Des Kenny talks to Andrew Carson Artist in Residence at Draiocht

July 7, 2015

07 July 2015 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny chats to Andrew Carson ...  

Andrew Carson is the current Artist in Residence in Draiocht Blanchardstown, until December 2015.

Large unadorned glass windows reveal the inner sanctum of the Artist’s Studio to the passing public as they meander with restless intent through the clamorous bustle of a commercial shopping centre. The transparent shield of glass protects the studio from prevailing urgency of time speeding forward as shoppers obey the beckoning call of consumerism. Inside the studio time moves slower, snared by the artist’s reluctance to allow creativity become a porous commodity but a place where the imagination unfolds unbound in dream like intervals. Now and then a passerby smitten by curiosity will stop and look at the artist as he works and maybe walk away with an incomprehensible desire to reflect on the hubris of modern life. Andrew displays a video at night to create an audience for his practice when he is absent from the studio. The video contains people walking back and forth on a nameless street overlaid with words of a song. The words of the song surround and occupy the same space as the people in the video, not impeding their passage but allowing the world pass by in a stream of subliminal information.

We talk over the methodical whirr of a machine that is cutting paper to a design created by the artist. The paper is covered with a protective plastic film upon which a dark night sky is displayed. The odd star twinkles in the all consuming infinite darkness. The paper is then folded and a tetrahedron is constructed.  These objects are found hanging from the ceiling in various arrangements or are placed on a pedestal to form a pyramid structure. In one particular format they are suspended from the ceiling silhouetted against a black painted wall granting the illusion that they float unaided in space like a magicians trick. In another arrangement they hang like a mobile Calder-like sculpture which begins to twirl in a confined orbit after a gentle nudge from the artist. He tells me that the work is displayed in an experimental fashion and a final decision waits unuttered. The large studio space permits the artist room to gaze languidly inwards into the rarefied hinterland of the imagination and then glance into the distance of concrete reality and discover if an idea can satisfy both inner and outer realms. This is a luxury for the artist as he explains how he shared a space with a number of other artists and the constant demands to negotiate and accommodate the needs of each person’s artistic ambitions aggravates the calm required to produce art.

Fixed to a supporting pillar is a large sheet of binary notation. The artist explains that it is part of a coded message sent into space on a satellite searching for life in outer space. It is the artist’s intention to make a large version of this message and display it in some fashion in a future exhibition. The off cuts from this process are not discarded but find themselves stuck on the opposite side of the pillar and create a meandering line searching for a purpose.

On a makeshift table a cowled figurine like an unannounced dark prophecy stands starkly profiled against a white wall. Maybe it is a machete for a grand sculpture where a larger version will reveal the reason for its shrouded mystery. Beside the figurine is a bug eyed skull that appears to gaze humorously at life’s unfulfilled expectations. The skull knows our final destination and whether time moves slow or quick we are destined to meet in his breathless kingdom.

Some artists draw the blinds down while working in the Draiocht Studio, demanding privacy and excluding the outside world from interfering with the creative process. Andrew Carson allows the passing world look at him making art, fulfilling the vision of the buildings architect who thought the artist and the local community could engage openly. This discourse the architect believed would have a profound effect, enriching the lives of both parties.

Read more about Andrew ... here ...

Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Andrew Carson, Desmond Kenny,

Draiocht - Visual Arts Curator Residency Scheme

July 2, 2015

Visual Arts Curator Residency Scheme

Fingal Arts Office & Draiocht are seeking expressions of interest from Curators who wish to avail of the Arts Council’s ‘Visual Arts Curator Residency Scheme’.

The purpose of this scheme is to offer Visual Arts Curators the opportunity to research and develop their practice, while developing a year-long work programme in partnership with multi-disciplinary venues and local authorities.

The aims of this scheme are to:

- offer opportunities to curators  across the country to research and develop a programme of work relevant to the progression of their own practice;
- offer opportunities to multi-disciplinary venues and local authorities to develop curatorial practice in their geographical area;
- encourage a considered approach to, and innovative ways of, engaging local audiences with high-quality contemporary visual arts at local/regional level;
- encourage the development of long-term planning and sustainability of high-quality visual arts activities within multi-disciplinary venues;
- to encourage a co-ordinated approach between key arts providers at local/regional level.


