has played a critical role in giving professional development, time and space for contemporary art, educators and local children in Dublin 1 to collaborate in a shared investigation of VTS.  Sheena Barrett, the LAB’s Curator, highlights the importance of VTS in providing a safe space to practice discussions that support our capacity to ‘wonder’ as opposed to moving too quickly to judgement about an artwork and/or complex social issue.

Fast forward to 2017, and Dublin City Council Arts Office is successful in achieving a European Union Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership Project Funding for Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder.

Artist Claire Halpin, Art Teacher Kieran Gallagher & Liz Coman at the MACA Contemporary Art Museum Alicante

Artist Claire Halpin, Art Teacher Kieran Gallagher and Liz Coman at the MACA Contemporary Art Museum Alicante

Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder aims to widen the network of VTS peers through training and sharing learning.  The project focuses on supporting ‘educators’ to develop a Visual Thinking Strategies practice over time. Over the course of this blog series, I hope to introduce you to the Irish educators who participated in Permission to Wonder. Kieran Gallagher is a secondary school art teacher based in St Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda and is a member of the visual arts Junior Cycle training team. Claire Halpin, is a professional artist and art educator and is the co-ordinator of the VTS Neighbourhood Schools Programme led by Central Model Senior School.  Anne Moylan is a secondary school art teacher based in Hartstown Community College, Dublin 15. Jane Malone is a primary school teacher based in St Catherine’s National School, Donore Avenue, Dublin 8. Sile McNulty Goodwin is Education Curator at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. Kathryn Maguire is a professional artist and art educator.

 

Assistant Arts Officer Liz Coman, Teacher Anne Moylan, Education Curator Sile McNulty , Teacher Jane Malone and Artist Kathryn Maguire in the David Museum, Copenhagen

Assistant Arts Officer Liz Coman, Teacher Anne Moylan, Education Curator Sile McNulty , Teacher Jane Malone and Artist Kathryn Maguire in the David Museum, Copenhagen

 [i]  As quoted in Stephen E. Weil, Esq, “On a New Foundation: The American Art Museum Reconceived,” in  A Cabinet of Curiosities: Inquiries into Museums and Their Prospects (Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 106.

 

National Gallery of Ireland

Date: 1 July – 5 July 2019

This CPD course offers a unique opportunity for primary school teachers to expand their artistic skill set in a national cultural institution.

Join facilitators Claire Hall and Sinéad Hall for this National Gallery of Ireland CPD course comprising a series of presentations focusing on the six strands of the primary school visual arts curriculum, followed by workshops in drawing, painting, print, fabric and fibre, construction and clay. The sessions will involve hands-on, practical activities, and lessons that can be used at all class levels, with direct references to related works of art in the Gallery’s collection.

The course will cover all strands and strand units of the visual arts curriculum; the elements of art; linkage and integration across the curriculum; and assessment and self-evaluation. The course will also focus on the centrality of looking and responding and process throughout the strands. Course attendees will participate in tours of the Gallery’s current exhibitions, and some workshops may take place in gallery rooms.

All attendees will receive an information pack detailing all that the Gallery has to offer primary schools. Produced by the National Gallery’s Education Department, the information pack will include advice on visiting galleries and cultural institutions with students; suggestions on how to introduce primary school children to art and art history; and details on how to access online resources.

The course fee covers all materials, handouts, equipment and supplies. All art work completed during the course may be photographed and/or taken home at the end of the course as a reference for classroom use.

Dates and time: Monday, 1 July – Friday, 5 July | 9.30 am – 2pm
Course Fee: €90.00
Max. number of participants: 25
Suitable for: Primary school teachers
For information and to book, please email: sineaddehal@gmail.com | claire.hall3838@gmail.com

For further information go to www.nationalgallery.ie/whats-on/teachers-cpd-course-art-primary-school-making-and-appreciation-skills 

National Gallery of Ireland

Dates: May & June 2019

Spanning 250 years, Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland comprises artworks by fifty artists, exploring the relationship between people and the natural world.

In addition to artists of the past, such as George Barret, Paul Henry and Jack B. Yeats, it includes contemporary practitioners like Dorothy Cross, Willie Doherty, Kathy Prendergast and Sean Scully, as well as Niamh O’Malley, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Samuel Laurence Cunnane and others.

Encompassing a range of artistic media and perspectives, this exhibition examines different land types and uses, revealing the significant role artists have played in visualising aspects of human impact on the environment.

Shaping Ireland for Schools

The exhibition presents an opportunity for cross-curricular learning, and the  accompanying schools programme focuses on the environmental issues raised by the exhibition. 

School Tours

Dates: Tuesday – Friday in May & June

Schools from across the island of Ireland can avail of free tours of the exhibition in English and Irish. To book, email tours@ngi.ie or phone + 353 1 663 3510

Primary Schools Workshops

Dates: Tuesdays & Wednesdays in May & June
Time: 10am – 12pm
Cost: €150 per workshop (Max. 30 students per group)

Explore the exhibition with artist Emily Robyn Archer, and discover the important role of bees and other pollinators in the Irish ecosystem. This cross-curricular workshop will take students outside into Merrion Square to creatively explore the local environment. Students will make seedbombs to take home and help spread flowers across Ireland! To book click here

Primary Schools Resource: Art and the Environment

Teacher Sinéad Hall has developed a resource pack inspired by the exhibition, and designed to be used in the classroom, showing how art and creativity can be embedded across the primary curriculum. To download click here.  

For further information and booking go to https://www.nationalgallery.ie/art-and-artists/exhibitions/shaping-ireland-landscapes-irish-art/education-programme

 

 

A partnership project by Fingal County Council & Superprojects

Date: 1st – 5th July 2019

The Artful Classroom is facilitated by Aoife Banim, Anne Bradley, Clare Breen, Catriona Leahy and Beth O’Halloran

This CPD programme The Artful Classroom facilitates primary school teachers to enrich their work in the classroom by exploring contemporary art and architecture, as fascinating resources ripe for use as inspiration and departure points for creative enquiry. Together, the group will explore the national and international practices of artists and architects, through imagery and discussion, and playfully consider how they can be applied to the primary school classroom. Workshop sessions will take place in Draíocht Arts Centre Blanchardstown and The Irish Museum of Modern Art Kilmainham where participants will have an opportunity to explore the work of exciting contemporary artists.

The learning focus will be on processand creative thinking; rather than producing fixed outcomes. Facilitated by Clare Breen, Catriona Leahy, Beth O’Halloran, Anne Bradley and Aoife Banim, the course draws on the expertise of both teachers (with experience of art/architecture) and artists (with experience of education). Each day will be led by a different course facilitator who will share their experience of working creatively with children and demonstrate how they translate their own creative/artistic interests into classroom practice in visual art, and other areas across the curriculum. Participants will creatively explore these practices daily, through a diverse range of hands-on activities.

Schedule and session descriptions

Dates: Monday 1st – Friday 5th of July 2019
Time:  10am – 3pm daily

Locations:
Mon/Thur/Fri: Draíocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
Tues/Wed: The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

To book go to www.eventbrite.ie/e/the-artful-classroom-tickets-46498361852
There are only 20 places so please book early to avoid disappointment!

Cost €45 plus booking fee
This programme is financially supported by Fingal County Council’s Arts Office & Superprojects.

 

The Arts Education Research Group (TCD) and the Association for Drama in Education in Ireland (ADEI)

Dates: 9th & 10th March 2019

The School of Education in Trinity College will host an exciting international conference on drama and theatre in education on March 9th and 10th.
This is a timely event in today’s world, and explores the theme of the social and political in children’s and young people’s drama and theatre. This conference will be of interest to teachers, artists and anyone working at the cutting edge of drama, theatre, education, creative and cultural studies, arts education, sociology and social policy, political science and education, psychology, and related fields.

The conference features an impressive line-up of speakers who will explore the conference theme with reference to their own practices in different parts of the world. With subsidised rates available for attendees (€105,) and a bursary scheme available for full time students (€38 for the 2 day event).

For further information and booking go to www.tcd.ie/Education/Drama-Davis-Conference19/

IMMA

Date: 2nd March 2019, 10:00am to 12:30pm

Explore contemporary art, particularly construction, during a studio workshop and enjoy a guided tour of IMMA Collection: ‘A Fiction Close to Reality’.  Artist Rachel Tynan will lead this practical workshop during which primary teachers will discover multiple links to the visual art curriculum.

This workshop is free. Booking is essential. Places are limited; booking is on a first come, first served basis. No prior knowledge or experience of art-making is needed. This is the final CPD workshop for primary teachers at IMMA during this academic year.

For bookings go to imma.ie/whats-on/for-primary-teachers/

For more information about the exhibition ‘A Fiction Close to Reality’ go to imma.ie/whats-on/imma-collection-a-fiction-close-to-reality-exhibition/

The Ark in partnership with Mark Create Innovate

Date: 9th March 2019

This engaging workshop will provide you with an introduction to hands-on, simple creative technology tools that support cross- curricular learning through play for STEAM subjects at Primary level – particularly in Science, Technology, Arts and Maths.

You will work in teams with Make Create Innovate to design and develop your own prototype games. You will be introduced to creative technology such as MaKey MaKey and learn about more advanced uses of software such as Scratch. You will see first-hand how games can teach students about competition and cooperation as well as supporting the development of concentration, perseverance and other skills through ‘fine-motor play’. For students, including those with special needs, the design of games and the process of rule- making are ideal ways to explore ethics. It gives the opportunity to reflect on their own values, motivations and behaviour as well as society’s. This can reinforce the strands within history, geography and SPHE relating to human intervention.

For further information and booking to go ark.ie/events/view/teachers-cpd-gaming-in-the-classroom

The Ark – Lucy Hill & Christina Macrae

Date: 28th March 2019

Join artist Lucy Hill, our inaugural John Coolahan Early Years Artist in Residence, and her residency mentor Dr. Christina Macrae from Manchester Metropolitan University to celebrate, reflect on and discuss their experiences together as Lucy’s residency draws to an end. The fascinating discussion will include illustrations of key moments and learnings during the residency, the mentoring process, as well as research and ideas in early years and visual arts practice more generally.

Thought-provoking for parents, preschool and primary teachers, artists, arts managers and anyone with an interest in art and children.

For more information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/talk-for-grown-ups-a-year-of-early-years-visual-art

Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)

Date: Saturday 2nd February, 10:00am to 12:30pm

Explore print-making during a studio workshop and enjoy a guided tour of the exhibition IMMA Collection: Freud Project, Gaze. IMMA guided tours for primary schools are focussing on this exhibition until May 2019.

Artist Rachel Tynan will lead this practical workshop during which primary teachers will discover multiple links to the visual art curriculum.

This workshop is free but on-line booking is essential. Places are limited and booking is on a first come, first served basis.

You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience of art-making.

Book your place: imma.ticketsolve.com/shows/873601916

The Ark

Dates: 28th February – 31st March

The Ark presents ‘PEAT’ the world premiere of a brand new theatre show for ages 8+ by Kate Heffernan. Directed by Tim Crouch.

Delivered with lightness and humour, this new play for children asks big questions about life, death, time and history. A conversation between two 11-year olds who find themselves standing on top of everything that has ever happened, it is a story of friendship, loss, and finding our place in the world. The production will be performed by Curtis Lee Ashqar and Kwaku Fortune. The creative team includes lighting by The Ark’s Franco Bistoni alongside set & costume design by Lian Bell and sound design by Slavek Kwi, two acclaimed artists making their debuts at The Ark. The Ark invited consultation with children at several junctures throughout the process. The childrens’ input, including input from The Ark’s Children’s Council, greatly influenced the direction of the piece and has been at the very heart of this production.

School Days
6th -29th March (Wednesday-Friday) @ 10.15am & 12.15pm. (No show Wednesday 20th March)

For more information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/peat

Kids’ Own has published a brand new book by children experiencing homelessness. The book was launched in partnership with Focus Ireland on Friday 9th November, and offers a rich resource for teachers and schools to explore themes of social justice, children’s rights and SPHE topics. The book was developed by 15 children, aged 8–12, during the summer – through a creative process with writer Mary Branley and artist Maree Hensey –and includes a beautiful mixture of artwork, photography, poetry and personal stories.

To buy a copy, visit Kids’ Own’s website.

The Ark 

Date: 19 January 2019

Meet the King who has banned feelings and colours from his Kingdom in this fun and interactive workshop for 3 to 5 years olds and their grown-ups at The Ark, Dublin. In partnership with First Fortnight.

The King finds feelings confusing so he says no one can laugh or cry when he’s around. Feelings of happiness, sadness or anger are not allowed. He wants everything and everyone to be grey and gloomy all day long – so he’s banished colours as well.

Be part of a group of brave, young adventurers who decide this can’t be right, so go an a mission to collect the missing feelings and colours and bring them back to the Kingdom.

About Joanna Parkes

Joanna Parkes is a freelance drama facilitator and theatre practitioner working in Primary Schools and Teacher Training Colleges. As well as devising and delivering drama programmes in schools she has also written a number of teacher’s resources packs and publications. She has been running workshops and teacher-training at The Ark since 2013.

About First Fortnight

First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. The First Fortnight Festival creates a consistent space in the cultural calendar where citizens can be inspired through arts events and experiences to talk about mental health issues in a non-scripted manner. This year they are delighted to host the European Mental Health Arts & Culture Festival in Ireland. Find out more at www.firstfortnight.ie. 

For more information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/the-king-who-finds-feelings-confusing.

The Ark

2 – 3 November, 2018

Early Years Artist in residence Lucy Hill presents ‘Seedlings’ a series of workshops for children as part of the The Ark’s John Coolahan Early Years Artist Residency. The Seedlings workshops offer opportunities to explore materials and the world around them through playful and engaging activities – ideal for getting little ones (and their grown-up!) imagining and creating together.

Join Lucy Hill for ‘Plaster Caster’

Plaster is amazing! Its transforms from powder to liquid to solid, it warms up as it transforms and it can take as many shapes and forms as we ask it to. It’s a messy but exciting business!

To start, we will press things into brown clay to leave an impression (toys, fingers, shells), then we mix the lovely powder plaster with water and pour it onto the clay.

The plaster warms and then ‘sets’ (goes hard), we then peel the clay away from the plaster, to find a new plaster impression of our objects to paint and to take home! We can also try using other things as ‘moulds’ like orange peel, avocado skins, chestnuts.

Lucy Hill is the inaugural recipient of The Ark’s John Coolahan Early Years Artist Residency and will be devising and delivering an exciting workshop programme for children in the early years at The Ark from May 2018 until April 2019.

For further information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-early-years-workshops-november

 

The Ark

Dates: 20 Aug – 24 Aug 2018

Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

The Ark, Dublin are excited to present a new five day arts-science summer course led by scientist and theatre-maker Dr. Niamh Shaw, aimed at primary teachers of 1st-3rd classes.

Discover STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) anew through a range of enjoyable and accessible creative drama processes designed to lift these subjects off the page and bring them to life for both teachers and students.

The course is created and led by the inspiring Dr Niamh Shaw – an engineer, former science academic and a theatre maker as well as one of Ireland’s leading science communicators and STEAM specialists. Niamh’s scientific knowledge and warm engaging style will help you in finding exciting new ways of communicating science themes to your students.

This practical hands-on course will improve your confidence in teaching STEM subjects as well as Drama and how to meaningfully link and integrate these in the classroom. A range of relevant STEM curricular areas will be explored through Drama including Mathematics, Geography, and of course Science.

The course is aimed at teachers of all levels of STEM and drama knowledge and experience.The course content and aims include:

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/5-day-teachers-course-bringing-stem-alive-in-the-classroom-through-drama

The Ark

Dates: 13 Aug – 17 Aug 2018

Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

Over five days this hands-on, creative course at The Ark, Dublin focuses on a visual arts approach to exploring narrative, literacy & other subjects.

The aim of the course is to enable participants to start the new school year with an enhanced tool box of skills and knowledge, in order to effectively deliver the visual arts curriculum in the classroom. Participants will be engaged ‘hands-on’ throughout this course so learning will be through doing. Working in teams and individually, you will cover a range of curriculum strands including drawing, painting, print, 3D construction, fabric and fibre.

A strong emphasis will be on building skills and confidence. The group will also explore how visual art can be used to engage with aspects of the English, SPHE, History and Maths curriculum, as well as to promote visual literacy approaches. School self-evaluation exercises will be incorporated as an integral part of the course.

This course will appeal to teachers of all levels of experience and will be facilitated by the visual arts and education specialist and founder of Art to Heart, Jole Bortoli. This is a continuing professional development opportunity not to be missed!

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/teachers-summer-course-a-visual-arts-approach

Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker. His work is in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s collection and has been shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals including: European Media Art Festival (Germany, 2016); Out There, Thataway at CCA Derry~Londonderry (2015); and the 10th Imagine Science Film Festival (New York, 2017). He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 with an MA in Photography & Moving, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. He was an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist in residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong Residency in South Korea (2014) and received the Kooshk Artist Residency Award to create a new film in Iran (2015).

www.kevin-gaffney.com

Primary School Links – Blog 3

School Links is a programme run by Dr. Michael Flannery which brings students from local DEIS primary schools into the Marino Institute of Education to participate in a visual arts project.

I worked with 4th class students from St Joseph’s Primary School, who came to MIE for four two-hour sessions. As the students had been exploring the use of food in art, I screened two excerpts of my films that deal with this topic. The first was a scene where a young woman eats a flower, and the students responded to this by creating their own flowers through collage and assemblage.
The second clip I screened was a scene where a performer emerges from a large fake cake with a hat of fruits on her head, and then another scene where she sifts flower onto her own head. The students responded to this by sculpting their own fruit, vegetable and other foods from memory out of modrock, which will be painted the next week. The students will decide if they wish to appropriate these materials to make their own hats and costumes, or if they would like to make another sculptural form with them.

In between these activities, students from the class interviewed me about the life and work of a contemporary artist:

Student: Why do you think art is important?
KG: For me, art is like music or literature, and I think going to the an art gallery or museum is like going to the library. We are always expected to be so productive and busy, and art allows us to be quiet and reflective…  it’s a different way of thinking. But, do you think it’s important?
Student: Yes, I think art is important because it brings so much colour to people’s lives.

Student: Do you make mistakes?
KG: Yes, all the time! On my newest film, I spent so long making one scene… the art department spent ages on the set, there were a lot of props and it actually cost a good bit of money. But, then, when editing I realised it wasn’t working. It wasn’t fitting with the rest of the film at all… so I had to cut it out, and that’s so disappointing. It wasn’t anyone’s fault except mine!

Student: How long does it take you to make a film? Do you have people helping you?
KG: Yes I have lots of people helping me! It’s impossible to be good at everything, and I’ve accepted the things I can do well and the things that I definitely can’t!

Student: How do you know if something you make is especially good?
KG: It’s hard to know… sometimes you make something you really believe in, but it doesn’t connect with people. And sometimes the opposite happens. I just try to follow me intuition and not worry about what everyone else is thinking or doing… but I know you can’t really do this in school.

Student: When you’re making a film for a gallery, do you feel very pressured?
KG: Yes, it’s a lot of pressure and it can be very distracting. On one hand, you are trying to be very sensitive and focused on what you are making, but then there is a professional pressure that seeps in. And it’s taken me ages to learn how to deal with that.

Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker. His work is in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s collection and has been shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals including: European Media Art Festival (Germany, 2016); Out There, Thataway at CCA Derry~Londonderry (2015); and the 10th Imagine Science Film Festival (New York, 2017). He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 with an MA in Photography & Moving, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. He was an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist in residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong Residency in South Korea (2014) and received the Kooshk Artist Residency Award to create a new film in Iran (2015).

www.kevin-gaffney.com

Diorama construction and collaborative filmmaking – Blog 2

In the first semester of my residency at the Marino Institute of Education, I worked with the first years on the Professional Masters in Education programme. I had previously given workshops and lectures at university level at the Dublin Institute of Technology and Kyung Hee University in Seoul, and taught art classes for children at Taipei Artist Village and at primary schools in Roscommon as part of the Art School project run by Jennie Guy. However, this was my first time working with preservice teachers and, so, was the first time I was not just teaching art but also trying to impart how to teach art from the point of view of a contemporary artist.

I devised a workshop that would introduce the class to the process of filmmaking, and that could be replicated in a classroom with few resources. Students worked in groups, collaborating to make a film concept, visualize it, and realise this through constructing a diorama which would show the set/location of their film idea, the characters and any scene changes. I wanted to focusing on the storytelling and visualisation aspects of filmmaking, and my overall aim was that, from doing the workshop, students would have learnt that filmmaking is an enjoyable and achievable process, reliant more on imagination and communication than it is on expensive equipment.

In order to contextualise this project, I showed examples of contemporary animation sets, maquettes for theatre set design, and artists whose work uses collage or photomontage (John Stezaker, Hannah Hoch, David Hockney, Peter Kennard), and contemporary Irish artists working with animation techniques (Aideen Barry, Vera Klute).

To begin the project, each group had to select four random words that designated:  (a) a genre; (b) a location; (c) a main human character; (d) an animal character. Then, together, they had to knit these into a coherent concept. After deciding on how to combine the elements, each group works on making a diorama. In a collaborative effort to realise their visualisation, decisions are made on colour palette, mood, materials and scale.

After their sets were made, students began to make their characters from armature and plasticine. We then began a simple stop-motion animation process using free apps on the students’ phones and school ipads. The result was that each group created a short silent animation using readily available materials and technology and each group created a unique project that can be appraised in relation to the concept they created and the parameters they set for themselves.

 

 


Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker. His work is in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s collection and has been shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals including: European Media Art Festival (Germany, 2016); Out There, Thataway at CCA Derry~Londonderry (2015); and the 10th Imagine Science Film Festival (New York, 2017). He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 with an MA in Photography & Moving, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. He was an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist in residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong Residency in South Korea (2014) and received the Kooshk Artist Residency Award to create a new film in Iran (2015).

www.kevin-gaffney.com

 

Art on Campus – Blog 1

In September I began my role as artist-in-residence at the Marino Institute of Education (MIE), an initiative for artists to work in institutions that provide initial teacher education funded by the Arts Council. The aims of the residency are: for the artist to develop their skills and work in a supportive education setting; for preservice teachers to have a meaningful engagement with the arts; and to support preservice teachers in developing confidence and skills in passing these meaningful experiences onto their students.

Working closely with Dr. Michael Flannery (Head of Art & Religious Education at MIE), we decided on a programme of formal inputs into courses and ways to disseminate my work to students and staff.  In the first few months of the residency, I then set about on a mission to ‘activate art’ on campus with a programme of talks, exhibitions and screenings, alongside giving formal inputs into classes.

I decided to turn the lobby and windows of the Nagle-Rice building into an exhibition space where students and staff could spend a few moments looking at my work. During October I exhibited two films here: Everything Disappears which I made in Taiwan, and is in Mandarin with English subtitles; and Our Stranded Friends in Distant Lands which I made in South Korea and is in Korean with English subtitles. Photographic prints in the window space deconstructed the films into still images and accompanying scripts in English.

I then gave a lunchtime artist talk discussing these projects, the research behind them and the process of making them. As well as making the campus aware of my work as the new artist on campus, I also wanted students to encounter the work in a way similar to when they are installed in a gallery, before we began to work together in a lecture.

In October, I brought a group of 12 students on an excursion to my studio at Fire Station Artist Studios on Buckingham St, Dublin 1, and then continued on to see an exhibition that dealt with mediating art to primary school groups at Dublin City Council’s The LAB gallery on Foley St. My aim was for students to become aware of the visual art spaces in the North city centre, and also for them to see ‘behind the scenes’ of an artists studio and sculpture workshop, and then a final installation in a gallery.

For a number of evenings in November and December, I held a series of screenings to introduce video art and experimental filmmaking. As the series spanned from the beginnings of video art (Nam June Paik) to surrealism (Luis Buñuel and  Salvador Dalí) to current practices (Hito Steyerl), I gave the context of the works and topics in art history and then led informal discussions following the screenings. I hope the series encouraged students to engage with artist film and experimental film, and to feel confident discussing such works on school trips to galleries and museums in the future.

Next year I’m looking forward to continuing this work on campus and being involved with the Masters in Education Studies (Visual Arts).

 

 

Improvised Music Company & The Ark

Deadline: Thursday 29th March

Fun Size Jazz – Performance and development opportunity for jazz and improvising musicians and ensembles from IMC in partnership with The Ark

Improvised Music Company in partnership with The Ark are looking for applications from professional artists and ensembles in jazz and improvised music for short ‘scratch’ performances aimed at young audiences. The chosen artists will have an opportunity to devise, create and deliver their short live performances for audiences of children at The Ark this summer 2018.

This new initiative, jointly presented by Improvised Music Company and The Ark, stems from an original production developed between 2014 & 2016, called Monster Music Improv, which toured across Ireland and the UK in 2016.

Applications should present considered, innovative and engaging approaches to creating memorable and enjoyable performances of between 15-20 minutes duration designed to specifically appeal to young audiences aged between 4 and 12 years.

Fun Size Jazz will result in 2 performances taking place on the May and August Bank Holiday Mondays respectively (7th May & 6th August 2018).

Further Information go to www.improvisedmusic.ie/news/fun-size-jazz-performance-and-development-opportunity-for-jazz-and-improvis

The Ark & The Dublin Dance Festival 

Schools Performances Fri 18 May @ 10.15am & 12.15pm.

The Ark and Dublin Dance Festival 2018 are delighted to present ‘Hocus Pocus’ – a magical performance for schools.

Created by Philippe Saire (Switzerland), this magical children’s show for ages 7+ explores how images conjure vivid emotions, sensations and experiences.

Taking the audience on a fantastical voyage, two brothers dive into dreamlike adventures: a contortionist’s escape from a spider’s web; a journey in a damaged flying machine; and underwater encounters with fabulous aquatic creatures.

The unique set design creates a playful game of appearance and disappearance. As light is painted across the stage to reveal everything it touches, the dancers’ bodies seem to emerge from a black hole before being swallowed up again. These visual mysteries cast a spell, suspending our disbelief and unleashing our imagination.

Suitable for 2nd – 6th Class

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/hocus-pocus

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

We were looking for a primary school in the area local to programme sponsors Central Bank of Ireland and were delighted to find O’Connell School. It is a really interesting school with a rich history, and a very supportive learning environment, which was fantastic to work with. Artist Maria McKinney was a natural choice for working on this project. Her practice is often focused around ecology and I thought this would be a good fit for the primary school age range. Maria brought with her a wealth of experience in working collaboratively with diverse fields of inquiry and a sensibility to materials which made her very suitable for this residency.

Maria McKinney, Artist

I was aware of the Temple Bar Gallery & Studios education programme from seeing some of the previous projects on social media and speaking to the artists that took part. I was very happy when Jean then approached me to do their autumn 2017 session in O’Connell School. I had only recently moved into my studio in Temple Bar and was excited to be involved in their programme so early on.

One of the first things I was told about O’Connell School, in addition to it being a boys’ primary school, was that is was directly below Croke Park. The seating of the stadium almost hangs right over the school. This in itself made it very unique. Then I remembered seeing a news article about birds of prey that are put to work in Croke Park to keep away other animals such as rats and pigeons who might eat the freshly sown grass seeds on the pitch. I wondered whether the boys at the school knew that these very special birds existed right next door to them. I also realised this would be a good opportunity for the boys to learn a little about ecology and habitats of birds and nature in general. I was cognisant of this being an urban school, and wanted to open up a space for the boys to think about other animals.

Around this time I was also involved in an artist-in-school project in Maynooth with Kildare Arts Office and Art School. I decided I would use both opportunities to make work in relation to Birds of Prey. I think this made for a richer project overall as it developed over a longer period of time.

Pupil C

It started by going to Temple Bar Gallery. Her [Maria’s] studio was very neat. She had everything organised. Then we spent weeks making origami. It was great fun and a great experience.

Pupil D

First we went to visit Maria in her studio and we learned more about her. It was about us having fun and working together. Maria, Jean, 4th class in O’Connell, Barry [the falconer], Kayla [the Harris hawk] and teachers were involved. In class we started drawing and learned origami.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

We got involved through a member of staff that was in contact with Jean and Maria. The children were making origami pieces to have as a sculpture that a hawk could land on. The two 4th Classes and teaching staff were helped by Maria and Jean.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

The residency began with pupils visiting Maria in her TBG+S Studio to see where she works, and get an insight into her methods, motivations and inspirations as an artist. From there, Maria began an enquiry into birds of prey with the children, through various exercises in drawing, origami, movement/performance and inhabiting the psyche of the bird. This developed into creating a collaborative sculptural piece which functioned as a bird stand, for the Harris hawk, Kayla, to land on. A final photograph was taken by Maria to document this process. The pupils were extremely open and inquisitive about the hawks and worked really hard to make the origami pieces which made up the base for the sculpture. All the school staff were very encouraging and accommodating throughout the residency.

Maria McKinney, Artist

The project started off by the boys coming to Temple Bar to visit the gallery, and then up to my studio on the first floor. Myself and Jean introduced ourselves and I went on to show them some images of my work on a monitor. I told them just the name of the work, and then asked them to name all the different materials and objects they could see (I use a lot of different materials and everyday items). I then emptied a box of objects that I had made to allow them to handle some of my work. A lot of them were long strand type objects made by weaving straws. These very quickly became lightsabers which made me laugh.

The following sessions in the school consisted of teaching the boys how to make claws and beaks with paper and origami. It was well timed around Halloween so the boys could re-appropriate the claws for scary costumes. The teachers would help the boys make them, though once they had gone through the process a couple of times they needed no more help and could make loads.

We also looked at some other artists’ work that involved birds, including Marcus Coates Dawn Chorus, and Sean Lynch’s work Peregrine Falcons visit Moyross. In the latter, we see the footage from a camera attached to the back of a Peregrine Falcon, who then flies around Moyross Estate. At a certain point, the bird lands on a lamp post, looks around for a while, then takes off again. The boys lined up in pairs, and I asked them to close their eyes and imagine they were the bird on top of the lamp post, to think about their claws, wings and beaks, and prepare to take off again. The boys would then swoop through the room with great direction and style. Through making the different body part (claws and beaks) and then the boys using them, I was coaxing them to think about the anatomy of the bird, and in relation to their own physicality.

Pupil K

Ideas were developed through using different materials and also looking at Maria’s work. The teachers and Maria helped us make origami. Maria worked with bulls before this and we worked with a hawk.

Pupil B

We wore hats and wings and put together the claws and beaks and made a hawk stand. So the hawk can stay on it.

Pupil A

We all folded the paper and we got help from our friends, teachers and SNAs who showed us how to do origami and it was fun.

Pupil C

We worked together making origami and drawing pictures of hawks. We then put the origami onto the stand.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

Two 4th classes came together to complete the six-week course. The artists had use of the art room where they had tables set up for each activity. They also had great powerpoints set up here.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

Two 4th classes did the course together. The artist had tables set up and the resources provided for the children. The children all got involved as they were enjoying it. The teaching staff helped to keep the children on task.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

I felt this was a very successful project in terms of engagement and pitching to primary level students. Sessions in the school were active and fun with all children participating enthusiastically. Maria brought the pupils on an incredible journey of inquiry and art-making which culminated in meeting the Harris hawk, Kayla. As a result, pupils had the most imaginative and interesting questions for the hawk handler Barry and the experience no doubt left them with a new-found appreciation for the wildlife that is in their local urban environment.

Maria McKinney, Artist

I felt it was important to leave enough room for the participants’ input into the work, as well as for the unexpected occurrences that often come about through process-led engagement. However, I also had to make sure I had prepared enough activity for each session, so that we would not all be standing around looking at one another not doing anything. It is a fine balance to try and strike.

The success of the project was most definitely the boys’ energy and enthusiasm for doing something different. I really looked forward to my time with them. The staff were also really fantastic and got fully involved in what we were doing. It makes a big difference when the teachers are fully engaged and supportive of what you are doing, as this is unconsciously communicated to their students, and really affects how they respond to you, the visitor.

