Nothing about us, without us, is for us. R. Morales

If you are not at the table you're on the menu! C. Bebell

Participatory Arts Trend Paper 2013 Read [+] 

We Are Family: The many faces of rights in family support and community art.

Thanks to all those who helped us Dublin Castle Printworks, September 29, 2014. Monday at 11am. Over 100 people from the four provinces turned out to take part in the workshops and exchanges.  There were 9 workshops which included indepth sessions on the experiences of young adults, new communities, new Irish families, older people, children in care and Travellers.

Eleanor Phillips also launched her new booklet drawn from the experiience of the Happy Parent Initiative. You can find ways to recycle and recreate.  You will get ideas for rainy day painting with all your little ones friends!  You will even get advise how to help make a musical instrument.  Happy Parent is about helping parents access their own creative skills and they were then encouraged to use those skills in the home with their children especially younger ones. 

The Agency of Community Culture - Promoting Cultural Rights

Wednesday 28 May from 10:45am to 1pm at the EU Commission Offices, Molesworth St. Dublin 2.  Blue Drum and the Equality Rights Alliance want to explore why cultural rights are often described as the ‘neglected’ or ‘under-developed’ category of human rights. How can we change it?   This work links to the EU City Researches Project and the ERA seminar report A New Departure for Equality and Human Rights. Read  [+]

Tulsa - Child and Family Agency - New Website

Support for Blue Drum comes from the Child and Family Agency, which was established on the 1st January 2014. It is now the dedicated State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. TUSLA has now produced its first performance framework for the Agency. Read [+]

Social Inclusion Forum 2014

1st April, 2014, Croke Park, Dublin.

The City (Re)Searches: Experiences of Publicness took part in the showcase of social inclusion projects during the national forum. Minister Joan Burton spoke about the need to balance priorities of public value and public trust. The meeting provided a practical opportunity for engagement between officials from Government Departments, Community and Voluntary Organisations and people experiencing povertyREAD [+]

Also, here is a submission to the Northern Ireland Assembly invited from the Arts Council (NI).

Northern Ireland Arts Council

New way of working in family support

The Meitheal Model is a key driver of the development of an area-based approach to prevention, partnership and family support through local area pathways as part of the National Service Delivery Framework of the Child and Family Agency. Meitheal is an old Irish term that describes how neighbours would come together to assist in the saving of crops or other tasks. In this context Meitheal is a National Practice Model to ensure that the needs and strengths of children and their families are effectively identified and understood and responded to in a timely way so that children and families get the help and support needed to improve children’s outcomes and realise their rights. Read [+]

Community Culture Strategy

The report of the Dail Eireann Committee on Arts and Disadvantage will be published soon.  Blue Drum is currently working with groups in Limerick, Cork and Dublin as well as an inter departmental working group to prepare the Strategy. For us, access and participation by poor children, families and communities is our priority.  Our approach fits well with recommendations from EU and UNESCO studies. 

Read EU Report [+]

Read UNESCO Report [+]

Read Strategy Aim and Objectives [+]

Limerick and Cork Exchanges

Two parallel exchanges take place in Cork and Limerick about community arts on September 12 and 13 respectively.  The Cork exchange is organised by Ballyphehane / Togher CDP and the Limerick exchange will be part of a Creative Communities meeting. The potential of community arts to stimulate creativity in disadvantaged communities, to engage these communities with the arts, and to enable resilience and affirmation of identity within these communities is largely unrecognised and unsupported.

Utilising the Arts to Combat Disadvantage

The Report from the Committee is due for publication before the summer 2014.  We submitted our submission which asked what has the State done for cultural iInclusion and has it worked.Read[+]

Also, recent data from Public Policy allowed us to put together a national picture of Local Authority Arts Programme spending. This information is based on the 2014 Estimates. 


Here are the transcripts from various witness statements made during March and April 2012 to the Dail Committee.

Department Heads Statements

Dublin City Council, Common Ground (Inchicore), and Axis (Ballymun)

Cork City Council, City of Cork VEC, Cork Academy of Music, Graffiti Theatre Company

Arts Council & National Campaign For the Arts

Western Care, Mayo County Council, Offaly County Council, Anam Beo, Tacú Family Resource Centre

Limerick City Council, Louth County Council, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Upstate Theatre Company

Earlier in February there was a discussion with City of Dublin VEC about music education in disadvantaged areas. It had been unsuccessful in its application to the Music Generation programme.

Arts and Music Education in Disadvantaged Areas: Discussion


Produced in 2010 by DCTV this contains a series of short responses to the question what is community art.

Shadow Report on Social Economic and Cultural Rights will be launched in November 2014.

Along with the Equality and Rights Alliance we advocated that the State be questioned in relation to its failure to achieve progress on the ‘significant cohorts of the population’ who are not participating as it places ‘little emphasis on engagement and participation as a fundamental and valued aspect of the arts in Irish society’. There is an under-participation of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Despite an Oireachtas (Parliamentary) Committee hearing in 2012 to consider how best to support and ensure the participation of disadvantaged groups in cultural life, no recommendations or actions have been issued.  The Community Culture Strategy was developed, but in response the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht made it clear that ‘much of the programmes aimed at community arts fall outside the remit of this Department and the Arts Council’.

Recomendation: Ensure that disadvantaged individuals and groups are able to access and enjoy their cultural rights through targeted inclusion measures.

7th May 2014, Science Gallery, The Naughton Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2

The Advocacy Initiative in association with Claiming Our Future and Blue Drum will hold a seminar about the role of arts in campaigns.  All social justice advocates and campaigners collect information which we present in all kinds of ways.  We use images, photos, billboards, theatre, and demonstrations to empower, raise awareness, inform and influence.  We know as advocates and campaigners that we compete in a media saturated society and need to make sure our messages have impact.  Today the power of visualisation and interactive experience is more important than ever.  Read [+]

Arts Council Review

Imagine if local services were delivered from the point of view of local citizens. That becomes a mute point when you think 80% of funding for the Arts is allocated to around 230 arts organisations.  Blue Drum took part in focus group meetings with the Arts Council and will make a submission before the deadline of April 22, 2014. 

Read  [+]



Our work involves a lot of conversations and assemblies. So we find this helpful.


The Seven Helpers

1. Be Present

Start well. Start slowly. Check everyone in.


2. Have a good question

A good question is aligned with the need and purpose of the meeting.


3. Use a talking piece

A talking piece an object that passes from hand to hand.

4. Harvest

Never meet unless you plan to harvest your learnings.

-Create an artefact.

-Have a feedback loop.

-Be aware of the unexpected..

-Co-created is co-owned.

5. Make a wise decision

If your meeting needs to come to a decision, make it a wise one.

6. Act.

Once you have decided what to do, act.


7. Stay together

Relationships create sustainability.

Source: Chris Corrigan

from the Art of Hosting Practitioner's Community