!!!! Opportunity for Schools: Fighting Words Workshop for Schools At Riverbank Arts Centre
Riverbank Arts Centre
Secondary Schools – Monday 6th November, Monday 4th December 2023 at 10.30am
Primary Schools – 27th November, 11th December 2023 at 10.30am
Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge is the Kildare Partner of Fighting Words. They are hosting creative writing workshops for primary and secondary schools. Fighting Words workshops are always free of charge to the participating schools.
Their volunteer mentors work with the young writers to identify key elements of a story and help them write the first half of their story together as a group. The students work together to choose their characters and plot the group story sentence by sentence, editing as they go. In the second half of the workshop, students can opt to continue the group story or write a new story of their own.
These workshops will be conducted in Riverbank Arts Centre by an experienced Fighting Words Kildare coordinator, Pierina Campbell, and supported by 2-3 writing mentors from Riverbank’s Fighting Words team. The workshop will last 2 hours and they require that the teacher is present throughout.
Please contact Theresa 045 448327, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your workshop.
!!!! Children’s Books Ireland: Artists’ Coffee Morning
Children’s Books Ireland
Tuesday 24th January, 10am.
Children’s Books Ireland will host their first virtual artists’ coffee morning of 2023 on Tuesday, 24th January. This is part of a recurring series of informal yet informative gatherings on Zoom where artists creating work for children and young adults can hang out, learn from experts about something pertinent to their work and meet others in their creative area.
At this free coffee morning, hear from Executive Librarian with Kildare Library & Arts Service Amye Quigley. In what promises to be a practical and informative session, Amye will give an overview of programming strands within Kildare Library & Arts Services, detail what she looks for in a facilitator or artist and outline their funding, invoicing and accounts procedure.
If you would like to attend please email email@example.com by 5pm on Monday 23rd January.
For more information visit https://childrensbooksireland.ie/news-events/childrens-books-ireland-artists-coffee-morning-16.
!!!! Call for presentations: Portal Spring Regional Day 2023
Deadline: 3 February 2023, 5pm
Artists, teachers, academics and arts education professionals… Would you like to be part of the Portal Spring Regional Day? The Arts in Education Portal Team are seeking submissions for presentations for the Portal Spring Regional Day 2023 with a focus on the South-West Region. This regional event will take place in Cork City on 6th May 2023.
The event aims to connect teachers, artists, arts managers and anyone with an interest in art and creativity in education based in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary. Practitioners can learn more about the Portal and what it offers, tell us about their work, connect with the community at regional level, share practice and find out what opportunities or events are available in their local area.
We are inviting proposals from organisations or individuals who are involved in arts and creative projects in education in the South-West, and who want to give 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.
The 2023 event will also include an accompanying exhibition in partnership with Sample Studios at their gallery in the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion, Fitzgerald Park. The exhibition will be an opportunity for artists from successful proposals to exhibit their own work. The exhibition will run from 27th April to 27th May.
Do you have a presentation that you would like to be included in the programme for the Portal Spring Regional Day? If so, please download our Proposal form from the link below. If you have any questions please get in touch by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The programme includes two project presentations with up to two presenters.
- Deadline: 5pm, 3 February 2023
!!!! Riverbank Arts Centre: Schools Autumn/Winter 2022 programme
Riverbank Arts Centre
Riverbank Arts Centre are delighted to offer events for Primary and Secondary Schools over the coming months. These include live theatre, comedy, IFI School Screenings and more.
Riverbank Arts Centre is a multi-disciplinary venue in Newbridge, County Kildare, with a dedicated children’s gallery and programming of high quality theatre and workshops for younger audiences, Riverbank is also committed to promoting early engagement with and access to the arts.
This season Riverbank Arts Centre are delighted to offer shows that travel to your school, highlights include:
On 17 & 18 November
UP CLOSE is an energetic dance piece where two strangers meet, connect and celebrate their new friendship. A 25 min performance, followed by a 15-minute Q&A and 15-minute movement workshop. Recommended capacity is up to two classes. For 1st to 4th Class.