Another great success was Barry the falconer, whose birds work in Croke park, agreeing to take one of his birds to visit the boys in the school. This really made for a special day and everyone was so excited. As the artist this was also the most stressful time, as I was hoping everything would go to plan.

The boys and the birds behaved perfectly. However I have realised my own skill in group photography needs a lot of work. I had hoped to pose the boys as a group around the bird, while they were wearing the large paper wings/claws/beaks they had made. However I couldn’t organise them well enough, and it was a cold windy day. The boys worked really hard but I think I could have planned this part a bit better.

Pupil A

My favourite part was when we were wearing the art and I was like a hawk.

Pupil D

My experience of the project was amazing. I never got to see a hawk in real life, I loved it. My favourite part was when I saw Kayla because I never got to see a hawk in real life.

Pupil K

My personal favourite part was when we wore the wings and started to dance around with them on.

Pupil F

My favourite experience was building the sculpture. The teachers helped us and the boys came up with brilliant ideas that we put on the sculpture. The sculpture became a success but coming up with the ideas was a bit of a challenge.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

Children really enjoyed the course. It was a new experience, one which won’t be forgotten. The trip to the artist’s gallery was an eye opener for the children. Challenges – would be the amount of time taken for each session, especially in the run up to Christmas.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

Children all enjoyed it and are still talking about the experience. Something different for them rather than us teaching all the time.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

This was a project where the unexpected was encouraged and allowed to unfold. Pupils had an experience of artmaking which gave them an expanded view of what art can be. Maria guided pupils calmly through this process, beginning with the more familiar terrain of drawing, through to the introduction of a live hawk. Students themselves became part of the artwork in the wearing of large origami pieces to flank the bird on her perch for the final photograph of the residency. The reception to the project was palpable within the school,  with pupils and staff excited about the final event of the residency, and meeting the hawk.

Maria McKinney, Artist

While I talked to the boys about ecology and habitat, we were referring to the food chain of these birds in their natural environment.

However, I realised the working bird that was to come into the school to visit them, is involved in a very different network – one that is entirely at the behest of humans and our culture of sport, entertainment, cultivation, media, security (these birds are also used to keep drones away)…

Pupil F

I had a great experience of being a great young artist.

Pupil E

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Pupil C

The experience of touching and seeing a hawk. I loved it from start to finish!

Pupil J

Having fun and learning new skills with origami and our drawing improved. It was an unusual exciting experience – I would tell other schools to do it.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

It was great working with an artist. Children may have never visited a gallery or got an insight into the life/ideas of an artist. Origami is also an area we would not have thought about too much in school. This was new and exciting.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

The children got to experience what a gallery was/looked like. They were making origami pieces that they would not have learned otherwise. They got to see and understand what an actual artist does and could ask questions. Great experience for the children and very enjoyable.

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

Maria McKinney, Artist

It has made me think more about the human–animal relationship, in particular working animals. In an urban context the only working animal I would have been able to name before this project is a guide dog or sniffer dog at the airport. I am looking up more these days.

Pupil K

I feel I can follow more steps and am better at drawing and following things, and my imagination has grown. I have signed up for art club in my school now that I like art more. I feel like I can listen more.

Pupil D

I got better at following instructions and my drawing got better. I am starting to get into art. I can now work as a team.

Pupil A

I can listen in class and fold stuff and I signed up for art club because of the project.

Pupil F

I feel a lot better at doing step by step projects and I’ve improved on my drawings and I got better at working as a team. I enjoyed the art experience so much I signed up for the school’s art club.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

Teachers’ and childrens’ outlook on art had changed since taking on this project. We got to see that art is a lot more than just painting and drawing. We also got to see at first hand how art can be used in the environment around us.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

We are a lot more aware of using our environment for art purposes. It is not simply painting a picture. Origami pieces have been brought into other sections of our school life, i.e. the school play etc.

Make Create Innovate

Date: March 24th & 25th
An introductory workshop to electronics for creative projects

In collaboration with The Digital Hub, Make Create Innovate offer this hands-on, jargon-free two day workshop that will introduce you to physical computing using conductive materials, MaKey MaKey and Arduino with some basic sensors. Our artist-maker-educator approach is all about tinkering with art, electronic and everyday materials to learn through experimentation and discovery.
By the end of the weekend you will have a basic understanding of the principals involved in easy-to-make light and sound responsive systems and the materials required. You will also have collaborated with other workshop participants to create an electronically triggered soundscape or an interactive environment/artwork.

This workshop is for creative people (professionals and non-professionals) and educators, who want to do something different; whether it’s programme a touch-activated sound effects on the theatre stage or design a cross-curricular STEAM project at school. It is especially suitable for anyone involved in engaged arts that support arts participation and/or invite audience interaction.

For more information and to book your place go to www.makecreateinnovate.ie/a-maker-approach-to-art-and-interactivity

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

We have been developing the Creative Generations Arts-in-Education programme over the last four years, and in 2017 we had an opportunity to expand our engagement with a school through a longer term residency. This gave us the chance to make a deeper impact on the students’ learning and awareness of contemporary art. Working with inner city schools in Dublin is part of our remit as a city centre gallery and studio space – so Synge Street was a suitable partner school. This programme is centred around a residency format and creating a space for professional artists to bring their art practice into a school setting; sharing skills, experience and concepts of what contemporary arts practice is today.

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

The residency took the form of six sessions in Synge Street Secondary School where I worked together with the teacher and the transition year students on designing and constructing a hang out space for the students to use in their spare time. The goal of these sessions was to think about how to transform the spaces we use and, through some basic construction or alterations, make them more suitable to our needs. Taking their school as the space where they spend most of their time, we looked at the influential work of future thinking architects and artists like Paolo Soleri, Superstudio, Andrea Zittel and N55 as a form of inspiration for our project. From this we then created a sculptural environment for their library.

Student S

Ms Wright brought us to Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, we met Andreas Kindler and Jean and they showed us around the building. Andreas told us what he does and how he works with light. He said he’ll come to the school and do some kind of project together.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

Temple Bar Galleries approached our school with the idea of an artist residency, working with students/schools from the local area. Our students began working with Andreas Kindler von Knobloch under the Creative Generations Education Programme. Creative Generations is generously funded by Central Bank of Ireland. The students worked collaboratively to create a new artwork that engaged with the architectural landscape of our school and one that created a special space for the TY students.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

The residency started with students visiting Andreas in his TBG+S Studio to see where he works, and get an insight into his methods, motivations and inspirations as an arts practitioner. It was from here that a relationship was developed, which continued in the school, where Andreas shared with students the main drivers in his work, and together the artist and students set about making a collaborative piece which incorporated some of these themes and discussions.

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

For our first session we worked with Plato’s five basic geometric forms and used them as inspiration in order to come up with a design. Working in groups the students made cardboard models using the basic principles of the platonic solids which are forms made out of equilateral facets. We then chose the most successful model as the basic plan for the larger final structure. Using basic tools and materials such as hammers, drills, nails, screws, cable ties, plywood and 2×1 lengths of wood, we built a structure based on the geometry of the equilateral triangle. Through this building process the students learnt some of the skills that can then be applied in order to build almost any small structure.

Student H

Andreas gave us a powerpoint presentation to inspire us and give us an idea of what he planned to do with us. We all then made a model of the structure we planned to make using cardboard. After deciding on a structure, we began making it using wooden triangles, nails, screws and other materials.

Student S

Andreas gave us a powerpoint presentation and told us how we can mess around with triangles to make a shape of artists and architecture that inspire him.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

Firstly the group visited Andreas in his work space in Temple Bar Galleries. For some this was a first experience of meeting a working artist, seeing their workspace and even visiting a gallery space which was an amazing experience in itself. From there, after seeing some of Andreas’s work, he came to visit our school and the creative conversation began within the group. Jean facilitated and guided the conversation within the group which kept things on task. The students gave Andreas and Jean a tour of the school and started the selection process of creating a space for themselves. Giving the ownership and creative discussion over to the students was very empowering to them and it also pushed their maturity and problem solving skills. The students and myself loved the collaborative feel to this project from start to finish.

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

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

For me it was really exciting to be able to share my practice with this group of students and to work together with them to create an interesting new structure. The greatest challenge was organising the sessions in a way that there were enough tasks and tools for everyone. It was a large group of students and at times it was difficult to keep them all engaged. Our first attempt at the larger structure failed. One of the successes of the project was showing them how to learn from that failure and use it as a way of stepping forward instead of a setback.

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

The collaborative nature of Andreas’s practice, coupled with his strong technical skills and methodologies, meant he was very suitable for the residency format. The students learnt a great deal from him, in all sorts of ways. They learned practical and technical methods but also visualisation, problem solving and perseverance, along with the teamwork aspect of constructing as a group on a large scale.

 

Student K

Building the structure we thought about was very challenging cause it’s not a small structure – it’s huge and we need a lot of materials to make it work. We failed once and the structure fell cause it wasn’t strong enough so we tried again and the second time we succeeded and it was a successful teaming up with everyone.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

Like every creative project it is going to run into problems and this project hit a slump on weeks 3–4 and I strongly feel that was where the greatest learning was for the students and also in the running of this programme looking forward. I have to commend Andreas and Jean for how they dealt with the loss of interest on the students’ part. They pulled the project back to the discussion and design stage and helped / guided the TY students to see a way through this slump.

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

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

One of the most significant parts of the project for me was to be able to share my interest and passion for innovative architectural design and see the students respond so positively to it. They really took to some of the ideas and there were some really ambitious plans suggested in the planning stages that in the end were not feasible in the time that we had. The support structures that were in place for me to carry out this residency were essential. If it had not been for Jean Mann and for the support offered by the school and Temple Bar Gallery + Studios it would have been a much more difficult experience.

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

For me the residency demonstrated the possibilities that can occur if an artist is given free reign to bring their practice into the classroom, and allow students to become active participants in the process of art making.

Student D

I really enjoyed working with the team on such a big project that was on such a large scale.

Student K

The successful teamwork we did was worth sharing and the enjoyment I felt doing art through building something.

 

Student J

I enjoyed working with the drills and hammer.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

This was a project that Synge St students would not have been able to experience due to its sheer size and the construction skill set involved. The students absolutely loved working with Andreas and using all the ‘man tools’ as they referred to them. This project encapsulates the hands-on approach that Synge Street wanted the TY students to experience. Everything they were learning from their books, measurements in maths, topics from science class to communication skills from English class were all played out during their weekly sessions in a practical manor on this project.

This was a fantastic learning experience for both my students and myself. The TY students are very proud of their seating pod which has found its home in our school library. There was a huge amount of creative learning involved in this project with Andreas showing some of the lads how the tools worked for the construction process! Life skill learning was paramount in this project and as the coordinator, this was exactly what I was looking for, for my students. It is amazing to even watch back over the short film and see the students’ confidence grew.

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

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

Working collectively is a big part of my practice. This project was very useful for me to see how I might be able to extend that collaborative element to a wider group of people. Since that project I have gone on to make structures that are assembled collaboratively with large groups of people which in part came from this experience.

Student D

My view of art has changed because up until now I thought of art as a much more individual thing to do, but not on bigger projects where everyone can use teamwork and work together.

Student F

My view of art has changed because I didn’t think that what we were doing was a piece of art until the end of the project.

Student S

I thought it was impossible to build something like that, but the result told me that I’m capable of developing my ideas and make it happen.

Student A

I really enjoyed the freedom we got from doing.

Student H

I associated art with picture and drawings and this gave me the knowledge that art can take any form.

Student K

At first, I thought Art was boring but when we did this project I enjoyed everything that is part of the project – and it’s all about art!

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

From working on this project my own teaching has taken on an edgier element. I’m not afraid of bigger projects and to hand over ownership to my students and trust that they will find a solution with maybe less input from me! I have probably learned to trust the students more and trust their creativity.

The Ark

Date: 6th – 22nd March 2018

In Me & The City your class will discover and explore how a city is planned, created and developed. Working with artist Jole Bortoli, they will learn how architects work and look at artists who have created landmark sculptures and colourful big-scale street art.

On arrival your class will visit The Ark’s gallery, which will be full of displays that will explore the structure of cities, their architecture and diverse habitats. You will see plans that show the design process of urban spaces as well as architectural drawings and sketchbooks, photographs and 3D models. Inspired by what they have seen, the class will then take part in a practical mixed media workshop led by artist Jole Bortoli.

Me & The City is an ideal opportunity to explore the Looking and Responding unit of the Visual Arts curriculum and the workshop is strongly linked with the Construction, Fabric and Fibre, Drawing and Paint and Colour strands.

The workshop also has strong linkage with other curricula including Geography (in particular the Human Environments strand), Science, Mathematics and SPHE.

6th – 22nd March (Tue – Fri) at 10.15am & 12.15pm

For more information go to www.ark.ie/events/view/schools-me-the-city

The Ark

Date: School Day performances: Fri 1-Thu 21 Dec

Back by popular demand this Christmas, follow The Henry Girls into an enchanting world of winter!

From sparkling icicles to wolves in the forest, the joy of sledding at high speed or the wonder of the Aurora Borealis on a frosty night, discover the magic and mysteries of the festive season.

Perfect for all primary school classes, this show is an ideal opportunity to explore the Listening & Responding, Composing and Performing strand units of the Music curriculum. Attending this live music performance means children will see and hear outstanding Irish musicians performing brand new music on a range of instruments including piano, harp, voice, accordion, fiddle and double bass as well as percussion.

A free downloadable classroom pack is available to teachers which will provide a range of accessible music activities and creative approaches connected to the theme of the show. The activities will encourage music making projects in the classroom and support imaginative music responses to the performance which are relevant to the composing and performing music curriculum strands.

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/cpd-for-teachers-exploring-winter-through-music

The Ark

Date: Saturday 11th November, 10:30 am to 1.30pm

Refresh your music repertoire for this wintry time of year as you discover a number of great new seasonal songs that children will love as well as a range of creative ideas for using them in the classroom to deliver both the Performance and Composing strands of the music curriculum. Along the way you’ll be encouraged to throw out any preconceptions you may have about having a good or bad voice and nurture your love and passion for singing. With Lorna’s guidance you will explore how to work creatively with music in the classroom within a winter theme alongside exploring a number of ideas presented in our free teachers’ resource pack that accompanies the show.

Lorna McLaughlin, who is a member of the band The Henry Girls, will lead teachers in a hands-on music workshop working with songs and music material from our winter music show Tracks in the Snow which was commissioned by The Ark and written by The Henry Girls especially for young audiences.

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/cpd-for-teachers-exploring-winter-through-music

 

Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership

8th & 9th November 2017

Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, as part of its 20-year anniversary celebrations, will host 2 days of sectoral activities, in partnership with Dublin Book Festival and The Ark, exploring the value of publishing with children, and interrogating how we can support children to be seen and heard within our literature, culture and society. With the ambitious vision of current policy to reach all children through cultural tuition by 2022, Kids’ Own seeks to ask how we make space for quality and depth of engagement to support children as cultural makers and creators in their own right.

8th November 2017
Round table discussion (10.30am – 4pm)
Chaired by Martin Drury

Through a series of presentations and discussions hosted by Kids’ Own Creative Director, Orla Kenny and Kids’ Own co-founder Victoria Ryle, the day will involve explorations and case studies of the Kids’ Own archive, followed by discussions involving a chaired panel of guest speakers, and focused conversations, where participants will be invited to explore and interrogate how we make space for quality and depth of engagement, the role of the professional artist working with children and young people, and how we give children’s work greater visibility and recognition within mainstream culture.

This event is free but booking is essential.

9th November 2017

A day of practical exploration and creativity
Workshops for artists, teachers and arts education practitioners

11am – 1pm
All That We Are: An artist-led public participatory workshop with Simon Spain (Australia)
Kids’ Own co-founder and artist Simon Spain returns to Ireland to share his practice with Irish artists, teachers and practitioners. Through this practical workshop where participants will make figures from wood and plaster that will be joined to create a gathering, Simon will discuss key elements of his current practice-based PhD enquiry about working as a socially engaged artist. The work is centred around a strong theory of collaborative making environments that create liminal spaces for individual input while leading to a shared outcome celebrating difference.

Workshop fee: €10

2pm – 5pm
Print and book-making workshop with Alain Regnier (Belgium)
In this workshop, printmaker and art teacher (and founder of Motamo International Biennial of Children’s Books) Alain Regnier shares his way of working and will support participants to make books that include print and text, inspired by the work of his second-level students in Belgium. Copies of the books made during this workshop will be taken back to Belgium to be shared with a European audience.

Workshop fee: €10

For all bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/childrens-voices-are-we-listening.

For more information go to kidsown.ie/childrens-voices-listening/

13th December 2017

On December 13th The Mansion House will play host to celebrate 120 years of school choirs in a special event ‘It’s the Taking Part that Counts’. 

The event will celebrate and highlight the positive impact of school-based choral participation on both choir members and the wider school community and will feature prize-winning Irish school choirs alongside a community outreach school choir formed ‘from scratch’ specially for the celebration. This ‘scratch choir’ involves one of Ireland’s DEIS schools – St. Vincent’s GNS, Dublin who is being trained by Wesley College choral conductor Helen Doyle for this their debut concert, and beyond.  Joining them will be the Feis Ceoil prize-winning school choirs, along with members of two of Ireland’s leading professional choirs.

Additional choirs ‘from scratch’ will attend the event as they begin their year-long journey, culminating in the celebration of Christmas in their own schools in 2018.  With a keynote address from Assistant Professor in Education Marita Kerin, Trinity College, the event will celebrate school-based choral activity while demonstrating its powerfully transformative effects on school communities, thus encouraging every school in Ireland to get involved in choral singing.

The Mansion House event, ‘It’s the Taking Part that Counts’, takes place on Wednesday, 13th December at 2.30pm.  Please lend your support to this project and attend this choral celebration of our school choirs.

For more information find go to @schoolchoirs120 on Facebook or email schoolchoirs120@gmail.com

To book tickets go to www.eventbrite.ie/e/its-the-taking-part-that-counts-tickets

FeisCeoil-120

Make Create Innovate

Date: 7 & 8 October 2017 at The Digital Depot, James St, Dublin 8

In collaboration with The Digital Hub, Make Create Innovate offer this hands-on, jargon-free two day workshop that will introduce you to physical computing using conductive materials, MaKey MaKey and Arduino with some basic sensors. Our artist-maker-educator approach is all about tinkering with art, electronic and everyday materials to learn through experimentation and discovery.

By the end of the weekend you will have a basic understanding of the principals involved in easy-to-make light and sound responsive systems and the materials required. You will work in groups to create an electronically triggered soundscape or an interactive environment/artwork.

This workshop is for creative practitioners and educators, who want to do something different with non-screen based technology; whether it’s programme a touch-activated sound effects on the theatre stage or design a cross-curricular STEAM project at school. It is especially suitable for anyone involved in engaged arts that support arts participation and/or invite audience interaction.

For more information click here

 

Deirdre Sullivam HeadshotDeirdre Sullivan is a writer and SEN teacher from Galway. Her latest book, Tangleweed and Brine will be published this September.

Guest Blog CPD Course at The Ark

I signed up for a five-day CPD course in The Ark with one summer course already under my belt. I had brought my class to The Ark on a number of visits and they have always been very supportive and accommodating. I’m a special education teacher, and my students really enjoy the sensory elements of the visual arts, so I also wanted to build my skills and learn a few new tricks.

The course facilitator was Jole Bortoli, whose warmth and insight made the workshop space very welcoming. I am very aware of my limitations when it comes to the visual arts, I’m not a “good drawer”, but the emphasis was very much on the engagement and practice rather than the end result, though many of my classmates blew me away with their talent and creativity. There are some very lucky classrooms and libraries in Dublin!

We started with drawing, and spent time making a collaborative project with lines and curves, on big rolls of paper. This was displayed on the ceiling during the course, so we could take it in. It was a simple and practical exercise, and the result was lovely. We then worked to Jole’s instructions, but interpreted them in our own way, so the results were very different. I was already seeing the potential for linkage with SPHE and maths.

We then took the time and space to visit the exhibition of animal sculpture in The Ark, and used sketches we had taken to inform the final project of the day which was based on work that Jole has done with a range of children. She was incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about the young people she works with, and showed us examples of ways she adapts her activities for different age ranges and abilities. She also showed us some video footage of a project she had done with Saplings in Rathfarnham, where a team worked with children with autism.

Day two was paint and colour, and the bright shades were really welcome after (the mostly black and white) day one, and we made another collaborative project, this time a riot of shape and colour. We were introduced to a range of different materials. I was particularly taken with paint-sticks, which were like glue-sticks but with paints. We painted with our eyes closed to music and again with our eyes open. Particularly popular was making our own egg tempura paints, and exploring a range of textured paints that can be made at home or in the classroom, depending on your setting. This activity would link in well with the science curriculum, as well as being a lot of fun.

Day three was 3D! We focused on construction, and engaged in collage, work with different types of clay (on the theme of rural and urban space and the wildlife within) and most interestingly sculpture. We used soap and a knife to whittle seals (and one sparrow), and it was a really interesting activity. The knives were safe (blunt), and this activity could be done in a class. It made me think a lot about shape and space, and the clay-play seemed really easy in comparison. Again, Jole and the other facilitators were supportive and gave us inspiration and space to create, and the results were impressive.

On Day 4, we worked on Fabric and Fibre, and spent the day making hats and masks. The hats were made from cardboard, fabric, beads and natural objects such as driftwood and feathers, and Jole once again drew inspiration from the First Nations artists of northern Canada to prompt our creative activity. This drew in the “Looking and Responding” part of the visual arts curriculum really nicely. The masks were two-sided, one animal on the outside and another on the inside, and they were made with paper on cardboard. These two projects were time-consuming, and some people were so enthusiastic they worked through their coffee break to get them finished, which is a good sign.

Friday was our final day and we worked on map-making- with a range of different activities, relief-painting and ink-dripping. The results were interesting, and Jole gave us some pointers on the correct materials to use for the best results with a class.

We kept reflective journals throughout, and Jole took time to explain where each exercise was coming from, and how it could be developed. There was a lovely mix of learning and creating, and I came away full of excitement to share some of my new skills with my students over the coming year. Highly recommended.

Éadaoin Quinn headshotÉadaoin Quinn is a school librarian at Enniscorthy Vocational College. She is one of thirty librarians working as part of the JCSP Library Project. A graduate of Trinity College and UCD, Éadaoin began her career as a librarian in third level academic libraries. In 2001 she left Trinity College Library to become one of the first JCSP Librarians. She loves her role a school librarian, engaging students with reading, supporting their learning and running a full programme of arts, culture and technology. When not pushing books on students she is hanging out with her family, or escaping them trail running and cycling.

Creative Writing Summer Course in The Ark 

This course sounded like just what I was looking for: “Creative Writing in the Differentiated Classroom”, I was excited by the chance to be in Temple Bar in Dublin in the middle of Summer and better again to work from The Ark.

As a school librarian, working in a Deis school as part of the JCSP Demonstration Library Project, I have been running an after school creative writing group for the past eight years. I am always looking for new ideas to inspire my students and to develop their writing. Too often I am looking for these bright ideas at the end of a long and tiring day.

Poet Nell Regan delivered the course, as Nell has worked as a teacher and continues to teach writing to children, this was a course grounded in the reality of the day to day of school life and not high falutin theory. The course was fun and we deserved fun at the end of the school year, especially the primary school teachers who had only days before waved goodbye to their students.

Practical playful activities were described by Nell from her experience, we were invited to try each exercise ourselves and then to reflect on how we would work it in to our classrooms or libraries. This generous sharing of ideas led to wonderful discussions among us. There was a great buzz and spirit of collegiality between all of us participants. It was especially interesting to share experiences between primary and secondary level. We had a lot to learn from each other and Nell having experience of both made the course relevant to all of us.

The project room on the top floor of The Ark is a beautiful creative space, we explored it thoroughly during one exercise leading each other blind folded on a sensory exploration around the room and out onto the balcony (eek!).  We were brought on a tour of The Ark’s exhibitions and learned of the rich programme of visual and performing arts.  I found it a stimulating environment, just being there you felt creative.

By Wednesday afternoon I was exhausted and was so happy to sit back and listen to Children’s author and guest facilitator Patricia Forde. Patricia was a ball of energy, she told a hilarious and personal story of growing up on Shop Street in Galway City and how she began to write. It brought home to me the huge influence an adult, especially a teacher or librarian, can have on a child’s sense of themselves as a writer. An engaging conversation followed on children’s and young adult’s books with much scribbling down of titles and authors.

Nell organised a visit to The Chester Beatty Library on Thursday afternoon. We used the exhibits of the library as the stimulus for some writing and for ideas for Friday’s book making workshop. On Friday we were up to our oxters in glittery paper, glue and ribbon as we made our own notebooks.  Having had trouble that week folding up my paper lunch carton from a nearby trendy café this was not an easy task. Some of the results were gorgeous, I’m filing it under “student led activity”.

I’ve come away from the week with a stack of ideas, some “just hints” of ideas and some half fledged lesson plans. I have a list of online resources recommended by Nell and fellow participants and I have more confidence and enthusiasm for teaching creative writing next year.

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Claire is a visual artist, curator and arts educator based in Dublin. Over the last twenty years Claire has worked with a range of groups across many age groups from Primary School children through to Second and Third level students, teachers, community groups, intellectual disability groups and older people. These projects have taken place in a range of settings and contexts including museum gallery based, classroom, library, healthcare, local authority and community settings and over a range of timescales. Claire is represented by Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin and is currently curating Concerning the Other – an artist collaborative project with the gallery in September 2017.

As an visual artist, curator and arts educator I work on many different projects across different contexts over a range of timescales. It is a juggling act with no days or weeks being the same – something that any working artist is familiar with as their profession, way of life and the challenges, opportunities and rewards it brings. Over the next four blog posts I am going to focus on one or two arts in education projects I am working on as they develop. Since March 2017, I have been working as project co-ordinator and Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator on the DCC VTS Neighbourhood Schools project. VTS Neighbourhood Schools is a visual thinking strategies project funded by Dublin City Council Arts Grant in collaboration with The LAB Gallery, Central Model School, St. Vincent’s B.N.S, Ballybough, St. Mary’s N.S, Fairview. It is part of Project 20/20 – a visual literacy initiative with children living in Dublin 1 led by Dublin City Council, the City Arts Office and The LAB Gallery.

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an educational curriculum and teaching method which is designed to enable students to develop aesthetic and language literacy and critical thinking skills. It is a discussion based methodology for looking at art. The method is the result of more than fifteen years of collaboration between cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen, a Harvard trained educator and psychologist and veteran museum educator Philip Yenawine. The current Irish Primary School Curriculum places emphasis on developing a child’s sense of wonder and facilitating the child to be an agency in his or her own learning. VTS allows space for these aims as well as for other core ideas of the Curriculum such as creating space for the child’s own knowledge to be a base for learning- the VTS facilitator scaffolds what the child’s responses are rather than the opposite way around.

Since 2014 Central Model Senior School has worked with VTS facilitator, Lynn McGrane, funded by Dublin City Council Arts Office and The LAB Gallery using VTS to look at contemporary Irish art both through visits to The LAB Gallery and classroom sessions. IAWATST – Interesting And Weird At The Same Time was an exhibition of work from the OPW Collection and Department of Finance, Northern Ireland Collection, selected by this class group, using VTS in the selection process. The aim and structure of the VTS: Neighbourhood Schools project is to continue using Visual Thinking Strategies to add to the knowledge of the arts and build on the sense of place and experience that the children on Central Model N.S have and to share that experience with their neighbours through working in close collaboration with two schools (St. Mary’s N.S, Fairview and St. Vincent’s B.N.S, Ballybough) with trained VTS practitioners in each of the schools.

In September 2016, I completed the Visual Thinking Strategies Beginners Practicum with Yoon Kang-O’Higgins, VTS Programme Director along with teachers from Central Model School (Deirdre Gartland and Bridget Kildee) and St. Vincent’s B.N.S (Orla Doyle), funded by Dublin City Council Arts Office. In this first phase of this project (March – June) the VTS Practitioners have facilitated 6 sessions with four class groups – Junior Infants to 3rd Class. These sessions happened at The LAB Art Gallery, Hugh Lane Gallery, ArtBox Gallery and classroom based looking at contemporary Irish art. As a team we have met for peer to peer mentoring and support sessions and Liz Coman DCC Assistant Arts Officer and VTS Trainer facilitated coaching sessions with each VTS practitioner. In June we will have a Reflective Practice Session with Yoon Kang-O’Higgins – an opportunity to see where we are all at this stage of the project and where we are going with Phase 2, building capacity, modelling VTS for teachers and observing teachers, image selection, potential trainees for VTS Beginner’s Practicum in Autumn 2017. In this blog post I have only had the chance to lay out the structure and background to the project. In the next post I will relate back from the class groups themselves and their teachers, their responses, experiences and my own experience as a practicing visual artist using VTS.

Links:

Dublin City Arts Office     http://www.dublincityartsoffice.ie

DCC Project 2020             http://dublincityartsoffice.ie/project2020/

St.Mary’s N.S, Fairview   https://stmarysartproject.wordpress.com/

Claire Halpin                     https://clairehalpin2011.wordpress.com/

Room 13 Inquiry is a dynamic investigation into the potential of shared art studio spaces in school settings. It has evolved in two primary schools in Fingal since its inception in 2014 and includes the provision of a dedicated art studio space, an artist in residence and a series of exhibition and artists’ studio visits for the students.

We engaged filmmaker Kilian Waters to capture the activities of the students and artists over the course of six weeks this academic year and commissioned a website  to share some of the intelligent and honest conversations held by the students over the past three years. The website www.room13inquiry.ie  will go live on Tuesday 20th of June at 12noon.

Room 13 Inquiry is an initiative of Fingal County Council Arts Office in partnership with Tyrrelstown Educate Together N.S, Scoil Bhride Cailini N.S., artists Orla Kelly and Anne Cradden, with support from Draíocht and the Arts Council of Ireland

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

CREATIVE DANCE TALES is storytelling through dance. It began as a pilot workshop series supported by The Ireland Funds in 2015, and ran in parallel with David Bolger’s production THE WOLF AND PETER by CoisCéim Dance Theatre. The workshops were delivered to over 300 children in 8 primary schools around Ireland, giving children an imaginative, kinaesthetic learning experience in dance. Two professional development workshops for educators were also held in Dublin and Galway. In part CREATIVE DANCE TALES emerged from requests made by teachers in primary schools. It was supported by CoisCéim’s Arts Council funded residency at The School of Arts, Education and Movement, Institute of Education, St Patrick’s Campus, DCU, and as a legacy to the three year residency, was developed by CoisCéim Broadreach and the Physical Education Unit.

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

The project evolved through working with children in different primary school settings nationwide, and through working with the Physical Education Unit and undergraduate student teachers from The Institute of Education, formally St Patrick’s College, on an in-school creative dance project as part of the physical education major specialism.

In autumn 2015, Philippa Donnellan (Director of CoisCéim BROADREACH) worked with children in different primary school settings nationwide in parallel with a national tour of CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s production of The Wolf and Peter by David Bolger, the Artistic Director. In spring 2016 she then commenced work with the Physical Education Unit and undergraduate student teachers from The Institute of Education DCU, formerly St Patrick’s College, on a creative dance project as part of their physical education major specialism studies. Content and ideas drew from the musical score and the choreographic and dramatic material of The Wolf and Peter. Philippa led the work, building on the students’ previous work in creative dance as part of their PE modules. Following on this, the students were supported teaching dance to local primary school children using the Creative Dance Tales draft lesson plans. These were subsequently revised based on observations of the student teachers planning and teaching as well as the responses of children. The lesson plans provide detailed and easy to follow guidance on creative dance activities inspired by Peter’s dance, the dance of the Hunters and of course the Wolf dance. The Creative Dance Tales digital resource is the culmination of this work involving children, an artist, student teachers and teacher educators.

