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Coole Music & Arts
Until 26th July 2021

Coole Music & Arts have launched the Carolan’s Rambles Sound Walk, a unique geolocated audio experience along the banks of the Gort River Walk. This audio experience is the creative outcome of Coole Music and Arts’ music school, where musician Sinead Hayes worked with children and teens via Zoom. In this project, the participants explored the life of Turlough Carolan – a composer and musician who preformed across Connaught, Clare and south Ulster in the 1700s – creating artwork, stories, poems and original music compositions over the past three months.

The free ‘Geo-located Sound Walk’ is the first one in Ireland to use this newly launched sonic maps software, is available until 26th July 2021 along the River Walk in Gort (entrance beside Aldi). Bring headphones and a smart phone and hold your camera over the QR code on the Carolan’s Rambles poster or download the App through www.coole-music.com.

An e-book containing 19 original musical compositions composed by the children is available to download from their website here: https://www.coole-music.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Carolans-Rambles-Tune-Book-Draft-4-1.pdf. For more information on the project, see https://www.coole-music.com/ or contact Ellie Farrell at info@coole-music.com.

TULCA

New online visual arts education resource for primary and secondary school students.

TULCA is a festival celebrating contemporary visual art, that takes place annually in November across Galway City and County with a programme of multi-venue exhibitions and events. TULCA Education Programme is a unique programme that focuses on looking at and responding to visual art. It is about reaching out and engaging with schools and the wider community to create an increased awareness and a shared understanding of the Visual Arts. The programme engages a process of slow looking, reflection and response.

TULCA’s Education Programme is designed to continue this process of critical thinking by creating a space for dialogue and learning exchange. It draws on individual personal experience and acknowledges that we all have our own set of visual codes, value systems, likes and dislikes.

The online arts education resource caters for primary and secondary school students and uses a mixture of creative activities and videos to explore contemporary visual art.

For further information, see https://www.tulca.ie/news/2021/03/24

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

October 2020

The organisers of Baboró International Arts Festival for Children are delighted to confirm that the 24th annual festival will take place this October. The festival’s innovative programme for 2020 will bring live performances, creative artistic experiences, visual art installations and interactive digital experiences to theatres, classrooms and homes over an extended period of two weeks, with Bell X1 frontman Paul Noonan’s new family show The Electric Kazoo announced one of the highlight live events. Full programme details will be revealed in early September.

Galway-based Baboró is Ireland’s flagship international arts festival devoted exclusively to young audiences, their families and schools, enabling them to experience the transformative power of the creative arts. The festival will be an opportunity for families to celebrate together, to find creative expression for the upheaval of the past few months and most importantly, to have fun. At its heart will be a recognition of how much has been sacrificed by children and families in recent months and the promotion of kindness to self and to others.

Festival organisers, artists and partner venues have been working together passionately to imagine and co-create innovative ways to deliver meaningful artistic experiences to children and their families.

Aislinn Ó hEocha, the festival’s Executive Artistic Director, says, “So much has been asked of children this year and we want to take a moment to celebrate them through this festival. We have been separated from our friends, teachers, coaches and extended families but yet have found new ways to come together while staying apart. Many of us have found a new appreciation for the people and places close to us and I hope this year’s programme will offer a chance for celebration and expression. The festival will be an opportunity to celebrate the togetherness that has been lost and found in this challenging time. We can’t wait to meet our audiences and share the joy of Baboró once again.”

The festival is delighted to announce that the 2020 programme will include a brand new live music gig for families of all ages, Paul Noonan Presents: The Electric Kazoo, commissioned by the TRACKS Network of Dublin Fringe Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival and Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Noonan developed online concerts during his own lockdown at home in Dublin, supported by his own children and a legion of big and small fans who tuned in online from all around the world. Tickets for the Electric Kazoo and Baboró’s full programme will be available when the programme is released in early September.

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will launch its programme in early September, when tickets will go on sale. For the latest programme announcements follow Baboró on social media, subscribe to their newsletter or go to www.baboro.ie.

For Schools: Please sign up to Baboró’s newsletter for updates on school dates here – bit.ly/baboronews.

 

Frank is an Irish designer /cultural producer with an interest in film, the arts & architecture. His professional practice includes the design of buildings, & set design for film/television production. He holds a BA in Architecture, 2008 and a Professional Diploma in Architecture, 2012 both from London Metropolitan University. Prior to this he recieved a B.Des. in Production Design for Film/Television, from IADT. This background has informed his approach to practice, which is collaborative, interdisciplinary and site specific.Interested in the critical potential of design he established Architecture at the Edge in 2017, for which he devised and curated the events programme. He produced an outdoor installation, ‘Ghost Chapel’ for Galway International Arts Festival 2018 in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Architecture.

Growing our Connections – Blog 4

Having taught the National Architects in Schools Initiative for the past three years I find it can still be quite a daunting task when faced with a new group of students.

Many of the students don’t understand the value of their built environment because they have never seen the benefits it can offer them.

It’s difficult for students to learn without experiencing connections as to the concepts we teach them. This can be achieved through providing both context and relevance. Without that connection there is no interest, and interest always precedes meaningful and authentic learning. So it’s essential that we are making strong learning connections to help them develop the thinking habits they need to succeed.

Schools are comprised of the people in the community. Coming from outside it’s important to understand the community your students are a part of. Mountbellew is a quiet rural market town 45km from Galway on the N63 to Roscommon. Once the home of the Grattan-Bellew family, famous Galway parliamentarians during the 18th and 19th centuries. The former demesne is now a delightful wooded area of forest walks and picnic areas, filled with interesting historical items.

Upon my first visit to Mountbellew, whilst seeking out a connection to the place, I was drawn down an inviting avenue of beech trees where I was immediately taken by the sight of a 7m high wall, the enclosure to an extensive eighteenth century Walled Garden which was once part of the large Bellew estate.  For a century and a half this walled garden was used in the manner of all such Victorian/Edwardian gardens, although simply because of its size, more than household fruit and vegetables were probably grown.

I learned that the long term aim of the local heritage group here is to rejuvenate, conserve and develop the 18th century walled garden. Developing this existing heritage resource will provide a new amenity for the area. It will also complement other local heritage and recreation assets helping attract visitors to the area stimulating rural tourism.

From the outset I knew it was important to set a clear and engaging agenda with the students and so by way of introduction find something in their common experiences to which the lesson can be attached. Here in the walled garden is a space to explore, walk, discover and feel inspired by all it has to offer; a reminder that as times change natures story goes on. To function as a place to grow food, for pleasure and wellbeing.

Before we launched into making any propositions it was important to give time to the students and allow them articulate their ideas. Topics were selected for the students to share in groups. Investigation into the history and functions of various types of garden generated one starting point for beginning transformational change such as should its use be as a kitchen garden distinct from a decorative one. The many ways we experience gardens were discussed. The pleasure garden, the kitchen garden, the memorial garden and/or as a place to re-connect with nature. A presentation by the local heritage group committee members was followed the following week with a guided site visit.

In speculating on its potential one of the students reminded us that the parents of Anna Kriegel had planted a white cherry blossom at her favorite spot and unveiled a bench which bears an inscription with her name. Another then talked of the seat under a tree at the Mountbellew walled garden which ladies once sat how they might propose to do the same. The sense of a connection to place and how that can relate to our own experience of the world underpinned the project. This is about learning how everything is interconnected and interdependent. Understanding the relationship between things can help people see and understand their community in different ways. That association with people and place is fundamental.

Students learn by exposure to real life examples and their experiences and observations of these examples greatly accelerates their learning. Part of this task required the students to ‘Look Locally’ i.e. Find clear links between the lessons and the things that are transpiring in the local community, and even get them actively involved with community individuals. It’s about teaching and learning that is focused on student centered inquiry.

A second field trip was organized, with a group assigned to conduct an on-site survey which would inform the task of making of a 1:100 site model.

Making the model allowed the re-imaging of the walled garden to take shape. The resulting design links a series of new public spaces/ rooms and reuses an existing building as a community hub / cafe to give purpose and a variety of gathering places to the center of garden.

The aim here was to create space for every young person to be at the center of co-designing their own future, community spaces, projects and campaigns. To give voice of the student and allow them give that voice back to their community.

In working with the students like this I hope that it will stimulate them to become actively involved and engaged in shaping their local built environments and landscapes. Place-based education promotes learning that is rooted in what is local—the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place—and it promotes a place-specific, sustainable approach to living, working and playing in our 21st century rural communities. The main objective is to attract interest and support from the community at large and to help re-educate ourselves about the importance of sustainable and healthy living.

Young people need a space where they can be unafraid to explore. As a result, the sense of place created by a village’s cultural heritage links directly to a community’s sense of identity, which can ultimately enhance people’s overall sense of being and belonging and quality of life. The walled garden at Mountbellew offers this. They need to live it, grow with it, tend to it. For them, it can be a space of hope and promise:  if we put in the right effort and intention just about growing our connection to nature, it is essentially growing our connection to each other.

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Dates: 12 & 13 June 2020

Baborókabinet k and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture present a workshop for professionals with an interest in making performances with and for children and young people.

This is a unique opportunity for directors, dancers, choreographers and performance artists seeking to develop their practice in this area.

This two day workshop, on 12 & 13 June, will be facilitated by Joke Laureyns and Kwint Manshoven, Co-Directors of kabinet k. Kabinet k is a Belgian dance company which creates work with and for children. The company has toured all over the world with their performances and workshops for professionals and for children.

The artistic language of kabinet k has a playful, energetic, yet subtle power. Joke and Kwint will share an insight into their dance vocabulary which is demonstrated in their world-renowned production of ‘Horses’ (view the production trailer here). This practical movement workshop is a playful encounter between the choreographers and the participants, revealing some aspects of how they work with different generations on stage and how a work like Horses was created. It’s about dance in its purest and most essential form: the articulation of a moving body.

kabinet k will challenge the participants to go deeper into their image of childhood and question and develop their own practice.

This workshop will suit professional dancers, choreographers, directors, theatre makers and dance/performance teachers with an interest in producing or participating in theatre made for and with young audiences.

Workshop Dates: June 12 & 13, 2020.
Application Deadline: 5pm, Friday, April 3

For more information and to apply go to www.baboro.ie/artists/kabinet-k-movement-dance-workshop

Branar Téatar do Pháistí’s – Galway 2020

Dates: 2 – 29 March 2020

Sruth na Teanga: an adventure through the story of the Irish Language

As part of Galway 2020, Branar Téatar do Pháistí’s Sruth na Teanga is an epic and unique immersive theatre show that imaginatively tells the story of the evolution and life of the language. Branar will transform the terminal building of the old Galway Airport for a walk-through performance in which one class group of thirty pupils will enter at a time. Experience a true sense of adventure with cinematic levels of detail as you travel through four worlds experiencing live performance, puppetry, music, design and beautiful imagery. The children’s journey will culminate with an opportunity to explore a response room that will enhance and deepen their engagement with the show.

Branar’s world-class brand of storytelling will enchant audiences aged 8-plus and adults alike.

Tickets are €7 per child and teachers go free.

For further information and school bookings go to www.sruthnateanga.ie.

 

On November 9th the fourth annual National Arts in Education Portal Day took place at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) in partnership with ILAS and Babóro. The national portal day is building momentum as a very significant event in the arts and education calendar in Ireland, and this year the portal day coincided with the Creative Schools week-long celebration of arts and creativity in schools.

With over 150 artists, teachers and arts in education professionals in attendance with 20 workshops and lectures across the day by a range of presenters from the sector. An opening address from Professor Pat Dolan and inspirational insights from our guest speaker Professor Bill Lucas exploring the importance of creativity in schools. Thanks to all involved in making day a huge success!

Speaking at the event, Minister Kyne said, “This annual event presents a wonderful opportunity for teachers and other creative practitioners to come together to explore the area of arts in education. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, along with the Department of Education and Skills, are working together to promote creativity among our children and young people”.

To view Professor Bill Lucas’s presentation from the Portal Day click below:

Creativity in Schools: What It Is, Why Is Matters and How to ‘Teach’ It by Professor Bill Lucas

 


Update: Minister Kyne T.D. to attend 4th annual National Arts in Education Portal Day

The Portal team are delighted to announce that the fourth annual National Arts in Education Portal Day will be attended by Seán Kyne TD, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.

We are pleased to announce our full programme of presentations and workshops for the National Arts in Education Portal Day 2019. The programme was selected following a call for submissions in summer 2019 and reflects a broad range of projects, approaches and art forms from within the arts and education sectors; both practical and theoretical.

The day will culminate in a special performance by members of Symphonic Waves Youth Orchestra with group leader and soloist Mary Duggan.

To view the full programme click here and to book your place go to national-arts-in-education-portal-day-2019.eventbrite.ie

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

Initially in 2017, Cleo Fagan, curator of Superprojects, approached Maeve Mulrennan, curator of Galway Arts Centre about doing a project for children that explored the body and consciousness.  Out of this conversation, the idea for working with the artist Siobhan McGibbon emerged, who had previously worked with young audiences as part of GAC’s Red Bird Collective. Siobhan’s work very much centres on the human body and she has extensive experience working with children and young people. Galway Arts Centre have worked with Scoil Chroí Íosa previously and the close proximity to GAC, combined with their enthusiasm for working on arts projects and the efforts and skills of the students themselves, made the school the ideal partner to work with.

Working over 9 sessions, Siobhan and the students have used collage and sculpture to explore transhuman themes, resulting in an exhibition (15th – 27th October 2018) in Galway Arts Centre for Baboró International Arts Festival for Children.

Siobhan McGibbon’s own practice combines arts practice, narrative and scientific research to imagine the future of the human species. In 2015 she created the world of the Xenothorpeans, a hybrid race of post-humans who were able to enhance their anatomy and genetic make-up with medical therapies. This fictional narrative evolved from research undertaken by her whilst on residency in the Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM). Through the development of hybrid figures she articulates her hopes and fears concerning medical technology and the future of the human.

With this in mind, she has worked collaboratively with the pupils from Scoil Chroí to develop a speculative science fiction. This work was exhibited in Galway Arts Centre in October 2018. As a way to further expand on and explore the ideas in Siobhan and the children’s work, Education curator Katy Fitzpatrick and Professor of Education Aislinn O’Donnell worked with Siobhan to develop a series of creative, experiential workshops in response the exhibition at Galway Arts Centre. These were supported by the children-artists from Scoil Chroí Íosa who were joined by  2nd and 5th Class students from another local Galway school – Claddagh NS. The Art & Philosophy workshops developed an experimental range of exercises that were centred on the voice, ideas, experiences, and imaginations of children as they responded to work in the exhibition and the ideas provoked by that encounter.

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

Siobhan McGibbon, Artist

As a starting point, I introduced the students to my practice. I talked about the origins of my ideas, explaining how I take inspiration from the biological sciences and use narrative and animal metaphors to think about what this research means.  I told the class that a scientist would host a workshop about the regenerative capacity of sea animals and together we would respond to the science through storytelling.

In the initial stage, we talked about domestic animals and thought about the way dogs and cats live in the world. We thought about how these animals are similar and different to humans. As many of the students have cats and dogs as pets, they had lots to contribute. It was an accessible model to think about different ways of being in the world.

Following this, the scientist from CURAM hosted an interactive workshop, in which the students learnt about emerging science inspired by animal biology. The workshop involved lots of discussions, including all the students, class teacher Rachel and me. In the workshops after this, we thought about how this new science could change their lives. Through drawing and storytelling, we thought about the consequences of regeneration and immortality through speculative scenarios.

As the project developed, we explored case studies of more unusual animals that contribute to medical research, through a presentation of video clips, images and facts we thought about what life would be like if we were a hybrid of this animal. Each student explored this through drawing, collage and storytelling, which they presented it to the class. Following this, the class asked questions about the story and, together with teacher Rachel, we teased out the ideas that arose from these artworks. These group discussions led the workshops in new directions, new insights from each animal study contributed to the next, and in each workshop, we delved deeper into speculative ways being.

The Art and Philosophy Project involved working with Katy and Aislinn to respond to the rich and complex range of ideas and imagery that was generated through the school’s residency.

Education curator Katy Fitzpatrick and Professor of Education Aislinn O’Donnell

Through diverse arts-based, sensory, and philosophical methodologies, the children and their teachers: experienced the exhibition through a range of lens. These ranged from VTS and inquiry based philosophical approaches, considering the key concepts within the work, to children putting themselves imaginatively in the shoes of a chosen hybrid, generating choreographies to express that identity, engaging in sensation, touch and blind drawing exercises, debating whether it’s better to be a jellyfish that is immortal or a human who dies, and doing meditation exercises imagining the sensory experience of being starfish or a frog. The exercises supported a deeper engagement with the exhibition and opened up their imaginations and thinking. It was important to involve the children who had created the work in the school project, to describe their engagement in making the work, but also to co-facilitate and actively take part themselves, in particular in facilitating the philosophical conversations about ‘big questions’.

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

Cleo Fagan, Curator

I think Siobhan as an artist who has such an imaginative and research-based art practice, works really well in the primary educational context. Siobhan’s research includes the analysis of animal biology and behaviour and then makes big imaginative leaps that lead to strange but fascinating speculative conclusions. The way children think is highly imaginative and they often love the peculiar, so what better people to go on an artistic journey into the world of transhumanism! I think it’s very exciting to engage children in such a complex and rich area of research. Not only does Siobhan have these highly relevant research interests, but she also has strong interpersonal skills and a good sense of humour – very useful qualities for working with  children.

The Art & Philosophy programme in Galway Arts Centre, worked with students from Claddagh NS, as well as some of the original Scoil Chroí Íosa students (co-creators of the exhibited artworks and in this instance they supported in a co-facilitation role). This enquiry was another project in itself. The programme used a number of different learning methodologies, to provide students the opportunity to develop their own considered responses to the artworks, as well as the ensuing big ideas that led from this process of engaging with the artworks. This excellent and intricate programme took the students on a dynamic intellectual and creative journey, a process that is well illustrated in the documentation film.

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

Siobhan McGibbon, Artist

‘Explorations of hybrid configurations from mythology to science fiction underpin my practice. I’m interested in the symbolism and metaphor embedded within the iconography and the hybrids endless mutability to think about ways of being in the world and alternative ways of being in the future.

This was the first time I explored this ‘framework for thinking’ with children. Each student created hybrids that embodied their ideas and speculations about the emerging science that they learnt in the workshop with the scientist.

I was amazed at how quickly the students grasped the concept and I was delighted by their dynamic hybrids. It was fascinating to listen to their science-fiction narratives, in which they placed their own experience at the centre and imagined the future. Each student had different approaches to thinking with their hybrids; some created hybrid languages while others thought about what it would be like to move with these re-configured anatomies.’

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

Siobhan McGibbon, Artist

At the moment I am in a phase of Phd research, so until I go back into the studio I won’t know the answer to this!

Cleo Fagan, Curator

Yes, working in the combined classroom and gallery context has resulted in some insights on making work for the public, that I think may enhance future work in this area.

In reading research studies on art education over the years, it has come to my attention that children and young people can get more meaning from artmaking activities when they exhibit the resulting work in public. As mentioned, as part of the project, the children had their work exhibited in the main space at Galway Arts Centre, and they took evident pride in this.  I believe that the Art & Philosophy programme further enhanced the meaningfulness for the participating children in having their work exhibited publicly, in that it allowed them to collectively and discursively investigate the potential experience of art for the viewer and the type of intellectual and creative journey that encountering an artwork can stimulate. The fact that some of the Scoil Chroi Iosa children had an active facilitation role with the children from Claddagh NS, was also significant.

The danger of working towards an outcome such as a public exhibition, is that the focus can be on the product, and not on the process. However, as Siobhan had 9 full sessions with the students in which to develop a significant creative enquiry, and perhaps because the children didn’t have clear ideas about what an art exhibition was, they remained engaged in the creative process in each session.