Exhibition: FIBRE Felted by Artist Tamzen Lundy
12 November – 23 December.
Workshop in your classroom: 13th December (Suitable for 1st Class – 6th Class.)
FIBRE Felted introduces young people to the wonders and possibilities of felt making, the oldest textile making process in the world. The woollen textiles in FIBRE Felted are playful and experimental, the only tools required to create them are the artist’s hands. Riverbank Arts Centre offer guided tours and activity sheets for all those who attend.
Tours/Workshop can be booked with Theresa at email@example.com
Highlights from the programme for post-primary schools include:
Exhibition: Dētrīmentum by artist Katie Whyte
12 November – 22 December
A Latin word meaning harm, loss, or damage,
Dētrīmentum is an exploration of the journey of an object from an intact historical/archival
piece, to an object that has fallen into disrepair and out of the collective memory. This installation focuses on presenting hidden and lost historical narratives in photographic form.
Guided tours and an education pack aimed at senior cycle students are available.
WhistleBlast Quartet Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
Tuesday 22 November, 12pm.
This unique performance of Mussorgsky’s wonderful symphony Pictures at an Exhibition, musically arranged by the quartet’s own Dr. Kenneth Edge, is accompanied by a multimedia video of paintings relating to each movement. An
accessible performance especially created to inspire young main stream and special-needs secondary school students and anyone to enjoy a gripping, dramatic masterpiece through live music performance and visual art.
To view the full schools programme of events, visit https://www.riverbank.ie/education-and-outreach/
Please contact Theresa on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 045 448327 to book an event or exhibition tour.
!!!! Opportunity for Schools: Drama & Filmmaking Project Adúntas
Crooked House Theatre Company
Crooked House Theatre Company are delighted to invite applications from youth work organisations and schools in County Kildare to participate in a new drama and film making project ‘Adúntas’. Providing eight free programmes for young people, the project will focus on maintaining wellbeing and developing emotional resilience after COVID-19.
Through ‘Adúntas’ eight young people will also receive training in youth drama facilitation.
“We recognise the importance of allowing our young people to process the experience of Covid-19 in their own way and at their own pace”, Oguzhan Sahin, Outreach Manager with Crooked House.
This project is funded by the RTE Toy Show Appeal Grants for 2022 by the Community Foundation for Ireland. for more information about the RTE Toy Show Appeal go to www.rte.ie/eile/toy-show-appeal/.
About Crooked House Theatre Company
Crooked House is a theatre-making organisation established in 1993 in Newbridge in County Kildare, Ireland. We make theatre with, for and by young people from the ages of 11 to 24. Participation in all our activities is free and open to anyone. Young people can join our weekly workshops in Newbridge anytime. Visit www.kildareyouththeatre.com to find workshops for your age group. Our work is inspired by tolerance, equality, social justice, compassion, and empathy. We aim to create theatre that is ambitious, challenging, aesthetically engaging, and relevant to our audiences.
!!!! 2022 Portal Spring Regional Day – Programme Announced
Arts in Education Portal
Date: Saturday, 7th May 2022
The Arts in Education Portal’s regional tour continues this spring with our first in-person event in 2 years! On Saturday, 7th May join us and our hosts at Kildare Education Support Centre for a series of discussions and creative workshops sharing experience and best practice from the sector in the Mid-East.
The programme for the day includes a presentation with artist Penelope Monaghan and Deirdre Rogers, Visual Arts Learning & Engagement Coordinator at Solstice Arts Centre sharing their experience on the recent BLAST project with Stackallen National School, Co.Meath, along with a panel discussion chaired by Jennifer Buggie, Teacher and Teacher-Artist Partnership (TAP) Lead Facilitator exploring the question ‘How do we ensure the voice of the child is heard?’ with panel speakers Dr Triona Stokes from the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, Maynooth University; Michelle Furlong, Portal Committee member and Creative Schools Manager with the Arts Council of Ireland and Mark Ball, Theatre-maker and Artistic Director of Super Paua.