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

From the point of view of the DANCE ARTIST – The success of the project was witnessing how fully the children engaged and enjoyed working creatively in dance. Almost without exception, their enthusiasm and excitement in ‘becoming the wolf’ or animating the character of Peter and dancing together demonstrated how positive dance activity as a mode of learning. Challenges have included developing a fully comprehensive digital resource, which maintains artistic integrity within a clear education framework, and is engaging and accessible for teachers and dance artists alike.

From the point of view of the LECTURERS IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION – The successes from our perspective included the engagement of the student teachers with the CREATIVE TALES DANCE workshops and the quality of their work. Observing the progression in the student teachers teaching of the dance lessons to the local primary school children was encouraging. The student teachers pedagogical skills improved, as well as the quality of the children’s performances. The student teachers confidence and understanding to teach creative dance was evident in their comments and reflective diaries.  The opportunities for the students, staff, local primary school children and their teachers to see the performance of THE WOLF AND PETER at the St. Patrick’s Campus auditorium was a positive and enriching community event. Challenges included the administration involved in the various aspects of the project, the time required to write, design, and edit the resource.

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

The project helped to link the Physical Education lecturers, student teachers, teachers, children, CoisCéim and other curriculum staff members on a joyful, meaningful, visual and practical dance journey, which was linked to the Irish Primary School Curriculum (1999).  The CREATIVE DANCE TALES digital resource is a significant teaching support available on the Arts Portal website for teachers, student teachers and others.

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

From the point of view of the DANCE ARTIST – As the lead Dance Artist on this project, the experience and understanding gained from working in varied formal educational settings – has clarified my own dance education work. In particular I believe it has simplified, yet focused my teaching skills and the different methods I employ in guiding children to grow and learn creatively.

From the point of view of the LECTURERS IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION – Having the CREATIVE DANCE TALE resource will support physical education dance work with student teachers. Having the resource available in digital format allows easy access for the student teachers to teach the lessons while on school placement. They can inform teachers in their school placement schools of the availability of the resource. The Physical Education Unit and The Irish Primary Physical Education Association can share the link to the resource on their respective websites.

To download the resource pack, click here.

For individual teacher lesson plan

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_1.pdf

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_2.pdf

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_3.pdf

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_4.pdf

The Ark presents an engaging selection of arts summer courses for primary school teachers and a concert for school groups.

Concert for School Groups:

Shakespeare’s Music Mix – Fri 23 June @ 10.15am & 12.15pm (1st-6th Class)

Teacher’s Summer Courses:

Creative Writing & Special Educational Needs – 3-7 July 2017

A Visual Arts Approach – 14 Aug – 18 Aug 2017

Creative Music & Drama – 21-25 August 2017

For more information please contact (01)6707788/boxoffice@ark.ie

 

 

 

CREATIVE DANCE TALES is storytelling through dance. It began as a pilot workshop project in 2015 which ran in parallel with CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s THE WOLF AND PETER by David Bolger and its three year-long residency at DCU (formerly St. Patrick’s College).

Supported by The Ireland Funds, CoisCéim BROADREACH conducted 26 workshops in 8 primary schools at 6 locations around Ireland with over 300 children taking part. Two specialist seminars for educators were held in Dublin and Galway. CREATIVE DANCE TALES gave children an imaginative, kinaesthetic learning experience in dance and highlighted the power of storytelling through performance.

Emerging in part from requests made by teachers, the CREATIVE DANCE TALES DIGITAL RESOURCE was developed together by BROADREACH and the Physical Education Unit, The School of Arts Education and Movement, Institute of Education, DCU, and funded through the residency by the Arts Council of Ireland.

It is a celebration of the work of children, students, teachers, teacher educators and dance professionals. Distributed free of charge through the Arts in Education Portal in Ireland and www.dcu.ie, the lesson plans are designed to act as a starting point to stimulate creative thinking for teachers and children alike.

To download the resource pack, click here.

For individual teacher lesson plan

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_1.pdf

 

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_2.pdf

 

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_3.pdf

 

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_4.pdf

 

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

Helen Barry, Artist: During my introductory meeting with the teacher Ms. Smyth, Sharon offered the brief “I would like the children to do something that they would normally never do in the classroom”. The children were in senior infants and aged between 5 and 6 years. The introductory session is extremely important in understanding the context of the school, the previous arts experience of the school and teacher and the schools based experience of the artist. I would like to highlight the word ‘Space’ as used in our title. We literally explored all possible definitions of the word and still continue to do so as we have a few sessions left. It was not an intentional theme but one that grew very organically from the moment I entered the classroom. The children’s classroom was the biggest space that I have ever worked in; it was Autumn and the children were exploring intergalactic space. My first actual workshop with the children focused on spatial awareness creating spaces using huge rolls of metallic foam and moving about in these temporary spaces. I had also brought with me a variety of materials to play with and included four pieces of white polystyrene that formed the main body of our rocket. We cannot give credit to any one being for this decision other than being a something that was on everyone’s mind in the classroom so it just all happened in a split second.

Through designing and building the rocket together the children began to understand structure and stability. With these new skills and a wide range of materials we further explored scale and constructions both inside and outside of the classroom. We built different spaces focusing on dome structures, a dominant shape that frequently appears throughout my work. As we constructed our structures we were met with many challenges. As we were ‘testing’ with materials and designs it was often the children who offered the solutions to building more stable pieces. Again I found that Sharon was really positive when met with these sort of challenges, when things collapsed she felt that this is where the children learnt more as it demanded more from them and often displayed a strong voice from children who often remained in the background. One of our domes has been given a permanent home in the school grounds. We have planted a willow dome that will grow with the children throughout their primary school journey with them. The children will tend to the willow dome in the coming years and I will maintain my relationship with Sharon, the children and the school.

Sharon Smyth, Teacher: The offer of applying for the program was put forward by our school principal. Having read up on the initiative and what was involved I put my name forward to be considered. I felt that it was a great opportunity to offer my class something beyond that which my ability and confidence might allow if I were to tackle such a project on my own. During our initial meeting Helen spoke of construction, incorporating the classroom tables and chairs, rockets flying into space and using the top half of the room (from the ceiling down) to explore ‘Space’. I knew that a truly unique and exciting experience was possible for my girls, it just required a little leap of faith!

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

HB Artist: The immediacy of what we created in the first session provided the impetus for what developed over several months. Each idea rolled seamlessly into the next. We tested a number of ideas that came from discussions with the teacher and the children. Our rocket claimed centre stage as its design was carefully and enthusiastically managed by the children. The process demanded group work and teaming building. Often children as young as this can struggle with group decision-making. This group of senior infants rose to the challenge and seemed to grow in maturity and independence as the weeks progressed. Their teacher Sharon provided the space for the children and I to totally explore the ‘unknown’. Sharon has such a wonderful belief in each child’s abilities and is very open to discovering new ways of learning. She also proved that she was possibly more open than I was at times to leaving structure and routine aside and just going with the flow.

SS Teacher: Helen immediately looked to tie her work in with what the class were already learning about. This gained their attention and focus while at the same time taking their learning in a new and exciting direction. I watched (in awe) from week to week as my class became more efficient in teamwork, understanding of each other’s needs and willingness to take on the ideas of those around them (a very tricky task in the world of the ego centric 5/6year old!)

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

HB Artist: From the outset the scale of the materials we were working with demanded teamwork. Explaining to each team or group what they had to do I initially found challenging but as the work developed the children worked brilliantly in small teams, responding well to each other and supporting each other’s ideas and designs. So much so that when they were working on individual activities the children would automatically offer their assistance when they saw that someone needed it. The class size was large with 30 students. Initially the children seemed very young and the dynamic could heighten very easily but very quickly they became more capable and independent as the project developed.

SS Teacher: Initially I was a little at sea as to my role within the program/sessions. I wasn’t sure how much I was to observe or work hands-on with what the class were engaging with. As the weeks passed I felt that the more I tried the various activities, got involved and even on some occasions offered advice or help, the easier and more confident I became. While I hoped my own teaching would grow in this way through the program I am delighted that I would now have the confidence to try projects and lessons that are larger in scale and ‘space’ than I would ever have dared before.

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

HB Artist: The willow dome has provided a new material and timeframe for how I work. Planting willow cuttings has given root to another similar project. Since planting the willow dome with the children in St. Raphaela’s I have planted a second willow dome with children in St. John The Baptist P.S. in Belfast. This experience has demonstrated the openness of the primary school classroom. Sharon, along with so many teachers, has proven time and time again the willingness to engage with and support the arts and creativity in the classroom.

SS Teacher: I honestly don’t know where to begin in putting into words the value and worth of what my class has gained from their (and my) entire experience with Helen. Helen is not only an outstanding artist but she possesses an incredible understanding and appreciation of how her profession and skills can be brought to life within the classroom. While I have always loved to paint and ‘do art’ with classes I have taught I now realize that my vision and understanding of what ‘art’ teaching is has never truly reached its full potential. I sincerely believe that a product is not necessary at the end of a lesson but that the process is what is important but now I embrace this even more wholeheartedly.

Our space rocket, with its initial design, exploration of materials and slow but steady assembly took many weeks to complete before it managed to hang majestically (the word chosen by my class) from the middle of our ceiling. Alongside the many artistic lessons the girls engaged in, it was also a lesson in PATIENCE. I do not mean the patience required until it is your turn to stick or glue, cut or offer an idea. It was the patience of allowing the spaceship to build and come together over time. This required hours of collaboration, compromise and debate as week by week another element was added. Indeed at one point the wings of our spaceship were thought to be stained glass windows for Christmas by those passing by the room! To have rushed this project so as to have a ‘product’ by the end of two or three sessions would have meant missing out on a world of learning and discovery.

From our rocket we moved on quite seamlessly to building domes. Again we took this step by step exploring how best to support them – building foundations, securing poles side by side. It is how this was approached that I was enthralled by. One session saw the class link themselves together and learn how to form strong bonds between each loop. How much deeper is this learning than just ‘let’s build a dome’. What has come of this in the most organic way (planting our own dome) is absolutely fascinating. Over the coming years the dome will grow and develop alongside the girls. Helen has agreed to return to the school each year and work with the class in a number of sessions to shape and maintain the structures. The learning and integration that will occur across the curriculum as both the girls and structures progress will be a very special experience and we are very grateful to Helen for her commitment of time and expertise in the project.

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

HB Artist: Experiment and exploring with new ideas and materials naturally results in some things that do not work. At times I find this quite unnerving if somewhat stressful feeling that I let the children down. Sharon is very skilled in demonstrating and supporting ‘mistakes’ that don’t always turn out to have been for the best. I hope to be able to use her perspective in how I deal with challenging situations in the future. Planting willow has been a new departure in using materials. The maintaining of the willow dome will enable or demand that I will be working on a project that will grow and change over many years.

SS Teacher: The biggest thing I feel that has changed in my work as a teacher is that I would now be happy to allow my art lessons carry for a number of weeks without feeling the pressure to ‘have something on the wall’ or ‘a picture to send home on a Friday’. So many of our lessons were tied into building our rocket and yet they splintered off more often than not into lessons of their own, producing space asteroids one week and pasta based constructions another. It has also reiterated for me how paramount it is to allow children engage in as many mediums for learning as possible. What best appeals to one child’s ability to learn will not appeal to another. On so many occasions I witnessed children who struggle in the day-to-day lessons of the classroom excel in the hands-on tasks put before them. Their confidence and self-belief literally grew in front of me as they mastered new skills and understanding

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

Written by Cliona Harmey with input from creative collaborators & teachers on the project

As the artist developing the public art project Dublin Ships (commissioned by Dublin City Council) I wanted an engagement project to run in parallel within the duration of the art work. Dublin Ships was a temporary public artwork generated via a live electronic information system (AIS) which tracked the locations of ships coming in and out of Dublin Port. The names of the most recently arrived and most recently departed ships from Dublin Port were displayed on two large LED screens sited at the Scherzer Bridges close to the Samuel Beckett Bridge over a nine month period. The artwork was concerned with the meanings and poetic qualities of ship names which included references to maritime trade, cargoes, historical figures and distant places.

Together with the commissioners, Ruairí Ó Cuív and Liz Coman, we decided to work with children living locally who were potentially experiencing the artwork, in their day to day lives, over the extended period of time.

We approached three experienced and innovative people, artist Martina Galvin, visual arts educator Katy Fitzpatrick and philosopher Aislinn O’ Donnell to work on the project. All of them had existing or previous relationships with the schools in the area and a familiarity with the locale. The initial framework for our planning was finding different ways to enable students to respond to ideas prompted by the artwork. Through collaborative team planning and an ongoing dialogue, we designed a series of four class group sessions, which included using verbal discussion, hands-on making, notebook work and an experiential field trip.

Martina Galvin, Artist

As I was at the philosophical discussions in the classrooms, and as mesmerised as the children on the port visits, I was able to gauge what areas to focus on in the workshops in the classrooms.  Although I concentrated on the children creating their own public art work for the port, there were many strands that could be expanded on in an artistic and creative way.

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

The engagement project was developed with four schools on both sides of the Liffey. Therefore the fact that many of the students had an existing awareness of the artwork was very helpful in terms of generating discussion and bouncing ideas around as the project progressed.

The project began with discussions led by Aislinn and Katy, which explored the potiential for many different forms of art and was an important springboard for opening up thinking at the start of the project. This initial part of the project also included imagining and speculating on the visible and invisible elements of signal and communications based technologies that surround us in our everyday lives. This sowed an important seed for later abstract drawings.

During the initial phase of the project there was a field trip to the port with Martina Galvin and Charlie Murphy, Communications Manager of Dublin Port Company. This visit allowed the young people to see behind the walls of a facility close to their locality and also to see operations in the control room. The port visit was a very exciting experiential highlight. One group got to see the arrival of a large cruise ship “Carribean Princess” up close from within the control room. This particular school is opposite the port and regularly sees shipping traffic at a distance from the windows of the school across from the other side of the river.

After these discussions, children worked with visual artist Martina Galvin to come up with initial ideas for their own public artworks. These included many imaginative responses, some of which also took the form of experiences or tours. Other suggestions included artwork for 3 dancers, a skatepark as an artwork, an artwork that might take you back to the time of the dinosaurs, as well as artworks designed for specific locations.

The young people kept individual project notebooks to store their ideas and gather their research. Myself and Martina discussed with the children the ways in which artists’ use notebooks. We brought some examples of our own notebooks to show them. The use of personal notebooks was a simple but very effective methodology giving students some sense of agency and personal investment in the project.

Back in the classrooms, we used photographs recorded by Martina as prompts to jog pupil’s memories and to initiate discussion of their experience of the port and to recount what it was like to see behind the scenes.

Marina Galvin, Artist

The “notebook’ as the collector of this rich array of materials and ideas, was a great way to give the children individual freedom but yet not lose their responses and creative ideas. I did provide them with a rich and diverse set of materials in the workshops, and this definitely helped move them from ‘traditional illustrations’ of what they saw, to developing imaginitive ideas. I took extensive photographs of the port trips and re visited the trip using these photographs to bring the port back to the classroom – ensuring we were not working from a blank canvas. For instance, they had a “smell” page in the notebooks and they put drops lavender or lemon grass oil on their notebook page. This corresponded directly back to the very, very strong smell of the grain storage depots in the port. We were all in awe that this grain is the only source of wheat for all the bread made in Ireland that we all consume!!  They also wrote out ideas, as I emphasised that ideas can be thought and written, not necessarily made. This allowed greater creative freedom. There were numerous examples of very individual responses, and I think that was part of the highlight of the project for me – enabling the children to have very individual creative process free from the necessity to materialise an idea.

Mary Sunderland, teacher from St Lawrence’s Girls National School, Sherriff Street, Dublin 1 

What I loved most was how the project utilised the children’s surroundings to inform and lead the project. The children and I experienced things that we never would normally and all of them being on our doorstep. This included learning about Dublin Port and Dublin Ships. It was a thoroughly enjoyable project.

After the port visit some teachers initiated project work in classtime that happened between the port visit and the artist sessions. Some extraordinary abstract sculptural and graphic elements which grew out of material exploration and the discussion of visible and invisible elements.

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

The children’s discussions and descriptions of the port visit were really lovely. Highlights included the strong smell of grain being delivered, the control room itself, looking through binoculars out to sea, talking to an incoming ship, and speaking/singing through megaphones.

One challenging aspect was the sheer volume of work generated over the course of four sessions with facilitators. The children produced a vast amount of material that illustrated their thinking and responded to ideas and materials. The editing was quite a challenging process and a little unwieldy. At the initial stage of the project we were unsure exactly what form the final output would take, in retrospect our job would have been easier if we had some clarity on final form earlier.

While the project was happening the four teachers involved were very committed and active collaborators. Some of the teachers kept discussion going and came up with complementary activities which happened in the time between sessions.

After the summer break it was challenging to re-engage the schools in the project as three out of four of the teachers involved were on leave of absence and new teachers were starting with the class groups. These teachers had not experienced the main aspects of the project and so picking up and further developing themes encountered was very difficult.

What insights from the project are worth sharing?

Working in parallel and with support from the other practitioners and supportive teachers was really crucial and drove the engagement project.

I compiled the collated information into an ‘Online Showcase’ which offered an overview of some of the key questions we explored. We tried to give a flavour of our approach, which we compiled from audio recordings together with images and drawings by the participants.

Myself and Liz Coman returned to one class group to show them the online showcase and receive their feedback. In this discussion the impact of the project was obvious as the children shared strong visual and verbal memories of their experience. The importance of the use of notebooks as a tool to gather thinking as research was commented on by the children. When we showed the online showcase to the children we discussed how I had selected images and sound pieces from a vast amount of content – curating their work in a sense. With a longer engagement time we could have developed this aspect of choice and curation of the content more directly with the children.

The collated images of their drawings into video clips got strong responses from the children. A silent image sequence of their abstract drawings stimulated a huge level of quiet concentration and seemed one of the most effective ways of collating this information for group response and class room use.

Has anything changed as a result of the project?

For me as an artist the project enabled mediation and discussion of the public art work with the local school community. It also provided valuable feedback and helped us gauge on some level the effectiveness of the public art project overall. Children also engaged in discussions with parents or grandparents around the work and also helped to mediate the work to the wider community for us.

The engagement project also introduced the children to the inner workings of the port, a space which is in their backyard and which has a legacy in their community. They engaged directly in discussion of what ships come in and out, the cargo involved, and the names of ships.

The project introduced children to the concept of different forms contemporary art work can take. The project also allowed children time and space to make a creative response to their experience of the visiting the port, seeing the artwork and understanding how it was made.

The collaboration between the creative facilitators, the teachers and staff of Dublin City Public Art Programme, Dublin City Arts Office, and Dublin Port enabled a degree of peer to peer learning with different areas of expertise coming together to support the children’s experience.

 

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

Julie Clarke, Fingal Arts Office

Room 13 is a well-established and renowned arts education programme, which began in Fort William, UK, and now exists in schools throughout the world. I was interested in the school studio concept for a long time and curious about how it would work in practice. I had consulted with artists and schools to assess their experiences of traditional artist-in-residence projects and to identify their cultural needs in going forward. I knew that artists and schools were interested in exploring alternative models of arts-in-education and Room 13 encompassed all the principles we were interested in upholding.

Orla Kelly had a keen interest in Room 13 also and following much thought and dialogue we embarked on visiting the original Room 13 in Caol Primary School, Fortwilliam, to see what a student run art studio looked like. It was a wonderful visit and we were greatly inspired by the children and artist we met there. Their studio is hosted by the primary school but autonomous in all other aspects. It is managed by the students and self-sustainable.

On our return to Fingal we set about meeting with Dublin 15 schools interested in the possibility of establishing a similar studio model in their school. Scoil Bhríde Cailíní NS in Blanchardstown and Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS were eager and excited about the potential of such a project. They had a strong understanding of the child-centred ethos of Room 13 and they were prepared to provide their students with a suitable space within the school to be transformed into a working studio.

After some planning the door of an empty classroom was opened to artist Orla Kelly and to Anne Cradden in Scoil Bhríde Cailíní NS and Tyrrelstown ETNS respectively and to each child and teacher in the school to use as a creative studio. Orla and Anne began introducing themselves to the children and teachers in their respective schools by delivering playful artistic sessions over several weeks. During this time the children became familiar with the artist, the art materials, facilities, and the freedom attached to this new space within their school. Relationships formed over time and interest groups organically emerged. Fifth class in both schools established themselves as lead protagonists in developing the studios. Initial dialogue focused on key questions around ‘studio’ and ‘environment’. We compared the spaces we share with others to the spaces we occupy and enjoy alone. We reflected on how our environment influences our behaviour and activities. Together we considered the characteristics of an effective studio environment in a school context and the idea of a ‘shared studio’ as a site supported by a community of people, for thinking and making.

A workspace within the Studio ~ Scoil Bhríde Cailíní was given to artist Orla Kelly for her own personal practice by the students. Like other Room 13 projects, the artist’s role is to offer guidance to the line of enquiry lead by the children and to scaffold their creative curiosity. The studio is for those who want to engage with it and is not compulsory for any child or teacher to participate in studio activities.

Cultural visits to exhibitions, places of interest and professional artists’ studios are an important element of the programme. Already the children have visited and explored Draíocht’s artist studio; The Hugh Lane Gallery, Frances Bacon’s Studio and works; IMMA artists’ studios and collection; and they intend on visiting the NCAD graduate show this June. The site visits provide the children and teachers with opportunities to experience contemporary art outside of the school environment and inform their own investigations back in the Studio.

Renee Moran, Visual Arts Coordinator in Scoil Bhríde Cailíní
Reflections on Room 13

We were delighted to hear that we had been chosen to take part in Room 13 after expressing an interest in the project to Fingal Arts Office. Admittedly, after the initial excitement, I began to grow anxious, as I really wanted it to work. Everything that had enthused me about the project also posed a considerable challenge. On a practical level, what would a working art studio demand of a primary school? Could we meet the demands? How would we work with the artist? Would the artist suit our school, would we suit the artist? Would our pupils embrace Room 13 or be confused or at best, bemused by it? Could the rules of a school be relaxed enough for the idealogy of Room 13? Would our staff be willing to give up valuable class time for the art workshops?

Thankfully, these challenges were met and dealt with effectively over the school year. First and foremost our artist, Orla Kelly, has been a pleasure to work with. She has built a wonderful rapport with the pupils and teachers of our school and the importance of this cannot be underestimated as it has fostered a creative and collaborative environment in which to work. Both teachers and pupils enjoy Orla’s enthusiastic and encouraging approach to work within Room 13. The staff of Scoil Bhríde has supported Room 13 from the beginning and was eager to take part in all of the workshops. Class teachers were flexible with their own timetables to allow for this and support teachers were encouraged to bring smaller groups to the studio. We consider ourselves privileged to have such a space within our school where pupils can go and make art in a very different way to the classroom environment. The pupils absolutely love Room 13. Scoil Bhríde is a primary school and therefore operates within certain constraints. As a staff, we were curious about how the somewhat informal approach of Room 13 would work out. It has been interesting and uplifting to see that the pupils, in particular the senior pupils, have adopted a respectful attitude to the studio. Rather than taking advantage of the freedom offered within the studio and wasting the opportunity afforded to them, they have embraced this and used this in the spirit with which it was intended. They experiment, explore and enjoy the process rather than focusing solely on the end product.

The biggest change with regard to Room 13 is that we now have an art studio within our school and this has become normal! Room 13 has worked its way seamlessly into the life of Scoil Bhríde. We have all adopted it as something that we can all avail of. Orla Kelly is a valued colleague and Room 13 is our studio.

Sinéad Toomey, Fifth Class Teacher Scoil Bhríde Cailíní

What aspects of the project made you smile?

Seeing the children make art with very few limitations or inhibitions. As a class teacher, you try to encourage children to be as creative as possible. However, in a classroom setting this is not always feasible as firstly, there are the time constraints of setting up the classroom for art and tidying up afterwards. Secondly, in the classroom it is generally more practical to focus on one strand of the art curriculum at a time as it is easier to manage art supplies. This also means that the children tend to have to finish their art in a limited space of time before moving on to a new strand.

With Room 13, the art supplies are ready and waiting for the children. They know where to find everything they need and where to put them when they are finished. They’re not afraid to get paint on the floor or desks! They can spend as much time as they want on a project. In this way they are exploring all of the strands of the curriculum on their own terms, often mixing and blending media. They are less concerned with getting things “wrong” and work more confidently and intuitively.

What aspects of the project made you feel challenged?

One of the main aspects of the Room 13 project is letting the children take control of their own learning and encouraging them to be more independent. During the first couple of weeks most of the children really took to this and started working straight away. Others found it difficult. Some children would flit from paint to clay to fabric, starting an art activity within the studio and leaving it half way through. Others would wander around the room, struggling for inspiration. As a teacher I found it very difficult not to intervene and give them a project to complete.

However, I have noticed a huge change in these children since the project started. Now when they come to Room 13 they spend a few minutes looking through art books or observing other pieces of art for inspiration before getting started. Often they will have ideas before they come into the room, or have something they began the day/week before that they want to finish. I don’t think that these children would have developed these types of skills if they weren’t given the chance to work independently.

Artist Orla Kelly ~ Reflections on Room 13

I am a contemporary artist working presently with painting and drawing. On a regular day I can have about 20 drop in visitors to my shared studio space in Scoil Bhríde Cailíní to see what I am working on, to chat about art, materials, constructing and engineering, or just to give a hug. It’s not a regular studio environment, as the average age of those I share with are 8-11 years old but it is a perfectly dynamic and rich one,  offering daily crits, posing meaningful aesthetic challenges, providing an enthusiastic and vocal audience for developing work.

The studio is almost always an ordered mess which is perfectly fine. After we visited Francis Bacon’s studio at The Hugh Lane Gallery on one of our cultural visits, we agreed that sometimes a certain amount of chaos is required for creating, although we didn’t want to reach his level just yet. When the young artists and I work together in the space we usually do so on the floor. It means we are all on the same level, investigating together. The conversations we share are a mixture of student –teacher technical inquiry, philosophical wonderings, aesthetic meanderings probing the nature of the arts and life. It is a generous and honest environment.

How do you feel about Room 13?

Scoil Bhríde Cailíní NS,  10 – 11 yrs

‘Really happy and lucky’
‘I enjoy that its messy as it means we’re very creative’
‘You get to use lots of art materials and you can work on any art project you want’
‘I’m so happy that Orla and Julie are in our school because without them we would not be able to do anything we want concerning our own creativity’
‘I’m glad to have Orla in my school; she is very kind and helpful’
‘When Orla is there I feel welcome she inspires me a lot, when I don’t know what to do she helps me work out ideas’
‘Sometimes it’s challenging, once I had to go and use the hot glue and Orla was there to rescue me’
‘It feels really fun and exciting Orla is very talented’
‘I enjoy all the art with my friends’

Aoife Coffey, Arts Coordinator, Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS

What aspects of the project made you smile?

The project is a wonderful opportunity for children to experience what I would consider real art. It made me smile to see my own student from the ASD unit burst through the door every morning with a new creation he had made and to listen to him describe the process of how he made it. There is very much a sense amongst the children that Room 13 is theirs. I’m looking forward to watching this project grow and expand over the next few years. It is an exciting time for us in Tyrrelstown Educate Together. We are so happy and grateful to be working with Anne this year as she has had such a special influence over the children in opening their eyes to the art world!
What aspects of the project made you feel challenged?
The beginning of the project was challenging as we had to find a suitable space within the school without using up space we needed. Emails were flying back and forth with problems and solutions until we found a room we all agreed on. Fortunately we were able to add a sink to the room and our wonderful art studio was born.  With the help of Julie, Orla and Anne the whole project ran smoothly from then on. The staff showed a great interest in the project and we all agreed it was a fantastic opportunity for our school and our pupils. When Anne came on board the studio really got going. On any given day as you walk past the studio children are busily designing, painting and constructing. There is always something new happening. It is wonderful to see the children have their own space and time to just create. We are very appreciative in the school to have our very own art studio!

Anne Cradden, Artist ~ Reflections on Room 13

Room 13 has been a revelation for me. At the start, I thought that helping the students with their investigations and then doing my own work in sculpture and drawing would be two entirely separate strands of the same project. However, the fact that we work side by side has meant that an incredibly dynamic creative environment has developed, where I believe the students’ approach to art making, and my own, have evolved and changed at a fundamental level. We have been working with an emphasis on experimentation and process rather than on “the end result,” and I have been amazed not only by the work the students have produced but also the important and exciting issues that come up in the studio, such as the value of contemporary art, the intersection between art and science, and the meaning of beauty. However, Room 13 has also fundamentally changed how I produce my own work.  On one level, being able to use the school building for temporary sculptural installations has been incredibly inspiring. More importantly, sharing the studio with the young artists has meant that constant consultation and discussion with them has become the norm for me, and now I find their input, their unique perspective, and their practical help invaluable.

Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS Students, 10 – 11 yrs

‘Room 13 is not an ordinary place’
‘It’s a place in our school with an artist’
‘The studio is having an Art Mart…we will be making our own art…and selling it and use the money to buy more art stuff like paint, fabric, paper’
‘Room 13 is a place where you can express your feelings’
‘I think about art in a different way now’

What’s next for the project?

Julie Clarke, Fingal Arts Office

The development of pupils’ entrepreneur and enterprise skills is an important part of the programme. Responsibility for running the studio will be divided among those students with a keen interest in the mechanics of arts administration work. They are gaining an understanding of my work in Fingal Arts Office and the important role played by organisations and individuals providing contexts within which art is made, shared and received. For some students this is the exciting part, and for others the art making is more exciting. Wherever their interest lies, there is a role for everyone interested in being involved. Both studios are evolving organically. Each week is informed by the previous and although the starting points were similar in each school, the individual studios are unique in how they are used and managed at this time. The pupils are very proud of their art studios and would choose to work there all day given the choice.
It’s important to mention that these studio projects are in the early stages of development. Our aim is to build the capacity of the children to experiment, explore, invent and realise their creative ideas over time. Fingal Arts Office and the schools have pledged to support the development of the studios for three years before assessing their viability to continue as self-sustainable entities thereafter.

Documentation

Room 13 ~ Fingal features on the Room 13 International website. However we would like to assist the students establish their very own online resource, one that they can control. We have discussed the possibility of creating a website for Room 13~Fingal with the children. They are interested in sharing their art work online with a wide audience. They are also interested in establishing an editorial team in each school. Some have expressed a keen interest in film / photography and others in writing. They are eager to respond to exhibition visits and share their opinions on the contemporary art that they have seen. The website could act as a forum for exchange between the two Room 13 projects in Dublin 15 and with Room 13 and young people elsewhere. It would be ideal for reinforcing the visual literacy, critical thinking and aesthetic development skills learned throughout the studio project.

Contact Details
For more information on Room 13~Fingal please contact: Julie Clarke, Youth & Education Arts Officer, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Email: julie.clarke@fingal.ie. Phone: 01 8905960
Room 13~Fingal, is proudly sponsored by Fingal County Council’s Arts Office

Tell us the story of your project – What was it about?

The Abbey Theatre provides opportunities for young citizens to express feelings about their world and their State using the theatre arts. We want the students to feel a civic ownership of their National Theatre. To achieve this aim, we strive to raise awareness among young people of the rich civic, cultural, social and creative connections that emerge through engagement with theatre and theatre making. This course was developed by Sarah FitzGibbon, in collaboration with Maire O’Higgins, Larkin Community College under the auspices of The Abbey Theatre’s Community and Education Department. The course was piloted in Larkin College from September 2013 until May 2015 with class 103. Over the two years and 100 hours, the students develop their competence in six key skills, 16 of the 24 statements of learning with clear literacy, oracy (Oral Literacy) and numeracy strategies.