Those wishing to apply, must:
- Submit an expression of interest which outlines why they would like to undertake the role of Visual Arts Curator in Draiocht and how it will benefit their practice (no longer than 500 words/A4).
- Submit a
 recent C.V/Biography

Please submit expression of interest, C.V, and links to relevant work within a pdf document.

Deadline for Expressions of interest 31 July 2015 submitted by email to:


Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts,

Draíocht Youth Film Club: 8 Week Journal

June 18, 2015

Draíocht in Partnership with Fingal County Council's Arts Office was delighted to offer young people the opportunity to establish a Youth Film Club in Draíocht! 
This 8 week course was delivered on Tuesday evenings by multimedia experts CreateSchool at Draíocht, starting on Tuesday 3rd February 2015. The course catered for 14-18 year olds and one of CreateSchool's Tutors Cormac kept an 8 Week Journal for us, complete with the finished videos!

Draíocht Film Club: 8 Week Journal
By Cormac McDonagh from CREATESCHOOL

Tutors: Cormac McDonagh & Joseph Orr
Participants: 16


Myself and Joseph from Createschool have started running a Draíocht Youth Film Club in Draíocht in Blanchardstown. This consists of 8 two-and a-half hour classes, one every Tuesday evening for the 8 weeks. During this time the group of approximately 16 youths will write, produce, shoot and edit two short films of approximately 3-5 minutes in length. Participants will make up the entire cast and crew of each film, thereby getting to grips with whatever areas of filmmaking they have an interest in such as  mainly acting, writing, camera, sound, editing, art direction with also an awareness of script supervision and continuity, “crossing the line” and story structure. We tend to not appoint a director given the experience level of all participants is the same and prefer to keep the filming group open to input from everyone as well as help from myself and Joseph, as to what direction the filming goes.  

Week 1

In the opening class we started with a meet and greet whereby each participant introduced themselves and also highlighted what their favourite films are and what area of filmmaking they would most like to gain experience in through the course. We then did covered the basics of screenwriting and dramatic structure, starting from Aristotle’s “Poetics” and using modern-day examples to illustrate how his classical structure still influences modern screenwriting, even after over two thousand years! We used examples from ‘Star Wars Episode IV’ and ‘Batman Begins’ to illustrate the use of the ‘Inciting Incident’ that propels the hero of a storyboard into action and the ‘Lock In’ that gives them no choice but to pursue their objective and thus set up the film’s action. Interested in knowing more? Check out this very useful site for examples and info 
After this I ran an impromptu acting improvisation exercise to help demonstrate character objective within scenes which also got the participants that were keen on acting to get started.  

Week 2

This week we started by asking participants to use what they had learned in Week 1 to start developing story ideas. Participants were also divided into two groups and filmed and edited a very short scene within the class to get used to the Camera and Sound equipment and also get introduced to using the iMovie App for editing. Each scene was shot and edited within the given timeframe and we asked for Week 3 that each participant come in with an idea for a short film anywhere between 3-5 minutes in length and restricted to three locations for shooting within Draíocht. We requested that the idea be presented in a synopsis ie. a summary of the story in one or two sentences and then if possible do a treatment of the film which is a written description of the events / scenes but not in scripted format.  

Week 3  

At the start of the class, any participant with an idea was asked to pitch it to the group using their prepared synopsis or treatment. We had a very positive response in terms of ideas and clarity of vision. As participants pitched we also asked them what their preferences were with regard to crew positions or acting, in order to get a good idea of how to cater for everyone as well as have enough cast and crew to fill two productions. Two films were what we felt would be feasible in the remaining weeks in terms of prepping, shooting and finishing in post-production by week 7 or 8. There was a refreshingly diverse choice of ideas, spanning several genres. As myself and Joseph decided on which stories would be chosen for production, the participants partook in another small camera exercise, again getting to grips with angles, avoiding crossing the line and the different styles of shooting ie. Using the tripod, handheld and moving with the actors. In the end due to the rich choice of ideas and different styles myself and Joseph decided to amalgamate 2/3 different ideas per production to accommodate as many written ideas as possible into each production. Decisions were strongly influenced by practicality, given we had to shoot entirely on Draíocht's premises. The chosen productions were ‘Zombie Switch’, about a lab accident which triggers a Zombie breakout and ‘Fleur’ which is about an obsessive theatre actress going to extreme lengths to get into the limelight. All of the writers involved were asked to come in with at least one scene each for Week 4 in order to bridge the writing together and have a shooting script and start filming. Participants were also given either acting parts in each film or crew positions, or both if possible.

