Age & Opportunity is seeking applications from professional artists* with an interest and background in the arts and older people in a care context, to participate in the second iteration of Age & Opportunity’s professional development Arts initiative, the Artists Care Exchange (ACE). Professional artists from a wide range of art forms are encouraged to apply, including but not limited to visual arts, dance, theatre, creative writing, music, circus and multidisciplinary arts.
ACE will offer six – eight professional artists who work in care settings with older people an opportunity to exchange information, advice, and experiences in a group situation, whilst also learning from a range of experts in the social, medical, and arts fields.
In response to public query Age & Opportunity is also offering a travel stipend for those travelling from outside Dublin to attend the first session of ACE. We believe in-person attendance at this session is critical to achieving the aims of the training programme.
Age & Opportunity will reimburse travel expenses up to €60 with the provision of receipts to those who make the journey to Dublin to attend the first ACE introductory session.
Please note that Age & Opportunity welcomes applications from all communities, and particularly encourages artists from underrepresented communities to apply. In line with the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, and in line with our core funders, Age & Opportunity is committed to ensuring that it takes positive policy measures and commitments to promote equality of opportunity for all those living in Ireland, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, civil or family status, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller Community. Furthermore, Age & Opportunity notes the ground of socioeconomic background as a further basis for which equality of opportunity must be guaranteed. As such, Age & Opportunity is committed to increasing the diversity and inclusion of our work.
*While there is no one definition of a professional artist, we would suggest that it relates to someone who is either making a living from or attempting to make a living from their work. Membership of a professional representative body such as: Visual Artists Ireland, Film Director’s Ireland, Association of Irish Composers etc. could also be used to demonstrate status as a professional artist.
Louth & Meath Arts Offices today announced the successful recipients of their Age & Opportunity Tyrone Guthrie Residency Awards. Susan Connolly is the Louth winner while Fiona Kerbey is the Meath winner. Both artists receive a funded week-long residency in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, including a small stipend.
The awards aim to support professional artists aged 50+ to develop their practice, by creating time and space to think and reflect on their work and to bolster their peer network. The awards were opened for applications in May for artists based in Louth and in Meath.
Susan, from Drogheda in Louth, is a poet who has been published widely in journals and magazines throughout Ireland and the UK. Collaborations with writer and photographer Anne-Marie Moroney include Race to the Sea (1999) and Winterlight (2002). Several of her poems have been set to music by composers Michael Holohan and James Wilson and some of her work has appeared on The Poetry Programme on RTÉ Radio 1. In 2001 she was awarded the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. Susan has had 3 collections of poetry printed over the years and is currently working on her fourth which will be the main focus of her stay at the Centre.
Fiona Kerbey is from Meath and completed her MA at NCAD having previously graduated from Limerick School of Art & Design where she studied Ceramics. She has exhibited in curated selected shows nationally. In 2022 she had her first professional solo show at Droichead Arts Centre. Her work has been collected by Drogheda Municipal Art collection; Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda; Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Office of Public Works. She intends to concentrate on a body of new work during her stay at the Centre.
Announcement of Recipients of the Fingal County Council, Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Bealtaine Festival Residency Award 2023
Fingal Arts Office in partnership with the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival are delighted to announce Colette Cullen and James English as the recipients of the Fingal County Council, Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Bealtaine Festival Residency Award. This award aims to celebrate and support older artists at all stages of their careers working in literature and visual arts.
Colette Cullen, a playwright and James English RHA, a painter, will commence their residencies in the coming months at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in the beautiful, tranquil setting of County Monaghan. The award, which comprises of a four-week residency including a travel and materials stipend, will provide an ideal environment for the successful recipients to research and develop new work with the potential to present outcomes during Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival 2024.
When asked about the award Colette Cullen said, “Receiving the Fingal County Council, Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Bealtaine Festival Residency Award is an incredible boost to my playwriting career as it provides me with the time and space to work on a challenging new project which will have a hugely beneficial impact on my creative practice and my development as an artist.”