In the afternoon join Kildare based photographer Brian Cregan for a hands-on practical session to explore composition, framing, apps and editing techniques to learn and improve photography skills using smartphones and tablets.
The morning discussions will be live streamed to ensure accessibility for those who cannot travel to the event in-person. In the afternoon for those joining us online a virtual creative workshop ‘What is left and what left to lose?’ will explore the Ardee Bog in County Louth and connections to land, place and nature with artist and writer Helen Flanagan on zoom.
Please note: ISL Interpretation will be available at the venue and online.
If you are joining us in-person or online book your place for this FREE event at www.eventbrite.ie/e/arts-in-education-portal-regional-day-mid-east-tickets.
10:00am —registration & coffee
10.30am — Welcome
10:45am — The Portal: a brief introduction Emma Kavanagh, Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership (Portal Content Managers)
11:00am — Project Presentation ‘Creative Connections’: Visual Artist, Penelope Monaghan in conversation with Deirdre Rogers, Visual Arts Learning & Engagement Coordinator Solstice Arts Centre sharing their experience on the recent BLAST project with Stackallen National School, Co.Meath
11:45am— Panel Discussion: Dr Triona Stokes, Educator and Drama Practitioner with the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education , Maynooth University; Michelle Furlong, Teacher and Creative Schools Manager with the Arts Council of Ireland; and theatre-maker, Mark Ball Artistic Director of Super Paua in conversation with Chair Jennifer Buggie, Teacher and Teacher-Artist Partnership Lead Facilitator.
1:00.pm — Q & A: whole panel of presenters
1:15pm —Lunch & networking
2.00pm — Hands-On Creative Workshops
- In-person Creative Workshop: ‘Smartphone and Tablet Photography Skills’ with photographer Brian Cregan
- Virtual Creative Workshop: ‘What is left and what left to lose?’ with artist and writer Helen Flanagan. Separate booking is required for this workshop as capacity is limited – Book here.
For further information email email@example.com.
!!!! Call for presentations and workshops: Portal Spring Regional Day 2022
Arts in Education
Deadline: 5pm, 31 March 2022
Artists, teachers, academics and arts education professionals… Would you like to be part of the Portal Spring Regional Day? The Arts in Education Portal Team are seeking submissions for presentations and workshops for the Portal Spring Regional Day 2022 with a focus on Kildare, Wicklow, Meath and Louth. This regional event will take place in the Mid-East at the Kildare Education Support Centre on Saturday, 7 May, 2022.
The event aims to connect teachers, artists, arts managers and anyone with an interest in arts in education based in Kildare, Wicklow, Meath and Louth. Practitioners can learn more about the Portal and what it offers, tell us about their work, connect with the community at regional level, share practice and find out what opportunities or events are available in their local area.
We are inviting proposals from organisations or individuals who are involved in arts and creative projects in education in the Mid-East, and who want to give 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.
Deadline: 5pm, 31 March 2022
Do you have a workshop or presentation that you would like to be included in the programme for the Portal Spring Regional Day? If so, please get in touch by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Creative workshop facilitators must be based in the Mid-East Region (Kildare, Wicklow, Meath and Louth).
- The programme will include two creative workshops: one in-person and one online.
- The programme includes one project presentation with up to two presenters.
!!!! Date Announced for the Arts in Education Portal Spring Regional Day 2022
Arts in Education Portal Events
Date: Saturday, 7th May 2022
The Portal Team is delighted to invite teachers, artists and anyone with an interest in arts in education to save the date and join us for our first in-person event in two years! The Portal Spring Regional Day will take place on Saturday, 7th May 2022 at the Kildare Education Support Centre, showcasing arts in education projects and creative practice in the Mid-East.
We invite regional audiences to connect with us during a series of events, where practitioners can learn more about the Portal and what it offers, tell us about their work, connect with the community at regional level, share practice and find out what opportunities or events are available in their local area. We welcome teachers, artists, arts managers and anyone with an interest in arts in education to join us for this free event.