Week 4  

Both ‘Zombie Switch’ and ‘Fleur’ started shooting this week within Draíocht's building with at least one scene from each being completed. All participants were busy either acting in front of camera, working the camera, recording sound, contributing to art direction by supplying props and costumes with also an eye on continuity ie. what should be in the correct place from shot-to-shot. This can be anything from props in the frame, to an actor’s position and even making sure they say the same lines from shot to shot in order to help the edit. Actors and camera crew also learned about hitting marks ie. what spot an actor has to reach in order to be in the correct position for the frame.  

Week 5  

This week shooting continued on both films ‘Fleur’ and ‘Zombie Switch’  with some more scenes filmed in different locations around Draíocht. As ‘Fleur’ is set in a theatre we have utilised already the dressing rooms, seating area in the theatre and the stage itself. ‘Zombie Switch’ has used a kitchen as a science lab. And utilised the Green Room also. It had been planned to complete shooting on both films this week but time was as ever a factor so filming will have to be completed in Week 6 whilst also starting on post-production. Also both groups have, due to time constraints not yet picked up atmos tracks for each scene due to being pushed for time but fortunately as we are filming at the same locations each week we can record the tracks next week. Sound is a key department yet sometimes is overlooked and if so can affect the overall film in the edit so important to always ensure sound is of the same quality as your picture when you get that take you know is the right one. If you do, maybe do another one as well for safety if time allows.  

Week 6

Shooting began more or less straight away on both films this week. Different approaches to both films are now evident. ‘Fleur’ completed filming by the end of the class so now has all the required footage “in the can” so to speak and two of the crew got busy at the start of the class with the assembly which is the beginning of the edit when the editors/assistant editors review the rough footage or “rushes” as they are also known and select the good takes. The takes are then lined up on the “timeline” on the iMovie app scene-by-scene in a linear form and then a more refined edit can begin. More information on the editing process will be available in Week 7 as both films wrap. The crew on ‘Zombie Switch’ worked equally as hard all class to shoot more scenes and although they will need more time in Week 7 to complete shooting, they opted to begin editing in Week 4 ie. edit each scene as they go so they will probably find it easier when shooting ends as the assembly  will have be almost completed. This method of editing can be a good indicator of pace within your film or perhaps if you have covered your scenes with enough footage or not and if not maybe go back and shoot more of the scene or “pick-ups” as they are known. Both methods are justified but being able to edit quickly after shooting and getting a rough cut straight after shooting is one of the clear benefits of shooting your film and editing it on the same device.  

Week 7 

This week the cast and crew of ‘Zombie Switch’ filmed their final scenes and managed to almost reach the end of their edit too. Meanwhile the ‘Fleur’ team finished their edit and started work on their credits. A lot of the edit at this point was trimming scenes and giving the films a flow as well as adding the atmos tracks to give scenes a more realistic feel and improve audio quality. Also ADR can be used. This stands for ‘Automatic Dialogue Replacement’ which involves an actor re-recording his/her line(s) in a scene (preferably in a studio space while viewing the footage) due to the original recording not being usable or maybe some other noise interference. It can also be down to the common mishap on just forgetting to turn the microphone on! So it is always good to check your mic is on by looking for the green light. Similarly if you are in doubt as to the audio quality of a take, don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to play it back to make sure your sound is good. ADR is always a handy option when you need it but personally I prefer to use as must high quality audio recorded on set as possible. It’s also good practice for anyone in the Sound Department to try and get the best takes possible. It was an important week as it set up both films to be completed on the final week with time to spare for a screening. Any additional audio tracks such as wild tracks of dialogue or atmos tracks were also picked up as this would be the final time the crews would have access to their shooting locations. It was planned to set up in a screening room for the final week to put the finishing touches to the films and then screen them back for everyone.  