James English commented, “I’m delighted and honoured to have received this year’s Fingal Arts Office, Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Bealtaine Festival Residency Award. A residency in such a beautiful place with other creatives is conducive to developing new ideas for my work as a painter. I am so much looking forward to spending time there.”
About the Artists
Colette Cullen is a playwright and theatre director. Her critically acclaimed play WHEN RACHEL MET FIONA finished a run at The New Theatre in April. A UK production premiered at The Space, London in 2021. Her follow-on play NO PROMISES had a rehearsed reading in The New Theatre in July 2022 and was shortlisted (Honorable Mention) ‘Epiphanies New Work Festival 2022’ and the ‘Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Festival 2022’. Her audio play FINGERS CROSSED dropped on Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Chicago’s ‘Half Hour Radio Hour’ in May. She will direct an Irish production for Near FM in 2023. Her audio play BLIND DATE dropped on Near FM in February. Her play FAMILY TREE, longlisted for the Papatango Prize 2019, had a rehearsed reading at ATC Studios, New Jersey in October 2022. She co-wrote the Chicago-set, prize-winning audio crime drama series DEEP SHADOWS for Eclectic Full Contact Theatre. Her short plays EVERYONE’S SORRY and SHOPPING DAYS continue to be internationally produced.
James English is a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and is renowned for still life and landscape paintings which respond to his interest in nature and ornithology, often capturingshadow patterns, abstract forms and reflections in water. He served two terms as a Board Member of the RHA School and the RHA Programme Board. He also served as a member of the Board of Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland from May 2017 to May 2020 where he was Chair of the Acquisitions and Exhibitions. His work is held in many private and public collection both in Ireland and abroad.
Images courtesy of the artists.
When Rachel Met Fiona, 2022 by Colette Cullen. Directed by Iseult Golden featuring Eilish McLaughlin (left) & Emma Dargan-Reid (right). Photographer: Al Craig
River Sedges, 2023 by James English, Oil on canvas, 75 x 60cm. Photographer Gillian Buckley
The artistic and creative potential and talents of nursing home residents are being celebrated in communities across Ireland today, Friday, 19th May 2023. National Arts in Nursing Homes Day will see performances, exhibitions and celebratory events hosted in nursing homes as part of our annual Bealtaine Festival, celebrating the arts and creativity as we age.
National Arts in Nursing Homes Day is once again a partnership between Age and Opportunity and Nursing Homes Ireland.
Events lined up include art and craft exhibitions of resident painting, pottery and knitting creations, and performances. There will be a series of concerts in nursing homes across Co Louth and a resident choir recital in Co Cavan.
In Co Kilkenny, residents of Mooncoin Residential Care Centre will present the fruits of their participation in an arts project If These Hands Could Sing. For successive weeks they have explored the theme of reminiscence through the five senses, with the support of artist musician Liam Merriman. If These Hands Could Sing was the winner of the 2022 National Arts in Nursing Homes Day Award.
“One of the key aims of our work is to ensure that older people have access to the arts no matter where they live in Ireland”, says Tara Byrne, Age & Opportunity Arts Programme Manager. “Our partnership with Nursing Homes Ireland for this special day is a cornerstone of our drive to support meaningful arts making and engagement in our later lives.”
Tadhg Daly, Nursing Homes Ireland CEO says: “Participation in the arts occurs at all ages and fulfils a particularly important role in supporting people in nursing homes. The arts allow nursing home residents to express themselves, to enable their creative talents to flourish, to bond, and enjoy very happy and memorable moments.”
“National Arts in Nursing Homes Day is an occasion to applaud the creative talents of nursing home residents and the role the arts fulfils in supporting them. We are extremely proud to partner with Age and Opportunity for this very special initiative.”
Writer & visual artists receive Age & Opportunity 2023 Arts Awards
Age & Opportunity’s Arts programme is delighted to announce the recipients of its three Artists awards – the Creative Ageing Writing Bursary goes to Laurence McKeown, the Professional Development Artist Award to Maree Hensey and the Emerging Artist Award to Katie Nolan.