In my work as a curator, I would like to continue to work with this balance between quality of process, co-creation between artists and children, and public outcome.

 

 

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Dates: 14 – 20 October 2019

Baboró are delighted to announce that their Schools Box Office is now open for this year’s festival, which takes place in Galway 14-20 October. To plan your school visit take a look at the dedicated schools section of their website to find everything you need to make your booking request.

How to Begin

Recommended performances and events have been identified as suitable for groups or schools with additional needs. Baboró have developed an information pack to accompany these shows, which includes information about the venues, access, and what to expect during the performances regarding light, sound, etc. You can find this pack and more helpful information online on the Baboró website (www.baboro.ie )from 2 September.

Ticket & Subsidy Information

Important Dates
Wednesday 11 September: First Round Booking Deadline.
Requests after this date are considered, however, likelihood of attending one of your top 3 preferences is greatly reduced.

Week of Monday 23 September: Notification of Allocation.
Schools will be notified of their allocation with a Baboró schedule, invoice, and a pre-engagement pack including venue information via email. Please do not call for information on your booking before this date, as it takes one week to complete the allocations for all schools.

Wednesday 9 October: Payment Due in Full.
Cash is not accepted. Payment methods will be outlined with notification of your allocation. Bookings are not considered complete and confirmed until full payment has been received.

For school enquires or further information please contact Kirsty on 091 562642 or email schools@baboro.ie.

 

Galway Educate Together National School

Dates; deadline for application for Stage One is Friday, September 20th 2019 at 12 noon

Galway Educate Together National School invites proposals for the commission of an artwork/artworks to be funded under the Per Cent for Art Scheme in connection with Galway Educate Together National School, Thomas Hynes Road, Newcastle, Galway. Artists are invited to tender for the project in a two-stage process outlined in the attached brief. Proposals are welcome from both individuals and collectives, and from those working in any creative media/discipline and across a broad scope of creative approaches. The overall budget for this commission is €35,000 including V.A.T.

Deadline for application for Stage One is Friday September 20th 2019 at 12 Noon. Please see the attached Brief and Expression of Interest Form

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

Reflecting on the first year of Creative Schools – Blog 4

Alongside the workshops that we held during May and June, the Creative Schools Teacher committee had come up with a Menu of Activities to accompany the workshops. The Children’s Panel also came together to add their suggestions for the Menu. This Menu was designed to be a list of easy classroom activities that the teachers could engage in at times and days of their choosing, to compliment activities that they may have been thinking of doing anyway. All of the activities were based on our theme of Food, Cooking and Nature. Some of the activities included links to Food Science websites; inviting parents into classroom to engage in cooking activities; ideas for nature based art; healthy shared lunches and forest and beach picnics. A copy of this Menu was delivered to each classroom for a four week period and all teachers were encouraged to engage with the programme.

During the last week of term, we invited our children’s panel to come and give us some feedback on the programme and how it was for them. Yvonne laid out big sheets of paper and had specific questions to provide information she was looking for. This proved a very fruitful if not a humbling experience. Each classroom and each class level had experienced varying levels of engagement with the programme, depending on each classes packed schedule. Therefore, the children all had varying feedback. As we all know children to be, the feedback was honest, and some of it wasn’t all that flattering!

As a whole jigsaw piece, the Creative Schools programme was successful in its aims and objectives for this year. But when you break the jigsaw into individual pieces, it didn’t feel that that success had filtered down to all of the children in all of the classes. This was disappointing for both myself and Yvonne, as there had been a huge investment in the programme all year. It’s all about the children at the end of the day, and if the children didn’t benefit, well then there were questions to be asked. Myself and Yvonne had a good chat about it all, and agreed that if we had decided to focus in on one class grouping for example, and showered all of our Creative Schools programme on just those children then undoubtedly the feedback may have been different, but that is not what we chose to do. Instead, we needed to focus on the whole completed jigsaw, celebrate the success and look ahead to how we can build on it next year.

We intend our focus next year to switch to teachers professional development in creative practices. We see a great opportunity next year to spend our time researching cross curricular creative practices, as we feel that in order for maximum children to benefit from the Creative Schools Programme, we need to up skill our own practices and thus all children will benefit. We feel very excited about this new aspect to the programme and we are looking forward to continuing this creative journey next year

Deadline Extended: 5pm Friday 9th August 2019

Artists, teachers, academics and arts education professionals….Do you want to be part of the fourth annual National Arts in Education Portal Day?

The National Arts in Education Portal Day will take place at The Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) on Saturday 9th November in partnership with ILAS and Baboró. The event aims to bring together members of the arts in education and creative practice community from all across Ireland, to share, learn, talk, network, get inspired, and continue interrogating best practice in the field.

We are inviting proposals from organisations or individuals who want to give dynamic and inspiring presentations or workshops that can offer sharing of skills, practical approaches, new insights and critical thinking across the field, from a range of perspectives.

Do you have a workshop or presentation that you would like to be included in the programme for this day? If so, please send us your proposal.

Deadline for submission of proposals has been extended to 5pm Friday 9th August 2019.

Download the submission form National Portal Day Proposal Form 2019.

 

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

 

Blog 4 – Reflect and Refine

My first year working as a Creative Associate on the Creative Schools Programme with my three allocated schools has ended. Nothing feels finished however; it feels as if we are just starting. While creative activities took place in each school as a direct result of the consultation process, I view this years work as research and development and I won’t be surprised if year two feels like more R&D. The consultation process in each case was very thorough and the conversations with the coordinators and, less frequent but equally important, with management, were robust and wide-reaching. Through evaluation with a selection of children from each school, for the most part, they report having both enjoyed and learned from their participation in the programme so far.

In my mind, the role of the Creative Associate is to assist in embedding creative approaches to teaching and learning (one could say to thinking and being) within the school environment. Reflecting on this, it would be easy to be disappointed with the years work, it falls far short of achieving that aim. There were small disappointments; not all teachers participated in the organised activities, not all children made the connection between the opinions they put forward in the consultation process and the resulting activities that they participated in, some of the planned activities didn’t materialise, some people didn’t enjoy the activities. There were larger logistical issues at play too; the late commencement of the programme combined with the lengthy intensive consultation process meant that most activities took place at the very time of year when schools are most busy. This had the most impact at G.E.T.N.S. where we developed and implemented an ambitious whole school programme of activities in May and June. The whole school cohesiveness we needed to realise the holistic nature of this programme got lost in the end of year ether. I choose to reflect on all of this as learning.

My three schools and I are building relationships together, we are reaching levels of understanding, finding out what works and what doesn’t in each setting. We are journeying. As a result of this long-term attitude and shared vision for trying to go a level deeper into creativity within the school environment, we have clear pointers for 2019/20. A large part of our work together will be investing in creative professional development for teachers. This would appear to be the most necessary and sustainable use of our time together. Our main challenges will be freeing up staff time and reaching beyond the arts curriculum. G.E.T.N.S. will engage in a Per Cent for Art project that will hopefully build, in a very exciting way, on our work together this year; the boys at Athenry are leading us toward a programme around creative play and the outdoor environment; Eglish are going to further their digital skills acquisition. The process is creative and child-led and this makes sense to me.

Frank is an Irish designer /cultural producer with an interest in film, the arts & architecture. His professional practice includes the design of buildings, & set design for film/television production. He holds a BA in Architecture, 2008 and a Professional Diploma in Architecture, 2012 both from London Metropolitan University. Prior to this he recieved a B.Des. in Production Design for Film/Television, from IADT. This background has informed his approach to practice, which is collaborative, interdisciplinary and site specific.Interested in the critical potential of design he established Architecture at the Edge in 2017, for which he devised and curated the events programme. He produced an outdoor installation, ‘Ghost Chapel’ for Galway International Arts Festival 2018 in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Architecture.

 

Learning from the power of place – Blog 3

“I walk because it confers- or restores- a feeling of placeness …I walk because, somehow, it’s like reading …” 

Lauren Elkin, Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London

Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin wrote a while ago about the modern man, who walked the city in order to explore its history, the architecture, the changing environment.

That idea of exploring and thinking is about making sense of things, the places and people we encounter, and this approach can also be applied to adolescence children in their world, by interacting, investigating, questioning, and forming, testing and refining their ideas.

Place-based education promotes learning that is rooted in what is local— the unique local history, environment, economy, culture, landscapes, and architecture of a particular place – in mapping the students’ own “place” or immediate schoolyard, neighborhood, town or community. And walking is like mapping with your feet.  It can promote a place-specific, sustainable approach to living, working and playing for all.

Following an introduction to the IAF Architects in Schools Programme to the TY students at St. Raphael’s College, Loughrea we started by asking the students a little about the town, the whereabouts of where they live and by what means had they travelled to the school that day. I wanted to find out about their lived experience and connection to the place. From this informal survey it soon became clear that the majority lived in either peripheralhousing estates or ribbon development on the towns fringes – the exception a few living on farm settlements in the environs of the county side. Not one it seemed lived within the town itself. I suggested walking the town together would allow us to stop – take a detour – and explore the form of that built environment.

Finding a historic street map from the local library and placing a glass, rim down, onto the map, we drew round its edge. We then instructed the students to pick up the map, go out into the town, and walk the circle, and keeping as close as they can to the curve, record their observations. This also helped them to get an idea of where we were in the context of the place.  Loughrea town is compact and so in short, the walk would show us all the key places in the town, and help us see some hidden gems in the process. By walking  – not only do you get great exercise –  you won’t miss details and you’re much more likely to go in different buildings, squeeze down alleyways, etc.

Loughrea lies at a number of boundaries, both historic and geographic and its pattern and form of development has been shaped by these features at the various stages of its development. The lake and medieval moate are wonderful but one could easily pass through Loughrea without noticing either. Its existing street plan closely follows that of a medieval layout. Many tall narrow properties on either side of the Main Street occupy burgage plots laid out in the 13th century.

The Temperance Hall / Barracks road complex is a palimpsest in which the layered history of Loughrea is revealed. Signs of the walled town, the original Gate House and successive military occupations are evident at even a quick glance. Behind the Temperance Hall, built c1780s as a Cavalry Barracks, we found a complex of buildings enclosed by fragments of a defensive wall. The site backed up to the lake with picturesque views out to the crannogs and surrounding landscape beyond. Student research later revealed the arrangement had once also included a hospital, infirmary and forge. Part currently provides social, cultural and educational services for the people of the town. This was the chosen site for the student’s design project. One of the first tasks we set in carrying out the survey was to photograph and to draw these buildings.

The aim, to adapt the assembly of buildings and introduce / incorporate new housing typologies into it to form a new ‘piece of town’. One that faced the lake but which also utilized the existing network of lanes which connect back from here into the town proper. The project was somehow about revitalizing this forgotten space, repopulating it and in so doing, assist in remedying the vacancy seen in the adjacent streets at the town center.

Adopting this strategy, the workshops which followed were designed to place the student at the center of this process, and resulted in propositions for a new linear public park, a café on the crannog and a new mixed residential community. All this, a clear demonstration for the potential of architecture to enhance the experience of living and working in the 21st century Irish town, coming from the students themselves.

It goes to show that if we start with small steps …. to support novice viewers become more observant and more thoughtful about what they are looking at then this can empower them to present an alternative vision for their existing built environment. It is so vital that our towns are living vibrant places, of social and cultural exchange, community and interactions and so they must be constantly maintained as adaptive changing entities.

We see that legacy of bad planning in towns like Loughrea. It’s one symptomatic of the challenges facing many small communities in Ireland – contradictory forces in the commercial landscape due to changing consumer behavior patterns, with resultant accepted sprawl of housing leading to vehicular predominance, and the changing demographics  – have pulled and shaped the town, and continue to do so resulting in increased vacancy at its core. In the context of climate change walkable and compact small towns have so much to offer us. The aim must be to shift the narrative from ‘conserving’ or ‘preserving’ small town settlements to ‘re-thinking’ and ‘championing’ them.

The students demonstrated an understanding of how these challenges faced by smaller communities can be overcome through sensitivity, creativity, collaboration and long-term stewardship. The projects demonstrate the possibilities of working in historic fabrics, re-connecting town centers to their surroundings and integrating a mix of uses into town centers. They arrived at a way of living which might suggest a more flexible approach to the town plot. It’s about creating a learning experiences that leverage the power of place. In fostering students’ connection to place, help their understanding of where they live and how taking action in their own backyards helps to take care of the world around them.

 

 

 

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

In full swing – Blog 3

School days in May and especially June are incredibly busy. It always seems to creep up unexpectedly, but yet every year is the same! This business presented our biggest challenge when it came to implementing our Creative Schools programme. Starting up a creative programme for the whole school community at the same time and at this time of the year isn’t ideal. Myself and Yvonne had made a conscious decision that every single child would have access to the creative programme, and thus we spread it over 15 classrooms and over 400 children, rather than focusing in on a smaller cohert of children, and delivering a more comprehensive, focused programme. We decided this because we felt it was in line with our ethos of equality and inclusion and we didn’t want there to be a feeling that some children were accessing the creative schools programme when others were not. The reality of this decision was that we had to try hard to fit everything in to what was an already packed end of year schedule.  There were successes, but undoubtedly there were also some disappointments.

The stand alone workshops were a great success. The infant classes had workshops with Down to Earth Forest schools, who demonstrated wonderfully creative ways to use our outdoor school environment to engage the children. First Class had workshops related to the importance of bees and pollination. Second Class went to visit an organic farm and brought back with them a box of organic vegetables that they cooked up creatively. Third Class designed nests for bees, and designed an outdoor area for sowing wildflower seeds. Fourth and Fifth classes visited woods near our schools and managed to forage over 15 different types of plants growing in our woods. Afterwards, they made some tinctures and elderflower cordial from their pickings. Sixth class had a workshop with Yvonne, discussing food production and the methods that Yvonne used to create her visual short film.


The workshops brought a great buzz to each class level and certainly opened the children’s minds to environmental issues as well as seeing how to creatively utilise the resources that we have easy access to in our immediate environment. Feedback for the workshops was universally positive from the children. We held a feedback meeting with the children’s creative committee and I will discuss the outcomes from this feedback meeting in the next blogpost.

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

Meaningful Actions – Blog 3

At this stage in the process, my role as Creative Associate on the Creative Schools programme is one of support. Here is an outline of the activities underway at each school and the decisions that informed them.

The boys at Athenry N.S. voted for the medium of construction and vocalised a desire for greater creative autonomy within activities. Staff voted to explore environmental arts and expressed an interest in professional development around the arts curriculum and cross-curriculum creativity. Both commented on the need for greater cohesion across the school community. Tom Meskell led a willow project, involving the whole school in a large-scale collaboration, with additional CPD for staff. Creative sustainability is encapsulated within the experiential process; the school sees that a whole-school project is possible and how it might work, the staff undertake a tailored exploration of creative collaboration with cross-curricular linkage, the children collectively shape a participatory experience that brings them together as a creative community, and everyone learns a new skill. The resulting work was celebrated with a magical installation at the school for Cruinniú na nÓg. 150 native tress were also planted on the school grounds.

Everyone at Eglish N.S. voted for up-skilling in Digital Media, specifically film and animation. The school has a very creative approach to curricular delivery, but the staff wished to expand on the creative confidence of everyone at the school toward greater self-expression. Again, the children vocalised a need for more creative autonomy and decision-making. Louise Manifold has been engaging the whole school in an exploratory journey of what creativity looks like, using accessible software such as green-screen and stop-motion on the school’s i-pads, and incorporating the children’s interests in movement, performance and nature. Staff are participating in customised professional development sessions that compliment the work with the children. The aspiration is to create a digital ‘guide to creativity’ informed by the children for children, which will be shared with families and peers and used by the school into the future.

Forest School Workshop by Down to Earth at Galway Educate Together National School

A programme of activities around food and nature, considering sustainability, regeneration and wellbeing, and involving talks, events, workshops and screenings, is in flow at Galway Educate Together N.S. The children voted overwhelmingly for cooking; a category that a voluntary children’s panel added to my long list of creative media. The staff showed a preference for nature-based activities. There was a shared desire to interact with external partners and off-site activities and an overall ambition to recognise, celebrate and communicate creative activities within the school and across the school community. The fifteen classes are each engaging in specialised workshops and choosing from an additional menu of activities around the expanded theme. Examples include foraging, farm walks, herbal tincture making, pollinator workshops, documentary screenings, wildflower sewing and forest school activities. The consultation process and this devised programme are also providing valuable research for an upcoming Per Cent for Art project for the school.

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

Getting the Show on the Road….. – Blog 2

This second part of the process, putting together a programme of events on our theme of Food, Cooking and Nature, is a really exciting and energising process. It felt like it took such a long time to get to the point of settling on a theme that reflected the needs and wants of the children, their parents, and school staff. There was so much to choose from, the net was very wide. When we finally settled on the theme, it was really exciting to be able to brainstorm and come up with ideas that would reflect the needs of the school community in a programme of activities.

Yvonne had been busy behind the scenes putting the feelers out and getting in touch with artists and professionals working in these circles. All of the professionals that Yvonne contacted were very enthusiastic about participating in the Creative Schools Programme and delighted to link in with our primary school in a sustainable way. We have now arranged for every class level to have a workshop/trip off site, which could only have been achieved as a result of the funding we received as part of this process. We are very grateful to have had access to this funding and it’s a wonderful asset to have for our second year programme as well. Through these workshops the children will be bug hunting, foraging in our local woods, making tinctures, becoming Bee Aware and making our school grounds pollinator friendly, visiting an Organic Farm and a workshop with Yvonne on some short films she made around the butter making process.

Our Creative Schools panel of teachers and children also brainstormed together and came up with a “Menu of Activities” (pardon the pun!) that every classroom can engage with over the next few weeks. These activities range from Science experiments with food items, setting classroom up as a restaurant and having a healthy shared lunch; inviting parents in to classroom to bake with the children or to share their skills, screenings of food related programmes and documentaries. We are hoping to document the activities that the children are engaging in over the next couple of weeks so that we can celebrate this creativity when we come back after the summer holidays. It’s going to be an action packed few weeks and we are looking forward to it immensely!

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

 

Collate and Prioritise – Blog 2

I collected a lot of information from the schools I have been working with as part of my role as Creative Associate on the Creative Schools Programme; written notes, visuals, statistics, survey information. The biggest school (Galway Educate Together on Newcastle Road) has over 500 pupils and 50 staff. Regardless of the size of the school, everyone was asked for their opinions. This took time and investment from myself, the coordinators, staff, voluntary Children’s Creativity Panels and, at G.E.T.N.S., a voluntary Staff Creativity Panel. Questions were asked such as: What are the challenges to being creative in the classroom? What are the opportunities for this Creative Schools Programme? If you were the principle of this school and had money to spend, what creative things would you spend it on? Age-appropriate surveys were completed with in-depth questions regarding the level of engagement with creativity in the classroom, staff planning, allocation of funding, parental awareness of creative activities etc. There were votes, by all parties, in relation to areas of interest and creative media to explore. Everywhere I went I brought colored sharpies and hundreds of colored post-its, blue-tack and masking tape, large sheets of paper and visual aids. The workshops were active and inclusive and very enjoyable.

I then worked through the valuable information, stored on sheets and post-its or documented through photographs, in the same way that I would with research for any project; by laying it all out and finding the overlaps and patterns within it. I moved post-its around, joined them with arrows and written notes. Through this process of collating and prioritising (staff were involved to a certain extent during workshops), I produced a visual mind-map for each school. I returned to present the findings and discuss suggestions as to how we might address the prioritised information. My hope in each case was to find a way to marry the medium / media of choice with a methodology through which prioritised learning could be imparted and to also encompass the larger contexts, aims and ambitions, outlined by each school. Context, method, medium, not necessarily in that order, are the three strands that merge to inform and form my own artistic practice and individual projects and are the main elements of my teaching methodology.