This event will be live streamed to ensure accessibility and an online creative workshop will be available for our audience joining online.
Stay tuned for the full schedule and booking details which will be announced in the coming weeks. Pre booking will be essential for both in-person and online attendance.
!!!! SING ME TO THE SEA – the ‘at-home’ version
Mermaid Arts Centre, The Civic & Riverbank Arts Centre
Due to tour to hydropools this July and September, this magical watery adventure is now scheduled to tour in August in collaboration with Mermaid Arts Centre, The Civic and Riverbank Arts Centre. Rather than cancel the tour, Anna Newell Theatre Adventures and the partner venues were determined to bring high quality live art experiences to this very particular audience and so the ‘dry land’ ‘at-home’ version was invented. The “at-home” version is specifically for children/young people with PMLD.
Taking the responsiveness of the show to a whole new level, this re-imagined ‘dry land’ version will be performed in the gardens/drives/outside the windows of homes of families of children with complex needs. Still full of ethereal live harmony singing and gorgeous costumes (created by award-winning composer David Goodall and renowned costume designer Susan Scott), reflective silver balls, rainbow fish and water moving through colanders like waterfalls will all happen at an appropriate distance from our audience members, with their accompanying adults mirroring the action to add the up-close sensory element.
A process of a virtual pre-visit will take place to ensure that each different private ‘at-home’ adventure is magical, calm and, of course, safe.
Anna Newell is a Bray-based theatremaker who has been making theatre adventures for many different audiences since 1989. She was the first Irish-based theatremaker to create theatre designed especially for children and young people with PMLD and her work for Early Years audiences has been seen on 6 continents and off-Broadway.
Contact your nearest partner venue for booking details – click on the relevant link below:
SING ME TO THE SEA is co-produced by The Civic, Tallaght and funded by the venues, Wicklow County Council and Sunbeam Trust with additional funding from Arts Council of Ireland
!!!! Opportunity: Musician Educators with Music Generation Kildare
Music Generation Kildare
Deadline: 12 noon, 19th June 2020
Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) are delighted to invite applications from suitably qualified persons for the following:
Suitably qualified persons to be placed on a panel for part-time Musician Educators for the following Music Generation Kildare Programmes:
- Instrumental Music Programme – including, but not only, traditional Irish instruments, strings, brass, woodwind, guitar, percussion, songwriting, composition, band facilitation, conducting and music technology.
- Singing Programme – vocal/choral and/or instrumental musicians with experience relevant to vocal music-making in group contexts.
- Early Years Programme – vocal/choral and/or instrumental musicians with experience relevant to working with the under-7s.
Post details and application are available on http://kildarewicklow.etb.ie/kwetb-vacancies/
Applications for the position of Music Generation Kildare Administrator, Clerical Officer Grade III (3 year fixed term contract)
Musical experience is desirable, but not essential. No CV’s accepted. Applications will not be accepted after the closing.
Application form, job specification and person specification, are available on: http://kildarewicklow.etb.ie/kwetb-vacancies/
Closing date for receipt of completed application forms for both positions is: 12.00 noon, Friday 19th June 2020
Kildare has been selected for participation in Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme- that transforms the lives of children and young people through access to high quality performance music education in their locality. 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.
KWETB is an Equal Opportunities Employer
!!!! Opportunity: Music Generation Development Officer(s) Kerry, Kildare, Longford, Meath and Tipperary
Deadline Date: 12 noon, Thursday 6 June 2019
Post Reference Numbers:
- MG 19.20.01 (Kerry)
- KMG 01/2019 (Kildare)
- 197/18 (Longford)
- C111 (Meath)
- 47 (Tipperary)
A Music Generation Development Officer will be appointed by each education and training board and will be responsible for managing an extensive performance music education programme on behalf of the Local Music Education Partnership in each county.
All five counties have recently 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.