“We hope the awards honour the contribution that these artists are making to the arts in Ireland. We are delighted to be able to support them in developing their work,” said Tara Byrne, Arts Programme Manager. “Like the Bealtaine Festival, the awards serve to remind us of the potential in all of us to sustain and realise our creativity no matter what age we are.”
Creative Ageing Writing Bursary
Launched in 2021, the Age & Opportunity Creative Ageing Writing Bursary aims to generate discussion, debate and knowledge about creative ageing in Ireland. The recipient is charged with writing an essay or reflection that will be useful for people who work with or are thinking of working with older people, including older artists.
This year’s recipient, Laurence McKeown, is a writer and former republican prisoner in the North of Ireland from 1976-1992. During that time, he took part in the protests for the return of political status and spent 70 days on hunger strike in 1981.
On receiving the award Laurence said it would allow him time to reflect upon his practice over the past 30+ years and the changes that have occurred in him and in and what it is he now wants to say. He would “write what I’ve discovered about about myself and other people; about humanity, about the power of words and the opportunity to speak, write, and record words.”
In the later years of his imprisonment Laurence was heavily involved in the development and delivery of the prisoners’ own educational programme.
Since his release Laurence has written extensively about the prison experience – in a doctoral thesis (published in 2002 titled Out of Time), a feature film (H3), a play (The Laughter of our Children), and numerous articles and book chapters. His recent prison memoir, Time Shadows (2021), covers the first five years of his imprisonment detailing his experiences on the blanket protest and hunger strike.
In December 2018 Salmon Poetry published Laurence’s debut collection of poetry titled Threads.
Over the past 15 years Laurence has collaborated with Kabosh Theatre, Belfast who have produced several of his plays including Green And Blue, which is based on an oral archive of serving RUC and An Garda Síochána officers.
Professional Development Artist Award
First awarded in 2022, the Professional Development Artist Award aims to celebrate lifelong learning by encouraging and supporting professional older artists who wish to further develop their career and practice.
This year’s awardee, Maree Hensey, is a visual artist whose practice encompasses drawing, print sculpture, installation and collaboration. She appreciates the value and intrinsic importance of her practice, its authenticity and genuine benefits, as she gets older.
“I believe I have a something to say and am always seeking new visual languages to express this. The Professional Development Artist Award will support the development of my art practice. It will validate the point to where I have got to and where to go next.”
Her practice increases her visibility. It ignites her interest and passion to broaden her skills. Material is an integral component in her practice. She uses materials that are rich in associations and investigates ways to transform them, often projecting new identities and layers of meaning onto the work in doing so.
Maree has completed several Public Art Commissions, Site Specific Installations, Artist in Residence programmes and Community Based Participatory Art projects. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including group shows in Roscommon Arts Centre; the Hamilton Gallery, Co. Sligo; Drawing Box International, Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece; Script III, Envision Art Show, USA; and Drawing Box International, Galerie Abstract Project, Paris, France.
Emerging Artist Bursary
The Age & Opportunity Emerging Artist Bursary, also inaugurated in 2022, aims to encourage and support older artists who are at an early stage in their career. It celebrates the determination and achievements of someone in the second half of their life who has embarked on a full-time artistic path with a view to becoming a professional artist.
This year’s recipient, Katie Nolan, returned to education aged 50. As someone in the early stages of her professional career, she says the award will be “pivotal in giving me the time, confidence and funds to delve deeper into my current explorations into historical practices of wool production in Ireland, the associated impacts on social, cultural and economic development”.
Katie completed her BA in Visual Art on Sherkin Island and in 2022 graduated with first class honours from TU Dublin’s MA Art & Environment. She aims to create opportunities for the development of reflective expression that can bring humanity’s desensitised relationship to the planet to a broader aesthetic awareness.
Katie’s practice is research based and she has an ardent interest in the relationship between humanity and technology. Her work has explored the entropic nature of our digital culture and the resulting impacts on the wider environment. Using performative processes of creative engagement, her current practice also engages with video, sound, sculptural form and site-specific installation.