Week 8  

The final week. We set up in the screening room and spent the first half of the class putting the finishing touches to both films and have our “Final Cuts”. ‘Zombie Switch’ worked on their credits and also neatly shot a small scene using a nearby coffee shop location for their end credits. ‘Fleur’ whilst also reaching their final cut, managed to compose some original music in the allotted time using the ‘Garage Band’ app on the iPad which added hugely to their finished piece and gave it a really suspenseful mood. At the end of the class, friends and family of the participants were invited in, as well as Draíocht's staff, to view a screening of both films alongside the hardworking casts and crews. It was great to see the films completed and we agreed that one of the best results of the hard work was that – although both teams were given the same resources in terms of equipment and locations – the end products were two completely different films in terms of genre, style and content. It was easy to forget at times that they were even filmed in the same locations! ‘Zombie Switch’ was a funny, sci-fi set in a laboratory where a virus outbreak causes chaos with some very original humour and good use of many post-production tools. ‘Fleur’ was a macabre tale set around a doomed theatre production with elements of Hitchcock at times, especially with the haunting score. Both films ran at about five minutes in length, but from viewing it was not hard to see how much work it took to get them there.

Overall the Draíocht Youth Film Club was a great example of how filmmaking, although heavily reliant on time management and improvising with limited resources, can be a fun social activity that helps team building and harness creativity. It can produce wonderfully original creations that participants can keep as fun memories for years after and may also form a basis for a portfolio of future work and who knows….start you on the path to Hollywood?

Lights, Camera….Action!

Well done to all our Film Club Participants.

Roll On…. Cormac


If you'd like to hear more about Draíocht's Youth Film Club, please contact Sarah Beirne in Draiocht's Children & Youth Arts Dept, tel: 01-8098029 or email

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Youth Arts,

Every week of Me and You Music has been a musical journey of fun and enjoyment.

June 10, 2015

Musician Mischa O' Mahony has been facilitating workshops in Draíocht every Monday for the last few weeks. Here Mischa tells us a little bit about what all those babies and toddlers have been doing during their time here. If you would like to keep up to date with Draíocht's early years programme, why not sign up for our Ezine here.


Well, we are nearing the end of our (sold-out) Me & You Music music sessions. It’s been such a pleasure working in Draiocht and a real treat meeting all the parents with their absolutely fantastic and music loving children. Every week has been a musical journey full of fun and enjoyment.

We have done so much in the past weeks, the babies have:
• learned some lovely little rhymes and songs using their hands and fingers,
• bounced and galloped on their parents laps,
• gotten their hands on some real musical instruments like drums, shakers and bells,
• been swayed and danced around in mummies arms,
• played peekaboo with their parents and with their fellow babies in the class,
• have been pleasantly surprised by puppets and happily watched rainbow streamers waving to the beat,
• listened to lots of songs, some ukulele and even a little saxophone playing.

The toddlers have been working hard too… they have:
• used their hands and feet in lots of action songs,
• rolled, marched and danced,
• rowed their boats in real wavy water, walked through the jungle and buzzed around like bees,
• played musical instruments like shakers, drums, bells, claves, and chime bars,
• bounced teddies on trampolines together,
• played peekaboo and pretended to be jack in the box,
• danced together in our circle,
• met my puppet friend Freddy and his friends,
• learned lots of new songs.

It really looks like they had so much fun and I hope to have awoken their curiosity and enthusiasm for making music, singing songs and dancing. The idea behind the classes is that the parents bring the music and songs home, to encourage this I have emailed songs to the parents so they can continue singing long after the classes have finished. Songs for in the car, for walking to the park, action songs and songs just for the pure joy of singing. Children love nothing more than the voice of their own parents… apart from the sound of their own voice!

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Family, Youth Arts, Mischa O'Mahony,

Vacancy - Marketing & Corporate Hires Co-ordinator

May 29, 2015

Draíocht Blanchardstown seeks a full-time Marketing & Corporate Hires Co-ordinator.

Deadline for Applications: 6pm Friday 26 June 2015.

Interviews will be held on: Friday 17 July 2015.

Draíocht Blanchardstown seeks a full-time Marketing & Corporate Hires Co-ordinator, with proven experience in a similar role (or complementary environment with clearly transferable skills). Experience of or other ticketing system an advantage.

Cover Letter, Application Form and CV must be submitted by 5pm Friday 26th June 2015 to The Peronnel Dept, Draíocht, The Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin 15 by post or email to Please refer to the job description and person specification when telling us about yourself as these are the criteria we will use when short-listing.

Marketing & Corporate Hires Co-ordinator Job Description
Marketing & Corporate Hires Co-ordinator Application Form
Marketing & Corporate Hires Co-ordinator Person Specification

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Draiocht Info,

 1 2 3 >  Last ›