Draíocht Press Release – 23rd March 2023
Draíocht Blanchardstown and Fingal Arts Office publish HOMEGROUND Report and Video Documentary after Successful 2 Year Artist Mentorship Programme
HOMEGROUND was a two-year Artist Mentoring Programme that ran during 2020-2022 and comprised of bespoke artist supports, both personal and professional, for artists from or with a connection to Draíocht, Dublin 15 or the wider Fingal County and whose work was socially engaged, collaborative or focused on children and young people.
Four artists were chosen and over a 2 year period, which included the very challenging and uncertain period during Covid-19, the artists met with 8 mentors; had 12 peer discussion group sessions; had 50 one to one Coaching Sessions; and had 75 one to one Mentoring Sessions, both in person and online.
The four participating artists of HOMEGROUND selected via open competition were:
Michelle Hall – an interdisciplinary visual artist from Dublin 15.
Thomas Johnston – a musician and theatre maker, dedicated to promoting high quality and meaningful experiences of the traditional arts amongst children.
Monica Muñoz – a choreographer and dancer, and recent artist in residence in Balbriggan Educate Together National School.
Jijo Sebastian Palatty – a collaborative Film Maker, based in Dublin 15, with more than a decade of experience in participatory, collaborative and intercultural filmmaking.
HOMEGROUND was conceived and led by Emer McGowan Director, Draíocht and Sharon Murphy, Resident Curator, Draíocht with support from Sarah O’Neill (Deputy Arts Officer, Fingal County Council) and Caroline Cowley (Public Art Co-ordinator, Fingal County Council).
Launching the HOMEGROUND Report & Documentary, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony, said -
“Fingal County Council has been committed to Draíocht’s Programme delivery for over 20 years. We have been proud to watch its importance grow not only as a recognisable asset to Dublin 15, but to the greater Fingal area and beyond with programmes like HOMEGROUND. We wish the artists and the team continued success in their professional journeys.”
Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony
Of HOMEGROUND, Emer McGowan, Director of Draíocht commented -
"HOMEGROUND was conceived both out of Draíocht’s 5 year Strategy ‘A Space for the Arts’ where providing support and expertise to develop artist’s practice is one of our stated goals and out of a body of collaborative and children/young people’s practice that we have engaged in over our 20 years of operation. I am delighted to be working with this group of artists – Michelle Hall, Thomas Johnston, Monica Muñoz and Jijo Sebastian - and mentors - Marie Brett, Annabelle Comyn, Christine Devaney and Fearghus Ó Conchúir amongst others and under the guidance of Draíocht’s Curator, Sharon Murphy, in a considered and curated programme that will support the development of their work and practice. I know this programme will have far-reaching outcomes and I look forward to supporting the participating artists on their individual and collective journeys. Our key partner on this is Fingal County Council Arts Office - we are looking at what we can do together to create a sustainable impact on artists' practice and how we could act as a key support to them which will also have resonance for Dublin 15 and Fingal."
Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht
Resident Curator of Draíocht, Sharon Murphy said of HOMEGROUND -
“For 20 years there has been a huge commitment by Draíocht to artists and particularly artists whose work is rooted in children and young people. HOMEGROUND was conceived as being very holistic. It was really important that the mentorship had a number of strands that focused both on the professional practice of the artist but also on their personal development. I think this has been the key and the distinctiveness of HOMEGROUND for the awarded artists. It has provided long term benefits by being tailor made, looking at the person first, then their practice and finally at their specific outcomes.”
Sharon Murphy, Resident Curator, Draíocht
Caroline Cowley, Public Art Coordinator with Fingal County Council, said of HOMEGROUND -
"Everyone knows Draíocht, everyone is aware of its amazing programme of work. Strategically we have been able to work with Draíocht over many years developing programmes that have come from Fingal Arts Office's understanding and listening to what is needed by artists to further their career and practice, everything from professional development opportunities to graduate exhibitions and shows that celebrate Fingal artists in a recognised contemporary art space. HOMEGROUND is a unique initiative to Fingal and very close to our hearts in that it is artist led and they are supported on their own personal and professional development journeys. To look at HOMEGROUND as a model for artists at different stages of their career where they are paired with a mentoring artist provides an enriching opportunity for important peer networks to develop."
Caroline Cowley Public Art Coordinator, Fingal County Council
Dublin 15 Artist and HOMEGROUND Award recipient Michelle Hall, said of HOMEGROUND -
"HOMEGROUND brought me into contact with a new community during the isolating times of the pandemic. Throughout a series of meet-ups, presentations from invited practitioners and other arts professionals there was conversation, contact and learning. It provided a valuable anchor … Taking part in HOMEGROUND was a multi-faceted experience that continues to have an impact on my practice today, two years on.”
Artist Michelle Hall
Other Award recipients said of HOMEGROUND -
"For me, HOMEGROUND meant a sense of genuine connection to a community of like-minded artists and creatives and I felt supported in a myriad of ways. Over the course of each mentorship, I had the opportunity to reflect upon and deeply interrogate my artistic practice. This personal journey wasn’t always an easy one, as challenges did reveal themselves during the process - with the support of my expert mentors however, the journey was without doubt one of learning and transformation."
"HOMEGROUND has been a gift! Really helpful to spend time focusing and reflecting on my practice and that element of my practice that is new, choreography for young children and exploring what it is to make work for young children in a collaborative way, having them as partners in the making."
HOMEGROUND helped me to look back at my practice literally and at myself too. I feel I belong here in Dublin 15 and have a home in Draíocht as an artist. This has been life changing for me … been essential for me as an artist to grow and find new perspectives and methodologies for my work writing in a transcultural immigrant space."
Jijo Sebastian Palatty
A documentary film of HOMEGROUND was commissioned by Draíocht from Joe Lee and Tom Lee, to accompany the Report of the same name, available now on Draíocht's social channels and website www.draiocht.ie
Opened in 2001 and located in the heart of Dublin 15, Draíocht is an arts centre steadfastly committed to serving its local community. At Draíocht, our work goes far beyond our programme of events. Throughout the year, we help people of all ages to make space for the arts in their lives. Working collaboratively with artists of all disciplines, we journey with thousands of people to enhance their lives through arts events, projects and initiatives. We bring the public and artists together and in that space, magic happens.
About Fingal Arts Office:
Fingal County Council has long recognised the importance of the arts in helping to develop healthy and vibrant communities, in a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse Fingal. In 1994, the post of County Arts Officer was established. Rory O’Byrne was appointed and began the long process of developing an arts infrastructure in Fingal. Central to this, was advising senior managers and elected members as to the benefits of arts and its key role, in supporting communities. Over the last decade and more, the Arts Office has grown with the appointment in 2005 of Sarah O’Neill / Deputy Arts Officer, Caroline Cowley / Public Art Co-ordinator and Julie Clarke / Youth & Education Officer. Having four members of staff, as well as Arts Centre staff, each with their own area of expertise, has allowed us to focus long-term goals. This has been central to the delivery of a coherent and integrated arts service for the people of Fingal.
FOR FURTHER MEDIA INFORMATION & HIGH RES IMAGES PLEASE CONTACT:
Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht, 01-8098021 / email@example.com
Draíocht is a registered charity, not for profit arts organisation, generously funded by Fingal County Council with additional funding provided by The Arts Council.