We have an opportunity for a candidate with a strong administration background to join our Arts Programme team as our Arts Programme Administrator. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the area of arts and ageing, working in a very rewarding and diverse role.
Position: Full-time, 37.5 hours per week
Salary: €32,000 per annum
Reporting to: Arts Programme Manager (and Arts Programme Assistant Manager in her absence).
Location: Hybrid. This will involve a mixture of working from home and a requirement to attend our offices / events in Dublin for a certain portion of the week. The employee may also be required to travel nationally for a number of Bealtaine events (usually between 2 and 3 events).
We are delighted to launch the Bealtaine Festival programme 2023. Bealtaine is Ireland’s national celebration of the arts and creativity as we age, funded by the Arts Council and the HSE, and supported by communities nationwide and a vast and accomplished array of local and national bodies.
Throughout May, across a comprehensive and distinguished programme, Bealtaine 2023, champions generational interdependence and diversity.
This year’s programme features Bealtaine on Screen, which includes Lorna Fitzsimon’s Dance Till Dán, Jacek Snochowski’s Rhizome, Fatima Groups United’s LGBTQ+ history film, Holding Our History and Shaun Dunne and Jessica Kennedy’s Over/Pass, a Bealtaine commissioned dance film that considers care, loyalty and intimacy. In addition, Bealtaine teams up once again with access>CINEMA and Wild Strawberries, the Irish Film Institute’s film club for over 55s, for a number of special film screenings.
Digging, an exciting regional programme of literature events at this year’s festival, in partnership with The Dock in Leitrim, Laois Arts Office and Wexford Arts Office, includes public readings by award winning debut writers Carmel McMahon and Alice Kinsella. Former Rooney Prize for Literature winner, Claire Keegan will perform a reading and conduct a Q&A session at Wexford Arts Centre and Eileen Casey will conduct a number of memoir writing workshops.
A remarkable inclusion in this year’s festival is The Poetry Line where people are invited to sign up to receive a phone call from a roster of acclaimed poets, including Thomas McCarthy, Jane Clarke, Mícheál McCann, Rachael Hegarty and Molly Twomey. While Standing on the Shoulders of Giants presents Niamh Mulvey and Joseph O’Connor in conversation.
Music highlights include Beside the Sea – an innovative staged work for violinists by composer Ian Wilson and Bealtaine Voices with Mike Hanrahan of Stockton’s Wing showcasing local choirs from different communities, including Ukraine. While at The Sugar Club on Leeson Street, Tom Dunne, Jerry Fish and Alan Connor, through music and conversation, explore some of their favourite songs of the 1970s & 1980s.
Bealtaine is excited to announce nationwide street performances by The Grannies, an acrobatic and comedic tour de force that must be seen, as must the Holy Show Party Piece, a cabaret show that includes performers John Spillane, Little John Nee and Lisa McInerney.
Unshrinking Violets celebrates 50 years of Lesbian Activism with a dedicated exhibition of activist/protest ephemera and a screening of Sonya Mulligan’s documentary Outitude charting the Irish Lesbian Community from the 1970s to the 2015 marriage referendum.
Bealtaine also includes a dedicated schedule of workshops including Art Writing, Botanical Drawing, Creative Writing for Beginners, as well as Comedy and Circus Workshops. Elsewhere Roots & Shoots is an exciting nationwide programme of Visual Arts. While the Bealtaine Online Discussion Series concentrates on intergenerational relationships with an emphasis on ageing masculine identities, with panelists including Director of the Dublin International Film Festival, Grainne Humphreys, film-maker Ken Wardrop and author Michael Harding.
In addition to the programme of events above, which is curated directly by Age & Opportunity, Bealtaine includes hundreds of community events nationwide. Artists, arts organisations, community groups and individual organisers are invited to register their events on bealtaine.ie.