There followed a consultative process involving staff, staff panels, children and children’s panels, through which my suggestions were padded and shaped collectively. In each case we made decisions on ‘projects’. These projects have a beginning, middle and end, however they are not stand-alone. Rather, they have been devised as a way to carry experiential learning on a number of levels and to keep this learning open so that it can be expanded upon. They have also been devised in collaboration with specific artists; the ‘who’ is as important as the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. In each case I approached particular people and engaged them in conversations, alone and then with the schools, to further shape what might happen. We are now at that wonderful point where the work is starting to unfold.

Baboró 

Dates: 1st – 5th July 2019

Baboró releases final spaces for ‘Drama Tools for the Classroom’, an EPV approved Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course for educators, therapists and artists.

A limited number of tickets are now available for Baboró’s annual Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course, Drama Tools for the Classroom, taking place from Monday 1st to Friday 5th of July at the O’Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway.

Develop practical, fun and engaging teaching methodologies in this EPV approved CPD course; delivered by teacher, dramatist and facilitator Irene O’Meara, B.Ed., LLSM, MA Drama & Theatre Studies.

The week-long course of workshops is designed for primary school teachers but is also open to educators, therapists, artists and facilitators. It is for those who value the art of communication, empathy and co-operation, and wish to use drama and the creative arts to effectively engage children in teaching a range of topics.

The course will cover all the required teaching methodologies such as Active Learning; Problem Solving; Collaborative Learning and Discussion and Use of Environment, while also developing skills that can be used in a multitude of settings with many subject areas. Participants will then be guided through the processes of using drama as a methodology that supports the Using, Understanding and Communicating as per the New Primary Language curriculum.

Booking and Event Details:
Course cost of €70.00.
Taking place from 9.30am – 2.00pm Monday 1st to Friday 5th of July at the O’Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway.

Tickets available on Eventbrite at bit.ly/2JbUBG0. Places are limited and advanced booking is required.

For further information go to www.baboro.ie/news-events/cpd-2019

This is an EPV Department of Skills and Education approved course and participants will receive a certificate of completion. For further information contact admin@baboro.ie or call 091 562 667

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

Creative Schools:  An Exciting New Journey – Blog 1

Our school was delighted  to hear about this new Creative Schools initiative and were eager for our school to participate. Our school has traditionally been very lucky to have creative teachers and parents who have shared their talents with the children over the years. Schools have changed dramatically over the years, the advent of technology means that the wider world has become much more accessible to children, and any amount of content is now available at the other end of their fingertips. The information presented on the training day for Creative Schools was so relevant and interesting. The notion that 65% of jobs our current cohort will be doing as adults have not yet been created blew my mind. That the World Economic Forum lists Creativity third in the top ten list of skills that our young people will need to navigate their future highlights how much skills development is now required in schools into the future.

We have been working in close collaboration with Yvonne Cullivan, our Creative Associate all year and this has been a great experience for our school. Yvonne has been successfully able to help us as a school identify the relationship we have with creativity through the eyes of the teachers, the children and the parents. What emerged out of that process was that as a school, we have a lot to celebrate, much to communicate and a great roadmap for how we can develop further as a school. There was a huge amount involved in the information gathering stage of the project, due in part to our large school population – surveying, collating and analysing over 1000 opinions was a long process.  We were relieved to hear that there would be another year to engage with the project, as we felt that we would need a lot more time to embed the learning from the information gathering, and having another year next year will allow us to do that.

The outcomes for our school are that all members of the community wish to engage more with creativity and the arts, we wish to engage with each other and the wider community more, we wish to see more cross curricular creativity and we wish to communicate and celebrate the many wonderful aspects of creative work that we already engage in. The children voted to do more work around cooking, nature and horticulture, so myself, Yvonne and the other wonderful teachers on our Creative School committee are currently working to put together a programme to run over the course of May and June. I look forward to sharing how we are getting on in the next blog post!

Frank is an Irish-born designer /cultural producer with an interest in film, architecture & the arts, design and technology. An honors graduate in Production Design for Film, TV and theatre, he spent the best part of a decade in this sector. Coming from a film and set design background, he has always been passionate about the power of buildings and spaces to tell stories and he developed this interest further when he later moved into interior and architectural design work setting up practice in London in 2001. This experience led to a decision to study architecture at London Metropolitan University where he was awarded an BA Honors’ Architecture in 2008 and a Professional Diploma in Architecture 2012.


His professional practice includes the design of buildings & set design for film and television production. This has informed his approach to practice, which is collaborative, interdisciplinary and site-specific. With a long term interest in the critical potential of design he established the Architecture at the Edge Festival in 2017, for which he devised and developed the events programme through all stages: planning, development and administration, including the curation and production of an annual symposium on Placemaking  & associated workshops. He recently produced an outdoor built installation, ‘Ghost Chapel’ for Galway International Arts Festival 2018 in collaboration with Bartlett School of Architecture.

Threshold – Blog 1

TY students from schools around the country completed their IAF Architects in Schools project this month with a presentation at GMIT’s Cluain Mhuire campus to IAF, GMIT staff and Architect Dermot Bannon. Devised and delivered by the Irish Architecture Foundation, this initiative provides students with first-hand experience of the design process under the guidance of design professionals.

This was my third year participating in the programme, and alongside architect Sybil Curley returning to my alma mater at St. Josephs College, ‘the Bish’, Galway we undertook to deliver a series of workshops which might allow the students to develop their visual spatial skills. Art is not taught as part of the curriculum at the school, so it was important that we find a way to allow the students the opportunity to express their inherent creativity. The teacher was keen for us to assist the students to work on design concept development that would prepare them for Design Communication and Graphics (DCG) subject challenges. To this aim, prompting visual research was very important as it helped the students investigate that process. Taking steps to intentionally address any lack of confidence in their own creativity the students surveyed areas of the school and recorded observations on materials, light levels, circulation etc. Critical thinking and visual awareness was encouraged throughout the course.  Exploratory site visits further increased the students’ visual vocabulary and ability to convey design concepts through sketching.

In the first year we explored the idea of ‘Threshold’ in creating an aedicule, between the school institution and the city. There are plans to relocate the school away from Nuns Island and out of the city to a new site in the coming years so the idea was to think about designing a ‘gateway’ into the new institution. Starting with an exercise to create their own school motto to place above the entrance to the existing school building we brought the students out to sketch the Spanish Arch and other historical approach’s to the city. Following mapping exercises of the schools existing entrances and reception areas as well documenting the access roads/bridges onto the Island in which the school is located the students constructed a 1:100 physical model of the school upon which they could place designs of their own ‘aedicule’ interventions.

The following year we continued this exploration of that kind of creative flexibility which extended into how we can engage with the city beyond the school. Inspired by dePaor Architects refurbishment of Druid theatre, the students reimagined the adaptive reuse of their existing school building, turning it towards the river, and incorporating the adjacent Nuns Island Theatre into the schools buildings programme.  Careful consideration was made to how best retain the character of this building, a former Methodist Church repurposed as an arts venue, and how this might give greater flexibility for improvements throughout the entire schools built infrastructure.

The design brief encouraged them to practice a culture of sustainability in our built environment through adaptive reuse of existing building stock located in and around the school’s current location at Nun’s Island. This initiative has the potential not only to encourage the students to better understand their built environment and gain skills in design, sketching, photography, model making & computer graphics. But also to encourage them to explore their local history & geography, engage in environmental studies, develop knowledge of material & construction studies as well as a practical use for ICT skills. The ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions—is being recast as a prized and teachable skill.

I find that these experiences have not only reinforced my belief in the importance and benefits to be found in ‘learning from making’ for a student’s development, but it has enabled them develop their own identity/interests, skills, sense of self confidence, and the possibilities for integrating this into all aspects of their learning process.

When we think about communicating something essential about the world be it through art/drama/storytelling etc. to young people in particular, it does not help to be didactic, to focus on technical or technological skill. I would encourage an emphasis on the enjoyment and the value of the process of making more than the result or final product. What is of benefit to the youth is found in the freedom, experimentation and exploration that went into their creation. Expect to make mistakes. There is no right way or wrong way. It is in finding solutions that make the value of creative imagination most valuable. My approach would be to get something across playfully. To equip students with valuable life tools which enhance their public speaking and communication skills, social development, emotional development as well as the cognitive benefits. Actually, to get playfulness itself across.

Lucy Elvis is a director of CURO, a not-for-profit organisation committed to public philosophy. CURO helps communities think together more effectively by inviting them to become Communities of Philosophical Inquiry. CURO works in schools, libraries, galleries and festivals as well as organising clubs and camps that include scholarship streams for children from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds. They like to get people thinking in places where they least expect it and to listen to the ‘big ideas’ that matter to groups who often aren’t given a voice.

When Lucy isn’t engaged in public philosophy, she is completing her PhD thesis and lecturing in Philosophy at NUI Galway. She is also an independent visual art curator and a board member of the TULCA Festival of Visual Art.

We thought we’d never ask…. – Blog 1

Often in our haste to increase engagement in arts education, we want to get children making. This is a liberating process: they meet makers, learn about their practice and have a go at creating work in that way these experiences are exciting, motivating and arguably help to create our future artists.

But, what about our future art audiences? Visual Thinking Strategies have dominated museum and gallery education programmes, and these have value too. They focus on looking slowly and carefully, getting lost in the work itself and wondering what it’s all about by answering the questions ‘What do you think is happening in the picture?’ and ‘Why?’

What happens though, when you allow young audiences to take charge? What new understanding can emerge by allowing them to frame the questions they are really wondering about after experiencing a play, roaming an exhibition, absorbing a story, watching a film or listening to some music?

This is what CURO aims to do when we think about art with our communities of young learners. Our focus is on reconnecting the experiences of art, with our experiences in and with the world using them to think deeply about questions that matter for everyone. So, where visual thinking strategies stay within the edges of the canvas and practice-oriented art interventions are focussed on making something, we encourage our communities to run with the work by devising a common, contestable and enduring question that it sparks for them.

In this process the group votes on one such question and enters into a structured dialogue to find a collective answer. Questions we’ve explored with communities include: ‘Is everyone creative?’ (inspired by the work of Sam Basu and Liz Murray), ‘Are there more than two genders?’ (sparked by Bassam Al Sabbah’s Walking, Walking with The Sun Upon my Back) and ‘Could we exist without negative emotions?’ (prompted by the experience of Richard Profit’s The Shortcut: Don’t Follow the Black Dog).

These fascinating questions are just the start of a process of exploring possible answers, the reasons for them and the imagined worlds where ‘that’s the case.’ In our next post, we’ll talk about the ‘how’ of structured dialogue and the creative thinking skills it can foster through the context of our work in Galway County Libraries.

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

Creative Schools: Fresh Eyes – Blog 1

One of the aspects that I love most about working as an artist, particularly when engaging with a group or community, is the unknown. When I begin a project, nobody really knows what is going to happen, including me! This can be daunting. However, it is also a wonderful space to hold; one that allows for active listening and open response, intuitive exploration and discovery.

What I do know and trust entirely, is the creative process in which all my work is embedded. There will always be a thorough, considered and inclusive engagement. This will have a loose starting point; like a question, intention or broad theme. It will involve research, discussion, observation, documentation, and collection of information. As my sole agenda is usually to create an artwork of some description, I like to get a sense of the ‘bigger picture’ with all its nuances and particularities, whatever the situation. As the engagement unfolds, I constantly review and refine the information that comes to me, slowly shaping a response without feeling any obligation to make it fit a particular form. Eventually, as a result of this entire process, an outcome manifests. Usually it is one that is reflective and relevant, and will take a form that is both surprising and no surprise at all, because it was taking shape throughout the process. The pattern is always the same. Time and time again I doubt the process, usually when I am in the middle of it. Then, when I reach the end, I am reminded that it absolutely works. This is how I work as an artist and as an educator and this is how I am approaching my current role as Creative Associate on the Creative Schools Programme.

Schools are extremely active places. There are enormous pressures of time and workload on staff, pupils and management. The arts subjects are the easiest to squeeze out or the hardest to fit in. However, I am finding an overwhelming desire, from staff and from young people alike, to have more creativity, more freedom and experimentation and play within the curriculum and within school life. There are challenges around this of course, and there are some fears too. I have been engaging in active, visual and collaborative ways with my school coordinators and communities to unearth these challenges and fears and to also explore the opportunities and wishes around a ‘creative school’. Through workshops, surveys, activities, discussions and votes, I have been capturing all relevant voices; from those of the youngest pupils to that of the principle. We have been considering all aspects of the question of creativity in schools, from small practicalities to large visions.

The three schools that I am working with are thoroughly invested in this programme and are bringing great enthusiasm and honesty to the table and placing complete trust in the process that we are undertaking together. They are three very diverse schools, and three very different shapes are beginning to emerge…

Music Generation

Music Generation is delighted to share news of the appointment of three new Music Development Officers in Cavan/Monaghan, Galway City and Mayo.

Mairéad Duffy has taken up the position at Music Generation Cavan/Monaghan, one of the most recent Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs) to commence participation in Ireland’s national music education programme, led by Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board with support from Cavan and Monaghan County Councils.

Karen Dervan has commenced the role at Music Generation Galway City, another new LMEP under the leadership of Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board together with Galway City Council.

One of the first LMEPs established as part of Music Generation, Mayo now welcomes Laurie Barrett as new Music Development Officer. Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board is the lead partner on this programme.

In their new posts, Mairéad, Karen and Laurie will have responsibility for developing and managing affordable and accessible local performance music education programmes for children and young people ages 0 to 18.

This will include the coordination of music tuition services within the counties, working in partnership with schools, community music groups and centres in the formation of choirs, ensembles, multi-genre performance initiatives, and more.

Initiated by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

For further information go to https://www.musicgeneration.ie

 

 

 

Baboró International Arts Festival

Dates: October 15 – 21 2018

This year’s Baboró International Arts Festival for Children takes place in Galway in just over two weeks’ time (October 15-21) and there are a number of cultural experiences for school children to enjoy. Whether you’d like to bring your class to see a show, take in a workshop or visit an exhibition, Baboró has it covered.

One of the cornerstones of Baboró’s foundation is the right of each child to enjoy arts and culture. Baboró believes the encouragement of creativity from an early age is one of the best guarantees of growth in a healthy environment of self-esteem and mutual respect.

Baboró enables children to experience first hand the transformative power of the creative arts, while at the same time developing their creative, problem-solving and collaborative skills; skills that are necessary for developing fully rounded young people.

Artists and companies from Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Scotland and England will present shows at this year’s festival. Full schools programme is here https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/event-type/schools

For full details of how to apply to bring your school to Baboró see here

https://www.baboro.ie/schools-1/schools-2

WORKSHOPS FOR TEACHERS

Are you a teacher who would like to explore ways of connecting theatre back into the classroom or would you like to learn some tricks of the trade on how to foster an environment of imagination in the classroom? The following workshops might be of interest to you:

Creative Learning

https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/creative-learning

Creativity in the Classroom

https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/creativity-in-the-classroom

For further information and bookings go to www.baboro.ie

Music Generation 

Deadline: 12 noon, Friday 28 September, 2018

Cavan & Monaghan ETB; Galway & Roscommon ETB; Kilkenny & Carlow ETB; and Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETB each invite applications for the position(s) of Music Generation Development Officer.

A Music Generation Development Officer(s) will be appointed by each Statutory Agency and will be responsible for managing an extensive performance music education programme on behalf of the Music Education Partnership in each area.

All areas have been selected for participation in Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, which is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

Three-year, fixed-term contract.

Application forms, job descriptions and person specifications available online at the links below –

Please note that each post requires a separate application.

Closing date for receipt of completed application forms: 12 noon, Friday 28 September, 2018

Cavan & Monaghan ETB; Galway & Roscommon ETB; Kilkenny & Carlow ETB; and Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETB are equal opportunities employers.

For further information go to www.musicgeneration.ie/news/article/opportunities-music-generation-development-officer-6-posts/

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Deadline: Friday 24 August 

Baboró are delighted to announce applications are now open for the 2018 GROW Programme, supporting artists in making work for children and young audiences.

Baboró has a long history of mentoring and supporting artists, creatives and educators who are exploring and developing theatre, dance, music and visual art for young audiences, or are interested in doing so. Whether you are an emerging artist, a student or an established artist interested in making work for children, Baboró’s GROW programme is here to support your development.

The GROW programme includes a number of strands which interested candidates can apply for. Two of the recently introduced strands are Pathways to Production and Festival Mentoring.

Pathways to Production

The programme aims to facilitate artists development from the kernel of an idea and initial concept development to project planning, help developing funding strategies and the development of the work for a sharing with peers and the sector. It is hoped that artists/companies will eventually go on to full production of their new piece of work.

The objective is that by making available our collective organisational experience, resources and areas of expertise, Pathways to Production will support artists and companies to make excellent work in Ireland for this very special audience. The emphasis of the programme is on the process of development of new work and artist development, rather than the end product. We hope that this capacity-building initiative will contribute to the development of sustainable careers and creative opportunities for artists in Ireland. Find out more at www.baboro.ie/about/work/grow/pathways.

Festival Mentoring

A small group of participants will be lead through a curated programme of festival shows and industry events including discussions, presentations, workshops, networking events etc. The group will navigate the programme with mentoring from two highly experienced individuals from the sector, Phil Kingston, Community and Education Manager at the Abbey Theatre and Maria Fleming, Chair of Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland (TYAI) and General Manager of Dublin Theatre Festival, during the Baboró 2018 Festival. Find out more at www.baboro.ie/about/work/grow/work-grow-mentoring.

Baboró’s Executive Artistic Director Aislinn Ó hEocha commented, “We were delighted with the response to our new GROW programme in 2017. The artists involved in Festival Mentoring and Pathways to Production find the schemes really beneficial to their practice. opportunities to see a range of international work, build Irish and international networks and learn from each other and the partners have proven invaluable. We are really looking forward to seeing who emerges from the 2018 open call.”

Deadline for applications is Friday, August 24 with successful candidates being announced on Monday, September 17. Application forms and guidelines can be downloaded from www.baboro.ie/about/work/grow.

GROW is funded by the Art’s Council’s Strategic Funding.

Limited Places Left

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Date: July 2nd – 6th 2018 from 9.30am to 2.00pm

Would you like to build on your ability to use the creative arts to aid learning in the classroom?  This July 2-6 Baboró International Arts Festival for Children presents a five-day, EPV Department of Skills and Education approved summer course, which has been specially designed to explore the use of drama, both as a subject as well as a methodology. The aim of this CPD course is to inspire and augment learning in the classroom and enrich the professional practice of teachers and educators. A limited number of tickets remain.

The course provides participants with an opportunity to gain insights and practical tools to explore drama in the classroom in a safe and relaxed environment, supported and mentored by drama specialist and primary teacher Irene O’Meara. The emphasis is on process drama and enhancing teacher and child experience in the classroom.

Who is it for?

This professional development course is suitable for teachers and professionals working with children, who are enthusiastic about gaining useful drama tools to support their teaching via an integrated approach within the primary curriculum, and using drama games and strategies to enable their students to become directly involved in their own learning.

What will you learn?

The course has a practice-based approach, and offers participants 5 days of rich, fun and engaging learning, enabling them to enjoy engaging in drama activitieswith students in a confident manner while exploring a broad range of stimuli for the creation of drama. It will also help participants to feel better equipped to deepen students’ experience of the arts via simple exercises in pre and post engagement.

About the Facilitator

Irene O’Meara is a Drama specialist and primary school teacher, who has been facilitating In-Service for over two decades, and has designed and delivered programmes in Drama, Integrated Arts, Literacy, and Early Childhood Education. Irene has worked in the Drama Department at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and is currently a tutor and assessor with Hibernia College.