There are three strands:In Strand 1, the young people get to grips with the 4 Key Concepts in CSPE; Human Dignity, Interdependence, Rights and Responsibilities and Democracy; an introduction to theatre making; review a piece of theatre and make a speech on ‘Theatre is an important tool for citizens to be able to express themselves.’ In Strand 2, we use the story of Romeo and Juliet as a vehicle through which we explore the effect of a feud on a community. This is then developed into a performance piece where we seek to exploit the learning potential of the production process as a ‘real life work’ simulation with designated roles, responsibilities, deadlines, teamwork and collaboration. In Strand 3, students developed their own piece of theatre to raise awareness of a social issue that affects their community. The students direct a lot of their own learning with self-motivated research tasks that form the basis of their script. It is this model of script development that you will be taken through today. In the Pilot, the students chose the issue of homelessness (which exemplifies the concept of Human Dignity). This was a recurring theme in our citzenship discussions since the students had seen Silent by Pat Kinevane in Strand 1. Homelessness was an issue they felt passionate about as it directly affected their inner city school community. The students researched the causes of homelessness; the State’s response to those experiencing homelessness; the community response to the issue; its coverage in the media and who they wished to express their message to. The students interviewed political theatre makers who had dealt with the issue of homelessness with the homeless community. They also interviewed a Simon Community Key Worker. They visited the Pebbledash exhibition in The National Museum and assisted the school’s First Year and Transition Year students in creating and distributing care parcels to the homeless in their area. When the group wrote their own play out of their research and discussions in class, they then created a list of policy makers and groups they wished to invite to attend their awareness raising performance. This list included invitations to the clients of homeless services and policy makers to attend the performance in The Abbey Theatre, their National Theatre. While researching an issue in preparation for a performance, the students are set the challenge of developing a speech or performance piece based on a character that they create who is directly affected by the issue. The performance piece is created from these characters. It is based on any interactions, monologues, or songs inspired by the students indepth research. Facts and data discovered can be included too. The structuring of the performance script is quite straight forward.

Who was involved? How did you begin?

Participants: The Abbey Theatre Education Department and a First Year CSPE class in Larkin Community College. In 2011 we began in conversations with our local secondary school which is Larkin Community College. Throughout 2012, we had a year of discussion and planning between the artist and the teacher.

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

While we had a structure designed we were constantly reviewing it with the young people. We also constantly asked them for feedback on how they felt they were progressing in the course. When it came to the creation of the artwork it was a very collaborative approach, with the teacher and artist as the final arbiters on the text to be performed. That said the young people had to give an agreement to perform it and tweaks were made.

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

Observing those “aha” moments when concepts were understood and tasks achieved. It was also a pleasure watching the students grow in confidence in their ability to have an opinion and express it.

What insights from the project are worth sharing? (These may seem small, but are significant to you)

Young people are sophisticated thinkers. Young people can affect change in their communities. Teacher can grow as an artist working alongside an artist teacher in the classroom. The work of an artist is strengthened when she has an arts organization to support her in the delivery of the programme.

Has anything changed as a result of the project?

The National Theatre has committed to actively engaging in Theatre Making in Secondary Schools and support the inclusion of Theatre Arts in the Curriculum.

Students have made a difference in the lives of vulnerable groups in their community by raising awareness of issues and by fundraising.

Máire:

• Students have developed a strong sense of connectedness with each other and an increased level of self-esteem.
• The Abbey Theatre has transformed the lives of young people in their local community.
• Young people have developed an appreciation for Theatre.
• Students’ creative writing skills have been deepened and expanded.
• There has been a substantial improvement in students’ oral literacy skills with an increase in vocabulary and more developed sentence structures (eg longer sentences, clearer narratives …).
• Presentation skills are of a higher standard as a result of rehearsals and regular debates and presentations in class. Higher order questioning formed the basis of interaction and interrogation with guest speakers. The sophistication of the questioning emerged from rigorous research and enquiry.


!!!! Opportunity: The Practice of Looking, Visual Thinking Strategies Course

The LAB Gallery, Dublin City Arts Office
Dates: Wednesdays 4-6pm, 3, 10, 24 March & 14, 21, 28 April

The Practice of Looking is a six-week, online course to learn about Visual Thinking Strategies and its use in Dublin, and to practice its facilitation. It was born out of the growing interest in the adoption of Visual Thinking Strategies at the LAB Gallery and in the partnerships and networks that have evolved around it. The LAB Gallery, Dublin City Arts Office, The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and VTS Neighbourhood Schools are partnering to host an online course that offers the opportunity to learn from trained VTS coaches in the existing network. The course will have a strong focus on facilitation practice and reflection. You will receive a certificate of attendance after completion of the course.

Please note that to participate to the course, you need to:

For more information and to register, please see here: http://www.dublincityartsoffice.ie/the-lab/vts-projects/the-practice-of-looking

 

 

!!!! Opportunity: Teachers’ CPD: Creativity in the Online Classroom Made Easy

The Ark
Date: 25 February 2021

The Ark invites you to ‘Creativity in the Online Classroom Made Easy’ CPD workshop for teachers, where you will learn a range of easy, accessible skills to help you bring creativity into your online teaching. Find out how easy it can be to breathe imagination into an online class, inspiring both your students and yourself. The ideas shared will be useful for both teaching online and when you are back in the classroom.

Perhaps you are overwhelmed with the technical aspects of moving your teaching online, or feeling frustrated with the limitations and struggling to make your online lessons creative and engaging. Or perhaps you are simply looking for some fresh inspiration for ideas that can work well in the online space. Join the Ark for this morning of inspiration and art-making to help you address these challenges, led by artist Duffy Mooney-Sheppard who has been leading online classes for children for the past year.

During this session you will gain valuable time to explore various tools available on Zoom to develop, hone and gain confidence in digital art lessons. Ideas shared will be adaptable and transferrable to other online platforms you may be using also. The possibilities in virtual learning spaces are wide and we are all learning! We will ask questions, share challenges, try things out and build our knowledge as a group.

This is a free CPD event for teachers, but advance booking is essential. For more details please go to: https://ark.ie/events/view/cpd-creativity-online-classroom

!!!! 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.

!!!! 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

 

!!!! ‘Asking For It’

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

In February 2018 Landmark Productions and Everyman Theatre Cork approached us to ask what ancillary activities would we be organizing around the production of ‘Asking For It’ they were planning to stage in June and which would subsequently transfer to the Abbey in November.

We all saw the necessity to involve young people in the story and so aside from the Abbey’s usual provision of post-show talks and podcasts we decided to take the work into schools as directly as possible. We planned a structure of pre and post show workshops to support any school who was going to see the play. We also committed to the creation of a teachers study pack which could appeal to many levels of ability.

After speaking about schools visits to Louise O’Neill, the author of the novel on which the play was based, it became clear that we needed specific training in dealing with this project. Louise’s disturbing experience had been that in nearly every school she had visited herself at least one young woman had disclosed she had experienced sexual assault.

On 24th July we hosted a workshop by Tender UK a theatre company that specializes in exploring issues of abuse with post primary students. On their advice we changed the original plan of having a sole female facilitator to having workshops run by both a male and female so they could model healthy gender relationships. That’s when I stopped just managing the project and stepped in as co-facilitator.

Based on her previous work with the Abbey we contacted actor and facilitator Aoibheann McCaul and she and I planned the post-show workshop together. Aoibheann also attended a training session at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

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

Aoibheann and Phil started visiting schools in October using applied drama to explore the students’ sense of the characters involved in the story and any links they had to students’ own sense of gender roles, friendship dynamics and sexual consent. These pre-show workshops were introductory and often didn’t go into the ethics of consent or even the plot of the play if the students’ weren’t already aware of the story. We wanted the students to experience it theatrically. For those that were aware of the book though, we found that for some the issues of assault were still unclear, “Well she took him into the room so she was asking for it, wasn’t she?”

The groups went to performances of ‘Asking For It’ at the Abbey Theatre and met a couple of the cast afterwards.  The actors had all volunteered to talk to the students and were eager to engage with their responses. These ranged from the shy and practical (“How do learn your lines?”) to more in depth enquiries “How do you play someone so nasty?” “Why did you choose to do this particular play?” “What’s it like having to play Emma over and over again?”. One all-girl’s school which had been skeptical about assault changed their view completely and demanded their teachers give them better sex education in future especially about consent.

Aiobheann and Phil then returned do the schools for a two hour long post show workshop that built on the previously introduced techniques of statues, tableaux and walking in character to explore how both the characters and the students themselves had changed over the course of the evening.

As with the pre-show workshops we used a basic drama technique to encourage recollection  of a lived moment e.g. “How did you feel at the interval of the play?” or “What moment do you remember most about the beginning of the show?” and then encouraged others to ‘read’ these and reflect upon them.  The majority of the workshop was taken up with creating tableaux of the most striking moments of play and then exploring what could have been going through the characters minds at the time. This meant we could explore many of the themes of the work –gender dynamics, peer pressure, sexual consent, family tension – from inside realistic illustrations of how these manifest in behavior. Some highlights of this were the complex dynamics of single gender friendship groups, what was going through the minds of the young men while they were assaulting Emma, how Emma’s father uses emotional blackmail to reinforce her decision to drop the charges.

We also looked at how characters’ lives were changed by the events of the play and again found quite a range of responses from those who thought e.g. Zoe would be 1/ glad that she could now “Take over Emma’s place as top girl.” to  “/ Zoe will be even more cowed by the knowledge her assailant, Dylan, has avoided prosecution for a second assault. It was in this section that the students really got to see the differences in their views.

There was quite a range of responses with the majority of students becoming more understanding and articulate about the circumstances that led to Emma’s choices and how she had been raped. Our touchstone was whether they saw Emma’s encounter with Paul at the party as consensual or not (Emma is plainly on drugs and asks him to wait which he ignores). Before the show this encounter separated out those who had considered the theme of consent in any depth from those who followed conventional option.

Generally the more depth of engagement with the story and characters resulted in a more sympathetic response to the play and more varied and satisfying discussion. One school was already putting on their own play about consent looking at an incident from different viewpoints and our work here became much more do do with teasing out the nuances of motivation in the subsidiary characters e.g. why the mother was drinking, or how the father was avoiding responsibility when asking Emma if she really wanted to drop the charges.  We were surprised to find in another school they still felt Emma had been “asking for it” because she had taken drugs and therefore implicitly consented. In this school there was less empathy for the characters and many of them talked about Emma as ‘a girl like that would’ indicating the distance they felt to her. The work here was harder because the students seemed entrenched in their positions and surprised and resistance to being asked to question them.

The most dramatic changed came with one all girls school who in the pre-show had felt Emma had encouraged Paul. By the end of the show and in the post show workshops they were clear that the sexual double standards evident in society and the lack of appropriate sex education in the field of content were unacceptable.

At the time of writing this we have two more schools to visit. One, a private male only boarding school, will offer the most challenging work as some of the pupils were already defensive and dismissive of the whole premise of the story, believing it to be unrealistic and diverting the debate with arguments that some women lie, men get raped too etc….we were specifically asked to work here by an existing teacher because they felt attitudes towards women needed to be challenged.

For follow on work we created a Study Pack with an analysis of the play and its themes but also extra ancillary material on the history of consent in Ireland, plans of the pre and post show workshops, blogs by students form Cork who’d seen the original production and an example of a homegrown consent workshops. We also asked the pack’s main author, critic and activist Saoirse Anton, to contribute an essay on the connection between consumer culture and rape culture.

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

Phil Kingston, Community & Education Manager & Co-Facilitator

After speaking to Louise I had concerns about the work triggering traumatic experiences in the participants while remaining convinced it was essential young people be given a chance to engage with the issues directly; no amount of older generations talking about the topic of consent was going to make nearly as much difference as exploring it with their peers. I saw this clearly when attending a town hall meeting arranged by the Everyman Theatre and Land mark productions in Ballincollig where teacher Tim Burke arranged for his class to discuss the play with Louise O’Neil, Mary Crilly of the Cork Rape Crisis Centre. It was obvious the students previous discussions contributed to the depth and sympathy of their opinions as well as their intolerance of the lazy, self interested and vicious social forces that perpetuate rape culture.

So the visit of Tender UK was an eye opener about the depth of ignorance and indifference to young women’s agency they had encountered in schools already.  This prepared me for the casualness with which both young men and young women dismissed lead characters Emma’s behaviour as “asking for it”. It was still a challenge though especially when revisiting one inner city school after the play to find that many of the students opinions hadn’t changed and that “girls like that are half responsible”.

Methodologically all six schools proved so varied in responsiveness that we had to continually adapt our approach. This is more a highlight than a challenge because one of the pleasures of applied drama are those in-the-moment improvisations that help coax a non-responsive teenage into someone passionately arguing their point of view. It was also a pleasure to work closely with another facilitator, to be able to hand on to them and observe the different spin the took on what the young people were producing, to debrief and discuss afterwards and to have the space observe the students out of the main focus while your partner led.

All the groups became more responsive and engaged as the workshops went on, often prompting surprised teachers to exclaim how certain pupils were ‘coming out’ of themselves or asserting themselves more than usual. This may have been to do with the kinesthetic aspect of the work unlocking some student’s expressiveness ( a common enough result for applied drama) but also, especially with the young women, a reflection that the topic of gender inequality and consent was important enough to them to ‘raise their game’.

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

Seeing the play, which is very clear that the protagonist does not explicitly consent, wasn’t always enough to cut through the view that young women who take drugs, dress with sexual confidence and have sexual appetites must take responsibility if they are raped.

Every teacher we talked to was adamant their charges needed to be talking about this topic and as early in their school lives as possible.

There was one all boys schools that we were explicitly asked to visit because of the teachers’ concern about attitudes to women. The young men were indeed defensive and quick to offer counter examples of women lying about rape and we had to be clear the book and play of Asking For It are unequivocal in their depiction of an actual assault. The instinct to deflect the discussion then took an unusual route when they started to dismiss the story itself as unrealistic (“Those pictures would never have been left up there for so long”) and therefore not needing to be engaged with.

Despite having been worried, as mentioned previously, and prepared for the possibility that some participants might disclose that they had experienced assault the fast moving and generally fun nature of the workshops meant we never got to a space where this might have happened. We ensured that schools counsellors were aware of the work and many of them attended or kept in close communication. While the topics weren’t treated frivolously there was more a sense of the young people appreciated the respect shown by having them discuss them.

We were also worried that rules about reporting young people under 17 who revealed they had active sex lives would inhibit the discussion. This never happened and we managed to talk at length and in depth through the lens of the play and its characters without compromising any of the individuals involved.

Students Responses

‘The play had a huge effect on my awareness of my surroundings and really made me appreciate the life I have as the struggles portrayed in the play were devastating’. 

‘When the play was over it made me think how the word ‘rape’ is not being discussed as a problem. People are uneducated about the topic when they should’.

‘The play was very intense, the actors were very good at acting out their roles. By them doing this, it made the play very realistic’. 

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

A renewed enthusiasm to work with young people on ‘difficult’ topics.

A desire to continue to co-facilitate where resources allow.

A plan to use young people’s voice s more in the creation of study packs

Update from Phil Kingston, Community & Education Manager & Co-Facilitator

Facilitator Johanna Webb and I returned to the all boys school and were told a third of the class were in Australia on a school trip and this meant our two workshops would be smaller.

This was a very different encounter with these privileged and, mainly, self-confident young men. Before, with larger groups of 20-25, the atmosphere had been alternately raucous and resistant with obvious leaders asserting their authority and more introverted personalities being muted by the sheer size and testosterone levels.

This time there wasn’t any possibility of hiding and Joanna and I chose to take a very candid approach in the hope it would create openness all round. We told them how concerned we had been at the previous workshops, how genuinely interested in their responses we were and how we appreciated the difficult position they were in (that they had little contact with young women and that they might feel attacked by the topics we were discussing). After moving through some responses obviously designed to give us what we wanted they started to actually say what they thought, prefaced with such remarks as ” I know this is an unpopular opinion but..” Once they saw they weren’t getting jumped on the whole workshop took off.

(My thanks here to Louise O’Neill who sent me an article about sex education in America which prompted us to focus more on these young men’s ignorance than their antagonism.)

We kept to our existing structure of exercises which explored the play ( walking around as different characters at different points in the story, making tableaux of significant moments) and the commitment was as mixed as any group but really these were just a springboard to keep discussing the themes of the play. Some preoccupations emerged – how culpable are you for your actions if you are drunk, how inhibited by convention the parents were, how over the top the lads were presented. The turning point was asking them, if were they Conor, would they take advantage of Emma’s offer to have sex in the second half of the play. Their outraged refusals introduced the idea of conscience and by the end of each workshop they had all agreed that really you always ‘know’ if you are overstepping the bounds of respect for another person’s autonomy regardless of how drunk you are.

The final exercise is choosing lines from the play (spread out on the floor in front of them) and talking about why they are significant. Several of these are from Emma when she is doubting her own position “e.g. Maybe I am a slut”. They were all clear this was an example of someone betraying themselves out of a desire to ‘get back to normal’. They also talked about their own fears of how to approach the whole area of sex and when two exchange students from France and Spain talked with obvious experience of having reflected on these topics you could see, past the odd embarrassed titter, that the Irish boys were impressed less at the achievement and more at the maturity. They all acknowledged the urge to brag about sexual conquests and how difficult it was to talk with the sensitivity they were displaying now when in the company of other young men. We did point out they were doing it there and then.

They came across as frightened, confused and tender-hearted, with no problem individually understanding Emma’s situation but also subject to a culture that made this empathy almost impossible to act upon. They seemed glad to have had the chance to talk openly and were noticeably more honest in the first workshop when we were left unsupervised for the last ten minutes.

Out of a possible 30 we only worked with 20 but these included the young man who’d previously called one of the characters ‘a pregnant bitch’ ( showing not only casual misogyny but a complete misunderstanding of the play) and another who’d been disruptively cynical. Both these behaviours disappeared quickly in the atmosphere of seriousness that the topics demanded. The teachers were amazed by how responsive some of the boys were but I wasn’t surprised that once they were listened to they re-discovered this sense of responsibility.

Before, after first visiting this school, I felt I’d seen the breeding ground for not only the rugby players in the Belfast rape trial but also the barristers who so calmly used their privileged education to spin the events to their clients’ advantage. Now I saw young men who could be advocates for more compassionate attitudes. So long as they resist the pack mentality.

!!!! Artists & Teachers invited to the International Conference in Intercultural Education for Primary Schools

Grow from Seeds Programme

Date: 17 January 2020

The Grow from Seeds project intends to provide a programme designed to foster intercultural dialogue in Primary Schools recognising European Parliament priorities to address anti-social behaviour through social cohesion and inclusion, active citizenship and the empowerment and participation of pupils. The methodology used to deliver this education programme adopts multiple strands of Creative Drama, storytelling and performing arts which are proven to be highly motivating, multi-sensory and active learning tools. The Grow from Seeds project engages partners from Ireland, Germany and France, and is supported by Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership.

Teachers, policy makers, researchers, artists, drama practitioners and academics are invited to attend the International Conference in Intercultural Education for Primary Schools to explore new ways of understanding Intercultural Education in Primary Schools and the use of the creative arts as a tool to foster intercultural dialogue in primary schools..

Keynote Address

The conference event will include a keynote talk from Joe Little, RTÉ Religious and Social Affairs correspondent. The event will also showcase the work from the Grow from Seeds project as well as presentations and contributions from practitioners and educators through a panel discussion.

Venue: Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin

Date: 17th January 2020, 9.30am registration

RSVP by January 6th to educate@gaietyschool.com

 

 

!!!! Early Years Seedlings Workshops at The Ark: If at first you don’t succeed…

The Ark

10 – 11 January 2020

As the fun of the festive season fades and the new year sets in, this early years drama workshop for little ones aged 2-4 will explore how to cope when things go wrong. Part of First Fortnight festival and led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence, Joanna Parkes.

Oh dear! Elliott the Dragon is having a bad day. It’s a cold, snowy day and he’s fed up. Everything’s going wrong and he doesn’t know what to do. He says he’s going to give up and not try anymore but… maybe we can help him? Maybe we encourage him to try again? Maybe we can help him bounce back?

Join in to discover, explore and find out if you can help Elliott figure out how to be resilient in this delightful workshop adventure.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

For further information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-first-fortnight2020

!!!! 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

 

!!!! Theatre for Early Years: Moon Woke Me Up by Little Bigtop

The Ark

Dates: 14 – 29 December 2019

Little Bigtop in Association with The Civic

Escape into space in this fantastic interactive theatrical adventure for ages 3-5 from Little Bigtop in association with The Civic.

Moon Woke Me Up Nine times
It was still 4am
So I built a rocket with my friends
And went on a journey that never ends

Come up and away with us. Come and play with us.

You are invited to come and build a rocket that will BLAST OFF and take us on a magical adventure. Once inside their homemade rocket children are treated to a magical shadow show as they journey to the moon! Come with us all the way, up there, into outer space!

I wonder if it smells of cheese?
I wonder if it will make me sneeze?

Let’s find out!

Inspired by a Haiku of the same title by Basho Matsuo, Moon Woke Me Up is an interactive theatrical adventure to space for ages 3-5, using a wonderful blend of performance and interactive drama, construction play and sensory explorations.

For further information and bookings go to https://ark.ie/events/view/moon-woke-me-up

 

 

!!!! Guest Blogger: Liz Coman, Assistant Arts Officer Dublin City Council & VTS Facilitator – Blog No.4

Liz Coman is an Assistant Arts Officer with Dublin City Council.  She is a certified Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator with VTS/USA and has completed training to coaching level.  She is responsible for monitoring the quality of Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – an EU project for Dublin City Council that is testing the VTS training pathway with educators in classroom and gallery settings. Liz has a background in History of Art and Museum Studies and fifteen years experience in designing innovative projects that support arts, education and learning.  She has led trainings in enquiry led approaches to mediating artwork for visual art facilitators in The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, The National Gallery of Ireland, and The Turner Prize, Derry and offers ongoing mentorship for individual artists, arts educators and teachers.

“Observation is more than one thing –  we use our eyes to analyse an image, and we also use thinking, and our senses and emotions to interpret what we are seeing” – Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder  – Blog 4

A Conversation with Primary School Teacher, Jane Malone

For this fourth and final blog about Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder, it is timely for me to reflect on some of our learnings from the VTS training pathway for educators.  Over 150 educators, from classroom and museum settings, were supported to access the VTS training pathway with VTS/USA. This happened, through a partnership approach that allowed a range of partners across local, national and European to fund a unique training programme.

The research evaluation framework for Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder will capture the ‘impact’ of the VTS training pathway on educators training and practicing VTS in schools and museums across.  Findings will be presented by VTS Nederland at our Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder Conference on 21 April 2020 in Dublin Castle.

Between now and then, we are considering what is next for our work with VTS.  What are the existing mainstream teacher and artist training pathways that could offer support to the VTS training pathway?  How do we hold on to the value of  peer to peer learning across a the mixed cohort of educators – artist, art educators, secondary (art) teacher and primary school classroom teachers? How do we support mixed groupings of trainees to continue to access enjoyable and deep VTS learning experiences about art, learning, classroom and community where every individual voice is valued and heard?

The cross-disciplinary potential for VTS is striking.  Art is the starting point and the transferrable skills for the trained VTS educator and for the participating group become more and more obvious with regular practice.  For me, the most obvious win for VTS practice is within the primary school or early years classroom.  In these classrooms, multiple subject areas sit alongside each other, but objectives for building patterns of learning, thinking and communicating are overarching priorities. This is approach to learning is more and more mirrored in the modern workplace.  Artists, lawyers, farmers, employees and entrepreneurs across all disciplines must show flexibility in their thinking and their approach to running their business/getting their product out there/meeting their client needs. Problem solving and team communication skills are key in order to do that.  Teams must use their observational skills and thinking skills in tandem with a bigger picture approach which is supported by being open to differing points of view, to allow for benefit from other people’s experience along with their own.

Below, Jane Malone, a primary school teacher from St Catherine’s NS, Donore Avenue, talks about how VTS has strengthened her practice in facilitating students’ learning; how this practice is a tool for communication skills, such as deep listening and respectful discussion;  how it is a tool for opening students up to their own thinking processes to support how they learn, access knowledge and problem solve; how this practice can transfer from art, to maths, to science to SPHE, to oral language development, to project development.

What do you find VTS brings to your practice as a primary teacher?

In a primary school classroom of today, we are facilitators of learning, more so than the traditional idea of teachers. VTS definitely highlighted to me the skill of being a facilitator. You facilitate the thinking skills you want them to have or the writing skills you want them, but where they take it is theirs, as long as it’s appropriate.

I find our VTS sessions are a great tool for demonstrating and practising active listening.   When someone is making their observation, and when I’m paraphrasing back, they are all listening. Their hand isn’t up with their point, it’s a shared listening experience where they can see what the speaker is seeing. That has really helped in terms of general classroom management, but also for turn taking in terms of respectful conversation.  This is something that can’t be explicitly taught. At the same time, it permeates all the other lessons, because we all get so used to the process.

I also find our VTS sessions very inclusive, because it’s not about ability, it’s about the picture or the piece of art that you were looking at, and ‘my opinion’ is not the rightopinion, it may vary very differently to what ‘your opinion’ is. It’s accessing art on all levels for all children of all abilities, not just for the ‘arty’ children or the people who like that piece of art.  It takes how art used to be untouchable, it was in galleries, behind frames, it’s opening it up to multiple possible interpretations.

For me, VTS impacts all the curriculum areas, particularly the language elements and the social and emotional aspect of things as well. I use it with ‘Number Talks’, and with anything I’m doing in SESE where I’m facilitating project-based learning and they’re determining where they’re going to take the project. VTS fits well in particular, with the New Language Curriculum, with Irish and English, and how it describes the role of paraphrasing the students comment, that no comment is incorrect, but the paraphrase back is the teaching and learning moment. The children are becoming more aware of how I am teaching them, more familiar with the paraphrasing process, and this gives them the confidence to make the comment, in a language lesson, without worrying about being right or wrong.

What have you noticed happening in your work in the classroom with VTS?

The group I have this year is sixth class. I had them in fourth class, when I started practicing VTS in the classroom. So this year, when I do VTS with the children, I begin a session by talking with them about the broad concept of thinkingthat happens when we do VTS – ‘what is observing?’ We talk about using our eyes, and the role of listening. We go deeper with an art image and talk about how we use our senses to observe, and also how our emotional response informs our thinking.

I began this year’s science curriculum with an exercise where we took a roll of Sellotape and passed it around the room. Each child had to make an observational comment about it, as it was passed from person to person. The reason why I blended VTS with this exercise, is because in VTS with art images, you are naturally talking about story, setting, materials, bringing in previous experience and knowledge. So, in this Sellotape exercise, I was really conscious that it can push them to build more sophisticated language for what they are describing.  I keep my paraphrasing conditional and label the thinking processes so that the children can recognise that their thinking processes can transfer from the VTS exercise we do with art, to this exercise, which is more about introducing scientific language for observation. It’s a really successful exercise because you can hear them talking about texture of the Sellotape, using language to describe it based on their senses, describing it’s shape based on their knowledge of maths, making metacognitive statements that are bringing information from other bodies of knowledge.
I see that this is how I am going to bring my VTS practice forward.  In the classroom, I’m trying to create an atmosphere of STEAM versus STEM.  VTS is one of the methodologies that supports me to do this.  I use mind maps and Elklan (a process to meet the speech, language and communication needs of children) with topics where we build vocabulary and language. I find VTS coming into play more for the more technical curriculum subject areas such as the literacy skills of breaking down a language, looking at and attempting maths problem solving, and also for science.

How important do you think that silence at the beginning to observe is?

Very. But we do that in another form in our ‘number talks’ as well, so you put up your number sentence and then you literally wait. It’s very hard when you’re initially doing it as a teacher, to wait long enough, standing in silence is quite difficult. Because we had been doing it in ‘number talks’, I was then able to marry it, so I give them quite a bit of time. It does occur to me each time I do it “I wonder how long everybody else gives?” Sherry Parrish is the number talks guru, so if you watched one of her videos you’d understand the similarities. It’s “how would you do this?”, “how did you come to your conclusions?”, “now, tell the rest of the class how you got that answer or why you went that way” or “what does everybody else think of the way X did that sum?”. So again, it’s similar a similar process of supporting thinking and social learning.

Can you recall a favourite VTS Image Discussion?

One of my favourite VTS sessions was when I was practicing on the Permission to Wonder training in Helsinki.  I was looking at the image for the first time and not sure where it would go with the group.  There were many different interpretations of the image from individuals and so I had to really concentrate on my paraphrasing.  It showed me that my paraphrasing was really working well for me, I was hearing as I was speaking. It was really challenging, but there seemed to be a flow. I remember this as I learned so much from it.

Another one that sticks out in my mind, with sixth class last year, they kept on trying to identify the images as being staged. ‘Oh this has been deliberately set up as though it was in the 1960s and it was deliberately provocative because….’ – they were really cynical about the image and it felt like there was an inflexibility of their engagement with it.  They were more about creating the backstory about why the artist did it, than observing what it was in front of them. I found that really interesting.

One other one, was a picture of a woman in a subway surrounded by a lot of men. She is to the foreground, and one of the children that has anxiety identified it as her experiencing great anxiety and nobody around her knowing it. So that kind of projecting their own emotional states onto the images we are looking at, I find that really interesting.

It sounds like for you, in a VTS image discussion you are observing the ‘thinking’ going on – either your own thinking or the students thinking?

It definitely would be part of my practice as a teacher.  We are here to teach skills, in particular to understand that there are thinking processes and to help them to figure out how to support these processes for themselves in the future. So they can access the facts.  Who remembers all the rivers and mountains of Ireland, it’s more about how you going about researching that information and your thinking process around researching the question that’s important.

How did Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder support you to develop your VTS practice?

It greatly supported me to put aside my learning and experience and become open to a new way of engaging with languages. I found that really interesting as languages are ‘my thing’. I have a degree in French and Italian, English and Gaeilge are my favourite subjects to teach, and I love grammar, so it was fascinating to me how I struggled with the VTS questions at first. They felt so American and strange to me but when I saw the huge body of research behind them and experienced firsthand how effective they were in keeping a rein in on the facilitator’s natural bias, I was completely converted. It was also really comforting to work with such experienced artists and art professionals and see how my lack of experience did not impede my ability to facilitate a VTS session. Finally, it was an exhausting but really wonderful experience on a personal level. I really feel I grew as an individual and my love of learning was reignited. So thank you to all involved.

!!!! New Primary School Creative Programme at the Museum of Literature Ireland

Museum of Literature Ireland

The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) are excited to offer a free primary school creative programme ‘Shut your eyes and see’ to Irish primary school teachers and students in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th class. Workshops explore Irish literature, past and present, hoping to inspire the next generation to read, write, and unlock their creative potential in whatever form it takes.

Developed in collaboration with students from our learning partner schools, teachers, educators, administrators and librarians, our programme is designed with different learning styles in mind.

We offer a two-hour experience in MoLI from 10am–12pm, during term time. Teachers and students participate in a creative workshop and a tour of our exhibition space and gardens.

Connecting to our exhibitions and gardens, and reflecting elements of the school curriculum, workshops seek to develop critical thinking and research skills as well as visual, verbal and information literacy.

When booking, primary school teachers can choose from one of three workshops:

To book go to moli.ie/book-a-primary-school-workshop/

For further information and to download a teachers resource pack go to moli.ie/learning/schools-and-teachers/

 

!!!! Early Years Seedlings Workshops at The Ark: Who Loves the Whirly, Swirly Wind?

The Ark 

Date: 1 & 2 November 2019

Embrace the wonders of the wind in this fun drama workshop for little ones aged 2-4, led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence, Joanna Parkes.

It’s a whirly, swirly, windy day and the Wind Wizards are busy at work. Not everyone likes the wind though, as it whips up fallen leaves and tousles their hair. Can the wind wizards help people see how wonderful the wind can be?

Join in to explore, imagine and discover your own secret love for the whistle and whoosh of the whispering wind.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

Dates & Times: 

Friday 1st November, 10.15am & 2pm
Saturday 2nd November, 10.15am & 11.45am

For ages 2- 4

45 minutes

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-whirly-swirly-wind

!!!! The Ark invites schools to a new production – The Haircut!

The Ark 

Dates: 10 October – 2 November 2019

The Ark invites schools to the world premiere of a brand new show by Wayne Jordan and Tom Lane for Ages 8+.

