Welcome to our fifth Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) Arts & Culture newsletter. Five newsletters in growing maturity is evident in our Arts and Creative Engagement programmes.
Our current round of 16 Seed Grant funded projects are now coming to fruition and reflect a wider engagement with the issues of dying, death, and bereavement. Our In-Residence programmes, where artists are in service to people at the end of life, in Limerick and Kilkenny hospitals, and projects for HSE staff currently being prototyped, illustrate deeper understanding. Much more on these soon.
Meanwhile, with support from Rethink Ireland, our Compassionate Culture Network (CCN) projects currently developing in the Munster region build on our 2021 – 2022 Creative Ireland CCN funded prototypes, connecting learning, approaches, and agencies.
We want to continue progressing by listening harder. What are we all learning? Our future programmes will be built on this collective learning and feedback. To this end, we are delighted to invite you to register to attend our first Arts Roundtable Gathering on Thursday 15th June in Dublin. Details of how to register are here, with more information to follow in this newsletter.
We look forward to seeing you in person if you can make it. Or to sharing highlights in future newsletters.
Until then enjoy the richness of the projects detailed below.
Below we feature a selection from our current round of 16 Seed Grant funded projects coming to fruition this year support by Creative Ireland. As more projects land, we will announce these on our Arts & Creativity news feed. You can check out the full suite on our Seed Grants 2023 page.
Elaine Mears and Marie Murray exhibited their sensory visual art installation at Linenhall Arts Centre in January. Workshops were also facilitated where participants created art pieces responding to the question: “If you could only keep one object that is of sentimental value to you, what would you keep?”
I Know the Sun Must Set
Actor, writer, and musician Ikenna Anywabuike collaborated with visual artist Maclaine Black to create a digital theatrical installation of photography, poetry, and musical soundscapes illustrating why there is no step-by-step guide for coping with loss. This installation was shown at a sell-out exhibition in Galway in April and featured queer, non-binary performance artist, dancer, and drag artist Leigh Greally (they/them).
Brain Injury Losses – an Untold Story
Danielle Manning, a senior social worker with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, ran a series of workshops with traumatic brain injury survivors. Using a variety of creative practices, the aim was to explore how expressive art interventions can aid survivors work through grief and find hope for the future. These workshops culminated with participants creating a single image depicting their losses. An exhibition showcasing their work was held in April, where participants engaged in an open discussion about the disenfranchised grief that accompanies a brain injury diagnosis.
Representing Freebird’s M.C.C. Project, visual artist Brigid Mulligan is hosting a series of nationwide screenings of their documentary film ‘Freebirds’ exploring motor bikers in Irish rural communities and bereavements endured on the road. The majority of screenings are free (no registration required).
Compassionate Culture Network
Building from ‘Death Cafés’ which invite people to discuss dying, death, grief, and loss, our Compassionate Culture Network (CCN) uses creative practice to establish safe places where people can talk about loss. It was started in 2021 because Irish people reported they wanted more opportunities to talk about dying, death, grief and loss. We are delighted our initiative is now continuing into 2023.
Compassionate ‘Deadly Conversations’ Across Munster
Generously supported by Rethink Ireland’s Impact Fund for Munster, we are delighted to announce our Compassionate Culture Network (CCN) is now expanding across Munster. Over the coming weeks, four safe spaces where people can have open and creative chats about loss, gently exploring how compassion connects, and share some deadly conversation, will be established. The first of these are in Limerick and Mallow, and are entirely free to take part in.
Deadly Conversation at Axis Ballymun
Aptly titled ‘Deadly Conversation’ this CCN opened in November 2022 and continued until February 2023 supported by The National Lottery. Due to public demand, it resumed in March and takes place on the last Wednesday of every month from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. It’s free to take part in. Call (01) 883 2100 to book, or just pop in!
Signature Projects & Artists Support:
Writer in Residence – Jenny Macdonald
We were delighted to welcome theatre-maker and 2023 Seed Grant awardee Jenny Macdonald as our Writer in Residence in January. Jenny is writing a script for a new play, ‘The Tightrope Walker’, which explores the tension between the inherent loneliness of illness and the deep connections grief makes possible with others.