Course Details
Baboró CPD 2018 ‘Drama Tools for the Classroom’
July 2nd – 6th 2017 from 9.30am to 2.00pm
The O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway
Course Cost €70 per person
Places Limited to 23
Attendees Receive: Certificate of Participation

For more details please contact Baboró on 091 562 667, email admin@baboro.ie or online here www.baboro.ie/news-events/cpd-2018

Arts Council of Ireland

Clinic Date: 19th June 2018 from 1.30 – 4pm

Application Closing Date: 17:30 on Thursday 12th July 2018

The Arts Council, in association with Baboro International Arts Festival for Children will host an information session about the Young People, Children and Education (YPCE) Bursary Award on 19th June 2018 from 1.30 – 4pm in the Town Hall Theatre Studio, Courthouse Square, Galway.

The YPCE Bursary Award is open to individual professional artists and practitioners working with, and producing work for, children and young people across a wide range of artforms. The award provides artists with the time and resources to think, research, reflect on and develop their artistic practice. Applications for the 2018 YPCE Bursary Award open on June 12th and will close at 17:30 on Thursday 12th July 2018.

The purpose of this session is to share the objectives and priorities for this award and to offer practical guidance on the application process. There will also be an opportunity to hear from previous recipients about how they have used the award to develop their practice.

Agenda 

Please register to attend the information session by email ypce@artscouncil.ie

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Deadline 4pm, Friday 11th May 2018

Baboró is seeking an innovative and experienced Communications Coordinator to join its small but ambitious, year-round team.  The successful candidate will be responsible for Baboró’s internal and external communication including promoting the annual Baboró Festival, its year-round work, communicating Baboró’s mission and developing the organisation’s profile and brand. The role also incorprates supporting the Baboró’s operations by maintaining office systems and managing effective and efficient internal communications. This is a dynamic role which offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to develop their own unique skillset and areas of interest..

Essential Requirements

  • Excellent verbal, written, oral and digital communication skills
  • Strong visual communication skills with an eye for detail
  • Dynamic and resourceful self-starter
  • At least 3 years’ relevant work experience at management level
  • A track record in initiating strong and effective marketing/promotional campaigns
  • Strong organisation and planning skills with the ability to work under pressure in a challenging environment while managing workload and competing priorities
  • Proven ability in collecting and analysing data and in producing management reports
  • Experienced in managing budgets
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a proven ability to work effectively in a team and build and maintain effective working relationships
  • Ability to effectively manage staff
  • Proven ability to manage processes, develop standards and promote process improvement
  • Excellent IT skills

Desirable Criteria

  • 3rd level qualification relevant to marketing/communications
  • Knowledge of Baboró’s mission and remit
  • Knowledge of the arts sector
  • Understanding of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA)
  • Experience of working in a festival environment

For the full job description and details go to www.baboro.ie/news-events/communications-job

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

1 – 4 February, 2018

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will host an exciting and imaginative programme of theatre and dance shows for babies and children aged 0 – 6 years, presented by Irish and international artists. Wide Eyes is a one-off four-day European celebration of Performing Arts for very young children that will take place in Galway from 1 – 4 February, 2018.

As well as an extensive workshop and performance programme for schools and early years groups, Wide Eyes will feature a range of talks and workshops for early years professionals, including a talk for early years educators and artists, Celebrating the Creative Arts in Early Years Setting, presented in collaboration with Early Childhood Ireland. There are also a limited number of delegate packages available for the event.

Wide Eyes is the culmination of a four-year ‘Small size, Performing Arts for Early Years’ project with European partners from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK and Ireland.

Wide Eyes will see 140 arts professionals from 17 organisations and 15 countries gather in Galway to present an extravaganza of new dance and theatre shows for 0-6 year olds developed specifically under the project’s overarching theme of ‘Wide Eyes’. The concept for Wide Eyes, developed by Project Leader, Roberto Frabetti of La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi in Italy, is rooted in the belief that children are never too young to quite literally have their eyes opened wide in amazement while they experience the performing arts. The programme will feature performances for schools, crèches and families, produced by some of Europe’s finest creators of Early Years work, as well as professional development workshops and industry symposia.

For more information and to view the full programme of events go to www.baboro.ie/wide-eyes

Schools performances will take place on Thursday, 1 February and Friday, 2 February. We welcome bookings from early years groups such as; preschools, crèche and Montessori, junior and senior infants and those with additional needs.

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

Jane Hayes, Artist 

The ‘What Big Eyes You’ve Got…’ project is a programme for early years and their parents that focuses on the creative exploration of the five senses: taste, smell, touch, sound, and sight, and like all my projects was developed to enliven children’s disposition for wonderment, excitement, curiosity, and perseverance.

I designed and developed the programme for Scoil Chroí Íosa with the aim of engaging the children in an immersive, child-centred, art-rich learning environment that would aid their early learning and development, and complements the school’s Aistear and Síolta Frameworks.

Scoil Chroí Íosa is known in Galway for its commitment to delivering a rich creative arts programme and aiming to provide the children in the school with an education that is rich in creative thinking, learning and activity. They provide a holistic approach to education and give each child an opportunity to express themselves creatively through a range of arts activities and programmes. For these reasons I approached the school directly with the project, which was instantly received with enthusiasm.

Colin Barry, Principal

Scoil Chroí Íosa is a growing school of roughly 110 children who come from a variety of multi-cultural backgrounds. This gives our school a distinctly vibrant feel and makes it an important hub for the local community. We aim to provide for the holistic education of all our students through a variety of modern, research-based methodologies. One of the most effective teaching methodologies we have found is to teach children through the medium of the creative arts. We believe this transcends cultural differences, language barriers and academic aptitude. We, as a whole school community, decided to proactively move in this exciting new direction about 4 years ago.

In this challenging endeavour, we sought guidance and support from many fantastic arts organisations and individual creative practitioners based in and around Galway City. Jane Hayes was one such artist and educator who we were delighted to have work with our students. Jane’s project “What Big Eyes You’ve Got…” was designed specifically for our younger pupils to engage actively with over a sustained period. The children were not engaged with a template-based approach, but rather were encouraged and supportively facilitated to use their own ideas creatively to make wonderful visual art.

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

Jane Hayes, Artist

The title was obviously inspired by the classic children’s story, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, but the ideas for the project came from my experience of young children’s ability to see the world around them from such a unique perspective, for example how they explain sounds, how they draw smells, how they talk about textures. While introducing them to activities designed to stimulated their senses, I wanted to allow them the space to explore the theme of the senses in a very open way, that would facilitate their natural creativity.

Each week I would facilitate 50 minute workshops with the three youngest classes in the school, where teachers and parents of the children were also encouraged to participate. The weekly workshops involved a range of interesting indoor and outdoor arts experiences, many of which took place in the school’s unique garden classroom. I developed these activities as a means to channel the children’s attention to the world around them, to encourage them to recognise the power of their senses, and to help them explore those senses creatively.

Students were encouraged to actively explore their world, gain independence by working independently, and also develop a sense of team work through group projects. Some of the activities undertaken included; making “tools” to see and hear, sensory play in the garden, largescale projection for storytelling, creating collaborative large-scale paintings with unexpected tools, nature walks with observation and creative reporting, creating visual landscapes of the senses, and constructing “musical instruments”.  Key to the process was encouraging children to take the lead and develop their own understanding of “the brief”. This was a little difficult at first, as children naturally turn to adults for instruction, especially in an educational setting. However, as the project progressed the young children became much more confident in making their own decisions.

There was an interesting dynamic between all the participants; the children, myself, parents and teachers. In the beginning teachers felt the need to guide the students, and parents the need to do things for the children, however, my role was to facilitate child-led engagement, and to model that interaction as a means to encouraging and enabling teachers and parents to do the same. It was a gradual process, with the adults needing time to adapt to a very open approach.  The children on the other hand easily adapted to their role as ‘leaders’ and showing their parents how to do things. The role reversal really worked, and a partnership approach to the projects really began to develop.

Sue Doherty, Teacher 

As a school, we had decided to promote all aspects of the creative arts in education and this project, ‘What Big Eyes You’ve Got…’, was a perfect match for our new direction.

The project centred on the involvement of parents in their own child’s experience of creating and participating in collaborative art. We encouraged parents to come in to the school during Jane’s visits so that they themselves could also participate in the creation of art and work with their own child, exploring their senses, their world, and their feelings about art.

The actual process was a hugely positive experience for all.  It allowed parents and teachers to engage actively with the children’s imaginations and innate creative abilities, using immersive child-centred activities to create and explore art. Although the exhibition in June 2017 was an impressive celebration and showcase of the children’s work, the real success of the project was defined by the qualitative value of the social, emotional, educational and artistic aspects of the children’s experiences.

It was a wonderful opportunity to be involved in ‘What Big Eyes You’ve Got…’, such an approach to art in education cannot come more highly commended.

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

Jane Hayes, Artist

Central to my approach is educating parents, teachers and the community about the importance of creativity in our lives and the lives of our children. I work to remove the fear and feelings of inadequacy that many adults have around creativity, and so this programme also worked to encourage and empower parents and teachers to engage in creativity with their children by including them in the process.  There were some really positive results.

Parent

I love the projects you have done with the children, they are actually quite easy, but I can see how much she enjoys this, and how much she loves when I work with her too.

As current research highlights, creative engagement from an early age is the most effective way to break down gender imbalance in creativity, is a powerful tool in improving children’s wellbeing, and helps aid personal development and build self-esteem.  However, in the school system anecdotal evidence suggests to me that it is older children that are often those selected for participation in arts in education projects. As I am especially committed to working within the early years remit I was dedicated to focusing on the youngest students in Scoil Chroí Íosa something that Principle Colin Barry was very positive about.

Colin Barry, Principal

“We are lucky to have lots of opportunities to collaborate with artists here, however, oftentimes when artists work in collaboration with schools they gravitate towards the older classes, 3rd and 4th for example.  The younger groups are often not as well catered for, so this is exactly what we need”.

It was clear that being gifted a significant time period to deliver the project resulted in a very rich experience for students, parents, teachers and myself the artist.  The fact that the workshops ran over an 11-week period meant that trust could be formed, greater understanding gained and richer engagement accomplished.  It was noted by the principle that having projects that allow for more meaningful engagement has greater long term effects, and that this approach allowed Teachers themselves to learn activities and approaches that they would be able to implement in the classroom themselves.

Ailbhe O’Donnell, Teacher

Jane was a great facilitator and allowed the children to experiment independently as much as possible, which they love to do. What was most exciting for the children is that their parents were invited along. Watching the children interact with parents was very interesting, as you usually only get to see them in the classroom environment. It was lovely to see parents getting stuck in helping, and also creating some Artwork themselves.

It was great to see the class work on collaborative pieces in a respectful, encouraging and creative way. The children had so much fun creating the large scale pieces together. Having the children focus on process rather than product kept them engaged and in control over their own work. I particularly liked the length of this project, which ran for 11 weeks in total. The children got into a creative routine every Thursday morning, which was great. They really took control over their own creativity. So much so, in fact, that they would be planning a week ahead in their minds what it was they would be creating the following Thursday.

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

Jane Hayes, Artist

One of my key objectives of “What Big Eyes You’ve Got…” was to prioritise process over product. It can be challenging to shift teachers’ and parents’ focus away from finished pieces of art, but this project was successful in demonstrating how powerful, and creative, simply letting children explore, discover and enjoy the process can be. As a compromise to an exhibition of the children’s work, we ended the series with a Showcase, which was supported by the NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Institute (CKI) and Arts Office. The Showcase, mainly feature photos documenting the children’s experience, but also included a small selection of finished and unfinished pieces and research material.

Since completing the project I am more cognisant of how rich and valuable the process of making art can be, and have been working to shift my focus away from what the end product might be or do. I have commenced a new series, which is inspired by the “What Big Eyes You’ve Got…” project and working with the children of Scoil Chroí Íosa, and am dedicating more time to exploring, discovering and enjoying. I am also working in a variety of settings, getting outside more, having seen what a positive impact that had on the children of Scoil Chroí Íosa and their creativity.

Participating Child

It’s just fun to play around, I really like this kind of art!

Participating Child

I love looking for flowers in the garden, it’s fun out here, it makes me happy.

Participating Child

I never knew you could make pictures with stones, that’s cool.

Participating Child

I love how the rice feels, it makes me feel relaxed

 

Vicky Donnelly is coordinator of the Galway One World Centre, and works on the design and delivery of the Global Teachers Award CPD programme, as well as development education and antiracism workshops for schools, community groups and universities. 

Vicky Donnelly Headshot

Exploring Refuge and Migration Issues With Young Children: notes from Baboro’s Primary In-Career Course, Drama Tools for the Classroom.

You know you’re in good hands when the facilitator of a week-long course for primary teachers, can guide a roomful of strangers from the polite stiffness of a Monday morning, to improvising scenes at a horse fair, and tracking the thoughts of a young character’s deepest fears and longings, all before lunch on the first day.

For the first week in July I had the good fortune to spend a week participating in Baboro’s ‘Drama Tools for the Classroom’, facilitated by the truly remarkable Irene O’Meara, who drew effortlessly from her vast experience in theatre, music, visual arts, a Masters in Drama and Theatre Studies, and all refined through years of real life experience in the classroom.  In addition to a number of primary school teachers, our diverse group included a youth mentor, a Spanish teacher, a Community Circus coordinator, an after-schools programme animator, a couple of play therapists, and me; a development education worker with the Galway One World Centre.

GOWC’s function is to provide workshops for schools, youth and community groups addressing a range of local and global justice issues, including refuge and migration; poverty; and anti-racism perspectives. Since 2012, GOWC has been delivering the Global Teachers Award programme in Ireland, offering training around the country for teachers who wish to bring a greater global justice perspective to their work.

In that time, the issue of rights for people fleeing danger and persecution has become increasingly urgent, along with the need to create opportunities to explore it in the classroom. But how? There are real challenges involved in addressing a crisis of this scale, in the context of rising Islamophobia, racism and right-wing sentiments, and a crushing accommodation crisis at home. And even greater challenges emerge when working with young children. There are numerous teaching resources available, and some of our own materials developed in-house, but I came looking for fresh ideas and inspiration about how Drama might offer ways of engaging younger children. In particular, I was seeking an age-appropriate approaches, that would allow for deep exploration of thoughts and feelings, and build empathy, without overwhelming children, but also, without trivialising the issues.

Over the course of the week, Irene shared numerous insights, tips and practical examples from her vast knowledge and experience, taking us through a number of drama conventions and sharing ideas about books, poems, artefacts and images for prompts. For my purposes though, most useful was her reminder of the 3 prerequisites for drama in the classroom: a safe environment; appropriate content; and a fictional lens.

While these are, of course, essential for approaching any theme, they provided me with a helpful framework to guide and anchor the design of classroom activities and lesson plans on the theme of refuge and migration.

The safety of the environment, beyond the practical need to ensure that the space is free of hazards, may also include considerations about working in smaller groups, to avoid intimidating ‘high-focus’ attention, or to ensure that consent is sought in advance before ‘spotlighting’ individuals. This concern for a safe environment also spills over into the need to make sensitive choices about the content being presented: is it age appropriate? Whose perspective is being shared? Are the characters portrayed as having agency, or as helpless victims?

Then comes the fictional lens. At a time of unprecedented crisis – over 65 million people are now displaced from their homes by war, conflict and persecution – I found myself gently steered away from the stark world of statistics and terrifying news reports, to the more accessible world of fiction.

Irene’s frequent reminders of the power of the fictional lens to explore potentially ‘difficult issues’, were peppered with quotes from the likes of Emerson and Camus (“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth”) and were accompanied with examples from the classroom, using storybooks, such as the beautifully illustrated When Jesse Came Across the Sea (Amy Hest and PJ Lynch) and Oskar and the Eight Blessings (Tanya and Richard Simon).  Though perhaps removed, geographically and temporally, from today’s crisis, the issues raised in these stories have much in common with the contemporary crisis, and provide opportunities for children to make those connections for themselves, and to explore the values, tensions, conflicts and opportunities attached to each.  Even seemingly whimsical storybooks, such as The Lighthouse Keeper’s Rescue (Rhonda and Simon Armitage), were opened up as spaces for young children to consider how it might feel to be displaced, or to need help from the wider community, as well as celebrating the diversity within a community that makes change possible.

While the news from Syria, Sudan or Iraq may be overwhelming for children (and, frankly, for many adults), the story of one child, or one family, will contain some universally recognisable details and concerns, and may be more relatable for pupils. All children love to play. All children want to feel safe.

This was the thinking behind German author, Kirsten Boie’s decision to base her book Everything Will Be Alright, on the experiences of a young Syrian girl, Rahaf, and her family. In Kirstens’ book, the family’s luggage, containing Rahaf’s doll, is stolen by people smugglers on the journey across the Mediterranean. “She’s very unhappy about losing her doll that way. The children here always start by asking, ‘Has she got her doll back?’ I think the reason for that is that this is something that they can imagine [happening to] themselves, whereas all the bombs and fighting and nights on the Mediterranean… they can’t imagine that happening to themselves. “Stories,” she explains, “…always make it much easier for children to understand something more than theoretical knowledge. I think that’s the chance we have…”

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

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

Joanna McGlynn, Education Coordinator / Project Developer, TULCA

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

Louise Manifold, Artist

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

Stephanie Herwood, Teacher

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

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

Joanna McGlynn

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

Louise Manifold

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

Stephanie Herwood

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

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

Stephanie Herwood

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

Louise Manifold

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

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

Joanna McGlynn

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

Louise Manifold

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

Stephanie Herwood

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

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

Louise Manifold

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

Stephanie Herwood

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

 


!!!! Gort River Geolocated Sound Walk Created by Young Musicians

Coole Music & Arts
Until 26th July 2021

Coole Music & Arts have launched the Carolan’s Rambles Sound Walk, a unique geolocated audio experience along the banks of the Gort River Walk. This audio experience is the creative outcome of Coole Music and Arts’ music school, where musician Sinead Hayes worked with children and teens via Zoom. In this project, the participants explored the life of Turlough Carolan – a composer and musician who preformed across Connaught, Clare and south Ulster in the 1700s – creating artwork, stories, poems and original music compositions over the past three months.

The free ‘Geo-located Sound Walk’ is the first one in Ireland to use this newly launched sonic maps software, is available until 26th July 2021 along the River Walk in Gort (entrance beside Aldi). Bring headphones and a smart phone and hold your camera over the QR code on the Carolan’s Rambles poster or download the App through www.coole-music.com.

An e-book containing 19 original musical compositions composed by the children is available to download from their website here: https://www.coole-music.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Carolans-Rambles-Tune-Book-Draft-4-1.pdf. For more information on the project, see https://www.coole-music.com/ or contact Ellie Farrell at info@coole-music.com.

!!!! Online Arts Education Resource: TULCA Education Programme

TULCA

New online visual arts education resource for primary and secondary school students.

TULCA is a festival celebrating contemporary visual art, that takes place annually in November across Galway City and County with a programme of multi-venue exhibitions and events. TULCA Education Programme is a unique programme that focuses on looking at and responding to visual art. It is about reaching out and engaging with schools and the wider community to create an increased awareness and a shared understanding of the Visual Arts. The programme engages a process of slow looking, reflection and response.

TULCA’s Education Programme is designed to continue this process of critical thinking by creating a space for dialogue and learning exchange. It draws on individual personal experience and acknowledges that we all have our own set of visual codes, value systems, likes and dislikes.

The online arts education resource caters for primary and secondary school students and uses a mixture of creative activities and videos to explore contemporary visual art.