Labhraidh Loingseach has a secret. He wears his hair long and he has it cut only once a year. Once a year on the same night in the same place and in the same style. But never by the same barber.

The Haircut is a cautionary tale with a live musical soundtrack. The Haircut is a fairytale remixed and retold.

The Haircut is a play about secrets and about creativity stifled. About fighting for what you believe in and standing up to power.

About music and magic and hair.

Set in a magical modern day Ireland, The Haircut is a new commission written by Wayne Jordan, delivered with ineffable charm by bright new talent Thommas Kane Byrne and accompanied by Tom Lane’s vibrant score played by three outstanding musicians.

Classroom Activity Pack

A new Classroom Activity Pack is available for teachers is available to download to accompany the production.  Created by Joanna Parkes and Anita Mahon – renowned specialist facilitators for educational drama and music programmes – the pack uses the show’s rich themes and ideas as a starting point for a range of engaging classroom activities and is a useful resource to teachers, whether or not they have seen the performance.

To download the full Classroom Activity Pack for The Haircut! go to ark.ie/news/post/just-released-the-haircut-classroom-activity-pack

Dates & Times

10 October – 2 November

School Days
Wednesday 16, Friday 18, & Wednesday 23, Friday 25 Oct @ 10.15am & 12.15pm

Mid-Term Break
Tuesday 29 October – Friday 1 November @ 2pm
Wednesday 30 October @ 7pm

Relaxed Performance Wednesday 30 October @ 2pm

For further information and ticket booking go to ark.ie/events/view/the-haircut

 

 

 

!!!! Early Years Seedlings Workshops at The Ark: Howie Hedgehog Needs a Home

The Ark 

Dates: 4 & 5 October 2019

Get cosy for the autumn in this early years drama workshop for little ones aged 2-4 led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence, Joanna Parkes.

Autumn is here, leaves are falling and the animals in the woods are preparing for their long winter sleep. But Howie Hedgehog is not ready. He has no food supplies and no shelter to sleep in. He will need some help from the wood elves to collect food and build himself a warm and cosy den.

Join in to discover, explore and find out if you can help Howie build his den in this delightful workshop adventure.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

Dates & Times: 

Friday 4th October, 10.15am & 2pm
Saturday 5th October, 10.15am & 11.45am

For ages 2- 4

45 minutes

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-howie-the-hedgehog

!!!! Artists Coffee Morning at The Ark

The Ark

Date: 9 October 2019

Are you an artist with an interest in creating work with or for children?

The Ark invites you to pop in for a welcoming cup of coffee or tea and meet with other like-minded artists.
Suitable for artists new to work with children and those with more experience with this unique audience, this event will be very relaxed – and there may even be cake!

There will be time to chat to other artists as well as some of The Ark team.

No booking required. Just turn up – the kettle will be on!

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/artists-coffee-morning-oct-2019

!!!! Creative Dance in the Classroom CPD at The Ark

The Ark 

Date: 16 November 2019 

The Ark are delighted to invite Primary School educators to join dance educator Emma O’Kane for this enjoyable CPD course that to deepen and expand the understanding of Dance within the P.E. curriculum with an emphasis on creativity. In a relaxed and playful atmosphere teachers will be provided with the necessary tools to deliver dance activity with confidence for all ages and classes. The course will demystify dance for teachers and focus on the exploration, creation and performance of dance through easy exercises and manageable approaches.

Working within an integrative approach the course will explore how dance can also support learning across the curriculum in relation to SPHE, English and other subjects.

Suitable for all levels of confidence. No experience necessary.

Date & Time: Saturday 16 November, 10.30am-1.30pm

For further details and ticket booking go to ark.ie/events/view/teachers-cpd-creative-dance

!!!! Guest Blogger: Liz Coman, Assistant Arts Officer Dublin City Council & VTS Facilitator – Blog No.3

Liz Coman is an Assistant Arts Officer with Dublin City Council.  She is a certified Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator with VTS/USA and has completed training to coaching level.  She is responsible for monitoring the quality of Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – an EU project for Dublin City Council that is testing the VTS training pathway with educators in classroom and gallery settings. Liz has a background in History of Art and Museum Studies and fifteen years experience in designing innovative projects that support arts, education and learning.  She has led trainings in enquiry led approaches to mediating artwork for visual art facilitators in The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, The National Gallery of Ireland, and The Turner Prize, Derry and offers ongoing mentorship for individual artists, arts educators and teachers.

We Are Mirrors” – Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder  –
Blog 3

A Conversation with Visual Artist, Kathryn Maguire

Visual Thinking Strategies is a research based method, founded on the doctoral work of Abigail Housen(Co-Founder of VTS) and her research on aesthetic development. Housen’s research focused on the question – ‘What Happens Cognitively When You Look at a Work of Art?’  Her methodologydevised an ‘Aesthetic Development Interview’ to understand how a spectrum of differentviewers understand and interpret the same artwork.   With this data,and drawing on constructivist learning theories, in particular Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget, she designed a stage theoryfor aesthetic development.  Her stage theory tracked common features of five stages.  According to Housen, each stage is inherently important.  No stage can be rushed or bypassed. Growth occurs with repeated and regular exposure to viewing art.  In her collaboration with Philip Yenawine and MOMA, New York, Housen’sresearch identified that the majority of visitors attending the museum and its programmes were stage 1 & 2 viewers.  Stage 1 & 2 viewersjudge an artwork is based on what they know and like, their observations may appear idiosyncratic and imaginative, and they have their own sense of what is realistic and this standard is often applied to determine value.  Stage 1&2, as aesthetic learners, are  storytellers.  Storytelling is a universal means of making meaning. Meaning making requires critical thinking, personal reflection, the consideration of multiple possibilities, communication and respectful debate.

Part of the challenge for me was unlearning earlier teaching practices. I had to…learn a new paradigm, one that put people ahead of art, one that focused on enabling not just engaging people. I had to step back from what I thought people should learn, to create a teaching/learning method that would help them realize their full potential at any given moment.  – Philip Yenawine

Professional visual artists, that have trained in Visual Thinking Strategies with us, tell us that VTS can offer them a useful framework to critically appraise their own artwork in development. It is a tool that can inform their understanding of a diversity of interpretations that audiences will bring to the artwork.  This can be a valuable input into an artwork’s development before it arrives into the gallery or public space.  Visual artists that have trained with us, and been implementing VTS as part of their practice, specifically in schools,  report that the neutrality and rigour of the VTS method is their biggest challenge.  For me, this is completely understandable. When you love art and have dedicated your life to its study and practice, you want to share all your knowledge and skills with your audience.  The visual artists we work with are very generous and committed to sharing with their audiences.  However, the time and appropriate support to do this is usually very limited.

Within schools, there may only be one shot – the one class visit to a gallery in a year.  Or a school or artist might get support for a suite of sessions or a medium-term residency. Following  Housen’s theory, we can propose that more consistent and supported time for art and artists to work with students allows greater opportunity for embedding aesthetic growth and learning.  In addition to the time limitation, there are very few training opportunities for artists in understanding pedagogy, curriculum and developmental stages of children and young people according to age, ability and cultural tradition. Therefore, the skill of facilitating meaning making with visual art and children and young people, for many artists, is based on their own process of discovery and how discovery emerges in their practice.

Kathryn Maguire’s practice is inspired by science, history and the social world.  She works in the field of socially engaged art,  therefore, contrary to making an artwork in isolation, she develops artwork with a community in a way that honours both her areas of inspiration and a community’s vested interest in their neighbourhood.  Kathryn has effective collaboration skills that allow space for experts and knowledge from varied backgrounds and sources to inform the development of her work. She is a sculptor, and in particular, specialises in social sculpture.   She uses mirrors regularly in her work and understands the value of using mirrors as a reflective tool, that can work equally well in the gallery/museum and also outside, in nature.  An example of this is Kathryn’s artwork is ‘Us’ Again – a floating mirrored shed, created in 2013, in collaboration with the Men’s Shed Group based in Rialto’s St Andrew’s Community Centre as part of Maguire’s residency at 468, Common Ground.

Image of ‘Us’ Again -Kathryn Maguire

Image of ‘Us’ Again -Kathryn Maguire

The shed, made completely of mirrors, journeyed along the Grand Canal, Dublin, to celebrate the impact the waterway has had on labour and leisure in Rialto and as demonstration and reflection on community and commonality.  Kathryn’s mirrored shed informs her practice today, as she continues to investigate what is the common between us and our environment.

What do you find VTS brings to your practice as an artist?

As an artist, I feel like an investigative journalist in some ways.  I gather knowledge and information and transfer it into an artwork. VTS is a powerful tool for me, as a learner. I’m constantly learning so VTS allows for my knowledge to be fluid. It is really important to me, in my life, and as an artist, that there is more than one answer. Facilitating VTS allows me time to listen to the different ideas coming from each person, to stay neutral, and not buy into one opinion or another. It is really important to stay listening to all the different facets of the conversation.  We all come with so much ancestral knowledge. Perhaps allowing time and space for different perspectives, hopefully we can find our way to some common ground.  This is what ultimately keeps me motivated – the search for our commonality. It’s why I still work with mirrors – we are mirrors.  As an artist, I feel now is an important time.  Artists have an incredible opportunity to look more closely, then take that knowledge and make it into an artwork and then take that artwork and go to the audience – it’s a gentle, fluid, domino effect.

What have you noticed happening in your work with schools and galleries in VTS image discussions? 

I am currently Artist in Residence with Rathfarnham Educate Together National School (RETNS). I recently did a VTS facilitated discussion the school’s 5th class children at The LAB Gallery and Anita Groener’s incredible exhibition ‘The Past is a Foreign Country’. I observed that the children were highly environmentally aware and were able to articulate very clearly their understanding that if our environment is not harmonious, then that is not good for us either. They mirrored, for me, my own thinking that we are all part of the same ecosystem. This is an emotionally charged exhibition, exploring migration and the migrant crisis in Syria. I didn’t have to tell the children what the work was about.  I didn’t have to give them a script.  The script was inside them already.  It just needed a gentle prise open.  VTS allowed us time, and slowing down, deep looking, being comfortable in the silence.  There is so much chatter, phone or screen time in our lives that just listening and communicating with each other is an amazing thing.  This amazing thing happens when we communicate in a VTS session and I’m still not sure what the ‘thing’ is.  This ‘thing’ is what Permission to Wonder has given to me as a person and as an artist.

Can you recall a favourite VTS Image Discussion?

I have been testing the VTS Image Curriculum and the Permission to Wonder images for the project image bank.  I have been practicing VTS with test images in Scoil Mhuire, Marino and St Vincents BNS.

Some feedback on the VTS sessions with Kathryn from the 3rd class boys of Scoil Mhuire, Marino, gathered from teacher, Jennifer Gormley

‘It was very enjoyable and I liked that it wasn’t just based on one artist. I liked the way we got asked to say what we thought of the picture.’

‘It was really nice and I liked the way it was arranged, like the questions we were asked.’

‘It was really fun. I liked looking at the pictures and telling what I thought of them.’

‘I thought the paintings were really good and it was fun answering questions.’

Out of this image testing I find that Remedios Varo ‘Creation of the Birds’ 1957 gets a very powerful response, no matter what the age and stage.

Another memorable experience was a Wonder Club session with a Patrick Scott artwork in The Hugh Lane Gallery.  The discussion went from a very religious metaphorical discussion into a more polarised religious and political debate.  This was surprising as the beautiful abstract painting was a vehicle for adults to vocalise knowledge, and equally prejudices, that the group and I had to negotiate.  Perhaps most valuable with adults, you get to access people’s wealth of knowledge due to their lived life.

** Wonder Club is monthly VTS sessions for adults that take place in Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane and The LAB Gallery

How did Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder support you to develop your VTS practice?

I would describe VTS practice like muscle that needs to be exercised.   In Permission to Wonder, the trust within the group of educators, and the care within the partner group was really special.  There was a silent strength in this support that was very nurturing for me to help me push me out of my comfort zone and become more confident in how I facilitate a VTS session. The logistical supports that were put in place for me were really important.  Financial access to the training in Europe and then also being supported to practice at home in the schools and galleries allowed me to build this confidence.  On foot of it, opportunities for me to work with galleries and schools have been increasing.  In the past year, I’ve been really lucky to work with The LAB Gallery, The Hugh Lane Gallery, IMMA, The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny and all have been very supportive of me using VTS as a strand of my sessions with school groups.  I use VTS at the beginning of my sessions almost as a way to bring students into a space where they will absorb the artists’ intentions by osmosis and then the session will evolve from there.   I usually do a VTS session, followed by an observational drawing, followed by more formal object making in the education room.  I find that the students, when they are sketching after the VTS image discussion, are not copying each other, they are more confident in how their own ideas are coming out of the artwork.

What would you like to work on next in your VTS practice?

The most important thing that I feel I need to work with most is staying neutral.  I think that art can bring up a lot of stuff for people, very strong opinions are aired, a lot of debate and also emotional responses.   I have to be careful to manage my own assumptions about why somebody might make a particular remark.  I have to remember, that it’s okay if a group member does not want to contribute or may pull back or be quiet in the discussion.  The strength of the silence may indicate that there may be a reason why somebody remains silent, something may be triggered for that person within the image or the discussion. There is learning in discomfort, but also learning to keep in mind safety and care for the group, and also keep in mind self care for me.  I will always talk to a teacher at the outset of a session to find out if I need to be mindful of a member of a group. It’s that communication that needs to happen between us as educators – between teacher and artist – in order that the viewer is allowed to be silent or to be heard, depending on their need.

I would envision that I would like to push my VTS practice further.  To move my VTS facilitation outside of art, into other areas such as science, history, mathematics.  That I can move it out of the artworld and into other areas of education. I think VTS sits in the artworld but also has the flexibility and ability to move beyond the artworld.

 

!!!! Opportunity: Call for Artists in Residence – School of Arts Education and Movement DCU

Dublin City University 

Deadline: Wednesday 4 September 2019

Practicing professional artists are invited to apply for a residency opportunity at DCU Institute of Education for the academic year 2019-2020. Applications are welcome from individual artists who work in an interdisciplinary form, or from an ensemble of artists. The closing date is Wednesday September 4th 2019 at 5pm.

The residency is hosted by DCU Institute of Education’s School of Arts Education and Movement. This opportunity is one of a number of artist residencies supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon in the context of Initial Teacher Education. Each residency aims to:

For more information on this opportunity and how to apply, go to DCU Institute of Education’s website at – www.dcu.ie/arts_education_movement/news/2019/Aug/Call-for-Artists-Residence.shtml

If you have any queries please contact regina.murphy@DCU.ie

 

!!!! Creative Careers Day for post-primary students at National Gallery of Ireland

National Gallery of Ireland

Date: 14 November, 2019

Save the date! Join the team at the National Gallery of Ireland for a day of inspirational talks, activities and practical advice to get you thinking about what a creative career might mean for you!

Meet gallery staff members and learn about careers in areas such as curatorial, conservation and education. Special guests from other creative fields will also talk about their work and how they got to where they are today.

Suitable for post-primary students (4th Year – 6th Year).

More details to follow, and tickets available from September.
Contact codonnell@ngi.ie for more information.

!!!! Upcoming Teacher Network Evening at National Gallery of Ireland

National Gallery of Ireland

Dates: Thursday 10 October 2019, 4pm – 6pm

The National Gallery of Ireland work with all teachers – to encourage confidence and agency in using art as a tool for learning. To support this they collaborate with DES and teaching practitioners to run accredited CPD courses, study days and conferences, and provide a wide variety of resources online.

Join Catherine O’Donnell, Education Officer for Teachers, Schools & Youth, for an evening exploring three very different exhibitions: Bauhaus 100: The Print Portfolios, Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, The Zurich Portrait Prize, and The Zurich Young Portrait Prize 2019.

Learn more about their current schools programme, how you can utilise the Gallery’s collections and exhibitions for cross-curricular learning, and network with colleagues. Attendees can avail of a free ticket to a lecture about Sorolla by Christopher Riopelle, Neil Westreich Curator of Post-1800 Paintings, the National Gallery, London.

This event is free, but booking is required. To book, follow this link or contact education@ngi.ie

 

 

 

 

 

 

!!!! Opportunity: Programming and Co-ordination of Children’s Art in Libraries Creative Hubs

Dublin City Council Arts Service

Closing date for receipts of tenders: 12 noon, Friday September 6th

Dublin City Arts Service has just announced an opportunity to tender for multi-party framework for Programming & Coordination of Children’s Art in Libraries.

Dublin City Arts Service is working to increase opportunities for children and young people to access quality arts experiences through partnerships with city departments and complementary arts and cultural organisations. The Children’s Art in Libraries Programme (CAL) seeks to provide innovative high quality arts experiences for children of all ages. Since 2010, the CAL Programme – an initiative of the Dublin City Arts Office – has worked in partnership with Dublin City Public Libraries to deliver innovative programming for children across a broad range of art forms.

In more recent years the CAL Programme began to develop its Creative Hub initiative. Creative Hubs seek to sustain high quality arts experiences for children, schools and families, enabling access in their library and locality through the development of enhanced educational, community and cultural partnership. In 2017 CAL began to develop its first Creative Hub in Ballyfermot Library this has been followed by a second Hub in Cabra Library in 2019.

Interested parties can find the e-tender notice on www.etenders.gov.ie , tender reference: RTF ID 155564

!!!! Early Years Seedlings Workshops at The Ark: Saving Selma the Seal

The Ark 

Dates: 2 & 3 August 2019

The Ark continue our monthly early-years programme Seedlings with a special workshop perfect for children ages 2-4 to get creative with their older relatives.

We’re heading to the sea this August in this early years drama workshop for little ones led by The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence Joanna Parkes.

Come on an imaginative journey to the beach! It’s a fine sunny day and the children are having fun playing in the sand. Then some unexpected visitors arrive and seem to behaving in a suspicious manner.

What is going on? Join in and explore what happens in this delightful workshop adventure by the sea.

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together. So if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunty, godparent or carer, come along with a 2 to 4 year old and join in the fun.

Dates & Times

For further information and ticket bookings go toark.ie/events/view/seedlings-early-years-workshops-aug19

!!!! Creative Music & Drama in the Classroom at The Ark

The Ark 

Dates: 19 – 23 August 2019

Back for a fourth summer, The Ark are excited to present this really popular engaging arts summer course focusing on the two curriculum areas of Drama and Music.

This is a five day Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

Working with two outstanding creative practitioners, you will enjoy a week of experiential learning and development. Your confidence and skills in both music and drama will increase through highly participative and inspiring course content.

Using themes drawn from SPHE, English and other subjects, participants will explore a variety of imaginative approaches to integrated curriculum delivery. Teachers of all levels of experience will be able to fully engage in this rich week of professional development.

Course content and highlights will include:

 

Artists – Anita Mahon (music) & Joanna Parkes (theatre)

Dates & Times – Five Day Course
19-23 Aug 2019, 10am to 3pm each day

Presented by The Ark & Dublin West Education Centre

For further information and ticket booking go to https://ark.ie/events/view/teachers-5-day-course-creative-music-drama-1

 

 

!!!! Early Years Seedlings Workshops at The Ark: The King’s Beautiful Garden

The Ark

Dates: 5 & 6 July 2019

Enjoy participating in this joyful early years (ages 2-4) drama workshop about a beautiful imagined garden led by our The Ark’s Early Years Artist in Residence Joanna Parkes.

In this workshop, little ones will meet a king who loves spending time in his gorgeous garden surrounded by flowers, bees and butterflies.

One day he learns that other kings have wardrobes full of shiny cloaks and crowns so he buys himself a new cloak, and another, and another. Soon he has lots of dazzling cloaks of many colours but what about the garden? He has no money left to pay the gardeners and the garden is overgrown, the flowers are dying and the bees have gone.

Maybe you can make the King see sense and save his garden before it’s too late!

Combining drama, story, play and props, this interactive drama workshop invites little ones and their grown-ups to enjoy imagining together.

Dates & Times 

Friday 5 July at 10.15am & 2pm
Saturday 6 July at 10.15am & 11.45am

For further information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-early-years-workshops-jul19

!!!! Teachers Summer Course at The Ark ‘A Visual Arts Approach in the Classroom’

The Ark

Dates: 12 – 16 August 2019

The Ark, Dublin are delighted to be presenting this course for the fifth year in a row. This hands-on, creative course focuses on a visual arts approach to exploring narrative, literacy & other subjects.

This is a five day Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

The aim of the course is to enable participants to start the new school year with an enhanced tool box of skills and knowledge, in order to effectively deliver the visual arts curriculum in the classroom. Participants will be engaged ‘hands-on’ throughout this course so learning will be through doing. Working in teams and individually, you will cover a range of curriculum strands including drawing, painting, print, 3D construction, fabric and fibre.

A strong emphasis will be on building skills and confidence. The group will also explore how visual art can be used to engage with aspects of the English, SPHE, History and Maths curriculum, as well as to promote visual literacy approaches. School self-evaluation exercises will be incorporated as an integral part of the course.

This course will appeal to teachers of all levels of experience and will be facilitated by the visual arts and education specialist and founder of Art to Heart, Jole Bortoli. This is a continuing professional development opportunity not to be missed!

For further information and booking go to https://ark.ie/events/view/teachers-summer-course-a-visual-arts-approach

!!!! Guest Blogger: Liz Coman, Assistant Arts Officer Dublin City Council & VTS Facilitator – Blog No.1

Liz Coman is an Assistant Arts Officer with Dublin City Council.  She is a certified Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator with VTS/USA and has completed training to coaching level.  She is responsible for monitoring the quality of Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – an EU project for Dublin City Council that is testing the VTS training pathway with educators in classroom and gallery settings. Liz has a background in History of Art and Museum Studies and fifteen years experience in designing innovative projects that support arts, education and learning.  She has led trainings in enquiry led approaches to mediating artwork for visual art facilitators in The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, The National Gallery of Ireland, and The Turner Prize, Derry and offers ongoing mentorship for individual artists, arts educators and teachers.

Setting the Scene for Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder – Blog 1

My first encounter with Visual Thinking Strategies was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in 2001.  I was on a public tour of the collection and the guide stood us in front of an artwork by Jackson Pollock and said ‘What is going on in this picture?’.  I was challenged by the question. I was also surprised by the long, silent pause that followed it! The group discussion began slowly.  All opinions offered by the group were considered by the guide, validated and acknowledged as a valuable contribution to the meaning of the work.  But in truth, I was disappointed that the guide did not offer any explanation about history of the artwork. Being a graduate of history of art, I had visited a lot of museums and always enjoyed the experience of being told information and stories about the artwork and the life of the artist. The Pollock work was figurative, with references to native American iconography.  I wanted to be told the ‘right answer’ about its intended meaning.

Soon after, I began an internship with SFMOMA and discovered that the discussion-based approach used on public tours was called VTS – Visual Thinking Strategies.  I began to think more about visual learning and constructivist pedagogy.  I was introduced to the basics of VTS facilitation – three questions – what’s going on in this picture? – what do you see that makes you say that? – what more can we find? –  backed up with carefully considered paraphrasing on the part of the facilitator.   I then did a piece of action-research with a group of adult learners with literacy difficulties from San Francisco Public Library which deepened my understanding of the role of the art museum as an active learning space which could  harness rich opportunities for literacy/language development.

Visual Thinking Strategies is a teaching framework and a practice. It was devised in the late 1980s by Philip Yenawine, art educator and Abigail Housen, cognitive psychologist. At the time, Yenawine was Director of Education at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City and was primarily concerned with making museum education programmes more effective. Yenawine and Housen’s research found that most viewers participating in museum programmes (specifically MOMA’s education programmes) were novice viewers, meaning that they had little experience looking at art, and their interpretations were relatively naïve.

VTS is based on three questions that aim to support novice viewers become more observant and more thoughtful about what they are looking at. This approach seems deceptively simple. However, with regular practice and when implemented effectively with a group, by a trained VTS facilitator, the (educational) outcomes are strong. Participants learn to acknowledge that every idea is important as they concentrate on justifying their idea with physical elements present in the work they are observing.  This improves observation skills and builds confidence in understanding works of art, giving participants a sense of ownership and empowerment over their opinions about art.   VTS involves no art-historical information and it does not require that the VTS facilitator have the answers to questions that arise in the course of discussion.  However, it does require educators to accept that they are not teaching aboutart.  Rather they are facilitating critical debate and thinking about art and indeed the bigger themes that emerge from an artworks’ powerful mirroring of the world.  I have learned from my own training with VTS/USA, that while VTS is a valuable method in my arts in education toolkit, my VTS practice requires consistency and reflection to genuinely support students’ thinking, learning and aesthetic growth.

While art museums are increasingly more open to audience centred approaches in mediating art, historically, this has not always been the case. French sociologist, Pierre Bordieu, went so far as to claim that the “true function” of the art museum was to “reinforce for some the feeling of belonging and for others the feeling of exclusion” and his research highlighted a public perception of art institutions as a type of holy shrine for artwork to be admired but not necessarily understood. [i] The opposite is the agenda for the durational work with VTS at Dublin City Council’s LAB Gallery.  As a contemporary art space for experimentation and risk taking in the visual arts in Dublin, The LAB Gallery has played a critical role in giving professional development, time and space for contemporary art, educators and local children in Dublin 1 to collaborate in a shared investigation of VTS.  Sheena Barrett, the LAB’s Curator, highlights the importance of VTS in providing a safe space to practice discussions that support our capacity to ‘wonder’ as opposed to moving too quickly to judgement about an artwork and/or complex social issue.

Fast forward to 2017, and Dublin City Council Arts Office is successful in achieving a European Union Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership Project Funding for Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder.

Artist Claire Halpin, Art Teacher Kieran Gallagher & Liz Coman at the MACA Contemporary Art Museum Alicante

Artist Claire Halpin, Art Teacher Kieran Gallagher and Liz Coman at the MACA Contemporary Art Museum Alicante

Erasmus+ Permission to Wonder aims to widen the network of VTS peers through training and sharing learning.  The project focuses on supporting ‘educators’ to develop a Visual Thinking Strategies practice over time. Over the course of this blog series, I hope to introduce you to the Irish educators who participated in Permission to Wonder. Kieran Gallagher is a secondary school art teacher based in St Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda and is a member of the visual arts Junior Cycle training team. Claire Halpin, is a professional artist and art educator and is the co-ordinator of the VTS Neighbourhood Schools Programme led by Central Model Senior School.  Anne Moylan is a secondary school art teacher based in Hartstown Community College, Dublin 15. Jane Malone is a primary school teacher based in St Catherine’s National School, Donore Avenue, Dublin 8. Sile McNulty Goodwin is Education Curator at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. Kathryn Maguire is a professional artist and art educator.

 

Assistant Arts Officer Liz Coman, Teacher Anne Moylan, Education Curator Sile McNulty , Teacher Jane Malone and Artist Kathryn Maguire in the David Museum, Copenhagen

Assistant Arts Officer Liz Coman, Teacher Anne Moylan, Education Curator Sile McNulty , Teacher Jane Malone and Artist Kathryn Maguire in the David Museum, Copenhagen

 [i]  As quoted in Stephen E. Weil, Esq, “On a New Foundation: The American Art Museum Reconceived,” in  A Cabinet of Curiosities: Inquiries into Museums and Their Prospects (Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 106.

 

!!!! Art in the Primary School Making and Appreciation Skills – CPD for Primary School Teachers

National Gallery of Ireland

Date: 1 July – 5 July 2019

This CPD course offers a unique opportunity for primary school teachers to expand their artistic skill set in a national cultural institution.

Join facilitators Claire Hall and Sinéad Hall for this National Gallery of Ireland CPD course comprising a series of presentations focusing on the six strands of the primary school visual arts curriculum, followed by workshops in drawing, painting, print, fabric and fibre, construction and clay. The sessions will involve hands-on, practical activities, and lessons that can be used at all class levels, with direct references to related works of art in the Gallery’s collection.

The course will cover all strands and strand units of the visual arts curriculum; the elements of art; linkage and integration across the curriculum; and assessment and self-evaluation. The course will also focus on the centrality of looking and responding and process throughout the strands. Course attendees will participate in tours of the Gallery’s current exhibitions, and some workshops may take place in gallery rooms.

All attendees will receive an information pack detailing all that the Gallery has to offer primary schools. Produced by the National Gallery’s Education Department, the information pack will include advice on visiting galleries and cultural institutions with students; suggestions on how to introduce primary school children to art and art history; and details on how to access online resources.

The course fee covers all materials, handouts, equipment and supplies. All art work completed during the course may be photographed and/or taken home at the end of the course as a reference for classroom use.

Dates and time: Monday, 1 July – Friday, 5 July | 9.30 am – 2pm
Course Fee: €90.00
Max. number of participants: 25
Suitable for: Primary school teachers
For information and to book, please email: sineaddehal@gmail.com | claire.hall3838@gmail.com

For further information go to www.nationalgallery.ie/whats-on/teachers-cpd-course-art-primary-school-making-and-appreciation-skills 

!!!! Schools are invited to ‘Shaping Ireland’ at the National Gallery of Ireland

National Gallery of Ireland

Dates: May & June 2019

Spanning 250 years, Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland comprises artworks by fifty artists, exploring the relationship between people and the natural world.

In addition to artists of the past, such as George Barret, Paul Henry and Jack B. Yeats, it includes contemporary practitioners like Dorothy Cross, Willie Doherty, Kathy Prendergast and Sean Scully, as well as Niamh O’Malley, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Samuel Laurence Cunnane and others.

Encompassing a range of artistic media and perspectives, this exhibition examines different land types and uses, revealing the significant role artists have played in visualising aspects of human impact on the environment.

Shaping Ireland for Schools

The exhibition presents an opportunity for cross-curricular learning, and the  accompanying schools programme focuses on the environmental issues raised by the exhibition. 

School Tours

Dates: Tuesday – Friday in May & June

Schools from across the island of Ireland can avail of free tours of the exhibition in English and Irish. To book, email tours@ngi.ie or phone + 353 1 663 3510

Primary Schools Workshops

Dates: Tuesdays & Wednesdays in May & June
Time: 10am – 12pm
Cost: €150 per workshop (Max. 30 students per group)

Explore the exhibition with artist Emily Robyn Archer, and discover the important role of bees and other pollinators in the Irish ecosystem. This cross-curricular workshop will take students outside into Merrion Square to creatively explore the local environment. Students will make seedbombs to take home and help spread flowers across Ireland! To book click here

Primary Schools Resource: Art and the Environment

Teacher Sinéad Hall has developed a resource pack inspired by the exhibition, and designed to be used in the classroom, showing how art and creativity can be embedded across the primary curriculum. To download click here.  

For further information and booking go to https://www.nationalgallery.ie/art-and-artists/exhibitions/shaping-ireland-landscapes-irish-art/education-programme

 

 

!!!! The Artful Classroom – CPD for Primary School Teachers

A partnership project by Fingal County Council & Superprojects

Date: 1st – 5th July 2019

The Artful Classroom is facilitated by Aoife Banim, Anne Bradley, Clare Breen, Catriona Leahy and Beth O’Halloran

This CPD programme The Artful Classroom facilitates primary school teachers to enrich their work in the classroom by exploring contemporary art and architecture, as fascinating resources ripe for use as inspiration and departure points for creative enquiry. Together, the group will explore the national and international practices of artists and architects, through imagery and discussion, and playfully consider how they can be applied to the primary school classroom. Workshop sessions will take place in Draíocht Arts Centre Blanchardstown and The Irish Museum of Modern Art Kilmainham where participants will have an opportunity to explore the work of exciting contemporary artists.

The learning focus will be on processand creative thinking; rather than producing fixed outcomes. Facilitated by Clare Breen, Catriona Leahy, Beth O’Halloran, Anne Bradley and Aoife Banim, the course draws on the expertise of both teachers (with experience of art/architecture) and artists (with experience of education). Each day will be led by a different course facilitator who will share their experience of working creatively with children and demonstrate how they translate their own creative/artistic interests into classroom practice in visual art, and other areas across the curriculum. Participants will creatively explore these practices daily, through a diverse range of hands-on activities.