Five year, fixed-term contract (€46,771 – €57,157)
Application form, job description and person specification and other details available from –
Closing date: 12 noon, Thursday 6 June 2019
Late and/or incomplete applications will not be accepted. For more information go to https://www.musicgeneration.ie/news/article/new-opportunities-in-kerry-kildare-longford-meath-and-tipperary/
!!!! Music Generation announces expansion into five new areas of Ireland
Kerry, Kildare, Longford, Meath and Tipperary have been announced as the next five counties to join the Music Generation programme.
As part of Music Generation, each of the five new areas will receive funding to create access to affordable performance music education for children and young people in their communities. Minister for Education and Skills Joe Mc Hugh T.D. welcomed this next big step on Music Generation’s road to nationwide expansion by 2022:
‘Giving our young people access to high quality musical education is a key element of Creative Youth, part of the Government’s Creative Ireland plan.
‘Music and the arts inspire us all and Music Generation is having enormous impacts in communities, with young people having instrument, ensemble, voice and choral experiences that simply wouldn’t be possible without this programme…’
Music Generation projects are benefitting from €3.485 million funding from the Department of Education and Skills in 2019.
Responding to the news, U2’s The Edge said: ‘Every milestone reached on this journey is a source of great pride for the band as well as everyone who has worked so hard to make it happen. With this latest announcement, the finish line is firmly in sight and our dream of an accessible music education for every young person in Ireland is getting ever closer. We are beyond excited.’
Music Generation was originally co-funded with philanthropic donations from U2 and The Ireland Funds, supported by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, along with funding from local partners.
For further information go to www.musicgeneration.ie/news/article/music-generation-announces-expansion-into-five-new-areas-of-ireland/
!!!! Arts in Education Portal National Day 2018 – Full Programme Announced
We are pleased to announce our full programme of presentations and workshops for the Arts in Education Portal National Day 2018. The programme was selected following a call for submissions in December 2017 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 the Irish Youth Training Choir, conducted by Eunan McDonald.
To view the full programme click here and to book your place go to arts-in-education-portal-national-day-2018-tickets.eventbrite.ie
!!!! Finding our way
Tell us the story of your project – What was it about? Who was involved? How did you begin?
Lisa Cahill, Artist
An invitation was sent to Gaelscoil Uí Fhiaich requesting a teacher to work in partnership with the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education’s Dance Artist in Residence. This school was chosen because of its long and active engagement with The School Placement Committee at the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University. Triona Stokes, the Residency Co-ordinator supported the management and administration of the project from the very beginning.
Tracey Kirrane, teaching Second Class pupils at the Gaelscoil accepted the invitation and we arranged a meeting. From the start, Tracey’s energy and openness was evident and it was clear that we shared a real excitement about the project and its possibilities.
On visiting the Gaelscoil, I was immediately taken with Joe Butler’s Fish sculpture at the front of the school. This work was made as part of the Per Cent per Art scheme about three years previously. This sculpture became a stimulus for the development of the dance work.
The aim of the project was to create a number of creative outcomes between all collaborators. I envisioned that this body of work would illustrate the context of the project, the creative processes and the learning that was taking place between all collaborators. These creative outcomes would include an integrated dance performance (students and children dancing together) and a film element. I also wanted the documentation methods and outputs to became part of the final sharing. These outputs would include recorded interviews, journals, reflections (both written and using art materials) and photographs.
Tracey and I set up Thursday morning weekly sessions in the school for the children. Sessions were scheduled for an hour.
Two students of the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University were scheduled to accompany me on a rotating basis. Their role was to participate as dancers and develop their own relationships with the children. They were also involved in the planning and evaluation of the workshop with me. They took on active, fluid roles in both leading group dance tasks but also following and learning from the children. This balance became an important element of our co-operative approach. All of us as participants needed time and space to learn from others, and to lead and share with our collaborators.
Tracey Kirrane, Teacher
One of the teachers in the school approached me asking if I would be interested in taking part in a dance project with Maynooth University. He knew I had a keen interest in dance and music. I always like to give the children in my class movement breaks and I find that dance can be a great way to do this. I had a meeting with both Triona and Lisa in the school and they explained the whole process. Instantly I thought this would be an interesting and exciting project to be part of . On that day we discussed what information needed to be sent to the children’s parents and we arranged that we would do hour long sessions on a Thursday morning.