For further information, see https://www.tulca.ie/news/2021/03/24

!!!! Announcing the 24th Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

October 2020

The organisers of Baboró International Arts Festival for Children are delighted to confirm that the 24th annual festival will take place this October. The festival’s innovative programme for 2020 will bring live performances, creative artistic experiences, visual art installations and interactive digital experiences to theatres, classrooms and homes over an extended period of two weeks, with Bell X1 frontman Paul Noonan’s new family show The Electric Kazoo announced one of the highlight live events. Full programme details will be revealed in early September.

Galway-based Baboró is Ireland’s flagship international arts festival devoted exclusively to young audiences, their families and schools, enabling them to experience the transformative power of the creative arts. The festival will be an opportunity for families to celebrate together, to find creative expression for the upheaval of the past few months and most importantly, to have fun. At its heart will be a recognition of how much has been sacrificed by children and families in recent months and the promotion of kindness to self and to others.

Festival organisers, artists and partner venues have been working together passionately to imagine and co-create innovative ways to deliver meaningful artistic experiences to children and their families.

Aislinn Ó hEocha, the festival’s Executive Artistic Director, says, “So much has been asked of children this year and we want to take a moment to celebrate them through this festival. We have been separated from our friends, teachers, coaches and extended families but yet have found new ways to come together while staying apart. Many of us have found a new appreciation for the people and places close to us and I hope this year’s programme will offer a chance for celebration and expression. The festival will be an opportunity to celebrate the togetherness that has been lost and found in this challenging time. We can’t wait to meet our audiences and share the joy of Baboró once again.”

The festival is delighted to announce that the 2020 programme will include a brand new live music gig for families of all ages, Paul Noonan Presents: The Electric Kazoo, commissioned by the TRACKS Network of Dublin Fringe Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival and Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Noonan developed online concerts during his own lockdown at home in Dublin, supported by his own children and a legion of big and small fans who tuned in online from all around the world. Tickets for the Electric Kazoo and Baboró’s full programme will be available when the programme is released in early September.

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will launch its programme in early September, when tickets will go on sale. For the latest programme announcements follow Baboró on social media, subscribe to their newsletter or go to www.baboro.ie.

For Schools: Please sign up to Baboró’s newsletter for updates on school dates here – bit.ly/baboronews.

 

!!!! Frank Monahan Architect & Cultural Producer – Blog No. 4

Frank is an Irish designer /cultural producer with an interest in film, the arts & architecture. His professional practice includes the design of buildings, & set design for film/television production. He holds a BA in Architecture, 2008 and a Professional Diploma in Architecture, 2012 both from London Metropolitan University. Prior to this he recieved a B.Des. in Production Design for Film/Television, from IADT. This background has informed his approach to practice, which is collaborative, interdisciplinary and site specific.Interested in the critical potential of design he established Architecture at the Edge in 2017, for which he devised and curated the events programme. He produced an outdoor installation, ‘Ghost Chapel’ for Galway International Arts Festival 2018 in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Architecture.

Growing our Connections – Blog 4

Having taught the National Architects in Schools Initiative for the past three years I find it can still be quite a daunting task when faced with a new group of students.

Many of the students don’t understand the value of their built environment because they have never seen the benefits it can offer them.

It’s difficult for students to learn without experiencing connections as to the concepts we teach them. This can be achieved through providing both context and relevance. Without that connection there is no interest, and interest always precedes meaningful and authentic learning. So it’s essential that we are making strong learning connections to help them develop the thinking habits they need to succeed.

Schools are comprised of the people in the community. Coming from outside it’s important to understand the community your students are a part of. Mountbellew is a quiet rural market town 45km from Galway on the N63 to Roscommon. Once the home of the Grattan-Bellew family, famous Galway parliamentarians during the 18th and 19th centuries. The former demesne is now a delightful wooded area of forest walks and picnic areas, filled with interesting historical items.

Upon my first visit to Mountbellew, whilst seeking out a connection to the place, I was drawn down an inviting avenue of beech trees where I was immediately taken by the sight of a 7m high wall, the enclosure to an extensive eighteenth century Walled Garden which was once part of the large Bellew estate.  For a century and a half this walled garden was used in the manner of all such Victorian/Edwardian gardens, although simply because of its size, more than household fruit and vegetables were probably grown.

I learned that the long term aim of the local heritage group here is to rejuvenate, conserve and develop the 18th century walled garden. Developing this existing heritage resource will provide a new amenity for the area. It will also complement other local heritage and recreation assets helping attract visitors to the area stimulating rural tourism.

From the outset I knew it was important to set a clear and engaging agenda with the students and so by way of introduction find something in their common experiences to which the lesson can be attached. Here in the walled garden is a space to explore, walk, discover and feel inspired by all it has to offer; a reminder that as times change natures story goes on. To function as a place to grow food, for pleasure and wellbeing.

Before we launched into making any propositions it was important to give time to the students and allow them articulate their ideas. Topics were selected for the students to share in groups. Investigation into the history and functions of various types of garden generated one starting point for beginning transformational change such as should its use be as a kitchen garden distinct from a decorative one. The many ways we experience gardens were discussed. The pleasure garden, the kitchen garden, the memorial garden and/or as a place to re-connect with nature. A presentation by the local heritage group committee members was followed the following week with a guided site visit.

In speculating on its potential one of the students reminded us that the parents of Anna Kriegel had planted a white cherry blossom at her favorite spot and unveiled a bench which bears an inscription with her name. Another then talked of the seat under a tree at the Mountbellew walled garden which ladies once sat how they might propose to do the same. The sense of a connection to place and how that can relate to our own experience of the world underpinned the project. This is about learning how everything is interconnected and interdependent. Understanding the relationship between things can help people see and understand their community in different ways. That association with people and place is fundamental.

Students learn by exposure to real life examples and their experiences and observations of these examples greatly accelerates their learning. Part of this task required the students to ‘Look Locally’ i.e. Find clear links between the lessons and the things that are transpiring in the local community, and even get them actively involved with community individuals. It’s about teaching and learning that is focused on student centered inquiry.

A second field trip was organized, with a group assigned to conduct an on-site survey which would inform the task of making of a 1:100 site model.

Making the model allowed the re-imaging of the walled garden to take shape. The resulting design links a series of new public spaces/ rooms and reuses an existing building as a community hub / cafe to give purpose and a variety of gathering places to the center of garden.

The aim here was to create space for every young person to be at the center of co-designing their own future, community spaces, projects and campaigns. To give voice of the student and allow them give that voice back to their community.

In working with the students like this I hope that it will stimulate them to become actively involved and engaged in shaping their local built environments and landscapes. Place-based education promotes learning that is rooted in what is local—the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place—and it promotes a place-specific, sustainable approach to living, working and playing in our 21st century rural communities. The main objective is to attract interest and support from the community at large and to help re-educate ourselves about the importance of sustainable and healthy living.

Young people need a space where they can be unafraid to explore. As a result, the sense of place created by a village’s cultural heritage links directly to a community’s sense of identity, which can ultimately enhance people’s overall sense of being and belonging and quality of life. The walled garden at Mountbellew offers this. They need to live it, grow with it, tend to it. For them, it can be a space of hope and promise:  if we put in the right effort and intention just about growing our connection to nature, it is essentially growing our connection to each other.

!!!! kabinet k MOVEMENT & DANCE WORKSHOP with Baboró

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Dates: 12 & 13 June 2020

Baborókabinet k and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture present a workshop for professionals with an interest in making performances with and for children and young people.

This is a unique opportunity for directors, dancers, choreographers and performance artists seeking to develop their practice in this area.

This two day workshop, on 12 & 13 June, will be facilitated by Joke Laureyns and Kwint Manshoven, Co-Directors of kabinet k. Kabinet k is a Belgian dance company which creates work with and for children. The company has toured all over the world with their performances and workshops for professionals and for children.

The artistic language of kabinet k has a playful, energetic, yet subtle power. Joke and Kwint will share an insight into their dance vocabulary which is demonstrated in their world-renowned production of ‘Horses’ (view the production trailer here). This practical movement workshop is a playful encounter between the choreographers and the participants, revealing some aspects of how they work with different generations on stage and how a work like Horses was created. It’s about dance in its purest and most essential form: the articulation of a moving body.

kabinet k will challenge the participants to go deeper into their image of childhood and question and develop their own practice.

This workshop will suit professional dancers, choreographers, directors, theatre makers and dance/performance teachers with an interest in producing or participating in theatre made for and with young audiences.

Workshop Dates: June 12 & 13, 2020.
Application Deadline: 5pm, Friday, April 3

For more information and to apply go to www.baboro.ie/artists/kabinet-k-movement-dance-workshop

!!!! Schools are invited to Branar Téatar do Pháistí’s Sruth na Teanga

Branar Téatar do Pháistí’s – Galway 2020

Dates: 2 – 29 March 2020

Sruth na Teanga: an adventure through the story of the Irish Language

As part of Galway 2020, Branar Téatar do Pháistí’s Sruth na Teanga is an epic and unique immersive theatre show that imaginatively tells the story of the evolution and life of the language. Branar will transform the terminal building of the old Galway Airport for a walk-through performance in which one class group of thirty pupils will enter at a time. Experience a true sense of adventure with cinematic levels of detail as you travel through four worlds experiencing live performance, puppetry, music, design and beautiful imagery. The children’s journey will culminate with an opportunity to explore a response room that will enhance and deepen their engagement with the show.

Branar’s world-class brand of storytelling will enchant audiences aged 8-plus and adults alike.

Tickets are €7 per child and teachers go free.

For further information and school bookings go to www.sruthnateanga.ie.

 

!!!! The National Arts in Education Portal Day 2019 Roundup

On November 9th the fourth annual National Arts in Education Portal Day took place at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) in partnership with ILAS and Babóro. The national portal day is building momentum as a very significant event in the arts and education calendar in Ireland, and this year the portal day coincided with the Creative Schools week-long celebration of arts and creativity in schools.

With over 150 artists, teachers and arts in education professionals in attendance with 20 workshops and lectures across the day by a range of presenters from the sector. An opening address from Professor Pat Dolan and inspirational insights from our guest speaker Professor Bill Lucas exploring the importance of creativity in schools. Thanks to all involved in making day a huge success!

Speaking at the event, Minister Kyne said, “This annual event presents a wonderful opportunity for teachers and other creative practitioners to come together to explore the area of arts in education. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, along with the Department of Education and Skills, are working together to promote creativity among our children and young people”.

To view Professor Bill Lucas’s presentation from the Portal Day click below:

Creativity in Schools: What It Is, Why Is Matters and How to ‘Teach’ It by Professor Bill Lucas

 


!!!! National Arts in Education Portal Day 2019 – Full Programme Announced

Update: Minister Kyne T.D. to attend 4th annual National Arts in Education Portal Day

The Portal team are delighted to announce that the fourth annual National Arts in Education Portal Day will be attended by Seán Kyne TD, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.

We are pleased to announce our full programme of presentations and workshops for the National Arts in Education Portal Day 2019. The programme was selected following a call for submissions in summer 2019 and reflects a broad range of projects, approaches and art forms from within the arts and education sectors; both practical and theoretical.

The day will culminate in a special performance by members of Symphonic Waves Youth Orchestra with group leader and soloist Mary Duggan.

To view the full programme click here and to book your place go to national-arts-in-education-portal-day-2019.eventbrite.ie

!!!! Human Being and Human Becoming

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

Initially in 2017, Cleo Fagan, curator of Superprojects, approached Maeve Mulrennan, curator of Galway Arts Centre about doing a project for children that explored the body and consciousness.  Out of this conversation, the idea for working with the artist Siobhan McGibbon emerged, who had previously worked with young audiences as part of GAC’s Red Bird Collective. Siobhan’s work very much centres on the human body and she has extensive experience working with children and young people. Galway Arts Centre have worked with Scoil Chroí Íosa previously and the close proximity to GAC, combined with their enthusiasm for working on arts projects and the efforts and skills of the students themselves, made the school the ideal partner to work with.

Working over 9 sessions, Siobhan and the students have used collage and sculpture to explore transhuman themes, resulting in an exhibition (15th – 27th October 2018) in Galway Arts Centre for Baboró International Arts Festival for Children.

Siobhan McGibbon’s own practice combines arts practice, narrative and scientific research to imagine the future of the human species. In 2015 she created the world of the Xenothorpeans, a hybrid race of post-humans who were able to enhance their anatomy and genetic make-up with medical therapies. This fictional narrative evolved from research undertaken by her whilst on residency in the Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM). Through the development of hybrid figures she articulates her hopes and fears concerning medical technology and the future of the human.

With this in mind, she has worked collaboratively with the pupils from Scoil Chroí to develop a speculative science fiction. This work was exhibited in Galway Arts Centre in October 2018. As a way to further expand on and explore the ideas in Siobhan and the children’s work, Education curator Katy Fitzpatrick and Professor of Education Aislinn O’Donnell worked with Siobhan to develop a series of creative, experiential workshops in response the exhibition at Galway Arts Centre. These were supported by the children-artists from Scoil Chroí Íosa who were joined by  2nd and 5th Class students from another local Galway school – Claddagh NS. The Art & Philosophy workshops developed an experimental range of exercises that were centred on the voice, ideas, experiences, and imaginations of children as they responded to work in the exhibition and the ideas provoked by that encounter.

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

Siobhan McGibbon, Artist

As a starting point, I introduced the students to my practice. I talked about the origins of my ideas, explaining how I take inspiration from the biological sciences and use narrative and animal metaphors to think about what this research means.  I told the class that a scientist would host a workshop about the regenerative capacity of sea animals and together we would respond to the science through storytelling.

In the initial stage, we talked about domestic animals and thought about the way dogs and cats live in the world. We thought about how these animals are similar and different to humans. As many of the students have cats and dogs as pets, they had lots to contribute. It was an accessible model to think about different ways of being in the world.

Following this, the scientist from CURAM hosted an interactive workshop, in which the students learnt about emerging science inspired by animal biology. The workshop involved lots of discussions, including all the students, class teacher Rachel and me. In the workshops after this, we thought about how this new science could change their lives. Through drawing and storytelling, we thought about the consequences of regeneration and immortality through speculative scenarios.

As the project developed, we explored case studies of more unusual animals that contribute to medical research, through a presentation of video clips, images and facts we thought about what life would be like if we were a hybrid of this animal. Each student explored this through drawing, collage and storytelling, which they presented it to the class. Following this, the class asked questions about the story and, together with teacher Rachel, we teased out the ideas that arose from these artworks. These group discussions led the workshops in new directions, new insights from each animal study contributed to the next, and in each workshop, we delved deeper into speculative ways being.

The Art and Philosophy Project involved working with Katy and Aislinn to respond to the rich and complex range of ideas and imagery that was generated through the school’s residency.

Education curator Katy Fitzpatrick and Professor of Education Aislinn O’Donnell

Through diverse arts-based, sensory, and philosophical methodologies, the children and their teachers: experienced the exhibition through a range of lens. These ranged from VTS and inquiry based philosophical approaches, considering the key concepts within the work, to children putting themselves imaginatively in the shoes of a chosen hybrid, generating choreographies to express that identity, engaging in sensation, touch and blind drawing exercises, debating whether it’s better to be a jellyfish that is immortal or a human who dies, and doing meditation exercises imagining the sensory experience of being starfish or a frog. The exercises supported a deeper engagement with the exhibition and opened up their imaginations and thinking. It was important to involve the children who had created the work in the school project, to describe their engagement in making the work, but also to co-facilitate and actively take part themselves, in particular in facilitating the philosophical conversations about ‘big questions’.

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

Cleo Fagan, Curator

I think Siobhan as an artist who has such an imaginative and research-based art practice, works really well in the primary educational context. Siobhan’s research includes the analysis of animal biology and behaviour and then makes big imaginative leaps that lead to strange but fascinating speculative conclusions. The way children think is highly imaginative and they often love the peculiar, so what better people to go on an artistic journey into the world of transhumanism! I think it’s very exciting to engage children in such a complex and rich area of research. Not only does Siobhan have these highly relevant research interests, but she also has strong interpersonal skills and a good sense of humour – very useful qualities for working with  children.

The Art & Philosophy programme in Galway Arts Centre, worked with students from Claddagh NS, as well as some of the original Scoil Chroí Íosa students (co-creators of the exhibited artworks and in this instance they supported in a co-facilitation role). This enquiry was another project in itself. The programme used a number of different learning methodologies, to provide students the opportunity to develop their own considered responses to the artworks, as well as the ensuing big ideas that led from this process of engaging with the artworks. This excellent and intricate programme took the students on a dynamic intellectual and creative journey, a process that is well illustrated in the documentation film.

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

Siobhan McGibbon, Artist

‘Explorations of hybrid configurations from mythology to science fiction underpin my practice. I’m interested in the symbolism and metaphor embedded within the iconography and the hybrids endless mutability to think about ways of being in the world and alternative ways of being in the future.

This was the first time I explored this ‘framework for thinking’ with children. Each student created hybrids that embodied their ideas and speculations about the emerging science that they learnt in the workshop with the scientist.

I was amazed at how quickly the students grasped the concept and I was delighted by their dynamic hybrids. It was fascinating to listen to their science-fiction narratives, in which they placed their own experience at the centre and imagined the future. Each student had different approaches to thinking with their hybrids; some created hybrid languages while others thought about what it would be like to move with these re-configured anatomies.’

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

Siobhan McGibbon, Artist

At the moment I am in a phase of Phd research, so until I go back into the studio I won’t know the answer to this!

Cleo Fagan, Curator

Yes, working in the combined classroom and gallery context has resulted in some insights on making work for the public, that I think may enhance future work in this area.

In reading research studies on art education over the years, it has come to my attention that children and young people can get more meaning from artmaking activities when they exhibit the resulting work in public. As mentioned, as part of the project, the children had their work exhibited in the main space at Galway Arts Centre, and they took evident pride in this.  I believe that the Art & Philosophy programme further enhanced the meaningfulness for the participating children in having their work exhibited publicly, in that it allowed them to collectively and discursively investigate the potential experience of art for the viewer and the type of intellectual and creative journey that encountering an artwork can stimulate. The fact that some of the Scoil Chroi Iosa children had an active facilitation role with the children from Claddagh NS, was also significant.

The danger of working towards an outcome such as a public exhibition, is that the focus can be on the product, and not on the process. However, as Siobhan had 9 full sessions with the students in which to develop a significant creative enquiry, and perhaps because the children didn’t have clear ideas about what an art exhibition was, they remained engaged in the creative process in each session.

In my work as a curator, I would like to continue to work with this balance between quality of process, co-creation between artists and children, and public outcome.

 

 

!!!! School Box Office Now Open for the 2019 Baboró International Arts Festival for Children!

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Dates: 14 – 20 October 2019

Baboró are delighted to announce that their Schools Box Office is now open for this year’s festival, which takes place in Galway 14-20 October. To plan your school visit take a look at the dedicated schools section of their website to find everything you need to make your booking request.

How to Begin

Recommended performances and events have been identified as suitable for groups or schools with additional needs. Baboró have developed an information pack to accompany these shows, which includes information about the venues, access, and what to expect during the performances regarding light, sound, etc. You can find this pack and more helpful information online on the Baboró website (www.baboro.ie )from 2 September.

Ticket & Subsidy Information

Important Dates
Wednesday 11 September: First Round Booking Deadline.
Requests after this date are considered, however, likelihood of attending one of your top 3 preferences is greatly reduced.

Week of Monday 23 September: Notification of Allocation.
Schools will be notified of their allocation with a Baboró schedule, invoice, and a pre-engagement pack including venue information via email. Please do not call for information on your booking before this date, as it takes one week to complete the allocations for all schools.

Wednesday 9 October: Payment Due in Full.
Cash is not accepted. Payment methods will be outlined with notification of your allocation. Bookings are not considered complete and confirmed until full payment has been received.

For school enquires or further information please contact Kirsty on 091 562642 or email schools@baboro.ie.