Schedule and session descriptions

Dates: Monday 1st – Friday 5th of July 2019
Time:  10am – 3pm daily

Locations:
Mon/Thur/Fri: Draíocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
Tues/Wed: The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

To book go to www.eventbrite.ie/e/the-artful-classroom-tickets-46498361852
There are only 20 places so please book early to avoid disappointment!

Cost €45 plus booking fee
This programme is financially supported by Fingal County Council’s Arts Office & Superprojects.

 

!!!! Conference on Drama & Theatre in Education at Trinity College

The Arts Education Research Group (TCD) and the Association for Drama in Education in Ireland (ADEI)

Dates: 9th & 10th March 2019

The School of Education in Trinity College will host an exciting international conference on drama and theatre in education on March 9th and 10th.
This is a timely event in today’s world, and explores the theme of the social and political in children’s and young people’s drama and theatre. This conference will be of interest to teachers, artists and anyone working at the cutting edge of drama, theatre, education, creative and cultural studies, arts education, sociology and social policy, political science and education, psychology, and related fields.

The conference features an impressive line-up of speakers who will explore the conference theme with reference to their own practices in different parts of the world. With subsidised rates available for attendees (€105,) and a bursary scheme available for full time students (€38 for the 2 day event).

For further information and booking go to www.tcd.ie/Education/Drama-Davis-Conference19/

!!!! CPD for Teachers: Explore Contemporary Visual Art at IMMA

IMMA

Date: 2nd March 2019, 10:00am to 12:30pm

Explore contemporary art, particularly construction, during a studio workshop and enjoy a guided tour of IMMA Collection: ‘A Fiction Close to Reality’.  Artist Rachel Tynan will lead this practical workshop during which primary teachers will discover multiple links to the visual art curriculum.

This workshop is free. Booking is essential. Places are limited; booking is on a first come, first served basis. No prior knowledge or experience of art-making is needed. This is the final CPD workshop for primary teachers at IMMA during this academic year.

For bookings go to imma.ie/whats-on/for-primary-teachers/

For more information about the exhibition ‘A Fiction Close to Reality’ go to imma.ie/whats-on/imma-collection-a-fiction-close-to-reality-exhibition/

!!!! CPD for Teachers: Gaming in The Classroom at The Ark

The Ark in partnership with Mark Create Innovate

Date: 9th March 2019

This engaging workshop will provide you with an introduction to hands-on, simple creative technology tools that support cross- curricular learning through play for STEAM subjects at Primary level – particularly in Science, Technology, Arts and Maths.

You will work in teams with Make Create Innovate to design and develop your own prototype games. You will be introduced to creative technology such as MaKey MaKey and learn about more advanced uses of software such as Scratch. You will see first-hand how games can teach students about competition and cooperation as well as supporting the development of concentration, perseverance and other skills through ‘fine-motor play’. For students, including those with special needs, the design of games and the process of rule- making are ideal ways to explore ethics. It gives the opportunity to reflect on their own values, motivations and behaviour as well as society’s. This can reinforce the strands within history, geography and SPHE relating to human intervention.

For further information and booking to go ark.ie/events/view/teachers-cpd-gaming-in-the-classroom

!!!! Grown Up Talk: A Year of Early Years Visual Art at The Ark

The Ark – Lucy Hill & Christina Macrae

Date: 28th March 2019

Join artist Lucy Hill, our inaugural John Coolahan Early Years Artist in Residence, and her residency mentor Dr. Christina Macrae from Manchester Metropolitan University to celebrate, reflect on and discuss their experiences together as Lucy’s residency draws to an end. The fascinating discussion will include illustrations of key moments and learnings during the residency, the mentoring process, as well as research and ideas in early years and visual arts practice more generally.

Thought-provoking for parents, preschool and primary teachers, artists, arts managers and anyone with an interest in art and children.

For more information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/talk-for-grown-ups-a-year-of-early-years-visual-art

!!!! Opportunity for Teachers: CPD Visual Art Workshop at IMMA

Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)

Date: Saturday 2nd February, 10:00am to 12:30pm

Explore print-making during a studio workshop and enjoy a guided tour of the exhibition IMMA Collection: Freud Project, Gaze. IMMA guided tours for primary schools are focussing on this exhibition until May 2019.

Artist Rachel Tynan will lead this practical workshop during which primary teachers will discover multiple links to the visual art curriculum.

This workshop is free but on-line booking is essential. Places are limited and booking is on a first come, first served basis.

You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience of art-making.

Book your place: imma.ticketsolve.com/shows/873601916

!!!! Schools are invited to ‘PEAT’ – a new theatre show for children at The Ark

The Ark

Dates: 28th February – 31st March

The Ark presents ‘PEAT’ the world premiere of a brand new theatre show for ages 8+ by Kate Heffernan. Directed by Tim Crouch.

Delivered with lightness and humour, this new play for children asks big questions about life, death, time and history. A conversation between two 11-year olds who find themselves standing on top of everything that has ever happened, it is a story of friendship, loss, and finding our place in the world. The production will be performed by Curtis Lee Ashqar and Kwaku Fortune. The creative team includes lighting by The Ark’s Franco Bistoni alongside set & costume design by Lian Bell and sound design by Slavek Kwi, two acclaimed artists making their debuts at The Ark. The Ark invited consultation with children at several junctures throughout the process. The childrens’ input, including input from The Ark’s Children’s Council, greatly influenced the direction of the piece and has been at the very heart of this production.

School Days
6th -29th March (Wednesday-Friday) @ 10.15am & 12.15pm. (No show Wednesday 20th March)

For more information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/peat

!!!! Kids’ Own publishes new book by children experiencing homelessness, aged 8–12

Kids’ Own has published a brand new book by children experiencing homelessness. The book was launched in partnership with Focus Ireland on Friday 9th November, and offers a rich resource for teachers and schools to explore themes of social justice, children’s rights and SPHE topics. The book was developed by 15 children, aged 8–12, during the summer – through a creative process with writer Mary Branley and artist Maree Hensey –and includes a beautiful mixture of artwork, photography, poetry and personal stories.

To buy a copy, visit Kids’ Own’s website.

!!!! Early Years workshop at The Ark: The King Who Finds Feelings Confusing

The Ark 

Date: 19 January 2019

Meet the King who has banned feelings and colours from his Kingdom in this fun and interactive workshop for 3 to 5 years olds and their grown-ups at The Ark, Dublin. In partnership with First Fortnight.

The King finds feelings confusing so he says no one can laugh or cry when he’s around. Feelings of happiness, sadness or anger are not allowed. He wants everything and everyone to be grey and gloomy all day long – so he’s banished colours as well.

Be part of a group of brave, young adventurers who decide this can’t be right, so go an a mission to collect the missing feelings and colours and bring them back to the Kingdom.

About Joanna Parkes

Joanna Parkes is a freelance drama facilitator and theatre practitioner working in Primary Schools and Teacher Training Colleges. As well as devising and delivering drama programmes in schools she has also written a number of teacher’s resources packs and publications. She has been running workshops and teacher-training at The Ark since 2013.

About First Fortnight

First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. The First Fortnight Festival creates a consistent space in the cultural calendar where citizens can be inspired through arts events and experiences to talk about mental health issues in a non-scripted manner. This year they are delighted to host the European Mental Health Arts & Culture Festival in Ireland. Find out more at www.firstfortnight.ie. 

For more information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/the-king-who-finds-feelings-confusing.

!!!! Early Years Seedlings Workshops at The Ark

The Ark

2 – 3 November, 2018

Early Years Artist in residence Lucy Hill presents ‘Seedlings’ a series of workshops for children as part of the The Ark’s John Coolahan Early Years Artist Residency. The Seedlings workshops offer opportunities to explore materials and the world around them through playful and engaging activities – ideal for getting little ones (and their grown-up!) imagining and creating together.

Join Lucy Hill for ‘Plaster Caster’

Plaster is amazing! Its transforms from powder to liquid to solid, it warms up as it transforms and it can take as many shapes and forms as we ask it to. It’s a messy but exciting business!

To start, we will press things into brown clay to leave an impression (toys, fingers, shells), then we mix the lovely powder plaster with water and pour it onto the clay.

The plaster warms and then ‘sets’ (goes hard), we then peel the clay away from the plaster, to find a new plaster impression of our objects to paint and to take home! We can also try using other things as ‘moulds’ like orange peel, avocado skins, chestnuts.

Lucy Hill is the inaugural recipient of The Ark’s John Coolahan Early Years Artist Residency and will be devising and delivering an exciting workshop programme for children in the early years at The Ark from May 2018 until April 2019.

For further information and bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/seedlings-early-years-workshops-november

 

!!!! ‘Bringing STEM alive in the classroom through Drama’ at The Ark

The Ark

Dates: 20 Aug – 24 Aug 2018

Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

The Ark, Dublin are excited to present a new five day arts-science summer course led by scientist and theatre-maker Dr. Niamh Shaw, aimed at primary teachers of 1st-3rd classes.

Discover STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) anew through a range of enjoyable and accessible creative drama processes designed to lift these subjects off the page and bring them to life for both teachers and students.

The course is created and led by the inspiring Dr Niamh Shaw – an engineer, former science academic and a theatre maker as well as one of Ireland’s leading science communicators and STEAM specialists. Niamh’s scientific knowledge and warm engaging style will help you in finding exciting new ways of communicating science themes to your students.

This practical hands-on course will improve your confidence in teaching STEM subjects as well as Drama and how to meaningfully link and integrate these in the classroom. A range of relevant STEM curricular areas will be explored through Drama including Mathematics, Geography, and of course Science.

The course is aimed at teachers of all levels of STEM and drama knowledge and experience.The course content and aims include:

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/5-day-teachers-course-bringing-stem-alive-in-the-classroom-through-drama

!!!! Teachers Summer Course at The Ark ‘A Visual Arts Approach in the Classroom’

The Ark

Dates: 13 Aug – 17 Aug 2018

Department of Education and Skills and EPV-approved summer course for teachers.

Over five days this hands-on, creative course at The Ark, Dublin focuses on a visual arts approach to exploring narrative, literacy & other subjects.

The aim of the course is to enable participants to start the new school year with an enhanced tool box of skills and knowledge, in order to effectively deliver the visual arts curriculum in the classroom. Participants will be engaged ‘hands-on’ throughout this course so learning will be through doing. Working in teams and individually, you will cover a range of curriculum strands including drawing, painting, print, 3D construction, fabric and fibre.

A strong emphasis will be on building skills and confidence. The group will also explore how visual art can be used to engage with aspects of the English, SPHE, History and Maths curriculum, as well as to promote visual literacy approaches. School self-evaluation exercises will be incorporated as an integral part of the course.

This course will appeal to teachers of all levels of experience and will be facilitated by the visual arts and education specialist and founder of Art to Heart, Jole Bortoli. This is a continuing professional development opportunity not to be missed!

For more information and booking go to ark.ie/events/view/teachers-summer-course-a-visual-arts-approach

!!!! Guest Blogger: Kevin Gaffney Artist & Filmmaker – Blog No. 3

Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker. His work is in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s collection and has been shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals including: European Media Art Festival (Germany, 2016); Out There, Thataway at CCA Derry~Londonderry (2015); and the 10th Imagine Science Film Festival (New York, 2017). He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 with an MA in Photography & Moving, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. He was an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist in residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong Residency in South Korea (2014) and received the Kooshk Artist Residency Award to create a new film in Iran (2015).

www.kevin-gaffney.com

Primary School Links – Blog 3

School Links is a programme run by Dr. Michael Flannery which brings students from local DEIS primary schools into the Marino Institute of Education to participate in a visual arts project.

I worked with 4th class students from St Joseph’s Primary School, who came to MIE for four two-hour sessions. As the students had been exploring the use of food in art, I screened two excerpts of my films that deal with this topic. The first was a scene where a young woman eats a flower, and the students responded to this by creating their own flowers through collage and assemblage.
The second clip I screened was a scene where a performer emerges from a large fake cake with a hat of fruits on her head, and then another scene where she sifts flower onto her own head. The students responded to this by sculpting their own fruit, vegetable and other foods from memory out of modrock, which will be painted the next week. The students will decide if they wish to appropriate these materials to make their own hats and costumes, or if they would like to make another sculptural form with them.

In between these activities, students from the class interviewed me about the life and work of a contemporary artist:

Student: Why do you think art is important?
KG: For me, art is like music or literature, and I think going to the an art gallery or museum is like going to the library. We are always expected to be so productive and busy, and art allows us to be quiet and reflective…  it’s a different way of thinking. But, do you think it’s important?
Student: Yes, I think art is important because it brings so much colour to people’s lives.

Student: Do you make mistakes?
KG: Yes, all the time! On my newest film, I spent so long making one scene… the art department spent ages on the set, there were a lot of props and it actually cost a good bit of money. But, then, when editing I realised it wasn’t working. It wasn’t fitting with the rest of the film at all… so I had to cut it out, and that’s so disappointing. It wasn’t anyone’s fault except mine!

Student: How long does it take you to make a film? Do you have people helping you?
KG: Yes I have lots of people helping me! It’s impossible to be good at everything, and I’ve accepted the things I can do well and the things that I definitely can’t!

Student: How do you know if something you make is especially good?
KG: It’s hard to know… sometimes you make something you really believe in, but it doesn’t connect with people. And sometimes the opposite happens. I just try to follow me intuition and not worry about what everyone else is thinking or doing… but I know you can’t really do this in school.

Student: When you’re making a film for a gallery, do you feel very pressured?
KG: Yes, it’s a lot of pressure and it can be very distracting. On one hand, you are trying to be very sensitive and focused on what you are making, but then there is a professional pressure that seeps in. And it’s taken me ages to learn how to deal with that.

!!!! Guest Blogger: Kevin Gaffney Artist & Filmmaker – Blog No. 2

Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker. His work is in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s collection and has been shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals including: European Media Art Festival (Germany, 2016); Out There, Thataway at CCA Derry~Londonderry (2015); and the 10th Imagine Science Film Festival (New York, 2017). He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 with an MA in Photography & Moving, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. He was an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist in residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong Residency in South Korea (2014) and received the Kooshk Artist Residency Award to create a new film in Iran (2015).

www.kevin-gaffney.com

Diorama construction and collaborative filmmaking – Blog 2

In the first semester of my residency at the Marino Institute of Education, I worked with the first years on the Professional Masters in Education programme. I had previously given workshops and lectures at university level at the Dublin Institute of Technology and Kyung Hee University in Seoul, and taught art classes for children at Taipei Artist Village and at primary schools in Roscommon as part of the Art School project run by Jennie Guy. However, this was my first time working with preservice teachers and, so, was the first time I was not just teaching art but also trying to impart how to teach art from the point of view of a contemporary artist.

I devised a workshop that would introduce the class to the process of filmmaking, and that could be replicated in a classroom with few resources. Students worked in groups, collaborating to make a film concept, visualize it, and realise this through constructing a diorama which would show the set/location of their film idea, the characters and any scene changes. I wanted to focusing on the storytelling and visualisation aspects of filmmaking, and my overall aim was that, from doing the workshop, students would have learnt that filmmaking is an enjoyable and achievable process, reliant more on imagination and communication than it is on expensive equipment.

In order to contextualise this project, I showed examples of contemporary animation sets, maquettes for theatre set design, and artists whose work uses collage or photomontage (John Stezaker, Hannah Hoch, David Hockney, Peter Kennard), and contemporary Irish artists working with animation techniques (Aideen Barry, Vera Klute).

To begin the project, each group had to select four random words that designated:  (a) a genre; (b) a location; (c) a main human character; (d) an animal character. Then, together, they had to knit these into a coherent concept. After deciding on how to combine the elements, each group works on making a diorama. In a collaborative effort to realise their visualisation, decisions are made on colour palette, mood, materials and scale.

After their sets were made, students began to make their characters from armature and plasticine. We then began a simple stop-motion animation process using free apps on the students’ phones and school ipads. The result was that each group created a short silent animation using readily available materials and technology and each group created a unique project that can be appraised in relation to the concept they created and the parameters they set for themselves.

 

 

!!!! Guest Blogger: Kevin Gaffney Artist & Filmmaker – Blog No. 1


Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker. His work is in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s collection and has been shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals including: European Media Art Festival (Germany, 2016); Out There, Thataway at CCA Derry~Londonderry (2015); and the 10th Imagine Science Film Festival (New York, 2017). He graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011 with an MA in Photography & Moving, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. He was an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist in residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong Residency in South Korea (2014) and received the Kooshk Artist Residency Award to create a new film in Iran (2015).

www.kevin-gaffney.com

 

Art on Campus – Blog 1

In September I began my role as artist-in-residence at the Marino Institute of Education (MIE), an initiative for artists to work in institutions that provide initial teacher education funded by the Arts Council. The aims of the residency are: for the artist to develop their skills and work in a supportive education setting; for preservice teachers to have a meaningful engagement with the arts; and to support preservice teachers in developing confidence and skills in passing these meaningful experiences onto their students.

Working closely with Dr. Michael Flannery (Head of Art & Religious Education at MIE), we decided on a programme of formal inputs into courses and ways to disseminate my work to students and staff.  In the first few months of the residency, I then set about on a mission to ‘activate art’ on campus with a programme of talks, exhibitions and screenings, alongside giving formal inputs into classes.

I decided to turn the lobby and windows of the Nagle-Rice building into an exhibition space where students and staff could spend a few moments looking at my work. During October I exhibited two films here: Everything Disappears which I made in Taiwan, and is in Mandarin with English subtitles; and Our Stranded Friends in Distant Lands which I made in South Korea and is in Korean with English subtitles. Photographic prints in the window space deconstructed the films into still images and accompanying scripts in English.

I then gave a lunchtime artist talk discussing these projects, the research behind them and the process of making them. As well as making the campus aware of my work as the new artist on campus, I also wanted students to encounter the work in a way similar to when they are installed in a gallery, before we began to work together in a lecture.

In October, I brought a group of 12 students on an excursion to my studio at Fire Station Artist Studios on Buckingham St, Dublin 1, and then continued on to see an exhibition that dealt with mediating art to primary school groups at Dublin City Council’s The LAB gallery on Foley St. My aim was for students to become aware of the visual art spaces in the North city centre, and also for them to see ‘behind the scenes’ of an artists studio and sculpture workshop, and then a final installation in a gallery.

For a number of evenings in November and December, I held a series of screenings to introduce video art and experimental filmmaking. As the series spanned from the beginnings of video art (Nam June Paik) to surrealism (Luis Buñuel and  Salvador Dalí) to current practices (Hito Steyerl), I gave the context of the works and topics in art history and then led informal discussions following the screenings. I hope the series encouraged students to engage with artist film and experimental film, and to feel confident discussing such works on school trips to galleries and museums in the future.

Next year I’m looking forward to continuing this work on campus and being involved with the Masters in Education Studies (Visual Arts).

 

 

!!!! Artist Opportunity with the Improvised Music Company in partnership with The Ark

Improvised Music Company & The Ark

Deadline: Thursday 29th March

Fun Size Jazz – Performance and development opportunity for jazz and improvising musicians and ensembles from IMC in partnership with The Ark

Improvised Music Company in partnership with The Ark are looking for applications from professional artists and ensembles in jazz and improvised music for short ‘scratch’ performances aimed at young audiences. The chosen artists will have an opportunity to devise, create and deliver their short live performances for audiences of children at The Ark this summer 2018.

This new initiative, jointly presented by Improvised Music Company and The Ark, stems from an original production developed between 2014 & 2016, called Monster Music Improv, which toured across Ireland and the UK in 2016.

Applications should present considered, innovative and engaging approaches to creating memorable and enjoyable performances of between 15-20 minutes duration designed to specifically appeal to young audiences aged between 4 and 12 years.

Fun Size Jazz will result in 2 performances taking place on the May and August Bank Holiday Mondays respectively (7th May & 6th August 2018).

Further Information go to www.improvisedmusic.ie/news/fun-size-jazz-performance-and-development-opportunity-for-jazz-and-improvis

!!!! The Ark and Dublin Dance Festival are delighted to present ‘Hocus Pocus’

The Ark & The Dublin Dance Festival 

Schools Performances Fri 18 May @ 10.15am & 12.15pm.

The Ark and Dublin Dance Festival 2018 are delighted to present ‘Hocus Pocus’ – a magical performance for schools.

Created by Philippe Saire (Switzerland), this magical children’s show for ages 7+ explores how images conjure vivid emotions, sensations and experiences.

Taking the audience on a fantastical voyage, two brothers dive into dreamlike adventures: a contortionist’s escape from a spider’s web; a journey in a damaged flying machine; and underwater encounters with fabulous aquatic creatures.

The unique set design creates a playful game of appearance and disappearance. As light is painted across the stage to reveal everything it touches, the dancers’ bodies seem to emerge from a black hole before being swallowed up again. These visual mysteries cast a spell, suspending our disbelief and unleashing our imagination.

Suitable for 2nd – 6th Class

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/hocus-pocus

!!!! Creative Generations – O’Connell CBS P.S. with artist Maria McKinney

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

We were looking for a primary school in the area local to programme sponsors Central Bank of Ireland and were delighted to find O’Connell School. It is a really interesting school with a rich history, and a very supportive learning environment, which was fantastic to work with. Artist Maria McKinney was a natural choice for working on this project. Her practice is often focused around ecology and I thought this would be a good fit for the primary school age range. Maria brought with her a wealth of experience in working collaboratively with diverse fields of inquiry and a sensibility to materials which made her very suitable for this residency.

Maria McKinney, Artist

I was aware of the Temple Bar Gallery & Studios education programme from seeing some of the previous projects on social media and speaking to the artists that took part. I was very happy when Jean then approached me to do their autumn 2017 session in O’Connell School. I had only recently moved into my studio in Temple Bar and was excited to be involved in their programme so early on.

One of the first things I was told about O’Connell School, in addition to it being a boys’ primary school, was that is was directly below Croke Park. The seating of the stadium almost hangs right over the school. This in itself made it very unique. Then I remembered seeing a news article about birds of prey that are put to work in Croke Park to keep away other animals such as rats and pigeons who might eat the freshly sown grass seeds on the pitch. I wondered whether the boys at the school knew that these very special birds existed right next door to them. I also realised this would be a good opportunity for the boys to learn a little about ecology and habitats of birds and nature in general. I was cognisant of this being an urban school, and wanted to open up a space for the boys to think about other animals.

Around this time I was also involved in an artist-in-school project in Maynooth with Kildare Arts Office and Art School. I decided I would use both opportunities to make work in relation to Birds of Prey. I think this made for a richer project overall as it developed over a longer period of time.

Pupil C

It started by going to Temple Bar Gallery. Her [Maria’s] studio was very neat. She had everything organised. Then we spent weeks making origami. It was great fun and a great experience.

Pupil D

First we went to visit Maria in her studio and we learned more about her. It was about us having fun and working together. Maria, Jean, 4th class in O’Connell, Barry [the falconer], Kayla [the Harris hawk] and teachers were involved. In class we started drawing and learned origami.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

We got involved through a member of staff that was in contact with Jean and Maria. The children were making origami pieces to have as a sculpture that a hawk could land on. The two 4th Classes and teaching staff were helped by Maria and Jean.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

The residency began with pupils visiting Maria in her TBG+S Studio to see where she works, and get an insight into her methods, motivations and inspirations as an artist. From there, Maria began an enquiry into birds of prey with the children, through various exercises in drawing, origami, movement/performance and inhabiting the psyche of the bird. This developed into creating a collaborative sculptural piece which functioned as a bird stand, for the Harris hawk, Kayla, to land on. A final photograph was taken by Maria to document this process. The pupils were extremely open and inquisitive about the hawks and worked really hard to make the origami pieces which made up the base for the sculpture. All the school staff were very encouraging and accommodating throughout the residency.

Maria McKinney, Artist

The project started off by the boys coming to Temple Bar to visit the gallery, and then up to my studio on the first floor. Myself and Jean introduced ourselves and I went on to show them some images of my work on a monitor. I told them just the name of the work, and then asked them to name all the different materials and objects they could see (I use a lot of different materials and everyday items). I then emptied a box of objects that I had made to allow them to handle some of my work. A lot of them were long strand type objects made by weaving straws. These very quickly became lightsabers which made me laugh.

The following sessions in the school consisted of teaching the boys how to make claws and beaks with paper and origami. It was well timed around Halloween so the boys could re-appropriate the claws for scary costumes. The teachers would help the boys make them, though once they had gone through the process a couple of times they needed no more help and could make loads.

We also looked at some other artists’ work that involved birds, including Marcus Coates Dawn Chorus, and Sean Lynch’s work Peregrine Falcons visit Moyross. In the latter, we see the footage from a camera attached to the back of a Peregrine Falcon, who then flies around Moyross Estate. At a certain point, the bird lands on a lamp post, looks around for a while, then takes off again. The boys lined up in pairs, and I asked them to close their eyes and imagine they were the bird on top of the lamp post, to think about their claws, wings and beaks, and prepare to take off again. The boys would then swoop through the room with great direction and style. Through making the different body part (claws and beaks) and then the boys using them, I was coaxing them to think about the anatomy of the bird, and in relation to their own physicality.

Pupil K

Ideas were developed through using different materials and also looking at Maria’s work. The teachers and Maria helped us make origami. Maria worked with bulls before this and we worked with a hawk.

Pupil B

We wore hats and wings and put together the claws and beaks and made a hawk stand. So the hawk can stay on it.

Pupil A

We all folded the paper and we got help from our friends, teachers and SNAs who showed us how to do origami and it was fun.

Pupil C

We worked together making origami and drawing pictures of hawks. We then put the origami onto the stand.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

Two 4th classes came together to complete the six-week course. The artists had use of the art room where they had tables set up for each activity. They also had great powerpoints set up here.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

Two 4th classes did the course together. The artist had tables set up and the resources provided for the children. The children all got involved as they were enjoying it. The teaching staff helped to keep the children on task.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

I felt this was a very successful project in terms of engagement and pitching to primary level students. Sessions in the school were active and fun with all children participating enthusiastically. Maria brought the pupils on an incredible journey of inquiry and art-making which culminated in meeting the Harris hawk, Kayla. As a result, pupils had the most imaginative and interesting questions for the hawk handler Barry and the experience no doubt left them with a new-found appreciation for the wildlife that is in their local urban environment.

Maria McKinney, Artist

I felt it was important to leave enough room for the participants’ input into the work, as well as for the unexpected occurrences that often come about through process-led engagement. However, I also had to make sure I had prepared enough activity for each session, so that we would not all be standing around looking at one another not doing anything. It is a fine balance to try and strike.

The success of the project was most definitely the boys’ energy and enthusiasm for doing something different. I really looked forward to my time with them. The staff were also really fantastic and got fully involved in what we were doing. It makes a big difference when the teachers are fully engaged and supportive of what you are doing, as this is unconsciously communicated to their students, and really affects how they respond to you, the visitor.

Another great success was Barry the falconer, whose birds work in Croke park, agreeing to take one of his birds to visit the boys in the school. This really made for a special day and everyone was so excited. As the artist this was also the most stressful time, as I was hoping everything would go to plan.

The boys and the birds behaved perfectly. However I have realised my own skill in group photography needs a lot of work. I had hoped to pose the boys as a group around the bird, while they were wearing the large paper wings/claws/beaks they had made. However I couldn’t organise them well enough, and it was a cold windy day. The boys worked really hard but I think I could have planned this part a bit better.

Pupil A

My favourite part was when we were wearing the art and I was like a hawk.

Pupil D

My experience of the project was amazing. I never got to see a hawk in real life, I loved it. My favourite part was when I saw Kayla because I never got to see a hawk in real life.

Pupil K

My personal favourite part was when we wore the wings and started to dance around with them on.

Pupil F

My favourite experience was building the sculpture. The teachers helped us and the boys came up with brilliant ideas that we put on the sculpture. The sculpture became a success but coming up with the ideas was a bit of a challenge.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

Children really enjoyed the course. It was a new experience, one which won’t be forgotten. The trip to the artist’s gallery was an eye opener for the children. Challenges – would be the amount of time taken for each session, especially in the run up to Christmas.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

Children all enjoyed it and are still talking about the experience. Something different for them rather than us teaching all the time.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

This was a project where the unexpected was encouraged and allowed to unfold. Pupils had an experience of artmaking which gave them an expanded view of what art can be. Maria guided pupils calmly through this process, beginning with the more familiar terrain of drawing, through to the introduction of a live hawk. Students themselves became part of the artwork in the wearing of large origami pieces to flank the bird on her perch for the final photograph of the residency. The reception to the project was palpable within the school,  with pupils and staff excited about the final event of the residency, and meeting the hawk.

Maria McKinney, Artist

While I talked to the boys about ecology and habitat, we were referring to the food chain of these birds in their natural environment.

However, I realised the working bird that was to come into the school to visit them, is involved in a very different network – one that is entirely at the behest of humans and our culture of sport, entertainment, cultivation, media, security (these birds are also used to keep drones away)…

Pupil F

I had a great experience of being a great young artist.

Pupil E

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Pupil C

The experience of touching and seeing a hawk. I loved it from start to finish!

Pupil J

Having fun and learning new skills with origami and our drawing improved. It was an unusual exciting experience – I would tell other schools to do it.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

It was great working with an artist. Children may have never visited a gallery or got an insight into the life/ideas of an artist. Origami is also an area we would not have thought about too much in school. This was new and exciting.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

The children got to experience what a gallery was/looked like. They were making origami pieces that they would not have learned otherwise. They got to see and understand what an actual artist does and could ask questions. Great experience for the children and very enjoyable.

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

Maria McKinney, Artist

It has made me think more about the human–animal relationship, in particular working animals. In an urban context the only working animal I would have been able to name before this project is a guide dog or sniffer dog at the airport. I am looking up more these days.

Pupil K

I feel I can follow more steps and am better at drawing and following things, and my imagination has grown. I have signed up for art club in my school now that I like art more. I feel like I can listen more.

Pupil D

I got better at following instructions and my drawing got better. I am starting to get into art. I can now work as a team.

Pupil A

I can listen in class and fold stuff and I signed up for art club because of the project.

Pupil F

I feel a lot better at doing step by step projects and I’ve improved on my drawings and I got better at working as a team. I enjoyed the art experience so much I signed up for the school’s art club.

Mr. Gavin, Teacher

Teachers’ and childrens’ outlook on art had changed since taking on this project. We got to see that art is a lot more than just painting and drawing. We also got to see at first hand how art can be used in the environment around us.

Ms. Coyle, Teacher

We are a lot more aware of using our environment for art purposes. It is not simply painting a picture. Origami pieces have been brought into other sections of our school life, i.e. the school play etc.

!!!! A Maker Approach to Art & Interactivity for Artists, Makers & Educators

Make Create Innovate

Date: March 24th & 25th
An introductory workshop to electronics for creative projects

In collaboration with The Digital Hub, Make Create Innovate offer this hands-on, jargon-free two day workshop that will introduce you to physical computing using conductive materials, MaKey MaKey and Arduino with some basic sensors. Our artist-maker-educator approach is all about tinkering with art, electronic and everyday materials to learn through experimentation and discovery.
By the end of the weekend you will have a basic understanding of the principals involved in easy-to-make light and sound responsive systems and the materials required. You will also have collaborated with other workshop participants to create an electronically triggered soundscape or an interactive environment/artwork.

This workshop is for creative people (professionals and non-professionals) and educators, who want to do something different; whether it’s programme a touch-activated sound effects on the theatre stage or design a cross-curricular STEAM project at school. It is especially suitable for anyone involved in engaged arts that support arts participation and/or invite audience interaction.

For more information and to book your place go to www.makecreateinnovate.ie/a-maker-approach-to-art-and-interactivity

!!!! Creative Generations – Synge Street CBS collaboration with Andreas Kindler

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

We have been developing the Creative Generations Arts-in-Education programme over the last four years, and in 2017 we had an opportunity to expand our engagement with a school through a longer term residency. This gave us the chance to make a deeper impact on the students’ learning and awareness of contemporary art. Working with inner city schools in Dublin is part of our remit as a city centre gallery and studio space – so Synge Street was a suitable partner school. This programme is centred around a residency format and creating a space for professional artists to bring their art practice into a school setting; sharing skills, experience and concepts of what contemporary arts practice is today.