On the first session Lisa arrived, she did movement exercises with the children. The children were instantly engaged and I knew from then on that they would enjoy the journey we were about to begin. After returning to the class after this session the children were very excited and couldn’t wait for the next session.
Louise Young, Student
At the beginning I must admit that I was finding it hard to visualise the finished piece, but as the structure and story became more apparent the performance itself came together into a terrific piece.
Claire Casey, Student
I wanted to take part in this project as I thought it would be a challenging experience that would enable me to take part in something I’d never had experience in before. I would always jump at being involved in something with children outside of our normal placement and I am really glad that I took part in this project.
How were the ideas developed and how did the young people, artist and teacher work together?
Lisa Cahill, Artist
The ideas developed through shared and separate work involving dance and reflection over 13 weeks.
The layers of the project included:
1. My own exploratory work in the studio and planning meetings with Triona Stokes;
2. Sessions with the children (led by Tracey and/or the artist)
3. Sessions with the students (facilitated by the students themselves or led by the artist)
4. Integrated workshops with the children and students together. This took place at the school with small number of students. Workshops also took place on the Maynooth University Campus. There were three whole group workshops/ rehearsals. This included the class of 30 children with the six student teachers who committed to the performance element of the project. These sessions took place at the University and were supported by the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education Dance Residency Committee and a large body of student assistants;
The development of the work is exemplified through the partnership with Laura Thornton, who encouraged me to deepen our collaborative exploration of line. Laura Thornton is an art lecturer at Froebel. She supported me in broadening my artistic tools in this exploratory process. I used both the body and art materials in our investigation of line.
I introduced the examination of line to the children and students. We created lines in our bodies through shape, we drew lines using a variety of body parts through the space. We studied, drew and photographed lines and shapes on the Fish sculpture. From the ‘line drawings’ the children began to speak about following a map and finding treasure. Discussions and playful work developed around this idea. We traced and followed our maps through the space. Children spoke about great and small journeys they had been on. They recalled times when they had followed maps or watched their parents follow maps. The children introduced challenges and obstacles that one might meet along a journey. Real and imagined journeys were shared, danced and written about.
Tracey encouraged me to consider what the story of the dance was. She talked about a story we are all familiar with, ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. From here, we began to clarify and refine how our story/ journey would be structured and organised. I appreciated and listened to Tracey’s experience and her gentle reminders to communiciate clearly the intention of our work and the intention of our dance.
The dance evolved into a final performance called ‘Finding our Way’, “Ag lorg Slí” The performance illustrated moments of a journey. This was articulated through live dance performance, film and photographic work.
A note from the performance programme read, ‘The dance journey reveals the discoveries the performers made throughout the creative process of this project. With trust and a light heart, we find our way together.’
Is trí dhamhsa, scannánaíocht agus grianghrafadóireacht a léiríonn “Ag lorg slí” giotaí d’aistear.
‘Aistear is ea “bogadh ó áit go háit”. Cruthaíonn na rinceoirí scéal an aistir trí chomhghníomhaíochtaí simplí maraon le damhsa drámatúil. Soiléirítear an próiséis cruthaitheach tríd an damhsa. Nochtar na fionnachtain atá aimsithe ag na rinceoirí le linn an aistir cruthaitheach don tionscnamh seo.’
Tracey Kirrane, Teacher
Lisa and I discussed ideas together and a lot of them came naturally from watching the children participate in the sessions. Being a teacher, I like structure on things, as I feel that the children need guidelines to follow so they know what my expectations are. I knew that there needed to be definite stages in our dance with very clear transitions so children could easily participate in the process. I first thought of the story ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen as it is a very clear depiction of a journey made up of individual sections. I discussed this with Lisa.
Lisa really liked the sculpture of the fish outside the school. This is where she got the idea of curved and straight lines. Children were taught to move in a variety of ways including different directions and heights, using various parts of the body.
