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Arts in Education Portal Regional Day 2024 Roundup

Arts in Education Portal

Teachers, artists and arts in eduction professionals gathered in Sligo Education Centre on Saturday last for a day of sharing experience, gathering new ideas and networking with colleagues. This, the eighth of our Portal Regional Days, focused on best arts and creativity in education practice in the Northwest. This year’s gathering also saw attendees travel from Galway and Dublin.

The morning session saw two highly engaging presentations which demonstrated excellent Teacher Creative Practitioner/Artist partnerships.  The first was from artist Andy Parsons and teacher Triona O’Dowd Hill who brought to life  their process-based, abstract art project undertaken by Triona’s class at St Cecilia’s School, Sligo; a school that caters for students with moderate to profound learning disabilities.⠀The project, facilitated by Kids’ Own Publishing, focused on the partnerships between teacher and artist, and between artist and students. Triona and Andy spoke of the many ways the students asserted their creative voice and the sense of equality brought to the project by inviting TY students from the Ursuline College to participate in a collaborative session. The second presentation was delivered by teacher Karen Brogan and arts professional Leslie Ryan on their Creative Cluster project involving a group of five rural schools in West Sligo. Karen started by describing their project as an adventure, in which they took creativity and the creative arts as a lens in which to explore their local heritage, ecology and environment. They highlighted the benefits and the opportunities that came from working as a Creative Cluster and the impact it had within their schools and wider local communities.

Image: Artist Andy Parsons and teacher Triona O’Dowd Hill (left) and teacher Karen Brogan and arts professsional Leslie Ryan (right) speaking at the 2024 Regional Day

Before breaking for lunch, practical advice was provided through two sector bulletins where attendees heard from Daragh McDaid, Director Sligo Education Centre and Rhona McGrath of Roscommon County Council Arts Office who provide an overview of the supports and initiatives available through ESCI and the Local Authority Arts Offices.

After a morning of sharing practice, the group enjoyed a fab lunch catered by Blend Cafe.

Two creative workshops were available in the afternoon session, these offered attendees fun, stimulating, hands-on activities. Kathleen Gallagher led an interactive art workshop with Scratch and Makey Makey. Participants were encouraged to think outside the box and transform everyday objects into touchpads that interact with computers, bringing the worlds of coding and art together. Meanwhile Maeve Pudney, co-owner of artisan design studio Pop Out Projects immersed participants into the traditional craft of weaving using a bespoke table-top loom and genuine Donegal tweed wool yarn. Participants tried their hand at creating colourful bookmarks and coasters, seeing enormous possibilities for application within the classroom.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on the day. For those who missed the mornings discussions, we recorded both of the main talks and these will be available as podcasts later in the summer.




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