Age & Opportunity is seeking tenders from key individuals with an interest and background in the arts and older people in a care context, to act as facilitator of the Artists Care Exchange (ACE). This is the second iteration of this initiative, which aims to support artists working with older people in care settings by increasing their knowledge, building connections, and offering mentorship. We wish to appoint a facilitator from September to December 2023, with some additional work in the recruitment of participants in June/July.
ACE will offer professional artists who work in care settings and/or with older people an opportunity to exchange information, advice, and experiences in a group situation, whilst also learning from a range of experts in the social, medical, and arts fields. The initiative comprises of 6 online and 1 in person session, as well as mentorship from an experienced artist.
The purpose of the facilitator is to work with the Age & Opportunity team to plan, manage, and host the seven facilitated sessions and devise mentoring sessions for a group of artists between October and December 2023.
Bealtaine is expanding its programme and audiences and we are seeking tenders from key individuals or organisations for two exciting programming opportunities to work on Bealtaine 2024 – 2026. We wish to appoint both a Literature and a Visual Arts Programmer from June 2023 – June 2026.
The purpose of this process is to recruit two Programmers who will work with the Artistic Director of the festival to select, develop, manage and promote the literature and visual arts programme of the Bealtaine Festival 2024- 2026.
Age & Opportunity and Nursing Homes Ireland are delighted to announce three award recipients for this year’s National Arts in Nursing Homes Day Award – Mooncoin Residential Care Centre, Co Kilkenny; Borris Lodge Nursing Home, Co Carlow; and Highfield Healthcare, Whitehall, Dublin.
Now in its third year, National Arts in Nursing Homes Day takes place on the third Friday of May as part of Bealtaine Festival, Ireland’s national celebration of the arts and creativity as we age. It showcases the wonderful but often hidden creative activity taking place with residents of nursing homes and in day care centres. Three innovative arts projects were selected from entries received from nursing homes and care centres across the country. They are creatively engaging nursing home residents in projects that will be unveiled on National Arts in Nursing Homes Day, 19th May.
An award of €1000 is going to Mooncoin Residential Care Centre, Co Kilkenny for an exciting song-writing project that is being led by musician Liam Merriman. A multi artform approach is being undertaken to bring residents’ creativity to the fore. The project will culminate with the creation of a piece of music encompassing lyrics captured from reminiscence sessions with residents. The recording with residents and a short documentary of the project will be screened at a celebratory event on National Arts in Nursing Homes Day.
The winners of two €500 awards are:
Borris Lodge Nursing Home, Co Carlow, who will stage an exhibition of their work as part of their dynamic Borris Lace Exchange Project;
Highfield Healthcare, Whitehall, Dublin, who will engage a local artist to facilitate AZURE – slow, art-looking – sessions with residents living with dementia.
Over the coming weeks, nursing homes across the country will be preparing art-themed celebrations for National Arts in Nursing Homes Day, 19th May, and the Bealtaine Festival. In 2022 around 100 nursing homes across the country hosted celebrations, with 2023 looking to build upon previous years’ successes. Nursing home staff, residents, members of day care centres and their families and visitors will participate in celebrations.
Tara Byrne, Arts Programme Manager in Age & Opportunity said: “We want to support, encourage and celebrate everyday arts and creativity as an integral and vital part of the activities of the care settings around Ireland. The NANHD award does this by encouraging nursing homes and day care centres to think deeply about their residents’ interests and most importantly, potential.”
Tadhg Daly, CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland said: “National Arts in Nursing Homes Day is a very special celebration taking place in communities across Ireland recognising the creativity of people in our nursing homes and the integral role the arts fulfils in supporting them. The Award provides NHI and Age & Opportunity with opportunity to support innovative artistic projects with residents. We are delighted to support the creativity exemplified by the winning entries this year.”
NANHD Information webinar – Thursday 30th March, 2-3.30pm
Activity co-ordinators and any staff of nursing home or day centre who are interested in organising and registering an event to celebrate the day are invited to a free information webinar on Thursday 30th March, 2-3.30pm.
It will include handy resources, ideas and tips for devising and planning an event.
The webinar will also be made available as a recording for those who cannot attend on the day.