Children and young people will celebrate Ireland’s first Creative Schools Week from today (Mon), with student-led events set to transform arts centres and cultural institutions in five locations, as well as thousands of schools and Youthreach centres across Ireland.
The week celebrates the Creative Schools Initiative, which aims to put the arts and creativity at the heart of children and young people’s lives.
The Government this year doubled the number of schools participating directly in the initiative to 300.
One-day flagship events will take place in Ballybofey, Cork, Galway, Mullingar and Dublin to give children and young people from Creative Schools and Creative Clusters the opportunity to share their work.
All events are open to the public and include student-led workshops, live performances and exhibited work such as mind maps, plans, artefacts, and film and video pieces. In addition, every school in the State – almost 4,000 primary, post-primary schools and Youthreach centres – have been invited to participate in the week, with a schools celebration pack available for download.
The week’s first event takes place today at the Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal, from 11 am to 1.30 pm with a full programme of events.
This includes a contemporary dance performance from 5th class students at St. Patrick’s Girl’s N.S. in Carndonagh, Co. Donegal, who worked with dance instructor Jessica Peoples to create dance movements reflecting and telling the story of the whale’s plight after swallowing plastics in the sea, and how our actions can change the outcomes for the whale.
“This week is an opportunity for children, young people and teachers to celebrate their creativity within their schools,” said Joe McHugh TD, Minister for Education and Skills. “I encourage every single school in the country to participate — take over the school tannoy and broadcast some poetry or song, or unveil your school mural or graffiti area!”
Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, praised the initiative: “This partnership is a real demonstration of what can be achieved when all of our departments and agencies work together. Schoolchildren today and into the future will reap the benefits of this imaginative programme.”
The events will give children and young people from across Ireland the opportunity to lead, to take over, to showcase and to share their learning and engagement in the artistic, cultural and creative life of their school and wider community.
Arts Council Director, Orlaith McBride, said: “The Arts Council is delighted to be delivering Creative Schools as part of the cross-government Creative Ireland programme in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
“The Arts Council has worked for many years ensuring that the arts are embedded in the lives of children.
“Creative Schools offers a wonderful opportunity for children and young people to experience the arts in their school environment working with artists, teachers, arts organisations and the whole school community.
“Creativity and the capacity to be imaginative and innovative are critical life skills which access to the arts can nurture and develop.
“We are very proud to be supporting this inaugural Creative Schools Week across the country this week and hope that it will only grow and expand as we continue to develop the programme.”
Schools hosting their own in-school celebration events can shout it out on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag for the Creative Schools week: #OurCreativeSchool.
Additionally, the fourth annual National Arts in Education Portal Day will take place on November 9th at The Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) in partnership with ILAS and Baboró.
The line-up includes a broad range of practical workshops and skills sharing as well as theoretical and critical thinking in the area from artists, teachers and practitioners from across the sector.
This event brings together members of the arts in the education community from all across Ireland, to share, learn, talk, network, get inspired, and continue interrogating best practice in the field.