Community art in Ireland

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The history of community art in the island of Ireland has coincided not only with huge changes similar to those undergone by some other European countries, but also by a long period of violence and conflict. Inevitably, both have had a profound influence on the practice and its development, even when the work did not engage directly with it.

  • Some of the flavour of that history can be found on the site of The Legacy Papers, which looks art the past and future of community arts in Ireland. It includes historic documents, reports and recent interviews with practitioners.
  • There’s also Sandy Craig’s edited volume, from 2004, An Outburst of Frankness: Community Arts in Ireland – A Reader, published in Dublin by TASC at New Ireland.
  • In Northern Ireland, the Community Arts Partnership promotes community arts practice and projects. A Coming of Age (PDF 5.5MB) is an account of the earlier days of community arts in the region. CAP have also published Between Ourselves –exploring interculturalism through intercommunity creative practice, which can be downloaded here or purchased in print through CAP.
  • Bealtaine, Ireland’s national festival of creative ageing has been growing stronger and stronger since 1995, and participatory art is at the centre of its work. This evaluation report is a good account of its value:  Ní Léime A., & O’Shea, E., 2008, The Bealtaine Festival, A Celebration of Older People in the Arts, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Galway.