 

!!!! Per Cent for Art Scheme Commission Call for Proposals

Galway Educate Together National School

Dates; deadline for application for Stage One is Friday, September 20th 2019 at 12 noon

Galway Educate Together National School invites proposals for the commission of an artwork/artworks to be funded under the Per Cent for Art Scheme in connection with Galway Educate Together National School, Thomas Hynes Road, Newcastle, Galway. Artists are invited to tender for the project in a two-stage process outlined in the attached brief. Proposals are welcome from both individuals and collectives, and from those working in any creative media/discipline and across a broad scope of creative approaches. The overall budget for this commission is €35,000 including V.A.T.

Deadline for application for Stage One is Friday September 20th 2019 at 12 Noon. Please see the attached Brief and Expression of Interest Form

!!!! Guest Blogger: Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh Creative Schools Coordinator & Teacher- Blog No. 4

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

Reflecting on the first year of Creative Schools – Blog 4

Alongside the workshops that we held during May and June, the Creative Schools Teacher committee had come up with a Menu of Activities to accompany the workshops. The Children’s Panel also came together to add their suggestions for the Menu. This Menu was designed to be a list of easy classroom activities that the teachers could engage in at times and days of their choosing, to compliment activities that they may have been thinking of doing anyway. All of the activities were based on our theme of Food, Cooking and Nature. Some of the activities included links to Food Science websites; inviting parents into classroom to engage in cooking activities; ideas for nature based art; healthy shared lunches and forest and beach picnics. A copy of this Menu was delivered to each classroom for a four week period and all teachers were encouraged to engage with the programme.

During the last week of term, we invited our children’s panel to come and give us some feedback on the programme and how it was for them. Yvonne laid out big sheets of paper and had specific questions to provide information she was looking for. This proved a very fruitful if not a humbling experience. Each classroom and each class level had experienced varying levels of engagement with the programme, depending on each classes packed schedule. Therefore, the children all had varying feedback. As we all know children to be, the feedback was honest, and some of it wasn’t all that flattering!

As a whole jigsaw piece, the Creative Schools programme was successful in its aims and objectives for this year. But when you break the jigsaw into individual pieces, it didn’t feel that that success had filtered down to all of the children in all of the classes. This was disappointing for both myself and Yvonne, as there had been a huge investment in the programme all year. It’s all about the children at the end of the day, and if the children didn’t benefit, well then there were questions to be asked. Myself and Yvonne had a good chat about it all, and agreed that if we had decided to focus in on one class grouping for example, and showered all of our Creative Schools programme on just those children then undoubtedly the feedback may have been different, but that is not what we chose to do. Instead, we needed to focus on the whole completed jigsaw, celebrate the success and look ahead to how we can build on it next year.

We intend our focus next year to switch to teachers professional development in creative practices. We see a great opportunity next year to spend our time researching cross curricular creative practices, as we feel that in order for maximum children to benefit from the Creative Schools Programme, we need to up skill our own practices and thus all children will benefit. We feel very excited about this new aspect to the programme and we are looking forward to continuing this creative journey next year

!!!! Deadline Extended: Call for papers, presentations and workshops! National Arts in Education Portal Day 2019

Deadline Extended: 5pm Friday 9th August 2019

Artists, teachers, academics and arts education professionals….Do you want to be part of the fourth annual National Arts in Education Portal Day?

The National Arts in Education Portal Day will take place at The Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) on Saturday 9th November in partnership with ILAS and Baboró. The event aims to bring together members of the arts in education and creative practice community from all across Ireland, to share, learn, talk, network, get inspired, and continue interrogating best practice in the field.

We are inviting proposals from organisations or individuals who want to give dynamic and inspiring presentations or workshops that can offer sharing of skills, practical approaches, new insights and critical thinking across the field, from a range of perspectives.

Do you have a workshop or presentation that you would like to be included in the programme for this day? If so, please send us your proposal.

Deadline for submission of proposals has been extended to 5pm Friday 9th August 2019.

Download the submission form National Portal Day Proposal Form 2019.

 

!!!! Guest Blogger: Yvonne Cullivan Creative Associate for Creative Schools & Visual Artist – Blog No.4

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

 

Blog 4 – Reflect and Refine

My first year working as a Creative Associate on the Creative Schools Programme with my three allocated schools has ended. Nothing feels finished however; it feels as if we are just starting. While creative activities took place in each school as a direct result of the consultation process, I view this years work as research and development and I won’t be surprised if year two feels like more R&D. The consultation process in each case was very thorough and the conversations with the coordinators and, less frequent but equally important, with management, were robust and wide-reaching. Through evaluation with a selection of children from each school, for the most part, they report having both enjoyed and learned from their participation in the programme so far.

In my mind, the role of the Creative Associate is to assist in embedding creative approaches to teaching and learning (one could say to thinking and being) within the school environment. Reflecting on this, it would be easy to be disappointed with the years work, it falls far short of achieving that aim. There were small disappointments; not all teachers participated in the organised activities, not all children made the connection between the opinions they put forward in the consultation process and the resulting activities that they participated in, some of the planned activities didn’t materialise, some people didn’t enjoy the activities. There were larger logistical issues at play too; the late commencement of the programme combined with the lengthy intensive consultation process meant that most activities took place at the very time of year when schools are most busy. This had the most impact at G.E.T.N.S. where we developed and implemented an ambitious whole school programme of activities in May and June. The whole school cohesiveness we needed to realise the holistic nature of this programme got lost in the end of year ether. I choose to reflect on all of this as learning.

My three schools and I are building relationships together, we are reaching levels of understanding, finding out what works and what doesn’t in each setting. We are journeying. As a result of this long-term attitude and shared vision for trying to go a level deeper into creativity within the school environment, we have clear pointers for 2019/20. A large part of our work together will be investing in creative professional development for teachers. This would appear to be the most necessary and sustainable use of our time together. Our main challenges will be freeing up staff time and reaching beyond the arts curriculum. G.E.T.N.S. will engage in a Per Cent for Art project that will hopefully build, in a very exciting way, on our work together this year; the boys at Athenry are leading us toward a programme around creative play and the outdoor environment; Eglish are going to further their digital skills acquisition. The process is creative and child-led and this makes sense to me.

!!!! Guest Blogger: Frank Monahan Architect & Cultural Producer – Blog No. 3

Frank is an Irish designer /cultural producer with an interest in film, the arts & architecture. His professional practice includes the design of buildings, & set design for film/television production. He holds a BA in Architecture, 2008 and a Professional Diploma in Architecture, 2012 both from London Metropolitan University. Prior to this he recieved a B.Des. in Production Design for Film/Television, from IADT. This background has informed his approach to practice, which is collaborative, interdisciplinary and site specific.Interested in the critical potential of design he established Architecture at the Edge in 2017, for which he devised and curated the events programme. He produced an outdoor installation, ‘Ghost Chapel’ for Galway International Arts Festival 2018 in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Architecture.

 

Learning from the power of place – Blog 3

“I walk because it confers- or restores- a feeling of placeness …I walk because, somehow, it’s like reading …” 

Lauren Elkin, Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London

Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin wrote a while ago about the modern man, who walked the city in order to explore its history, the architecture, the changing environment.

That idea of exploring and thinking is about making sense of things, the places and people we encounter, and this approach can also be applied to adolescence children in their world, by interacting, investigating, questioning, and forming, testing and refining their ideas.

Place-based education promotes learning that is rooted in what is local— the unique local history, environment, economy, culture, landscapes, and architecture of a particular place – in mapping the students’ own “place” or immediate schoolyard, neighborhood, town or community. And walking is like mapping with your feet.  It can promote a place-specific, sustainable approach to living, working and playing for all.

Following an introduction to the IAF Architects in Schools Programme to the TY students at St. Raphael’s College, Loughrea we started by asking the students a little about the town, the whereabouts of where they live and by what means had they travelled to the school that day. I wanted to find out about their lived experience and connection to the place. From this informal survey it soon became clear that the majority lived in either peripheralhousing estates or ribbon development on the towns fringes – the exception a few living on farm settlements in the environs of the county side. Not one it seemed lived within the town itself. I suggested walking the town together would allow us to stop – take a detour – and explore the form of that built environment.

Finding a historic street map from the local library and placing a glass, rim down, onto the map, we drew round its edge. We then instructed the students to pick up the map, go out into the town, and walk the circle, and keeping as close as they can to the curve, record their observations. This also helped them to get an idea of where we were in the context of the place.  Loughrea town is compact and so in short, the walk would show us all the key places in the town, and help us see some hidden gems in the process. By walking  – not only do you get great exercise –  you won’t miss details and you’re much more likely to go in different buildings, squeeze down alleyways, etc.

Loughrea lies at a number of boundaries, both historic and geographic and its pattern and form of development has been shaped by these features at the various stages of its development. The lake and medieval moate are wonderful but one could easily pass through Loughrea without noticing either. Its existing street plan closely follows that of a medieval layout. Many tall narrow properties on either side of the Main Street occupy burgage plots laid out in the 13th century.

The Temperance Hall / Barracks road complex is a palimpsest in which the layered history of Loughrea is revealed. Signs of the walled town, the original Gate House and successive military occupations are evident at even a quick glance. Behind the Temperance Hall, built c1780s as a Cavalry Barracks, we found a complex of buildings enclosed by fragments of a defensive wall. The site backed up to the lake with picturesque views out to the crannogs and surrounding landscape beyond. Student research later revealed the arrangement had once also included a hospital, infirmary and forge. Part currently provides social, cultural and educational services for the people of the town. This was the chosen site for the student’s design project. One of the first tasks we set in carrying out the survey was to photograph and to draw these buildings.

The aim, to adapt the assembly of buildings and introduce / incorporate new housing typologies into it to form a new ‘piece of town’. One that faced the lake but which also utilized the existing network of lanes which connect back from here into the town proper. The project was somehow about revitalizing this forgotten space, repopulating it and in so doing, assist in remedying the vacancy seen in the adjacent streets at the town center.

Adopting this strategy, the workshops which followed were designed to place the student at the center of this process, and resulted in propositions for a new linear public park, a café on the crannog and a new mixed residential community. All this, a clear demonstration for the potential of architecture to enhance the experience of living and working in the 21st century Irish town, coming from the students themselves.

It goes to show that if we start with small steps …. to support novice viewers become more observant and more thoughtful about what they are looking at then this can empower them to present an alternative vision for their existing built environment. It is so vital that our towns are living vibrant places, of social and cultural exchange, community and interactions and so they must be constantly maintained as adaptive changing entities.

We see that legacy of bad planning in towns like Loughrea. It’s one symptomatic of the challenges facing many small communities in Ireland – contradictory forces in the commercial landscape due to changing consumer behavior patterns, with resultant accepted sprawl of housing leading to vehicular predominance, and the changing demographics  – have pulled and shaped the town, and continue to do so resulting in increased vacancy at its core. In the context of climate change walkable and compact small towns have so much to offer us. The aim must be to shift the narrative from ‘conserving’ or ‘preserving’ small town settlements to ‘re-thinking’ and ‘championing’ them.

The students demonstrated an understanding of how these challenges faced by smaller communities can be overcome through sensitivity, creativity, collaboration and long-term stewardship. The projects demonstrate the possibilities of working in historic fabrics, re-connecting town centers to their surroundings and integrating a mix of uses into town centers. They arrived at a way of living which might suggest a more flexible approach to the town plot. It’s about creating a learning experiences that leverage the power of place. In fostering students’ connection to place, help their understanding of where they live and how taking action in their own backyards helps to take care of the world around them.

 

 

 

!!!! Guest Blogger: Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh Creative Schools Coordinator & Teacher- Blog No. 3

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

In full swing – Blog 3

School days in May and especially June are incredibly busy. It always seems to creep up unexpectedly, but yet every year is the same! This business presented our biggest challenge when it came to implementing our Creative Schools programme. Starting up a creative programme for the whole school community at the same time and at this time of the year isn’t ideal. Myself and Yvonne had made a conscious decision that every single child would have access to the creative programme, and thus we spread it over 15 classrooms and over 400 children, rather than focusing in on a smaller cohert of children, and delivering a more comprehensive, focused programme. We decided this because we felt it was in line with our ethos of equality and inclusion and we didn’t want there to be a feeling that some children were accessing the creative schools programme when others were not. The reality of this decision was that we had to try hard to fit everything in to what was an already packed end of year schedule.  There were successes, but undoubtedly there were also some disappointments.

The stand alone workshops were a great success. The infant classes had workshops with Down to Earth Forest schools, who demonstrated wonderfully creative ways to use our outdoor school environment to engage the children. First Class had workshops related to the importance of bees and pollination. Second Class went to visit an organic farm and brought back with them a box of organic vegetables that they cooked up creatively. Third Class designed nests for bees, and designed an outdoor area for sowing wildflower seeds. Fourth and Fifth classes visited woods near our schools and managed to forage over 15 different types of plants growing in our woods. Afterwards, they made some tinctures and elderflower cordial from their pickings. Sixth class had a workshop with Yvonne, discussing food production and the methods that Yvonne used to create her visual short film.


The workshops brought a great buzz to each class level and certainly opened the children’s minds to environmental issues as well as seeing how to creatively utilise the resources that we have easy access to in our immediate environment. Feedback for the workshops was universally positive from the children. We held a feedback meeting with the children’s creative committee and I will discuss the outcomes from this feedback meeting in the next blogpost.

!!!! Guest Blogger: Yvonne Cullivan Creative Associate for Creative Schools & Visual Artist – Blog No.3

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

Meaningful Actions – Blog 3

At this stage in the process, my role as Creative Associate on the Creative Schools programme is one of support. Here is an outline of the activities underway at each school and the decisions that informed them.

The boys at Athenry N.S. voted for the medium of construction and vocalised a desire for greater creative autonomy within activities. Staff voted to explore environmental arts and expressed an interest in professional development around the arts curriculum and cross-curriculum creativity. Both commented on the need for greater cohesion across the school community. Tom Meskell led a willow project, involving the whole school in a large-scale collaboration, with additional CPD for staff. Creative sustainability is encapsulated within the experiential process; the school sees that a whole-school project is possible and how it might work, the staff undertake a tailored exploration of creative collaboration with cross-curricular linkage, the children collectively shape a participatory experience that brings them together as a creative community, and everyone learns a new skill. The resulting work was celebrated with a magical installation at the school for Cruinniú na nÓg. 150 native tress were also planted on the school grounds.

Everyone at Eglish N.S. voted for up-skilling in Digital Media, specifically film and animation. The school has a very creative approach to curricular delivery, but the staff wished to expand on the creative confidence of everyone at the school toward greater self-expression. Again, the children vocalised a need for more creative autonomy and decision-making. Louise Manifold has been engaging the whole school in an exploratory journey of what creativity looks like, using accessible software such as green-screen and stop-motion on the school’s i-pads, and incorporating the children’s interests in movement, performance and nature. Staff are participating in customised professional development sessions that compliment the work with the children. The aspiration is to create a digital ‘guide to creativity’ informed by the children for children, which will be shared with families and peers and used by the school into the future.

Forest School Workshop by Down to Earth at Galway Educate Together National School

A programme of activities around food and nature, considering sustainability, regeneration and wellbeing, and involving talks, events, workshops and screenings, is in flow at Galway Educate Together N.S. The children voted overwhelmingly for cooking; a category that a voluntary children’s panel added to my long list of creative media. The staff showed a preference for nature-based activities. There was a shared desire to interact with external partners and off-site activities and an overall ambition to recognise, celebrate and communicate creative activities within the school and across the school community. The fifteen classes are each engaging in specialised workshops and choosing from an additional menu of activities around the expanded theme. Examples include foraging, farm walks, herbal tincture making, pollinator workshops, documentary screenings, wildflower sewing and forest school activities. The consultation process and this devised programme are also providing valuable research for an upcoming Per Cent for Art project for the school.

!!!! Guest Blogger: Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh Creative Schools Coordinator & Teacher- Blog No. 2

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

Getting the Show on the Road….. – Blog 2

This second part of the process, putting together a programme of events on our theme of Food, Cooking and Nature, is a really exciting and energising process. It felt like it took such a long time to get to the point of settling on a theme that reflected the needs and wants of the children, their parents, and school staff. There was so much to choose from, the net was very wide. When we finally settled on the theme, it was really exciting to be able to brainstorm and come up with ideas that would reflect the needs of the school community in a programme of activities.

Yvonne had been busy behind the scenes putting the feelers out and getting in touch with artists and professionals working in these circles. All of the professionals that Yvonne contacted were very enthusiastic about participating in the Creative Schools Programme and delighted to link in with our primary school in a sustainable way. We have now arranged for every class level to have a workshop/trip off site, which could only have been achieved as a result of the funding we received as part of this process. We are very grateful to have had access to this funding and it’s a wonderful asset to have for our second year programme as well. Through these workshops the children will be bug hunting, foraging in our local woods, making tinctures, becoming Bee Aware and making our school grounds pollinator friendly, visiting an Organic Farm and a workshop with Yvonne on some short films she made around the butter making process.

Our Creative Schools panel of teachers and children also brainstormed together and came up with a “Menu of Activities” (pardon the pun!) that every classroom can engage with over the next few weeks. These activities range from Science experiments with food items, setting classroom up as a restaurant and having a healthy shared lunch; inviting parents in to classroom to bake with the children or to share their skills, screenings of food related programmes and documentaries. We are hoping to document the activities that the children are engaging in over the next couple of weeks so that we can celebrate this creativity when we come back after the summer holidays. It’s going to be an action packed few weeks and we are looking forward to it immensely!

!!!! Guest Blogger: Yvonne Cullivan Creative Associate for Creative Schools & Visual Artist – Blog No.2

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

 

Collate and Prioritise – Blog 2

I collected a lot of information from the schools I have been working with as part of my role as Creative Associate on the Creative Schools Programme; written notes, visuals, statistics, survey information. The biggest school (Galway Educate Together on Newcastle Road) has over 500 pupils and 50 staff. Regardless of the size of the school, everyone was asked for their opinions. This took time and investment from myself, the coordinators, staff, voluntary Children’s Creativity Panels and, at G.E.T.N.S., a voluntary Staff Creativity Panel. Questions were asked such as: What are the challenges to being creative in the classroom? What are the opportunities for this Creative Schools Programme? If you were the principle of this school and had money to spend, what creative things would you spend it on? Age-appropriate surveys were completed with in-depth questions regarding the level of engagement with creativity in the classroom, staff planning, allocation of funding, parental awareness of creative activities etc. There were votes, by all parties, in relation to areas of interest and creative media to explore. Everywhere I went I brought colored sharpies and hundreds of colored post-its, blue-tack and masking tape, large sheets of paper and visual aids. The workshops were active and inclusive and very enjoyable.

I then worked through the valuable information, stored on sheets and post-its or documented through photographs, in the same way that I would with research for any project; by laying it all out and finding the overlaps and patterns within it. I moved post-its around, joined them with arrows and written notes. Through this process of collating and prioritising (staff were involved to a certain extent during workshops), I produced a visual mind-map for each school. I returned to present the findings and discuss suggestions as to how we might address the prioritised information. My hope in each case was to find a way to marry the medium / media of choice with a methodology through which prioritised learning could be imparted and to also encompass the larger contexts, aims and ambitions, outlined by each school. Context, method, medium, not necessarily in that order, are the three strands that merge to inform and form my own artistic practice and individual projects and are the main elements of my teaching methodology.

There followed a consultative process involving staff, staff panels, children and children’s panels, through which my suggestions were padded and shaped collectively. In each case we made decisions on ‘projects’. These projects have a beginning, middle and end, however they are not stand-alone. Rather, they have been devised as a way to carry experiential learning on a number of levels and to keep this learning open so that it can be expanded upon. They have also been devised in collaboration with specific artists; the ‘who’ is as important as the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. In each case I approached particular people and engaged them in conversations, alone and then with the schools, to further shape what might happen. We are now at that wonderful point where the work is starting to unfold.