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

The residency took the form of six sessions in Synge Street Secondary School where I worked together with the teacher and the transition year students on designing and constructing a hang out space for the students to use in their spare time. The goal of these sessions was to think about how to transform the spaces we use and, through some basic construction or alterations, make them more suitable to our needs. Taking their school as the space where they spend most of their time, we looked at the influential work of future thinking architects and artists like Paolo Soleri, Superstudio, Andrea Zittel and N55 as a form of inspiration for our project. From this we then created a sculptural environment for their library.

Student S

Ms Wright brought us to Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, we met Andreas Kindler and Jean and they showed us around the building. Andreas told us what he does and how he works with light. He said he’ll come to the school and do some kind of project together.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

Temple Bar Galleries approached our school with the idea of an artist residency, working with students/schools from the local area. Our students began working with Andreas Kindler von Knobloch under the Creative Generations Education Programme. Creative Generations is generously funded by Central Bank of Ireland. The students worked collaboratively to create a new artwork that engaged with the architectural landscape of our school and one that created a special space for the TY students.

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

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

The residency started with students visiting Andreas in his TBG+S Studio to see where he works, and get an insight into his methods, motivations and inspirations as an arts practitioner. It was from here that a relationship was developed, which continued in the school, where Andreas shared with students the main drivers in his work, and together the artist and students set about making a collaborative piece which incorporated some of these themes and discussions.

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

For our first session we worked with Plato’s five basic geometric forms and used them as inspiration in order to come up with a design. Working in groups the students made cardboard models using the basic principles of the platonic solids which are forms made out of equilateral facets. We then chose the most successful model as the basic plan for the larger final structure. Using basic tools and materials such as hammers, drills, nails, screws, cable ties, plywood and 2×1 lengths of wood, we built a structure based on the geometry of the equilateral triangle. Through this building process the students learnt some of the skills that can then be applied in order to build almost any small structure.

Student H

Andreas gave us a powerpoint presentation to inspire us and give us an idea of what he planned to do with us. We all then made a model of the structure we planned to make using cardboard. After deciding on a structure, we began making it using wooden triangles, nails, screws and other materials.

Student S

Andreas gave us a powerpoint presentation and told us how we can mess around with triangles to make a shape of artists and architecture that inspire him.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

Firstly the group visited Andreas in his work space in Temple Bar Galleries. For some this was a first experience of meeting a working artist, seeing their workspace and even visiting a gallery space which was an amazing experience in itself. From there, after seeing some of Andreas’s work, he came to visit our school and the creative conversation began within the group. Jean facilitated and guided the conversation within the group which kept things on task. The students gave Andreas and Jean a tour of the school and started the selection process of creating a space for themselves. Giving the ownership and creative discussion over to the students was very empowering to them and it also pushed their maturity and problem solving skills. The students and myself loved the collaborative feel to this project from start to finish.

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

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

For me it was really exciting to be able to share my practice with this group of students and to work together with them to create an interesting new structure. The greatest challenge was organising the sessions in a way that there were enough tasks and tools for everyone. It was a large group of students and at times it was difficult to keep them all engaged. Our first attempt at the larger structure failed. One of the successes of the project was showing them how to learn from that failure and use it as a way of stepping forward instead of a setback.

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

The collaborative nature of Andreas’s practice, coupled with his strong technical skills and methodologies, meant he was very suitable for the residency format. The students learnt a great deal from him, in all sorts of ways. They learned practical and technical methods but also visualisation, problem solving and perseverance, along with the teamwork aspect of constructing as a group on a large scale.

 

Student K

Building the structure we thought about was very challenging cause it’s not a small structure – it’s huge and we need a lot of materials to make it work. We failed once and the structure fell cause it wasn’t strong enough so we tried again and the second time we succeeded and it was a successful teaming up with everyone.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

Like every creative project it is going to run into problems and this project hit a slump on weeks 3–4 and I strongly feel that was where the greatest learning was for the students and also in the running of this programme looking forward. I have to commend Andreas and Jean for how they dealt with the loss of interest on the students’ part. They pulled the project back to the discussion and design stage and helped / guided the TY students to see a way through this slump.

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

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

One of the most significant parts of the project for me was to be able to share my interest and passion for innovative architectural design and see the students respond so positively to it. They really took to some of the ideas and there were some really ambitious plans suggested in the planning stages that in the end were not feasible in the time that we had. The support structures that were in place for me to carry out this residency were essential. If it had not been for Jean Mann and for the support offered by the school and Temple Bar Gallery + Studios it would have been a much more difficult experience.

Jean Mann, Creative Generations Education Curator

For me the residency demonstrated the possibilities that can occur if an artist is given free reign to bring their practice into the classroom, and allow students to become active participants in the process of art making.

Student D

I really enjoyed working with the team on such a big project that was on such a large scale.

Student K

The successful teamwork we did was worth sharing and the enjoyment I felt doing art through building something.

 

Student J

I enjoyed working with the drills and hammer.

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

This was a project that Synge St students would not have been able to experience due to its sheer size and the construction skill set involved. The students absolutely loved working with Andreas and using all the ‘man tools’ as they referred to them. This project encapsulates the hands-on approach that Synge Street wanted the TY students to experience. Everything they were learning from their books, measurements in maths, topics from science class to communication skills from English class were all played out during their weekly sessions in a practical manor on this project.

This was a fantastic learning experience for both my students and myself. The TY students are very proud of their seating pod which has found its home in our school library. There was a huge amount of creative learning involved in this project with Andreas showing some of the lads how the tools worked for the construction process! Life skill learning was paramount in this project and as the coordinator, this was exactly what I was looking for, for my students. It is amazing to even watch back over the short film and see the students’ confidence grew.

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

Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Artist

Working collectively is a big part of my practice. This project was very useful for me to see how I might be able to extend that collaborative element to a wider group of people. Since that project I have gone on to make structures that are assembled collaboratively with large groups of people which in part came from this experience.

Student D

My view of art has changed because up until now I thought of art as a much more individual thing to do, but not on bigger projects where everyone can use teamwork and work together.

Student F

My view of art has changed because I didn’t think that what we were doing was a piece of art until the end of the project.

Student S

I thought it was impossible to build something like that, but the result told me that I’m capable of developing my ideas and make it happen.

Student A

I really enjoyed the freedom we got from doing.

Student H

I associated art with picture and drawings and this gave me the knowledge that art can take any form.

Student K

At first, I thought Art was boring but when we did this project I enjoyed everything that is part of the project – and it’s all about art!

Maria Wright Slattery, Art Teacher

From working on this project my own teaching has taken on an edgier element. I’m not afraid of bigger projects and to hand over ownership to my students and trust that they will find a solution with maybe less input from me! I have probably learned to trust the students more and trust their creativity.

!!!! Me & The City – A Visual Art Programme for Schools at The Ark

The Ark

Date: 6th – 22nd March 2018

In Me & The City your class will discover and explore how a city is planned, created and developed. Working with artist Jole Bortoli, they will learn how architects work and look at artists who have created landmark sculptures and colourful big-scale street art.

On arrival your class will visit The Ark’s gallery, which will be full of displays that will explore the structure of cities, their architecture and diverse habitats. You will see plans that show the design process of urban spaces as well as architectural drawings and sketchbooks, photographs and 3D models. Inspired by what they have seen, the class will then take part in a practical mixed media workshop led by artist Jole Bortoli.

Me & The City is an ideal opportunity to explore the Looking and Responding unit of the Visual Arts curriculum and the workshop is strongly linked with the Construction, Fabric and Fibre, Drawing and Paint and Colour strands.

The workshop also has strong linkage with other curricula including Geography (in particular the Human Environments strand), Science, Mathematics and SPHE.

6th – 22nd March (Tue – Fri) at 10.15am & 12.15pm

For more information go to www.ark.ie/events/view/schools-me-the-city

!!!! Tracks in the Snow – The Henry Girls

The Ark

Date: School Day performances: Fri 1-Thu 21 Dec

Back by popular demand this Christmas, follow The Henry Girls into an enchanting world of winter!

From sparkling icicles to wolves in the forest, the joy of sledding at high speed or the wonder of the Aurora Borealis on a frosty night, discover the magic and mysteries of the festive season.

Perfect for all primary school classes, this show is an ideal opportunity to explore the Listening & Responding, Composing and Performing strand units of the Music curriculum. Attending this live music performance means children will see and hear outstanding Irish musicians performing brand new music on a range of instruments including piano, harp, voice, accordion, fiddle and double bass as well as percussion.

A free downloadable classroom pack is available to teachers which will provide a range of accessible music activities and creative approaches connected to the theme of the show. The activities will encourage music making projects in the classroom and support imaginative music responses to the performance which are relevant to the composing and performing music curriculum strands.

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/cpd-for-teachers-exploring-winter-through-music

!!!! Exploring Winter Through Music – CPD for Teachers at The Ark

The Ark

Date: Saturday 11th November, 10:30 am to 1.30pm

Refresh your music repertoire for this wintry time of year as you discover a number of great new seasonal songs that children will love as well as a range of creative ideas for using them in the classroom to deliver both the Performance and Composing strands of the music curriculum. Along the way you’ll be encouraged to throw out any preconceptions you may have about having a good or bad voice and nurture your love and passion for singing. With Lorna’s guidance you will explore how to work creatively with music in the classroom within a winter theme alongside exploring a number of ideas presented in our free teachers’ resource pack that accompanies the show.

Lorna McLaughlin, who is a member of the band The Henry Girls, will lead teachers in a hands-on music workshop working with songs and music material from our winter music show Tracks in the Snow which was commissioned by The Ark and written by The Henry Girls especially for young audiences.

For more information go to ark.ie/events/view/cpd-for-teachers-exploring-winter-through-music

 

!!!! Children’s voices: Are we listening? – Kids’ Own celebrate 20 years with 2 days of events

Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership

8th & 9th November 2017

Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, as part of its 20-year anniversary celebrations, will host 2 days of sectoral activities, in partnership with Dublin Book Festival and The Ark, exploring the value of publishing with children, and interrogating how we can support children to be seen and heard within our literature, culture and society. With the ambitious vision of current policy to reach all children through cultural tuition by 2022, Kids’ Own seeks to ask how we make space for quality and depth of engagement to support children as cultural makers and creators in their own right.

8th November 2017
Round table discussion (10.30am – 4pm)
Chaired by Martin Drury

Through a series of presentations and discussions hosted by Kids’ Own Creative Director, Orla Kenny and Kids’ Own co-founder Victoria Ryle, the day will involve explorations and case studies of the Kids’ Own archive, followed by discussions involving a chaired panel of guest speakers, and focused conversations, where participants will be invited to explore and interrogate how we make space for quality and depth of engagement, the role of the professional artist working with children and young people, and how we give children’s work greater visibility and recognition within mainstream culture.

This event is free but booking is essential.

9th November 2017

A day of practical exploration and creativity
Workshops for artists, teachers and arts education practitioners

11am – 1pm
All That We Are: An artist-led public participatory workshop with Simon Spain (Australia)
Kids’ Own co-founder and artist Simon Spain returns to Ireland to share his practice with Irish artists, teachers and practitioners. Through this practical workshop where participants will make figures from wood and plaster that will be joined to create a gathering, Simon will discuss key elements of his current practice-based PhD enquiry about working as a socially engaged artist. The work is centred around a strong theory of collaborative making environments that create liminal spaces for individual input while leading to a shared outcome celebrating difference.

Workshop fee: €10

2pm – 5pm
Print and book-making workshop with Alain Regnier (Belgium)
In this workshop, printmaker and art teacher (and founder of Motamo International Biennial of Children’s Books) Alain Regnier shares his way of working and will support participants to make books that include print and text, inspired by the work of his second-level students in Belgium. Copies of the books made during this workshop will be taken back to Belgium to be shared with a European audience.

Workshop fee: €10

For all bookings go to ark.ie/events/view/childrens-voices-are-we-listening.

For more information go to kidsown.ie/childrens-voices-listening/

!!!!  ‘It’s the Taking Part That Counts’  – Celebrating Ireland’s School Choirs & the Feis Ceoil

13th December 2017

On December 13th The Mansion House will play host to celebrate 120 years of school choirs in a special event ‘It’s the Taking Part that Counts’. 

The event will celebrate and highlight the positive impact of school-based choral participation on both choir members and the wider school community and will feature prize-winning Irish school choirs alongside a community outreach school choir formed ‘from scratch’ specially for the celebration. This ‘scratch choir’ involves one of Ireland’s DEIS schools – St. Vincent’s GNS, Dublin who is being trained by Wesley College choral conductor Helen Doyle for this their debut concert, and beyond.  Joining them will be the Feis Ceoil prize-winning school choirs, along with members of two of Ireland’s leading professional choirs.

Additional choirs ‘from scratch’ will attend the event as they begin their year-long journey, culminating in the celebration of Christmas in their own schools in 2018.  With a keynote address from Assistant Professor in Education Marita Kerin, Trinity College, the event will celebrate school-based choral activity while demonstrating its powerfully transformative effects on school communities, thus encouraging every school in Ireland to get involved in choral singing.

The Mansion House event, ‘It’s the Taking Part that Counts’, takes place on Wednesday, 13th December at 2.30pm.  Please lend your support to this project and attend this choral celebration of our school choirs.

For more information find go to @schoolchoirs120 on Facebook or email schoolchoirs120@gmail.com

To book tickets go to www.eventbrite.ie/e/its-the-taking-part-that-counts-tickets

FeisCeoil-120

!!!! A Maker Approach to Art & Interactivity for Artists, Makers & Educators – An Introductory Workshop to Electronics for Creative Project.

Make Create Innovate

Date: 7 & 8 October 2017 at The Digital Depot, James St, Dublin 8

In collaboration with The Digital Hub, Make Create Innovate offer this hands-on, jargon-free two day workshop that will introduce you to physical computing using conductive materials, MaKey MaKey and Arduino with some basic sensors. Our artist-maker-educator approach is all about tinkering with art, electronic and everyday materials to learn through experimentation and discovery.

By the end of the weekend you will have a basic understanding of the principals involved in easy-to-make light and sound responsive systems and the materials required. You will work in groups to create an electronically triggered soundscape or an interactive environment/artwork.

This workshop is for creative practitioners and educators, who want to do something different with non-screen based technology; whether it’s programme a touch-activated sound effects on the theatre stage or design a cross-curricular STEAM project at school. It is especially suitable for anyone involved in engaged arts that support arts participation and/or invite audience interaction.

For more information click here

 

!!!! Guest Blogger Deirdre Sullivan is a writer and SEN teacher

Deirdre Sullivam HeadshotDeirdre Sullivan is a writer and SEN teacher from Galway. Her latest book, Tangleweed and Brine will be published this September.

Guest Blog CPD Course at The Ark

I signed up for a five-day CPD course in The Ark with one summer course already under my belt. I had brought my class to The Ark on a number of visits and they have always been very supportive and accommodating. I’m a special education teacher, and my students really enjoy the sensory elements of the visual arts, so I also wanted to build my skills and learn a few new tricks.

The course facilitator was Jole Bortoli, whose warmth and insight made the workshop space very welcoming. I am very aware of my limitations when it comes to the visual arts, I’m not a “good drawer”, but the emphasis was very much on the engagement and practice rather than the end result, though many of my classmates blew me away with their talent and creativity. There are some very lucky classrooms and libraries in Dublin!

We started with drawing, and spent time making a collaborative project with lines and curves, on big rolls of paper. This was displayed on the ceiling during the course, so we could take it in. It was a simple and practical exercise, and the result was lovely. We then worked to Jole’s instructions, but interpreted them in our own way, so the results were very different. I was already seeing the potential for linkage with SPHE and maths.

We then took the time and space to visit the exhibition of animal sculpture in The Ark, and used sketches we had taken to inform the final project of the day which was based on work that Jole has done with a range of children. She was incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about the young people she works with, and showed us examples of ways she adapts her activities for different age ranges and abilities. She also showed us some video footage of a project she had done with Saplings in Rathfarnham, where a team worked with children with autism.

Day two was paint and colour, and the bright shades were really welcome after (the mostly black and white) day one, and we made another collaborative project, this time a riot of shape and colour. We were introduced to a range of different materials. I was particularly taken with paint-sticks, which were like glue-sticks but with paints. We painted with our eyes closed to music and again with our eyes open. Particularly popular was making our own egg tempura paints, and exploring a range of textured paints that can be made at home or in the classroom, depending on your setting. This activity would link in well with the science curriculum, as well as being a lot of fun.

Day three was 3D! We focused on construction, and engaged in collage, work with different types of clay (on the theme of rural and urban space and the wildlife within) and most interestingly sculpture. We used soap and a knife to whittle seals (and one sparrow), and it was a really interesting activity. The knives were safe (blunt), and this activity could be done in a class. It made me think a lot about shape and space, and the clay-play seemed really easy in comparison. Again, Jole and the other facilitators were supportive and gave us inspiration and space to create, and the results were impressive.

On Day 4, we worked on Fabric and Fibre, and spent the day making hats and masks. The hats were made from cardboard, fabric, beads and natural objects such as driftwood and feathers, and Jole once again drew inspiration from the First Nations artists of northern Canada to prompt our creative activity. This drew in the “Looking and Responding” part of the visual arts curriculum really nicely. The masks were two-sided, one animal on the outside and another on the inside, and they were made with paper on cardboard. These two projects were time-consuming, and some people were so enthusiastic they worked through their coffee break to get them finished, which is a good sign.

Friday was our final day and we worked on map-making- with a range of different activities, relief-painting and ink-dripping. The results were interesting, and Jole gave us some pointers on the correct materials to use for the best results with a class.

We kept reflective journals throughout, and Jole took time to explain where each exercise was coming from, and how it could be developed. There was a lovely mix of learning and creating, and I came away full of excitement to share some of my new skills with my students over the coming year. Highly recommended.

!!!! Guest Blogger Éadaoin Quinn on the Creative Writing Course at The Ark

Éadaoin Quinn headshotÉadaoin Quinn is a school librarian at Enniscorthy Vocational College. She is one of thirty librarians working as part of the JCSP Library Project. A graduate of Trinity College and UCD, Éadaoin began her career as a librarian in third level academic libraries. In 2001 she left Trinity College Library to become one of the first JCSP Librarians. She loves her role a school librarian, engaging students with reading, supporting their learning and running a full programme of arts, culture and technology. When not pushing books on students she is hanging out with her family, or escaping them trail running and cycling.

Creative Writing Summer Course in The Ark 

This course sounded like just what I was looking for: “Creative Writing in the Differentiated Classroom”, I was excited by the chance to be in Temple Bar in Dublin in the middle of Summer and better again to work from The Ark.

As a school librarian, working in a Deis school as part of the JCSP Demonstration Library Project, I have been running an after school creative writing group for the past eight years. I am always looking for new ideas to inspire my students and to develop their writing. Too often I am looking for these bright ideas at the end of a long and tiring day.

Poet Nell Regan delivered the course, as Nell has worked as a teacher and continues to teach writing to children, this was a course grounded in the reality of the day to day of school life and not high falutin theory. The course was fun and we deserved fun at the end of the school year, especially the primary school teachers who had only days before waved goodbye to their students.

Practical playful activities were described by Nell from her experience, we were invited to try each exercise ourselves and then to reflect on how we would work it in to our classrooms or libraries. This generous sharing of ideas led to wonderful discussions among us. There was a great buzz and spirit of collegiality between all of us participants. It was especially interesting to share experiences between primary and secondary level. We had a lot to learn from each other and Nell having experience of both made the course relevant to all of us.

The project room on the top floor of The Ark is a beautiful creative space, we explored it thoroughly during one exercise leading each other blind folded on a sensory exploration around the room and out onto the balcony (eek!).  We were brought on a tour of The Ark’s exhibitions and learned of the rich programme of visual and performing arts.  I found it a stimulating environment, just being there you felt creative.

By Wednesday afternoon I was exhausted and was so happy to sit back and listen to Children’s author and guest facilitator Patricia Forde. Patricia was a ball of energy, she told a hilarious and personal story of growing up on Shop Street in Galway City and how she began to write. It brought home to me the huge influence an adult, especially a teacher or librarian, can have on a child’s sense of themselves as a writer. An engaging conversation followed on children’s and young adult’s books with much scribbling down of titles and authors.

Nell organised a visit to The Chester Beatty Library on Thursday afternoon. We used the exhibits of the library as the stimulus for some writing and for ideas for Friday’s book making workshop. On Friday we were up to our oxters in glittery paper, glue and ribbon as we made our own notebooks.  Having had trouble that week folding up my paper lunch carton from a nearby trendy café this was not an easy task. Some of the results were gorgeous, I’m filing it under “student led activity”.

I’ve come away from the week with a stack of ideas, some “just hints” of ideas and some half fledged lesson plans. I have a list of online resources recommended by Nell and fellow participants and I have more confidence and enthusiasm for teaching creative writing next year.

!!!! Guest Blogger: Claire Halpin, Visual Artist, Curator & Arts Educator – Blog 1

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Claire is a visual artist, curator and arts educator based in Dublin. Over the last twenty years Claire has worked with a range of groups across many age groups from Primary School children through to Second and Third level students, teachers, community groups, intellectual disability groups and older people. These projects have taken place in a range of settings and contexts including museum gallery based, classroom, library, healthcare, local authority and community settings and over a range of timescales. Claire is represented by Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin and is currently curating Concerning the Other – an artist collaborative project with the gallery in September 2017.

As an visual artist, curator and arts educator I work on many different projects across different contexts over a range of timescales. It is a juggling act with no days or weeks being the same – something that any working artist is familiar with as their profession, way of life and the challenges, opportunities and rewards it brings. Over the next four blog posts I am going to focus on one or two arts in education projects I am working on as they develop. Since March 2017, I have been working as project co-ordinator and Visual Thinking Strategies facilitator on the DCC VTS Neighbourhood Schools project. VTS Neighbourhood Schools is a visual thinking strategies project funded by Dublin City Council Arts Grant in collaboration with The LAB Gallery, Central Model School, St. Vincent’s B.N.S, Ballybough, St. Mary’s N.S, Fairview. It is part of Project 20/20 – a visual literacy initiative with children living in Dublin 1 led by Dublin City Council, the City Arts Office and The LAB Gallery.

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is an educational curriculum and teaching method which is designed to enable students to develop aesthetic and language literacy and critical thinking skills. It is a discussion based methodology for looking at art. The method is the result of more than fifteen years of collaboration between cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen, a Harvard trained educator and psychologist and veteran museum educator Philip Yenawine. The current Irish Primary School Curriculum places emphasis on developing a child’s sense of wonder and facilitating the child to be an agency in his or her own learning. VTS allows space for these aims as well as for other core ideas of the Curriculum such as creating space for the child’s own knowledge to be a base for learning- the VTS facilitator scaffolds what the child’s responses are rather than the opposite way around.

Since 2014 Central Model Senior School has worked with VTS facilitator, Lynn McGrane, funded by Dublin City Council Arts Office and The LAB Gallery using VTS to look at contemporary Irish art both through visits to The LAB Gallery and classroom sessions. IAWATST – Interesting And Weird At The Same Time was an exhibition of work from the OPW Collection and Department of Finance, Northern Ireland Collection, selected by this class group, using VTS in the selection process. The aim and structure of the VTS: Neighbourhood Schools project is to continue using Visual Thinking Strategies to add to the knowledge of the arts and build on the sense of place and experience that the children on Central Model N.S have and to share that experience with their neighbours through working in close collaboration with two schools (St. Mary’s N.S, Fairview and St. Vincent’s B.N.S, Ballybough) with trained VTS practitioners in each of the schools.

In September 2016, I completed the Visual Thinking Strategies Beginners Practicum with Yoon Kang-O’Higgins, VTS Programme Director along with teachers from Central Model School (Deirdre Gartland and Bridget Kildee) and St. Vincent’s B.N.S (Orla Doyle), funded by Dublin City Council Arts Office. In this first phase of this project (March – June) the VTS Practitioners have facilitated 6 sessions with four class groups – Junior Infants to 3rd Class. These sessions happened at The LAB Art Gallery, Hugh Lane Gallery, ArtBox Gallery and classroom based looking at contemporary Irish art. As a team we have met for peer to peer mentoring and support sessions and Liz Coman DCC Assistant Arts Officer and VTS Trainer facilitated coaching sessions with each VTS practitioner. In June we will have a Reflective Practice Session with Yoon Kang-O’Higgins – an opportunity to see where we are all at this stage of the project and where we are going with Phase 2, building capacity, modelling VTS for teachers and observing teachers, image selection, potential trainees for VTS Beginner’s Practicum in Autumn 2017. In this blog post I have only had the chance to lay out the structure and background to the project. In the next post I will relate back from the class groups themselves and their teachers, their responses, experiences and my own experience as a practicing visual artist using VTS.

Links:

Dublin City Arts Office     http://www.dublincityartsoffice.ie

DCC Project 2020             http://dublincityartsoffice.ie/project2020/

St.Mary’s N.S, Fairview   https://stmarysartproject.wordpress.com/

Claire Halpin                     https://clairehalpin2011.wordpress.com/

!!!! Film Premiere and Website Launch of Room 13 Inquiry

Room 13 Inquiry is a dynamic investigation into the potential of shared art studio spaces in school settings. It has evolved in two primary schools in Fingal since its inception in 2014 and includes the provision of a dedicated art studio space, an artist in residence and a series of exhibition and artists’ studio visits for the students.

We engaged filmmaker Kilian Waters to capture the activities of the students and artists over the course of six weeks this academic year and commissioned a website  to share some of the intelligent and honest conversations held by the students over the past three years. The website www.room13inquiry.ie  will go live on Tuesday 20th of June at 12noon.

Room 13 Inquiry is an initiative of Fingal County Council Arts Office in partnership with Tyrrelstown Educate Together N.S, Scoil Bhride Cailini N.S., artists Orla Kelly and Anne Cradden, with support from Draíocht and the Arts Council of Ireland

!!!! CREATIVE DANCE TALES – A Digital Resource for Teachers and Dance Artists

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

CREATIVE DANCE TALES is storytelling through dance. It began as a pilot workshop series supported by The Ireland Funds in 2015, and ran in parallel with David Bolger’s production THE WOLF AND PETER by CoisCéim Dance Theatre. The workshops were delivered to over 300 children in 8 primary schools around Ireland, giving children an imaginative, kinaesthetic learning experience in dance. Two professional development workshops for educators were also held in Dublin and Galway. In part CREATIVE DANCE TALES emerged from requests made by teachers in primary schools. It was supported by CoisCéim’s Arts Council funded residency at The School of Arts, Education and Movement, Institute of Education, St Patrick’s Campus, DCU, and as a legacy to the three year residency, was developed by CoisCéim Broadreach and the Physical Education Unit.

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

The project evolved through working with children in different primary school settings nationwide, and through working with the Physical Education Unit and undergraduate student teachers from The Institute of Education, formally St Patrick’s College, on an in-school creative dance project as part of the physical education major specialism.

In autumn 2015, Philippa Donnellan (Director of CoisCéim BROADREACH) worked with children in different primary school settings nationwide in parallel with a national tour of CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s production of The Wolf and Peter by David Bolger, the Artistic Director. In spring 2016 she then commenced work with the Physical Education Unit and undergraduate student teachers from The Institute of Education DCU, formerly St Patrick’s College, on a creative dance project as part of their physical education major specialism studies. Content and ideas drew from the musical score and the choreographic and dramatic material of The Wolf and Peter. Philippa led the work, building on the students’ previous work in creative dance as part of their PE modules. Following on this, the students were supported teaching dance to local primary school children using the Creative Dance Tales draft lesson plans. These were subsequently revised based on observations of the student teachers planning and teaching as well as the responses of children. The lesson plans provide detailed and easy to follow guidance on creative dance activities inspired by Peter’s dance, the dance of the Hunters and of course the Wolf dance. The Creative Dance Tales digital resource is the culmination of this work involving children, an artist, student teachers and teacher educators.

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

From the point of view of the DANCE ARTIST – The success of the project was witnessing how fully the children engaged and enjoyed working creatively in dance. Almost without exception, their enthusiasm and excitement in ‘becoming the wolf’ or animating the character of Peter and dancing together demonstrated how positive dance activity as a mode of learning. Challenges have included developing a fully comprehensive digital resource, which maintains artistic integrity within a clear education framework, and is engaging and accessible for teachers and dance artists alike.

From the point of view of the LECTURERS IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION – The successes from our perspective included the engagement of the student teachers with the CREATIVE TALES DANCE workshops and the quality of their work. Observing the progression in the student teachers teaching of the dance lessons to the local primary school children was encouraging. The student teachers pedagogical skills improved, as well as the quality of the children’s performances. The student teachers confidence and understanding to teach creative dance was evident in their comments and reflective diaries.  The opportunities for the students, staff, local primary school children and their teachers to see the performance of THE WOLF AND PETER at the St. Patrick’s Campus auditorium was a positive and enriching community event. Challenges included the administration involved in the various aspects of the project, the time required to write, design, and edit the resource.

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

The project helped to link the Physical Education lecturers, student teachers, teachers, children, CoisCéim and other curriculum staff members on a joyful, meaningful, visual and practical dance journey, which was linked to the Irish Primary School Curriculum (1999).  The CREATIVE DANCE TALES digital resource is a significant teaching support available on the Arts Portal website for teachers, student teachers and others.

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

From the point of view of the DANCE ARTIST – As the lead Dance Artist on this project, the experience and understanding gained from working in varied formal educational settings – has clarified my own dance education work. In particular I believe it has simplified, yet focused my teaching skills and the different methods I employ in guiding children to grow and learn creatively.

From the point of view of the LECTURERS IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION – Having the CREATIVE DANCE TALE resource will support physical education dance work with student teachers. Having the resource available in digital format allows easy access for the student teachers to teach the lessons while on school placement. They can inform teachers in their school placement schools of the availability of the resource. The Physical Education Unit and The Irish Primary Physical Education Association can share the link to the resource on their respective websites.

To download the resource pack, click here.

For individual teacher lesson plan

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_1.pdf

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_2.pdf

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_3.pdf

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_4.pdf

!!!! Teacher Summer Courses at The Ark

The Ark presents an engaging selection of arts summer courses for primary school teachers and a concert for school groups.

Concert for School Groups:

Shakespeare’s Music Mix – Fri 23 June @ 10.15am & 12.15pm (1st-6th Class)

Teacher’s Summer Courses:

Creative Writing & Special Educational Needs – 3-7 July 2017

A Visual Arts Approach – 14 Aug – 18 Aug 2017

Creative Music & Drama – 21-25 August 2017

For more information please contact (01)6707788/boxoffice@ark.ie

 

 

 

!!!! Launch of CREATIVE DANCE TALES – A Digital Resource for Teachers and Dance Artists

CREATIVE DANCE TALES is storytelling through dance. It began as a pilot workshop project in 2015 which ran in parallel with CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s THE WOLF AND PETER by David Bolger and its three year-long residency at DCU (formerly St. Patrick’s College).

Supported by The Ireland Funds, CoisCéim BROADREACH conducted 26 workshops in 8 primary schools at 6 locations around Ireland with over 300 children taking part. Two specialist seminars for educators were held in Dublin and Galway. CREATIVE DANCE TALES gave children an imaginative, kinaesthetic learning experience in dance and highlighted the power of storytelling through performance.

Emerging in part from requests made by teachers, the CREATIVE DANCE TALES DIGITAL RESOURCE was developed together by BROADREACH and the Physical Education Unit, The School of Arts Education and Movement, Institute of Education, DCU, and funded through the residency by the Arts Council of Ireland.

It is a celebration of the work of children, students, teachers, teacher educators and dance professionals. Distributed free of charge through the Arts in Education Portal in Ireland and www.dcu.ie, the lesson plans are designed to act as a starting point to stimulate creative thinking for teachers and children alike.