Seed Grant Awardee Artist-in-Residence at Creative Brain Week
Geraldine O’Keeffe of Newport Women’s Shed in Tipperary was appointed as one of Creative Brain Week’s artists-in-residence in March at Trinity College Dublin. Ably assisted by Una Patton, Geraldine created two quilts while chatting with attendees. One of these quilts, as pictured above, consists of patches of fabric contributed by speakers and attendees from as far afield as East Africa and Peru. As part of our 2022 Seed Grant programme, Geraldine guided Newport Women’s Shed in creating a queen-size patchwork quilt. Each member designed their own square that was a dedicated reflection on the loss of a lost loved one. The finished quilt was then donated to a local hospice as part of a fundraising event.
Events – 2023
Arts Roundtable Gathering – Thursday 15th June
We are delighted to invite everyone involved in and / or interested in our programmes to register to attend our first Arts Roundtable Gathering on Thursday 15th June in Dublin.
As many of you know, back in 2020 with the support of Creative Ireland, we founded the Arts and Creative Engagement programme to provide people with more opportunities to discuss dying, death, and bereavement. Since then, we have explored and collaborated with numerous artists, cultural, health, community, state agencies, and educational organisations on ways to reduce the impact of bereavement on Irish people using a diverse range of creative practices.
The purpose of this event is to share learnings from the past three years, consider a spectrum of forms of loss and creative responses, and reflect on the benefits of creative work in loss and bereavement. Films from our Digital Assets Database will also be screened with a view to promoting discussion on potential strategies for developing a formal evaluation process on the impact of arts in mental health programmes generally.
Living with Loss Public Event – Wednesday 17th May
The Dublin North Bereavement Network are facilitating a ‘Living with Loss’ event at Axis Ballymun, Dublin 9, on Wednesday May 17th. This is a free event (no registration required) for people who have been bereaved through any circumstance and / or are supporting someone who is bereaved.
National Bereavement Forum – Friday 16th June
This is the 6th National Bereavement Forum (NBF) hosted by Irish Hospice Foundation, the first of which was held in Dublin in 2016. This forum is for organisations or individuals who provide direct support to people who are bereaved or support bereaved people in their day-to-day work. Past attendees include bereavement NGOs, GPs, nurses, social workers, bereavement volunteers, therapists, celebrants, chaplains, counsellors, psychologists, information centre service workers, psychiatrists, Gardaí etc. Attendees work/volunteer of settings including hospital, nursing home, hospital, and the community.
Grief is Creative? The Arts of Loss and Bereavement
Wednesday 14th June, Online
This workshop explores the many roles of creative work in loss and bereavement, for people at end of life or who are bereaved.
Building from the work of our Art & Creative Engagement team, using the frameworks of People, Place and Process, and of “for, by and with”, this workshop will consider a spectrum of forms of loss and creative responses, including Displacement, Deferred Grief, Professional Grief, Conflict and Sudden Loss, and Advance Care Planning.
Sessions will be interactive and will aim to build an experience tailored to the attendees interests.
Read more and register
About Irish Hospice Foundation
We are the national agency focused on death, dying, grief and loss. We work with a vision of Ireland where “every death matters” delivering education, training, and awareness programmes alongside systemic and social change strategies and policy campaigns. Our ambition is to reduce the impact of carelessness where it leads to suffering. The pandemic raised awareness of the value of IHF’s knowledge in dying, death and bereavement.
Over 35 years we have become embedded across the delivery of care in Ireland. We work with multiple HSE Departments, the NGO sector, and community sector. IHF’s many programmes include Hospice Friendly Hospitals with Ireland’s acute hospital service, Compassionate End of Life with the residential care sector, Nurses for Night Care delivering care in the community directly to families, and the Bereavement Network aligning the voluntary sectors support.
The arts help individuals “sense-make”. Our collaborations help IHF and partners explore further the nuances of “creative approaches”. At the same time creativity has started to connect across our many programmes and communities.
Bereavement Support Line
Every day, people in Ireland experience the death of someone close. Grief isn’t something we “get over” in the weeks or months after a death but can be experienced for years and decades to come. Bereavement does not follow a definite pattern and can be different for everyone.