Myself and Lisa had several meetings together to gather and share our ideas. I really felt we needed to start putting a plan in place as I felt we had a huge amount of ideas and there was no way that they could have been all incorporated into one dance.
Niamh Jordan, Student
Something I really liked, was the fact that the creative dance process overlapped and integrated with drama so much. The children were thinking creatively the entire time, embodying a character at times, and using movement and dance to express their emotions and feelings. In fact, I came to realise during the process, that there is so much scope for integration across the curriculum through the medium of creative dance. The use of the fish sculpture in this project as a stimulus for the creative dance, brought visual art into the process.
What I know now about dance? You can make anything of dance.
What aspects of the project made you smile? What aspects of the project made you feel challenged?
Tracey Kirrane, Teacher
I really enjoyed seeing the shy or nervous children getting really involved. They trusted the process and each week they engaged more and more. It was very important that the sessions didn’t go on too long as I could see the children’s attention was fading and it would not be beneficial to continue.
Lisa Cahill, Artist
The project was a bilingual project. This both terrified and excited me. I facilitated as much as I could through the language of Irish and encouraged the children to support me. I often had to pause and rely on body language or fewer words to describe tasks. I think this had an impact on how we used our bodies throughout the project. I did not always understand the children/ students or Tracey’s words. They slowed down, utilising their bodies to help me to understand. Towards the final stages of the project, I needed to speak more and more English. It did make me smile though as the students and children continued to speak in Irish to each other. It was a perfect collaboration in action.
Lauren O’ Callaghan, Student
I especially enjoyed the communication between myself and the children, particularly as it was through Irish and I love to speak Irish with children. I felt like I had helped a lot after the session, and I felt I had begun to build a relationship with the children.
Marie Casey, Student
The fact that the project was done mainly through Irish was also a great experience as it allowed me to see the power of creative dance and the ability to create dance in any language.
Lisa Cahill, Artist
A challenge I faced in this project was managing and threading together the ideas and movements, created by the children and students during their separate sessions. I used a variety of improvisation tasks to encourage the dancers to explore and tune into their own movement responses. This was balanced with taught sequences and opportunities for mutual learning. I utilised the working concept of ‘translation’. This concept requires you to consider how participants are doing something, not what they are doing. This philosophy is central to choreographer Cecilia Macfarlane’s practice and her work with Crossover Intergenerational Dance Company in Oxford, England. It meant that as part of our process all ideas were translatable across all the bodies and all ages. This is supported by careful selection of language in the framing of the ideas. I believe that the real value of this philosophy and working concept is that it allows for a shared ownership of the choreography and empowers participants to make choices.
As I look back at the project now, I smile with pride as I recall dancing with Tracey. In the final performance we danced a short duet together. I know that it meant the world to the children and student teachers to witness Tracey and I dance together. Like the children and students, we were dancing our ‘journey’ also.
Niamh Jordan, Student
Something that made me smile during this project was during one of our rehearsals in the university with the children. I had the opportunity to work with a small group of children (the map girls) as they were practicing their piece in the dance. I remember standing back and watching them practice and perform, and thinking how wonderfully they were working together as a group, and coming together to perform a piece. It was an eye-opener as to how inclusive creative dance can be to all children in the class, as it does not rely on academic ability at all. The girls were working together and relying on each other to remember the sequence and the dance that they had created themselves. It was really lovely to be a part of this.
What insights from the project are worth sharing? (These may seem small, but are significant to you)
Lisa Cahill, Artist
A personal objective I set for myself in this project was to pay close attention to my engagement with the other bodies.
In wishing to open up to the possibility of interaction with the teacher, children and students, I endeavoured to pay equal attention to my ‘self’ (my own process and learning) and to that of the other(s). I wanted to ‘receive’ in equal attention to ‘giving’. So I explored the framing and structuring of my own attention. I did this through journalling, studio time, drawing and art work, play time for myself with the sculpture, meetings with the Residency Co-ordinator and through discussions with the lecturers at The Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University who had expertise in a variety of areas (Art, Geography, Music and Irish). I met informally and interviewed formally the sculptor of the Fish, Joe Bulter. I also interviewed the former principal of the school Máirín Ni Cheileachar and the current principal Neil Ó Tarráin, , owing to a change in school leadership within the duration of the project.