To download the resource pack, click here.

For individual teacher lesson plan

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_1.pdf

 

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_2.pdf

 

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_3.pdf

 

https://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/CDTLesson_4.pdf

 

!!!! A Space To Grow

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

Helen Barry, Artist: During my introductory meeting with the teacher Ms. Smyth, Sharon offered the brief “I would like the children to do something that they would normally never do in the classroom”. The children were in senior infants and aged between 5 and 6 years. The introductory session is extremely important in understanding the context of the school, the previous arts experience of the school and teacher and the schools based experience of the artist. I would like to highlight the word ‘Space’ as used in our title. We literally explored all possible definitions of the word and still continue to do so as we have a few sessions left. It was not an intentional theme but one that grew very organically from the moment I entered the classroom. The children’s classroom was the biggest space that I have ever worked in; it was Autumn and the children were exploring intergalactic space. My first actual workshop with the children focused on spatial awareness creating spaces using huge rolls of metallic foam and moving about in these temporary spaces. I had also brought with me a variety of materials to play with and included four pieces of white polystyrene that formed the main body of our rocket. We cannot give credit to any one being for this decision other than being a something that was on everyone’s mind in the classroom so it just all happened in a split second.

Through designing and building the rocket together the children began to understand structure and stability. With these new skills and a wide range of materials we further explored scale and constructions both inside and outside of the classroom. We built different spaces focusing on dome structures, a dominant shape that frequently appears throughout my work. As we constructed our structures we were met with many challenges. As we were ‘testing’ with materials and designs it was often the children who offered the solutions to building more stable pieces. Again I found that Sharon was really positive when met with these sort of challenges, when things collapsed she felt that this is where the children learnt more as it demanded more from them and often displayed a strong voice from children who often remained in the background. One of our domes has been given a permanent home in the school grounds. We have planted a willow dome that will grow with the children throughout their primary school journey with them. The children will tend to the willow dome in the coming years and I will maintain my relationship with Sharon, the children and the school.

Sharon Smyth, Teacher: The offer of applying for the program was put forward by our school principal. Having read up on the initiative and what was involved I put my name forward to be considered. I felt that it was a great opportunity to offer my class something beyond that which my ability and confidence might allow if I were to tackle such a project on my own. During our initial meeting Helen spoke of construction, incorporating the classroom tables and chairs, rockets flying into space and using the top half of the room (from the ceiling down) to explore ‘Space’. I knew that a truly unique and exciting experience was possible for my girls, it just required a little leap of faith!

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

HB Artist: The immediacy of what we created in the first session provided the impetus for what developed over several months. Each idea rolled seamlessly into the next. We tested a number of ideas that came from discussions with the teacher and the children. Our rocket claimed centre stage as its design was carefully and enthusiastically managed by the children. The process demanded group work and teaming building. Often children as young as this can struggle with group decision-making. This group of senior infants rose to the challenge and seemed to grow in maturity and independence as the weeks progressed. Their teacher Sharon provided the space for the children and I to totally explore the ‘unknown’. Sharon has such a wonderful belief in each child’s abilities and is very open to discovering new ways of learning. She also proved that she was possibly more open than I was at times to leaving structure and routine aside and just going with the flow.

SS Teacher: Helen immediately looked to tie her work in with what the class were already learning about. This gained their attention and focus while at the same time taking their learning in a new and exciting direction. I watched (in awe) from week to week as my class became more efficient in teamwork, understanding of each other’s needs and willingness to take on the ideas of those around them (a very tricky task in the world of the ego centric 5/6year old!)

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

HB Artist: From the outset the scale of the materials we were working with demanded teamwork. Explaining to each team or group what they had to do I initially found challenging but as the work developed the children worked brilliantly in small teams, responding well to each other and supporting each other’s ideas and designs. So much so that when they were working on individual activities the children would automatically offer their assistance when they saw that someone needed it. The class size was large with 30 students. Initially the children seemed very young and the dynamic could heighten very easily but very quickly they became more capable and independent as the project developed.

SS Teacher: Initially I was a little at sea as to my role within the program/sessions. I wasn’t sure how much I was to observe or work hands-on with what the class were engaging with. As the weeks passed I felt that the more I tried the various activities, got involved and even on some occasions offered advice or help, the easier and more confident I became. While I hoped my own teaching would grow in this way through the program I am delighted that I would now have the confidence to try projects and lessons that are larger in scale and ‘space’ than I would ever have dared before.

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

HB Artist: The willow dome has provided a new material and timeframe for how I work. Planting willow cuttings has given root to another similar project. Since planting the willow dome with the children in St. Raphaela’s I have planted a second willow dome with children in St. John The Baptist P.S. in Belfast. This experience has demonstrated the openness of the primary school classroom. Sharon, along with so many teachers, has proven time and time again the willingness to engage with and support the arts and creativity in the classroom.

SS Teacher: I honestly don’t know where to begin in putting into words the value and worth of what my class has gained from their (and my) entire experience with Helen. Helen is not only an outstanding artist but she possesses an incredible understanding and appreciation of how her profession and skills can be brought to life within the classroom. While I have always loved to paint and ‘do art’ with classes I have taught I now realize that my vision and understanding of what ‘art’ teaching is has never truly reached its full potential. I sincerely believe that a product is not necessary at the end of a lesson but that the process is what is important but now I embrace this even more wholeheartedly.

Our space rocket, with its initial design, exploration of materials and slow but steady assembly took many weeks to complete before it managed to hang majestically (the word chosen by my class) from the middle of our ceiling. Alongside the many artistic lessons the girls engaged in, it was also a lesson in PATIENCE. I do not mean the patience required until it is your turn to stick or glue, cut or offer an idea. It was the patience of allowing the spaceship to build and come together over time. This required hours of collaboration, compromise and debate as week by week another element was added. Indeed at one point the wings of our spaceship were thought to be stained glass windows for Christmas by those passing by the room! To have rushed this project so as to have a ‘product’ by the end of two or three sessions would have meant missing out on a world of learning and discovery.

From our rocket we moved on quite seamlessly to building domes. Again we took this step by step exploring how best to support them – building foundations, securing poles side by side. It is how this was approached that I was enthralled by. One session saw the class link themselves together and learn how to form strong bonds between each loop. How much deeper is this learning than just ‘let’s build a dome’. What has come of this in the most organic way (planting our own dome) is absolutely fascinating. Over the coming years the dome will grow and develop alongside the girls. Helen has agreed to return to the school each year and work with the class in a number of sessions to shape and maintain the structures. The learning and integration that will occur across the curriculum as both the girls and structures progress will be a very special experience and we are very grateful to Helen for her commitment of time and expertise in the project.

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

HB Artist: Experiment and exploring with new ideas and materials naturally results in some things that do not work. At times I find this quite unnerving if somewhat stressful feeling that I let the children down. Sharon is very skilled in demonstrating and supporting ‘mistakes’ that don’t always turn out to have been for the best. I hope to be able to use her perspective in how I deal with challenging situations in the future. Planting willow has been a new departure in using materials. The maintaining of the willow dome will enable or demand that I will be working on a project that will grow and change over many years.

SS Teacher: The biggest thing I feel that has changed in my work as a teacher is that I would now be happy to allow my art lessons carry for a number of weeks without feeling the pressure to ‘have something on the wall’ or ‘a picture to send home on a Friday’. So many of our lessons were tied into building our rocket and yet they splintered off more often than not into lessons of their own, producing space asteroids one week and pasta based constructions another. It has also reiterated for me how paramount it is to allow children engage in as many mediums for learning as possible. What best appeals to one child’s ability to learn will not appeal to another. On so many occasions I witnessed children who struggle in the day-to-day lessons of the classroom excel in the hands-on tasks put before them. Their confidence and self-belief literally grew in front of me as they mastered new skills and understanding

!!!! ‘Dublin Ships’ Public Art Engagement Programme

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

Written by Cliona Harmey with input from creative collaborators & teachers on the project

As the artist developing the public art project Dublin Ships (commissioned by Dublin City Council) I wanted an engagement project to run in parallel within the duration of the art work. Dublin Ships was a temporary public artwork generated via a live electronic information system (AIS) which tracked the locations of ships coming in and out of Dublin Port. The names of the most recently arrived and most recently departed ships from Dublin Port were displayed on two large LED screens sited at the Scherzer Bridges close to the Samuel Beckett Bridge over a nine month period. The artwork was concerned with the meanings and poetic qualities of ship names which included references to maritime trade, cargoes, historical figures and distant places.

Together with the commissioners, Ruairí Ó Cuív and Liz Coman, we decided to work with children living locally who were potentially experiencing the artwork, in their day to day lives, over the extended period of time.

We approached three experienced and innovative people, artist Martina Galvin, visual arts educator Katy Fitzpatrick and philosopher Aislinn O’ Donnell to work on the project. All of them had existing or previous relationships with the schools in the area and a familiarity with the locale. The initial framework for our planning was finding different ways to enable students to respond to ideas prompted by the artwork. Through collaborative team planning and an ongoing dialogue, we designed a series of four class group sessions, which included using verbal discussion, hands-on making, notebook work and an experiential field trip.

Martina Galvin, Artist

As I was at the philosophical discussions in the classrooms, and as mesmerised as the children on the port visits, I was able to gauge what areas to focus on in the workshops in the classrooms.  Although I concentrated on the children creating their own public art work for the port, there were many strands that could be expanded on in an artistic and creative way.

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

The engagement project was developed with four schools on both sides of the Liffey. Therefore the fact that many of the students had an existing awareness of the artwork was very helpful in terms of generating discussion and bouncing ideas around as the project progressed.

The project began with discussions led by Aislinn and Katy, which explored the potiential for many different forms of art and was an important springboard for opening up thinking at the start of the project. This initial part of the project also included imagining and speculating on the visible and invisible elements of signal and communications based technologies that surround us in our everyday lives. This sowed an important seed for later abstract drawings.

During the initial phase of the project there was a field trip to the port with Martina Galvin and Charlie Murphy, Communications Manager of Dublin Port Company. This visit allowed the young people to see behind the walls of a facility close to their locality and also to see operations in the control room. The port visit was a very exciting experiential highlight. One group got to see the arrival of a large cruise ship “Carribean Princess” up close from within the control room. This particular school is opposite the port and regularly sees shipping traffic at a distance from the windows of the school across from the other side of the river.

After these discussions, children worked with visual artist Martina Galvin to come up with initial ideas for their own public artworks. These included many imaginative responses, some of which also took the form of experiences or tours. Other suggestions included artwork for 3 dancers, a skatepark as an artwork, an artwork that might take you back to the time of the dinosaurs, as well as artworks designed for specific locations.

The young people kept individual project notebooks to store their ideas and gather their research. Myself and Martina discussed with the children the ways in which artists’ use notebooks. We brought some examples of our own notebooks to show them. The use of personal notebooks was a simple but very effective methodology giving students some sense of agency and personal investment in the project.

Back in the classrooms, we used photographs recorded by Martina as prompts to jog pupil’s memories and to initiate discussion of their experience of the port and to recount what it was like to see behind the scenes.

Marina Galvin, Artist

The “notebook’ as the collector of this rich array of materials and ideas, was a great way to give the children individual freedom but yet not lose their responses and creative ideas. I did provide them with a rich and diverse set of materials in the workshops, and this definitely helped move them from ‘traditional illustrations’ of what they saw, to developing imaginitive ideas. I took extensive photographs of the port trips and re visited the trip using these photographs to bring the port back to the classroom – ensuring we were not working from a blank canvas. For instance, they had a “smell” page in the notebooks and they put drops lavender or lemon grass oil on their notebook page. This corresponded directly back to the very, very strong smell of the grain storage depots in the port. We were all in awe that this grain is the only source of wheat for all the bread made in Ireland that we all consume!!  They also wrote out ideas, as I emphasised that ideas can be thought and written, not necessarily made. This allowed greater creative freedom. There were numerous examples of very individual responses, and I think that was part of the highlight of the project for me – enabling the children to have very individual creative process free from the necessity to materialise an idea.

Mary Sunderland, teacher from St Lawrence’s Girls National School, Sherriff Street, Dublin 1 

What I loved most was how the project utilised the children’s surroundings to inform and lead the project. The children and I experienced things that we never would normally and all of them being on our doorstep. This included learning about Dublin Port and Dublin Ships. It was a thoroughly enjoyable project.

After the port visit some teachers initiated project work in classtime that happened between the port visit and the artist sessions. Some extraordinary abstract sculptural and graphic elements which grew out of material exploration and the discussion of visible and invisible elements.

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

The children’s discussions and descriptions of the port visit were really lovely. Highlights included the strong smell of grain being delivered, the control room itself, looking through binoculars out to sea, talking to an incoming ship, and speaking/singing through megaphones.

One challenging aspect was the sheer volume of work generated over the course of four sessions with facilitators. The children produced a vast amount of material that illustrated their thinking and responded to ideas and materials. The editing was quite a challenging process and a little unwieldy. At the initial stage of the project we were unsure exactly what form the final output would take, in retrospect our job would have been easier if we had some clarity on final form earlier.

While the project was happening the four teachers involved were very committed and active collaborators. Some of the teachers kept discussion going and came up with complementary activities which happened in the time between sessions.

After the summer break it was challenging to re-engage the schools in the project as three out of four of the teachers involved were on leave of absence and new teachers were starting with the class groups. These teachers had not experienced the main aspects of the project and so picking up and further developing themes encountered was very difficult.

What insights from the project are worth sharing?

Working in parallel and with support from the other practitioners and supportive teachers was really crucial and drove the engagement project.

I compiled the collated information into an ‘Online Showcase’ which offered an overview of some of the key questions we explored. We tried to give a flavour of our approach, which we compiled from audio recordings together with images and drawings by the participants.

Myself and Liz Coman returned to one class group to show them the online showcase and receive their feedback. In this discussion the impact of the project was obvious as the children shared strong visual and verbal memories of their experience. The importance of the use of notebooks as a tool to gather thinking as research was commented on by the children. When we showed the online showcase to the children we discussed how I had selected images and sound pieces from a vast amount of content – curating their work in a sense. With a longer engagement time we could have developed this aspect of choice and curation of the content more directly with the children.

The collated images of their drawings into video clips got strong responses from the children. A silent image sequence of their abstract drawings stimulated a huge level of quiet concentration and seemed one of the most effective ways of collating this information for group response and class room use.

Has anything changed as a result of the project?

For me as an artist the project enabled mediation and discussion of the public art work with the local school community. It also provided valuable feedback and helped us gauge on some level the effectiveness of the public art project overall. Children also engaged in discussions with parents or grandparents around the work and also helped to mediate the work to the wider community for us.

The engagement project also introduced the children to the inner workings of the port, a space which is in their backyard and which has a legacy in their community. They engaged directly in discussion of what ships come in and out, the cargo involved, and the names of ships.

The project introduced children to the concept of different forms contemporary art work can take. The project also allowed children time and space to make a creative response to their experience of the visiting the port, seeing the artwork and understanding how it was made.

The collaboration between the creative facilitators, the teachers and staff of Dublin City Public Art Programme, Dublin City Arts Office, and Dublin Port enabled a degree of peer to peer learning with different areas of expertise coming together to support the children’s experience.

 

!!!! Room 13

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

Julie Clarke, Fingal Arts Office

Room 13 is a well-established and renowned arts education programme, which began in Fort William, UK, and now exists in schools throughout the world. I was interested in the school studio concept for a long time and curious about how it would work in practice. I had consulted with artists and schools to assess their experiences of traditional artist-in-residence projects and to identify their cultural needs in going forward. I knew that artists and schools were interested in exploring alternative models of arts-in-education and Room 13 encompassed all the principles we were interested in upholding.

Orla Kelly had a keen interest in Room 13 also and following much thought and dialogue we embarked on visiting the original Room 13 in Caol Primary School, Fortwilliam, to see what a student run art studio looked like. It was a wonderful visit and we were greatly inspired by the children and artist we met there. Their studio is hosted by the primary school but autonomous in all other aspects. It is managed by the students and self-sustainable.

On our return to Fingal we set about meeting with Dublin 15 schools interested in the possibility of establishing a similar studio model in their school. Scoil Bhríde Cailíní NS in Blanchardstown and Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS were eager and excited about the potential of such a project. They had a strong understanding of the child-centred ethos of Room 13 and they were prepared to provide their students with a suitable space within the school to be transformed into a working studio.

After some planning the door of an empty classroom was opened to artist Orla Kelly and to Anne Cradden in Scoil Bhríde Cailíní NS and Tyrrelstown ETNS respectively and to each child and teacher in the school to use as a creative studio. Orla and Anne began introducing themselves to the children and teachers in their respective schools by delivering playful artistic sessions over several weeks. During this time the children became familiar with the artist, the art materials, facilities, and the freedom attached to this new space within their school. Relationships formed over time and interest groups organically emerged. Fifth class in both schools established themselves as lead protagonists in developing the studios. Initial dialogue focused on key questions around ‘studio’ and ‘environment’. We compared the spaces we share with others to the spaces we occupy and enjoy alone. We reflected on how our environment influences our behaviour and activities. Together we considered the characteristics of an effective studio environment in a school context and the idea of a ‘shared studio’ as a site supported by a community of people, for thinking and making.

A workspace within the Studio ~ Scoil Bhríde Cailíní was given to artist Orla Kelly for her own personal practice by the students. Like other Room 13 projects, the artist’s role is to offer guidance to the line of enquiry lead by the children and to scaffold their creative curiosity. The studio is for those who want to engage with it and is not compulsory for any child or teacher to participate in studio activities.

Cultural visits to exhibitions, places of interest and professional artists’ studios are an important element of the programme. Already the children have visited and explored Draíocht’s artist studio; The Hugh Lane Gallery, Frances Bacon’s Studio and works; IMMA artists’ studios and collection; and they intend on visiting the NCAD graduate show this June. The site visits provide the children and teachers with opportunities to experience contemporary art outside of the school environment and inform their own investigations back in the Studio.

Renee Moran, Visual Arts Coordinator in Scoil Bhríde Cailíní
Reflections on Room 13

We were delighted to hear that we had been chosen to take part in Room 13 after expressing an interest in the project to Fingal Arts Office. Admittedly, after the initial excitement, I began to grow anxious, as I really wanted it to work. Everything that had enthused me about the project also posed a considerable challenge. On a practical level, what would a working art studio demand of a primary school? Could we meet the demands? How would we work with the artist? Would the artist suit our school, would we suit the artist? Would our pupils embrace Room 13 or be confused or at best, bemused by it? Could the rules of a school be relaxed enough for the idealogy of Room 13? Would our staff be willing to give up valuable class time for the art workshops?

Thankfully, these challenges were met and dealt with effectively over the school year. First and foremost our artist, Orla Kelly, has been a pleasure to work with. She has built a wonderful rapport with the pupils and teachers of our school and the importance of this cannot be underestimated as it has fostered a creative and collaborative environment in which to work. Both teachers and pupils enjoy Orla’s enthusiastic and encouraging approach to work within Room 13. The staff of Scoil Bhríde has supported Room 13 from the beginning and was eager to take part in all of the workshops. Class teachers were flexible with their own timetables to allow for this and support teachers were encouraged to bring smaller groups to the studio. We consider ourselves privileged to have such a space within our school where pupils can go and make art in a very different way to the classroom environment. The pupils absolutely love Room 13. Scoil Bhríde is a primary school and therefore operates within certain constraints. As a staff, we were curious about how the somewhat informal approach of Room 13 would work out. It has been interesting and uplifting to see that the pupils, in particular the senior pupils, have adopted a respectful attitude to the studio. Rather than taking advantage of the freedom offered within the studio and wasting the opportunity afforded to them, they have embraced this and used this in the spirit with which it was intended. They experiment, explore and enjoy the process rather than focusing solely on the end product.

The biggest change with regard to Room 13 is that we now have an art studio within our school and this has become normal! Room 13 has worked its way seamlessly into the life of Scoil Bhríde. We have all adopted it as something that we can all avail of. Orla Kelly is a valued colleague and Room 13 is our studio.

Sinéad Toomey, Fifth Class Teacher Scoil Bhríde Cailíní

What aspects of the project made you smile?

Seeing the children make art with very few limitations or inhibitions. As a class teacher, you try to encourage children to be as creative as possible. However, in a classroom setting this is not always feasible as firstly, there are the time constraints of setting up the classroom for art and tidying up afterwards. Secondly, in the classroom it is generally more practical to focus on one strand of the art curriculum at a time as it is easier to manage art supplies. This also means that the children tend to have to finish their art in a limited space of time before moving on to a new strand.

With Room 13, the art supplies are ready and waiting for the children. They know where to find everything they need and where to put them when they are finished. They’re not afraid to get paint on the floor or desks! They can spend as much time as they want on a project. In this way they are exploring all of the strands of the curriculum on their own terms, often mixing and blending media. They are less concerned with getting things “wrong” and work more confidently and intuitively.

What aspects of the project made you feel challenged?

One of the main aspects of the Room 13 project is letting the children take control of their own learning and encouraging them to be more independent. During the first couple of weeks most of the children really took to this and started working straight away. Others found it difficult. Some children would flit from paint to clay to fabric, starting an art activity within the studio and leaving it half way through. Others would wander around the room, struggling for inspiration. As a teacher I found it very difficult not to intervene and give them a project to complete.

However, I have noticed a huge change in these children since the project started. Now when they come to Room 13 they spend a few minutes looking through art books or observing other pieces of art for inspiration before getting started. Often they will have ideas before they come into the room, or have something they began the day/week before that they want to finish. I don’t think that these children would have developed these types of skills if they weren’t given the chance to work independently.

Artist Orla Kelly ~ Reflections on Room 13

I am a contemporary artist working presently with painting and drawing. On a regular day I can have about 20 drop in visitors to my shared studio space in Scoil Bhríde Cailíní to see what I am working on, to chat about art, materials, constructing and engineering, or just to give a hug. It’s not a regular studio environment, as the average age of those I share with are 8-11 years old but it is a perfectly dynamic and rich one,  offering daily crits, posing meaningful aesthetic challenges, providing an enthusiastic and vocal audience for developing work.

The studio is almost always an ordered mess which is perfectly fine. After we visited Francis Bacon’s studio at The Hugh Lane Gallery on one of our cultural visits, we agreed that sometimes a certain amount of chaos is required for creating, although we didn’t want to reach his level just yet. When the young artists and I work together in the space we usually do so on the floor. It means we are all on the same level, investigating together. The conversations we share are a mixture of student –teacher technical inquiry, philosophical wonderings, aesthetic meanderings probing the nature of the arts and life. It is a generous and honest environment.

How do you feel about Room 13?

Scoil Bhríde Cailíní NS,  10 – 11 yrs

‘Really happy and lucky’
‘I enjoy that its messy as it means we’re very creative’
‘You get to use lots of art materials and you can work on any art project you want’
‘I’m so happy that Orla and Julie are in our school because without them we would not be able to do anything we want concerning our own creativity’
‘I’m glad to have Orla in my school; she is very kind and helpful’
‘When Orla is there I feel welcome she inspires me a lot, when I don’t know what to do she helps me work out ideas’
‘Sometimes it’s challenging, once I had to go and use the hot glue and Orla was there to rescue me’
‘It feels really fun and exciting Orla is very talented’
‘I enjoy all the art with my friends’

Aoife Coffey, Arts Coordinator, Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS

What aspects of the project made you smile?

The project is a wonderful opportunity for children to experience what I would consider real art. It made me smile to see my own student from the ASD unit burst through the door every morning with a new creation he had made and to listen to him describe the process of how he made it. There is very much a sense amongst the children that Room 13 is theirs. I’m looking forward to watching this project grow and expand over the next few years. It is an exciting time for us in Tyrrelstown Educate Together. We are so happy and grateful to be working with Anne this year as she has had such a special influence over the children in opening their eyes to the art world!
What aspects of the project made you feel challenged?
The beginning of the project was challenging as we had to find a suitable space within the school without using up space we needed. Emails were flying back and forth with problems and solutions until we found a room we all agreed on. Fortunately we were able to add a sink to the room and our wonderful art studio was born.  With the help of Julie, Orla and Anne the whole project ran smoothly from then on. The staff showed a great interest in the project and we all agreed it was a fantastic opportunity for our school and our pupils. When Anne came on board the studio really got going. On any given day as you walk past the studio children are busily designing, painting and constructing. There is always something new happening. It is wonderful to see the children have their own space and time to just create. We are very appreciative in the school to have our very own art studio!

Anne Cradden, Artist ~ Reflections on Room 13

Room 13 has been a revelation for me. At the start, I thought that helping the students with their investigations and then doing my own work in sculpture and drawing would be two entirely separate strands of the same project. However, the fact that we work side by side has meant that an incredibly dynamic creative environment has developed, where I believe the students’ approach to art making, and my own, have evolved and changed at a fundamental level. We have been working with an emphasis on experimentation and process rather than on “the end result,” and I have been amazed not only by the work the students have produced but also the important and exciting issues that come up in the studio, such as the value of contemporary art, the intersection between art and science, and the meaning of beauty. However, Room 13 has also fundamentally changed how I produce my own work.  On one level, being able to use the school building for temporary sculptural installations has been incredibly inspiring. More importantly, sharing the studio with the young artists has meant that constant consultation and discussion with them has become the norm for me, and now I find their input, their unique perspective, and their practical help invaluable.

Tyrrelstown Educate Together NS Students, 10 – 11 yrs

‘Room 13 is not an ordinary place’
‘It’s a place in our school with an artist’
‘The studio is having an Art Mart…we will be making our own art…and selling it and use the money to buy more art stuff like paint, fabric, paper’
‘Room 13 is a place where you can express your feelings’
‘I think about art in a different way now’

What’s next for the project?

Julie Clarke, Fingal Arts Office

The development of pupils’ entrepreneur and enterprise skills is an important part of the programme. Responsibility for running the studio will be divided among those students with a keen interest in the mechanics of arts administration work. They are gaining an understanding of my work in Fingal Arts Office and the important role played by organisations and individuals providing contexts within which art is made, shared and received. For some students this is the exciting part, and for others the art making is more exciting. Wherever their interest lies, there is a role for everyone interested in being involved. Both studios are evolving organically. Each week is informed by the previous and although the starting points were similar in each school, the individual studios are unique in how they are used and managed at this time. The pupils are very proud of their art studios and would choose to work there all day given the choice.
It’s important to mention that these studio projects are in the early stages of development. Our aim is to build the capacity of the children to experiment, explore, invent and realise their creative ideas over time. Fingal Arts Office and the schools have pledged to support the development of the studios for three years before assessing their viability to continue as self-sustainable entities thereafter.

Documentation

Room 13 ~ Fingal features on the Room 13 International website. However we would like to assist the students establish their very own online resource, one that they can control. We have discussed the possibility of creating a website for Room 13~Fingal with the children. They are interested in sharing their art work online with a wide audience. They are also interested in establishing an editorial team in each school. Some have expressed a keen interest in film / photography and others in writing. They are eager to respond to exhibition visits and share their opinions on the contemporary art that they have seen. The website could act as a forum for exchange between the two Room 13 projects in Dublin 15 and with Room 13 and young people elsewhere. It would be ideal for reinforcing the visual literacy, critical thinking and aesthetic development skills learned throughout the studio project.

Contact Details
For more information on Room 13~Fingal please contact: Julie Clarke, Youth & Education Arts Officer, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Email: julie.clarke@fingal.ie. Phone: 01 8905960
Room 13~Fingal, is proudly sponsored by Fingal County Council’s Arts Office

!!!! Theatre Making and Citizenship

Tell us the story of your project – What was it about?

The Abbey Theatre provides opportunities for young citizens to express feelings about their world and their State using the theatre arts. We want the students to feel a civic ownership of their National Theatre. To achieve this aim, we strive to raise awareness among young people of the rich civic, cultural, social and creative connections that emerge through engagement with theatre and theatre making. This course was developed by Sarah FitzGibbon, in collaboration with Maire O’Higgins, Larkin Community College under the auspices of The Abbey Theatre’s Community and Education Department. The course was piloted in Larkin College from September 2013 until May 2015 with class 103. Over the two years and 100 hours, the students develop their competence in six key skills, 16 of the 24 statements of learning with clear literacy, oracy (Oral Literacy) and numeracy strategies.

There are three strands:In Strand 1, the young people get to grips with the 4 Key Concepts in CSPE; Human Dignity, Interdependence, Rights and Responsibilities and Democracy; an introduction to theatre making; review a piece of theatre and make a speech on ‘Theatre is an important tool for citizens to be able to express themselves.’ In Strand 2, we use the story of Romeo and Juliet as a vehicle through which we explore the effect of a feud on a community. This is then developed into a performance piece where we seek to exploit the learning potential of the production process as a ‘real life work’ simulation with designated roles, responsibilities, deadlines, teamwork and collaboration. In Strand 3, students developed their own piece of theatre to raise awareness of a social issue that affects their community. The students direct a lot of their own learning with self-motivated research tasks that form the basis of their script. It is this model of script development that you will be taken through today. In the Pilot, the students chose the issue of homelessness (which exemplifies the concept of Human Dignity). This was a recurring theme in our citzenship discussions since the students had seen Silent by Pat Kinevane in Strand 1. Homelessness was an issue they felt passionate about as it directly affected their inner city school community. The students researched the causes of homelessness; the State’s response to those experiencing homelessness; the community response to the issue; its coverage in the media and who they wished to express their message to. The students interviewed political theatre makers who had dealt with the issue of homelessness with the homeless community. They also interviewed a Simon Community Key Worker. They visited the Pebbledash exhibition in The National Museum and assisted the school’s First Year and Transition Year students in creating and distributing care parcels to the homeless in their area. When the group wrote their own play out of their research and discussions in class, they then created a list of policy makers and groups they wished to invite to attend their awareness raising performance. This list included invitations to the clients of homeless services and policy makers to attend the performance in The Abbey Theatre, their National Theatre. While researching an issue in preparation for a performance, the students are set the challenge of developing a speech or performance piece based on a character that they create who is directly affected by the issue. The performance piece is created from these characters. It is based on any interactions, monologues, or songs inspired by the students indepth research. Facts and data discovered can be included too. The structuring of the performance script is quite straight forward.

Who was involved? How did you begin?

Participants: The Abbey Theatre Education Department and a First Year CSPE class in Larkin Community College. In 2011 we began in conversations with our local secondary school which is Larkin Community College. Throughout 2012, we had a year of discussion and planning between the artist and the teacher.

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

While we had a structure designed we were constantly reviewing it with the young people. We also constantly asked them for feedback on how they felt they were progressing in the course. When it came to the creation of the artwork it was a very collaborative approach, with the teacher and artist as the final arbiters on the text to be performed. That said the young people had to give an agreement to perform it and tweaks were made.

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

Observing those “aha” moments when concepts were understood and tasks achieved. It was also a pleasure watching the students grow in confidence in their ability to have an opinion and express it.

What insights from the project are worth sharing? (These may seem small, but are significant to you)

Young people are sophisticated thinkers. Young people can affect change in their communities. Teacher can grow as an artist working alongside an artist teacher in the classroom. The work of an artist is strengthened when she has an arts organization to support her in the delivery of the programme.

Has anything changed as a result of the project?

The National Theatre has committed to actively engaging in Theatre Making in Secondary Schools and support the inclusion of Theatre Arts in the Curriculum.

Students have made a difference in the lives of vulnerable groups in their community by raising awareness of issues and by fundraising.

Máire:

• Students have developed a strong sense of connectedness with each other and an increased level of self-esteem.
• The Abbey Theatre has transformed the lives of young people in their local community.
• Young people have developed an appreciation for Theatre.
• Students’ creative writing skills have been deepened and expanded.
• There has been a substantial improvement in students’ oral literacy skills with an increase in vocabulary and more developed sentence structures (eg longer sentences, clearer narratives …).
• Presentation skills are of a higher standard as a result of rehearsals and regular debates and presentations in class. Higher order questioning formed the basis of interaction and interrogation with guest speakers. The sophistication of the questioning emerged from rigorous research and enquiry.