!!!! Drama Tools for the Classroom – CPD for Primary School Teachers with Baboró

Baboró 

Dates: 1st – 5th July 2019

Baboró releases final spaces for ‘Drama Tools for the Classroom’, an EPV approved Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course for educators, therapists and artists.

A limited number of tickets are now available for Baboró’s annual Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course, Drama Tools for the Classroom, taking place from Monday 1st to Friday 5th of July at the O’Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway.

Develop practical, fun and engaging teaching methodologies in this EPV approved CPD course; delivered by teacher, dramatist and facilitator Irene O’Meara, B.Ed., LLSM, MA Drama & Theatre Studies.

The week-long course of workshops is designed for primary school teachers but is also open to educators, therapists, artists and facilitators. It is for those who value the art of communication, empathy and co-operation, and wish to use drama and the creative arts to effectively engage children in teaching a range of topics.

The course will cover all the required teaching methodologies such as Active Learning; Problem Solving; Collaborative Learning and Discussion and Use of Environment, while also developing skills that can be used in a multitude of settings with many subject areas. Participants will then be guided through the processes of using drama as a methodology that supports the Using, Understanding and Communicating as per the New Primary Language curriculum.

Booking and Event Details:
Course cost of €70.00.
Taking place from 9.30am – 2.00pm Monday 1st to Friday 5th of July at the O’Donoghue Centre, NUI Galway.

Tickets available on Eventbrite at bit.ly/2JbUBG0. Places are limited and advanced booking is required.

For further information go to www.baboro.ie/news-events/cpd-2019

This is an EPV Department of Skills and Education approved course and participants will receive a certificate of completion. For further information contact admin@baboro.ie or call 091 562 667

!!!! Guest Blogger: Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh Creative Schools Coordinator & Teacher- Blog No. 1

Sinéad Ní Bhrádaigh has worked in Galway Educate Together since 2002. She has a life long interest in the arts, primarily in the musical side of the arts. She plays classical piano to Senior Certificate level and has been involved with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a piano and fiddle player and tutor in Dublin and Galway. In 2001, Sinéad completed a Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and gained great experience volunteering with the Town Hall Theatre and Galway Arts Centre. Sinéad established the GETNS school choir in 2004, and now collaborates with another teacher to run a choir with 100 students in the school. The GETNS choir has performed at several Peace Proms, at the Town Hall Theatre and at community events.

Creative Schools:  An Exciting New Journey – Blog 1

Our school was delighted  to hear about this new Creative Schools initiative and were eager for our school to participate. Our school has traditionally been very lucky to have creative teachers and parents who have shared their talents with the children over the years. Schools have changed dramatically over the years, the advent of technology means that the wider world has become much more accessible to children, and any amount of content is now available at the other end of their fingertips. The information presented on the training day for Creative Schools was so relevant and interesting. The notion that 65% of jobs our current cohort will be doing as adults have not yet been created blew my mind. That the World Economic Forum lists Creativity third in the top ten list of skills that our young people will need to navigate their future highlights how much skills development is now required in schools into the future.

We have been working in close collaboration with Yvonne Cullivan, our Creative Associate all year and this has been a great experience for our school. Yvonne has been successfully able to help us as a school identify the relationship we have with creativity through the eyes of the teachers, the children and the parents. What emerged out of that process was that as a school, we have a lot to celebrate, much to communicate and a great roadmap for how we can develop further as a school. There was a huge amount involved in the information gathering stage of the project, due in part to our large school population – surveying, collating and analysing over 1000 opinions was a long process.  We were relieved to hear that there would be another year to engage with the project, as we felt that we would need a lot more time to embed the learning from the information gathering, and having another year next year will allow us to do that.

The outcomes for our school are that all members of the community wish to engage more with creativity and the arts, we wish to engage with each other and the wider community more, we wish to see more cross curricular creativity and we wish to communicate and celebrate the many wonderful aspects of creative work that we already engage in. The children voted to do more work around cooking, nature and horticulture, so myself, Yvonne and the other wonderful teachers on our Creative School committee are currently working to put together a programme to run over the course of May and June. I look forward to sharing how we are getting on in the next blog post!

!!!! Guest Blogger: Frank Monahan Architect & Cultural Producer – Blog No. 1

Frank is an Irish-born designer /cultural producer with an interest in film, architecture & the arts, design and technology. An honors graduate in Production Design for Film, TV and theatre, he spent the best part of a decade in this sector. Coming from a film and set design background, he has always been passionate about the power of buildings and spaces to tell stories and he developed this interest further when he later moved into interior and architectural design work setting up practice in London in 2001. This experience led to a decision to study architecture at London Metropolitan University where he was awarded an BA Honors’ Architecture in 2008 and a Professional Diploma in Architecture 2012.


His professional practice includes the design of buildings & set design for film and television production. This has informed his approach to practice, which is collaborative, interdisciplinary and site-specific. With a long term interest in the critical potential of design he established the Architecture at the Edge Festival in 2017, for which he devised and developed the events programme through all stages: planning, development and administration, including the curation and production of an annual symposium on Placemaking  & associated workshops. He recently produced an outdoor built installation, ‘Ghost Chapel’ for Galway International Arts Festival 2018 in collaboration with Bartlett School of Architecture.

Threshold – Blog 1

TY students from schools around the country completed their IAF Architects in Schools project this month with a presentation at GMIT’s Cluain Mhuire campus to IAF, GMIT staff and Architect Dermot Bannon. Devised and delivered by the Irish Architecture Foundation, this initiative provides students with first-hand experience of the design process under the guidance of design professionals.

This was my third year participating in the programme, and alongside architect Sybil Curley returning to my alma mater at St. Josephs College, ‘the Bish’, Galway we undertook to deliver a series of workshops which might allow the students to develop their visual spatial skills. Art is not taught as part of the curriculum at the school, so it was important that we find a way to allow the students the opportunity to express their inherent creativity. The teacher was keen for us to assist the students to work on design concept development that would prepare them for Design Communication and Graphics (DCG) subject challenges. To this aim, prompting visual research was very important as it helped the students investigate that process. Taking steps to intentionally address any lack of confidence in their own creativity the students surveyed areas of the school and recorded observations on materials, light levels, circulation etc. Critical thinking and visual awareness was encouraged throughout the course.  Exploratory site visits further increased the students’ visual vocabulary and ability to convey design concepts through sketching.

In the first year we explored the idea of ‘Threshold’ in creating an aedicule, between the school institution and the city. There are plans to relocate the school away from Nuns Island and out of the city to a new site in the coming years so the idea was to think about designing a ‘gateway’ into the new institution. Starting with an exercise to create their own school motto to place above the entrance to the existing school building we brought the students out to sketch the Spanish Arch and other historical approach’s to the city. Following mapping exercises of the schools existing entrances and reception areas as well documenting the access roads/bridges onto the Island in which the school is located the students constructed a 1:100 physical model of the school upon which they could place designs of their own ‘aedicule’ interventions.

The following year we continued this exploration of that kind of creative flexibility which extended into how we can engage with the city beyond the school. Inspired by dePaor Architects refurbishment of Druid theatre, the students reimagined the adaptive reuse of their existing school building, turning it towards the river, and incorporating the adjacent Nuns Island Theatre into the schools buildings programme.  Careful consideration was made to how best retain the character of this building, a former Methodist Church repurposed as an arts venue, and how this might give greater flexibility for improvements throughout the entire schools built infrastructure.

The design brief encouraged them to practice a culture of sustainability in our built environment through adaptive reuse of existing building stock located in and around the school’s current location at Nun’s Island. This initiative has the potential not only to encourage the students to better understand their built environment and gain skills in design, sketching, photography, model making & computer graphics. But also to encourage them to explore their local history & geography, engage in environmental studies, develop knowledge of material & construction studies as well as a practical use for ICT skills. The ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions—is being recast as a prized and teachable skill.

I find that these experiences have not only reinforced my belief in the importance and benefits to be found in ‘learning from making’ for a student’s development, but it has enabled them develop their own identity/interests, skills, sense of self confidence, and the possibilities for integrating this into all aspects of their learning process.

When we think about communicating something essential about the world be it through art/drama/storytelling etc. to young people in particular, it does not help to be didactic, to focus on technical or technological skill. I would encourage an emphasis on the enjoyment and the value of the process of making more than the result or final product. What is of benefit to the youth is found in the freedom, experimentation and exploration that went into their creation. Expect to make mistakes. There is no right way or wrong way. It is in finding solutions that make the value of creative imagination most valuable. My approach would be to get something across playfully. To equip students with valuable life tools which enhance their public speaking and communication skills, social development, emotional development as well as the cognitive benefits. Actually, to get playfulness itself across.

!!!! Guest Blogger: Lucy Elvis Director of Curo & Visual Arts Curator – Blog No. 1

Lucy Elvis is a director of CURO, a not-for-profit organisation committed to public philosophy. CURO helps communities think together more effectively by inviting them to become Communities of Philosophical Inquiry. CURO works in schools, libraries, galleries and festivals as well as organising clubs and camps that include scholarship streams for children from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds. They like to get people thinking in places where they least expect it and to listen to the ‘big ideas’ that matter to groups who often aren’t given a voice.

When Lucy isn’t engaged in public philosophy, she is completing her PhD thesis and lecturing in Philosophy at NUI Galway. She is also an independent visual art curator and a board member of the TULCA Festival of Visual Art.

We thought we’d never ask…. – Blog 1

Often in our haste to increase engagement in arts education, we want to get children making. This is a liberating process: they meet makers, learn about their practice and have a go at creating work in that way these experiences are exciting, motivating and arguably help to create our future artists.

But, what about our future art audiences? Visual Thinking Strategies have dominated museum and gallery education programmes, and these have value too. They focus on looking slowly and carefully, getting lost in the work itself and wondering what it’s all about by answering the questions ‘What do you think is happening in the picture?’ and ‘Why?’

What happens though, when you allow young audiences to take charge? What new understanding can emerge by allowing them to frame the questions they are really wondering about after experiencing a play, roaming an exhibition, absorbing a story, watching a film or listening to some music?

This is what CURO aims to do when we think about art with our communities of young learners. Our focus is on reconnecting the experiences of art, with our experiences in and with the world using them to think deeply about questions that matter for everyone. So, where visual thinking strategies stay within the edges of the canvas and practice-oriented art interventions are focussed on making something, we encourage our communities to run with the work by devising a common, contestable and enduring question that it sparks for them.

In this process the group votes on one such question and enters into a structured dialogue to find a collective answer. Questions we’ve explored with communities include: ‘Is everyone creative?’ (inspired by the work of Sam Basu and Liz Murray), ‘Are there more than two genders?’ (sparked by Bassam Al Sabbah’s Walking, Walking with The Sun Upon my Back) and ‘Could we exist without negative emotions?’ (prompted by the experience of Richard Profit’s The Shortcut: Don’t Follow the Black Dog).

These fascinating questions are just the start of a process of exploring possible answers, the reasons for them and the imagined worlds where ‘that’s the case.’ In our next post, we’ll talk about the ‘how’ of structured dialogue and the creative thinking skills it can foster through the context of our work in Galway County Libraries.

!!!! Guest Blogger: Yvonne Cullivan Creative Associate for Creative Schools & Visual Artist – Blog No.1

Yvonne

Yvonne Cullivan is a visual artist and educator based in the West of Ireland. She has fifteen years experience in Fine Art practice, Arts Education, Public & Participatory Arts and Arts Management. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, and an M.Sc. in Multimedia from Dublin City University. Yvonne is a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the First Year Fine Art & Design Programme and in the Fine Art Media Department. She is also currently engaged as a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Programme.


Working across a broad range of documentary-style media, including sound, video, photography, interview/conversation, drawing and writing, Yvonne’s practice is underpinned by a strong participatory and collaborative approach. She often works within communities of place, rooting the engagement in site-specific research and interdisciplinary knowledge generation. Sustained processes of observation, documentation, collaboration and experiential engagement with place, lead to the creation of new work that is reflective of, appropriate to and shaped by the process.

Creative Schools: Fresh Eyes – Blog 1

One of the aspects that I love most about working as an artist, particularly when engaging with a group or community, is the unknown. When I begin a project, nobody really knows what is going to happen, including me! This can be daunting. However, it is also a wonderful space to hold; one that allows for active listening and open response, intuitive exploration and discovery.

What I do know and trust entirely, is the creative process in which all my work is embedded. There will always be a thorough, considered and inclusive engagement. This will have a loose starting point; like a question, intention or broad theme. It will involve research, discussion, observation, documentation, and collection of information. As my sole agenda is usually to create an artwork of some description, I like to get a sense of the ‘bigger picture’ with all its nuances and particularities, whatever the situation. As the engagement unfolds, I constantly review and refine the information that comes to me, slowly shaping a response without feeling any obligation to make it fit a particular form. Eventually, as a result of this entire process, an outcome manifests. Usually it is one that is reflective and relevant, and will take a form that is both surprising and no surprise at all, because it was taking shape throughout the process. The pattern is always the same. Time and time again I doubt the process, usually when I am in the middle of it. Then, when I reach the end, I am reminded that it absolutely works. This is how I work as an artist and as an educator and this is how I am approaching my current role as Creative Associate on the Creative Schools Programme.

Schools are extremely active places. There are enormous pressures of time and workload on staff, pupils and management. The arts subjects are the easiest to squeeze out or the hardest to fit in. However, I am finding an overwhelming desire, from staff and from young people alike, to have more creativity, more freedom and experimentation and play within the curriculum and within school life. There are challenges around this of course, and there are some fears too. I have been engaging in active, visual and collaborative ways with my school coordinators and communities to unearth these challenges and fears and to also explore the opportunities and wishes around a ‘creative school’. Through workshops, surveys, activities, discussions and votes, I have been capturing all relevant voices; from those of the youngest pupils to that of the principle. We have been considering all aspects of the question of creativity in schools, from small practicalities to large visions.

The three schools that I am working with are thoroughly invested in this programme and are bringing great enthusiasm and honesty to the table and placing complete trust in the process that we are undertaking together. They are three very diverse schools, and three very different shapes are beginning to emerge…

!!!! New Music Generation Development Officers appointed in Cavan/Monaghan, Galway City and Mayo

Music Generation

Music Generation is delighted to share news of the appointment of three new Music Development Officers in Cavan/Monaghan, Galway City and Mayo.

Mairéad Duffy has taken up the position at Music Generation Cavan/Monaghan, one of the most recent Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs) to commence participation in Ireland’s national music education programme, led by Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board with support from Cavan and Monaghan County Councils.

Karen Dervan has commenced the role at Music Generation Galway City, another new LMEP under the leadership of Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board together with Galway City Council.

One of the first LMEPs established as part of Music Generation, Mayo now welcomes Laurie Barrett as new Music Development Officer. Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board is the lead partner on this programme.

In their new posts, Mairéad, Karen and Laurie will have responsibility for developing and managing affordable and accessible local performance music education programmes for children and young people ages 0 to 18.

This will include the coordination of music tuition services within the counties, working in partnership with schools, community music groups and centres in the formation of choirs, ensembles, multi-genre performance initiatives, and more.

Initiated by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

For further information go to https://www.musicgeneration.ie

 

 

 

!!!! Barboró International Arts Festival 2018 – Events for Schools & Teachers

Baboró International Arts Festival

Dates: October 15 – 21 2018

This year’s Baboró International Arts Festival for Children takes place in Galway in just over two weeks’ time (October 15-21) and there are a number of cultural experiences for school children to enjoy. Whether you’d like to bring your class to see a show, take in a workshop or visit an exhibition, Baboró has it covered.

One of the cornerstones of Baboró’s foundation is the right of each child to enjoy arts and culture. Baboró believes the encouragement of creativity from an early age is one of the best guarantees of growth in a healthy environment of self-esteem and mutual respect.

Baboró enables children to experience first hand the transformative power of the creative arts, while at the same time developing their creative, problem-solving and collaborative skills; skills that are necessary for developing fully rounded young people.

Artists and companies from Ireland, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Scotland and England will present shows at this year’s festival. Full schools programme is here https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/event-type/schools

For full details of how to apply to bring your school to Baboró see here

https://www.baboro.ie/schools-1/schools-2

WORKSHOPS FOR TEACHERS

Are you a teacher who would like to explore ways of connecting theatre back into the classroom or would you like to learn some tricks of the trade on how to foster an environment of imagination in the classroom? The following workshops might be of interest to you:

Creative Learning

https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/creative-learning

Creativity in the Classroom

https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/creativity-in-the-classroom

For further information and bookings go to www.baboro.ie

!!!! Opportunity: Music Generation Development Officers (6 Posts)

Music Generation 

Deadline: 12 noon, Friday 28 September, 2018

Cavan & Monaghan ETB; Galway & Roscommon ETB; Kilkenny & Carlow ETB; and Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETB each invite applications for the position(s) of Music Generation Development Officer.

A Music Generation Development Officer(s) will be appointed by each Statutory Agency and will be responsible for managing an extensive performance music education programme on behalf of the Music Education Partnership in each area.

All areas have been selected for participation in Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, which is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

Three-year, fixed-term contract.

Application forms, job descriptions and person specifications available online at the links below –

Please note that each post requires a separate application.

Closing date for receipt of completed application forms: 12 noon, Friday 28 September, 2018

Cavan & Monaghan ETB; Galway & Roscommon ETB; Kilkenny & Carlow ETB; and Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETB are equal opportunities employers.

For further information go to www.musicgeneration.ie/news/article/opportunities-music-generation-development-officer-6-posts/

!!!! Applications Now Open for the Baboró GROW 2018 Programme – Artists Support & Professional Development

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Deadline: Friday 24 August 

Baboró are delighted to announce applications are now open for the 2018 GROW Programme, supporting artists in making work for children and young audiences.

Baboró has a long history of mentoring and supporting artists, creatives and educators who are exploring and developing theatre, dance, music and visual art for young audiences, or are interested in doing so. Whether you are an emerging artist, a student or an established artist interested in making work for children, Baboró’s GROW programme is here to support your development.

The GROW programme includes a number of strands which interested candidates can apply for. Two of the recently introduced strands are Pathways to Production and Festival Mentoring.

Pathways to Production

The programme aims to facilitate artists development from the kernel of an idea and initial concept development to project planning, help developing funding strategies and the development of the work for a sharing with peers and the sector. It is hoped that artists/companies will eventually go on to full production of their new piece of work.

The objective is that by making available our collective organisational experience, resources and areas of expertise, Pathways to Production will support artists and companies to make excellent work in Ireland for this very special audience. The emphasis of the programme is on the process of development of new work and artist development, rather than the end product. We hope that this capacity-building initiative will contribute to the development of sustainable careers and creative opportunities for artists in Ireland. Find out more at www.baboro.ie/about/work/grow/pathways.

Festival Mentoring

A small group of participants will be lead through a curated programme of festival shows and industry events including discussions, presentations, workshops, networking events etc. The group will navigate the programme with mentoring from two highly experienced individuals from the sector, Phil Kingston, Community and Education Manager at the Abbey Theatre and Maria Fleming, Chair of Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland (TYAI) and General Manager of Dublin Theatre Festival, during the Baboró 2018 Festival. Find out more at www.baboro.ie/about/work/grow/work-grow-mentoring.

Baboró’s Executive Artistic Director Aislinn Ó hEocha commented, “We were delighted with the response to our new GROW programme in 2017. The artists involved in Festival Mentoring and Pathways to Production find the schemes really beneficial to their practice. opportunities to see a range of international work, build Irish and international networks and learn from each other and the partners have proven invaluable. We are really looking forward to seeing who emerges from the 2018 open call.”

Deadline for applications is Friday, August 24 with successful candidates being announced on Monday, September 17. Application forms and guidelines can be downloaded from www.baboro.ie/about/work/grow.