Both Máirín and Neil were active partners in the project. I had regular meetings with Tracey and weekly email conversations. I enjoyed tea with the students and we discussed how we could support their engagement with the project within a very busy college schedule.
In engaging with the collaborators, I returned to a question in our shared dialogues throughout the project:
‘What do you know about dance now?’
‘What do I know about dance now?’
‘What do we know about dance now?’
Learning through practice was a key working philosophy for my own artistic practice and facilitation throughout the project. I endeavoured to trust and invite the knowledge that each individual has in their own body. I encouraged this in myself, the children, the students and Tracey. Making things our own, as a way to achieve deep learning. We all explored together and in separate spaces. Each person kept journals and had opportunities to share their reflections and considerations.
Louise Young, Student
In terms of dance as part of the curriculum, I found that there is so much scope in PE for dance outside the typical dances. Dance is an art and a set of lessons could easily be created around a theme or a concept, and this can develop throughout the weeks, giving the children the freedom to shape the dance and help it evolve. Dance can also be integrated into drama as an effective methodology, as well as SPHE as a means of self-expression.
Claire Casey, Student
I loved the way the children’s suggestions and ideas were taken on board as this meant that they had such an integral part in the whole project and they were really a part of it from the beginning to the end.
Dancing is like a different language, but your body does the talking.
I like dancing with everybody. They are good and I am.
Has anything changed as a result of the project?
Tracey Kirrane, Teacher
I can see a notable difference in the children’s confidence in relation to movement and dance and also in their confidence in speaking out and sharing their opinions and ideas. When some children started out they were very reluctant to engage as they felt it may have seemed silly. But as the weeks went by they gained confidence in their abilities and were less conscious of others around them. The children worked very well in their groups and some proved to be great group leaders.
On the morning of the performance the children were so excited and some a little nervous. They always knew there was no such thing as making a mistake and that if things didn’t go according to plan that they could continue on regardless. They astounded their parents during the performance and you could see how proud they were of their children. The video of the performance was shown at a whole school assembly. The children were in awe at what they saw and my class were so proud of all they had accomplished. I was extremely happy that I agreed to take part in this project and would most definitely recommend any class / school to participate in a dance project in the future.
Lisa Cahill, Artist
I would say now that my ambitions and aspirations have been heightened following this project. I notice that when I speak and write about this particular project, my spine lengthens and my back broadens. I notice a feeling of absolute resolution, a feeling of muscular activation through my whole body, but a softening in the left side of my chest, my heart open and warm. I believe in the partnership model, artist and teacher, student teacher and child, artist and child, etc. I believe in building a relationship through the acknowledgment of the unknown and the known. I recognise and acknowledge the child, the teacher and the artist within me – within each of us. I wish to receive the facets of each individual in relationship. At the centre of the partnership is our physical selves- the body. The dance of each body; the dance of two bodies relating – evolving and responding, trusting and growing.
In response to the question, ‘what is my response following this project?’ I can state: ‘a determination to continue to build dancing partnerships within our educational settings, a determination to continue to follow my interests and a need to listen and observe, respond and reflect.’
Marie Casey, Student
I have seen first hand the children becoming creative agents in the dance project, becoming integral to the project itself and the performance. As a teacher, I feel more comfortable in exploring dance with a class (on my most recent placement following this dance project I decided to teach creative dance during PE lessons) and I feel much more confident that maybe one day I could engage a class in a project like this, using their own experiences, using their environment and personalities to create a vibrant, interesting and memorable performance with the children’s work at its core.
“Everyone in the world can dance.”
“I now think dancing is really fun. […] The story is about a big adventure.”
“It’s all about doing adventure stuff and doing different shapes along the way.” (Child participant)