GROW is funded by the Art’s Council’s Strategic Funding.

!!!! Baboró ‘Drama Tools for the Classroom’ CPD for Teachers & Educators

Limited Places Left

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Date: July 2nd – 6th 2018 from 9.30am to 2.00pm

Would you like to build on your ability to use the creative arts to aid learning in the classroom?  This July 2-6 Baboró International Arts Festival for Children presents a five-day, EPV Department of Skills and Education approved summer course, which has been specially designed to explore the use of drama, both as a subject as well as a methodology. The aim of this CPD course is to inspire and augment learning in the classroom and enrich the professional practice of teachers and educators. A limited number of tickets remain.

The course provides participants with an opportunity to gain insights and practical tools to explore drama in the classroom in a safe and relaxed environment, supported and mentored by drama specialist and primary teacher Irene O’Meara. The emphasis is on process drama and enhancing teacher and child experience in the classroom.

Who is it for?

This professional development course is suitable for teachers and professionals working with children, who are enthusiastic about gaining useful drama tools to support their teaching via an integrated approach within the primary curriculum, and using drama games and strategies to enable their students to become directly involved in their own learning.

What will you learn?

The course has a practice-based approach, and offers participants 5 days of rich, fun and engaging learning, enabling them to enjoy engaging in drama activitieswith students in a confident manner while exploring a broad range of stimuli for the creation of drama. It will also help participants to feel better equipped to deepen students’ experience of the arts via simple exercises in pre and post engagement.

About the Facilitator

Irene O’Meara is a Drama specialist and primary school teacher, who has been facilitating In-Service for over two decades, and has designed and delivered programmes in Drama, Integrated Arts, Literacy, and Early Childhood Education. Irene has worked in the Drama Department at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and is currently a tutor and assessor with Hibernia College.

Course Details
Baboró CPD 2018 ‘Drama Tools for the Classroom’
July 2nd – 6th 2017 from 9.30am to 2.00pm
The O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway
Course Cost €70 per person
Places Limited to 23
Attendees Receive: Certificate of Participation

For more details please contact Baboró on 091 562 667, email admin@baboro.ie or online here www.baboro.ie/news-events/cpd-2018

!!!! Arts Council of Ireland Information Clinic for the Young People, Children and Education Bursary Award 

Arts Council of Ireland

Clinic Date: 19th June 2018 from 1.30 – 4pm

Application Closing Date: 17:30 on Thursday 12th July 2018

The Arts Council, in association with Baboro International Arts Festival for Children will host an information session about the Young People, Children and Education (YPCE) Bursary Award on 19th June 2018 from 1.30 – 4pm in the Town Hall Theatre Studio, Courthouse Square, Galway.

The YPCE Bursary Award is open to individual professional artists and practitioners working with, and producing work for, children and young people across a wide range of artforms. The award provides artists with the time and resources to think, research, reflect on and develop their artistic practice. Applications for the 2018 YPCE Bursary Award open on June 12th and will close at 17:30 on Thursday 12th July 2018.

The purpose of this session is to share the objectives and priorities for this award and to offer practical guidance on the application process. There will also be an opportunity to hear from previous recipients about how they have used the award to develop their practice.

Agenda 

Please register to attend the information session by email ypce@artscouncil.ie

!!!! Job Opportunity Barboró: Communications Coordinator

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

Deadline 4pm, Friday 11th May 2018

Baboró is seeking an innovative and experienced Communications Coordinator to join its small but ambitious, year-round team.  The successful candidate will be responsible for Baboró’s internal and external communication including promoting the annual Baboró Festival, its year-round work, communicating Baboró’s mission and developing the organisation’s profile and brand. The role also incorprates supporting the Baboró’s operations by maintaining office systems and managing effective and efficient internal communications. This is a dynamic role which offers excellent opportunities for the successful candidate to develop their own unique skillset and areas of interest..

Essential Requirements

  • Excellent verbal, written, oral and digital communication skills
  • Strong visual communication skills with an eye for detail
  • Dynamic and resourceful self-starter
  • At least 3 years’ relevant work experience at management level
  • A track record in initiating strong and effective marketing/promotional campaigns
  • Strong organisation and planning skills with the ability to work under pressure in a challenging environment while managing workload and competing priorities
  • Proven ability in collecting and analysing data and in producing management reports
  • Experienced in managing budgets
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a proven ability to work effectively in a team and build and maintain effective working relationships
  • Ability to effectively manage staff
  • Proven ability to manage processes, develop standards and promote process improvement
  • Excellent IT skills

Desirable Criteria

  • 3rd level qualification relevant to marketing/communications
  • Knowledge of Baboró’s mission and remit
  • Knowledge of the arts sector
  • Understanding of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA)
  • Experience of working in a festival environment

For the full job description and details go to www.baboro.ie/news-events/communications-job

!!!! ‘Wide Eyes’ European Celebration of Performing Arts for the very young

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children

1 – 4 February, 2018

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will host an exciting and imaginative programme of theatre and dance shows for babies and children aged 0 – 6 years, presented by Irish and international artists. Wide Eyes is a one-off four-day European celebration of Performing Arts for very young children that will take place in Galway from 1 – 4 February, 2018.

As well as an extensive workshop and performance programme for schools and early years groups, Wide Eyes will feature a range of talks and workshops for early years professionals, including a talk for early years educators and artists, Celebrating the Creative Arts in Early Years Setting, presented in collaboration with Early Childhood Ireland. There are also a limited number of delegate packages available for the event.

Wide Eyes is the culmination of a four-year ‘Small size, Performing Arts for Early Years’ project with European partners from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK and Ireland.

Wide Eyes will see 140 arts professionals from 17 organisations and 15 countries gather in Galway to present an extravaganza of new dance and theatre shows for 0-6 year olds developed specifically under the project’s overarching theme of ‘Wide Eyes’. The concept for Wide Eyes, developed by Project Leader, Roberto Frabetti of La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi in Italy, is rooted in the belief that children are never too young to quite literally have their eyes opened wide in amazement while they experience the performing arts. The programme will feature performances for schools, crèches and families, produced by some of Europe’s finest creators of Early Years work, as well as professional development workshops and industry symposia.

For more information and to view the full programme of events go to www.baboro.ie/wide-eyes

Schools performances will take place on Thursday, 1 February and Friday, 2 February. We welcome bookings from early years groups such as; preschools, crèche and Montessori, junior and senior infants and those with additional needs.

!!!! ‘What Big Eyes You’ve Got…’

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

Jane Hayes, Artist 

The ‘What Big Eyes You’ve Got…’ project is a programme for early years and their parents that focuses on the creative exploration of the five senses: taste, smell, touch, sound, and sight, and like all my projects was developed to enliven children’s disposition for wonderment, excitement, curiosity, and perseverance.

I designed and developed the programme for Scoil Chroí Íosa with the aim of engaging the children in an immersive, child-centred, art-rich learning environment that would aid their early learning and development, and complements the school’s Aistear and Síolta Frameworks.

Scoil Chroí Íosa is known in Galway for its commitment to delivering a rich creative arts programme and aiming to provide the children in the school with an education that is rich in creative thinking, learning and activity. They provide a holistic approach to education and give each child an opportunity to express themselves creatively through a range of arts activities and programmes. For these reasons I approached the school directly with the project, which was instantly received with enthusiasm.

Colin Barry, Principal

Scoil Chroí Íosa is a growing school of roughly 110 children who come from a variety of multi-cultural backgrounds. This gives our school a distinctly vibrant feel and makes it an important hub for the local community. We aim to provide for the holistic education of all our students through a variety of modern, research-based methodologies. One of the most effective teaching methodologies we have found is to teach children through the medium of the creative arts. We believe this transcends cultural differences, language barriers and academic aptitude. We, as a whole school community, decided to proactively move in this exciting new direction about 4 years ago.

In this challenging endeavour, we sought guidance and support from many fantastic arts organisations and individual creative practitioners based in and around Galway City. Jane Hayes was one such artist and educator who we were delighted to have work with our students. Jane’s project “What Big Eyes You’ve Got…” was designed specifically for our younger pupils to engage actively with over a sustained period. The children were not engaged with a template-based approach, but rather were encouraged and supportively facilitated to use their own ideas creatively to make wonderful visual art.

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

Jane Hayes, Artist

The title was obviously inspired by the classic children’s story, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, but the ideas for the project came from my experience of young children’s ability to see the world around them from such a unique perspective, for example how they explain sounds, how they draw smells, how they talk about textures. While introducing them to activities designed to stimulated their senses, I wanted to allow them the space to explore the theme of the senses in a very open way, that would facilitate their natural creativity.

Each week I would facilitate 50 minute workshops with the three youngest classes in the school, where teachers and parents of the children were also encouraged to participate. The weekly workshops involved a range of interesting indoor and outdoor arts experiences, many of which took place in the school’s unique garden classroom. I developed these activities as a means to channel the children’s attention to the world around them, to encourage them to recognise the power of their senses, and to help them explore those senses creatively.

Students were encouraged to actively explore their world, gain independence by working independently, and also develop a sense of team work through group projects. Some of the activities undertaken included; making “tools” to see and hear, sensory play in the garden, largescale projection for storytelling, creating collaborative large-scale paintings with unexpected tools, nature walks with observation and creative reporting, creating visual landscapes of the senses, and constructing “musical instruments”.  Key to the process was encouraging children to take the lead and develop their own understanding of “the brief”. This was a little difficult at first, as children naturally turn to adults for instruction, especially in an educational setting. However, as the project progressed the young children became much more confident in making their own decisions.

There was an interesting dynamic between all the participants; the children, myself, parents and teachers. In the beginning teachers felt the need to guide the students, and parents the need to do things for the children, however, my role was to facilitate child-led engagement, and to model that interaction as a means to encouraging and enabling teachers and parents to do the same. It was a gradual process, with the adults needing time to adapt to a very open approach.  The children on the other hand easily adapted to their role as ‘leaders’ and showing their parents how to do things. The role reversal really worked, and a partnership approach to the projects really began to develop.

Sue Doherty, Teacher 

As a school, we had decided to promote all aspects of the creative arts in education and this project, ‘What Big Eyes You’ve Got…’, was a perfect match for our new direction.

The project centred on the involvement of parents in their own child’s experience of creating and participating in collaborative art. We encouraged parents to come in to the school during Jane’s visits so that they themselves could also participate in the creation of art and work with their own child, exploring their senses, their world, and their feelings about art.

The actual process was a hugely positive experience for all.  It allowed parents and teachers to engage actively with the children’s imaginations and innate creative abilities, using immersive child-centred activities to create and explore art. Although the exhibition in June 2017 was an impressive celebration and showcase of the children’s work, the real success of the project was defined by the qualitative value of the social, emotional, educational and artistic aspects of the children’s experiences.

It was a wonderful opportunity to be involved in ‘What Big Eyes You’ve Got…’, such an approach to art in education cannot come more highly commended.

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

Jane Hayes, Artist

Central to my approach is educating parents, teachers and the community about the importance of creativity in our lives and the lives of our children. I work to remove the fear and feelings of inadequacy that many adults have around creativity, and so this programme also worked to encourage and empower parents and teachers to engage in creativity with their children by including them in the process.  There were some really positive results.

Parent

I love the projects you have done with the children, they are actually quite easy, but I can see how much she enjoys this, and how much she loves when I work with her too.

As current research highlights, creative engagement from an early age is the most effective way to break down gender imbalance in creativity, is a powerful tool in improving children’s wellbeing, and helps aid personal development and build self-esteem.  However, in the school system anecdotal evidence suggests to me that it is older children that are often those selected for participation in arts in education projects. As I am especially committed to working within the early years remit I was dedicated to focusing on the youngest students in Scoil Chroí Íosa something that Principle Colin Barry was very positive about.

Colin Barry, Principal

“We are lucky to have lots of opportunities to collaborate with artists here, however, oftentimes when artists work in collaboration with schools they gravitate towards the older classes, 3rd and 4th for example.  The younger groups are often not as well catered for, so this is exactly what we need”.

It was clear that being gifted a significant time period to deliver the project resulted in a very rich experience for students, parents, teachers and myself the artist.  The fact that the workshops ran over an 11-week period meant that trust could be formed, greater understanding gained and richer engagement accomplished.  It was noted by the principle that having projects that allow for more meaningful engagement has greater long term effects, and that this approach allowed Teachers themselves to learn activities and approaches that they would be able to implement in the classroom themselves.

Ailbhe O’Donnell, Teacher

Jane was a great facilitator and allowed the children to experiment independently as much as possible, which they love to do. What was most exciting for the children is that their parents were invited along. Watching the children interact with parents was very interesting, as you usually only get to see them in the classroom environment. It was lovely to see parents getting stuck in helping, and also creating some Artwork themselves.

It was great to see the class work on collaborative pieces in a respectful, encouraging and creative way. The children had so much fun creating the large scale pieces together. Having the children focus on process rather than product kept them engaged and in control over their own work. I particularly liked the length of this project, which ran for 11 weeks in total. The children got into a creative routine every Thursday morning, which was great. They really took control over their own creativity. So much so, in fact, that they would be planning a week ahead in their minds what it was they would be creating the following Thursday.

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

Jane Hayes, Artist

One of my key objectives of “What Big Eyes You’ve Got…” was to prioritise process over product. It can be challenging to shift teachers’ and parents’ focus away from finished pieces of art, but this project was successful in demonstrating how powerful, and creative, simply letting children explore, discover and enjoy the process can be. As a compromise to an exhibition of the children’s work, we ended the series with a Showcase, which was supported by the NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Institute (CKI) and Arts Office. The Showcase, mainly feature photos documenting the children’s experience, but also included a small selection of finished and unfinished pieces and research material.

Since completing the project I am more cognisant of how rich and valuable the process of making art can be, and have been working to shift my focus away from what the end product might be or do. I have commenced a new series, which is inspired by the “What Big Eyes You’ve Got…” project and working with the children of Scoil Chroí Íosa, and am dedicating more time to exploring, discovering and enjoying. I am also working in a variety of settings, getting outside more, having seen what a positive impact that had on the children of Scoil Chroí Íosa and their creativity.

Participating Child

It’s just fun to play around, I really like this kind of art!

Participating Child

I love looking for flowers in the garden, it’s fun out here, it makes me happy.

Participating Child

I never knew you could make pictures with stones, that’s cool.

Participating Child

I love how the rice feels, it makes me feel relaxed

 

!!!! Guest Blogger: Vicky Donnelly, Education Coordinator at Galway One World Centre

Vicky Donnelly is coordinator of the Galway One World Centre, and works on the design and delivery of the Global Teachers Award CPD programme, as well as development education and antiracism workshops for schools, community groups and universities. 

Vicky Donnelly Headshot

Exploring Refuge and Migration Issues With Young Children: notes from Baboro’s Primary In-Career Course, Drama Tools for the Classroom.

You know you’re in good hands when the facilitator of a week-long course for primary teachers, can guide a roomful of strangers from the polite stiffness of a Monday morning, to improvising scenes at a horse fair, and tracking the thoughts of a young character’s deepest fears and longings, all before lunch on the first day.

For the first week in July I had the good fortune to spend a week participating in Baboro’s ‘Drama Tools for the Classroom’, facilitated by the truly remarkable Irene O’Meara, who drew effortlessly from her vast experience in theatre, music, visual arts, a Masters in Drama and Theatre Studies, and all refined through years of real life experience in the classroom.  In addition to a number of primary school teachers, our diverse group included a youth mentor, a Spanish teacher, a Community Circus coordinator, an after-schools programme animator, a couple of play therapists, and me; a development education worker with the Galway One World Centre.

GOWC’s function is to provide workshops for schools, youth and community groups addressing a range of local and global justice issues, including refuge and migration; poverty; and anti-racism perspectives. Since 2012, GOWC has been delivering the Global Teachers Award programme in Ireland, offering training around the country for teachers who wish to bring a greater global justice perspective to their work.

In that time, the issue of rights for people fleeing danger and persecution has become increasingly urgent, along with the need to create opportunities to explore it in the classroom. But how? There are real challenges involved in addressing a crisis of this scale, in the context of rising Islamophobia, racism and right-wing sentiments, and a crushing accommodation crisis at home. And even greater challenges emerge when working with young children. There are numerous teaching resources available, and some of our own materials developed in-house, but I came looking for fresh ideas and inspiration about how Drama might offer ways of engaging younger children. In particular, I was seeking an age-appropriate approaches, that would allow for deep exploration of thoughts and feelings, and build empathy, without overwhelming children, but also, without trivialising the issues.

Over the course of the week, Irene shared numerous insights, tips and practical examples from her vast knowledge and experience, taking us through a number of drama conventions and sharing ideas about books, poems, artefacts and images for prompts. For my purposes though, most useful was her reminder of the 3 prerequisites for drama in the classroom: a safe environment; appropriate content; and a fictional lens.

While these are, of course, essential for approaching any theme, they provided me with a helpful framework to guide and anchor the design of classroom activities and lesson plans on the theme of refuge and migration.

The safety of the environment, beyond the practical need to ensure that the space is free of hazards, may also include considerations about working in smaller groups, to avoid intimidating ‘high-focus’ attention, or to ensure that consent is sought in advance before ‘spotlighting’ individuals. This concern for a safe environment also spills over into the need to make sensitive choices about the content being presented: is it age appropriate? Whose perspective is being shared? Are the characters portrayed as having agency, or as helpless victims?

Then comes the fictional lens. At a time of unprecedented crisis – over 65 million people are now displaced from their homes by war, conflict and persecution – I found myself gently steered away from the stark world of statistics and terrifying news reports, to the more accessible world of fiction.

Irene’s frequent reminders of the power of the fictional lens to explore potentially ‘difficult issues’, were peppered with quotes from the likes of Emerson and Camus (“Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth”) and were accompanied with examples from the classroom, using storybooks, such as the beautifully illustrated When Jesse Came Across the Sea (Amy Hest and PJ Lynch) and Oskar and the Eight Blessings (Tanya and Richard Simon).  Though perhaps removed, geographically and temporally, from today’s crisis, the issues raised in these stories have much in common with the contemporary crisis, and provide opportunities for children to make those connections for themselves, and to explore the values, tensions, conflicts and opportunities attached to each.  Even seemingly whimsical storybooks, such as The Lighthouse Keeper’s Rescue (Rhonda and Simon Armitage), were opened up as spaces for young children to consider how it might feel to be displaced, or to need help from the wider community, as well as celebrating the diversity within a community that makes change possible.

While the news from Syria, Sudan or Iraq may be overwhelming for children (and, frankly, for many adults), the story of one child, or one family, will contain some universally recognisable details and concerns, and may be more relatable for pupils. All children love to play. All children want to feel safe.

This was the thinking behind German author, Kirsten Boie’s decision to base her book Everything Will Be Alright, on the experiences of a young Syrian girl, Rahaf, and her family. In Kirstens’ book, the family’s luggage, containing Rahaf’s doll, is stolen by people smugglers on the journey across the Mediterranean. “She’s very unhappy about losing her doll that way. The children here always start by asking, ‘Has she got her doll back?’ I think the reason for that is that this is something that they can imagine [happening to] themselves, whereas all the bombs and fighting and nights on the Mediterranean… they can’t imagine that happening to themselves. “Stories,” she explains, “…always make it much easier for children to understand something more than theoretical knowledge. I think that’s the chance we have…”

!!!! Build Your Own Unknown

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

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

Joanna McGlynn, Education Coordinator / Project Developer, TULCA

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

Louise Manifold, Artist

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

Stephanie Herwood, Teacher

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

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

Joanna McGlynn

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

Louise Manifold

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

Stephanie Herwood

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

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

Stephanie Herwood

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

Louise Manifold

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

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

Joanna McGlynn

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

Louise Manifold

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

Stephanie Herwood

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

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

Louise Manifold

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

Stephanie Herwood

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