Community art or Community arts?

This linguistic distinction may appear petty, but it
points a very important distinction, highlighted by the critic Jonathan Meades. The gulf between the arts, plural, and art is chasmic; the one is an unwieldy bureaucracy, the latter is creative endeavour.

Francois Matarasso 2017


Voices of Europe: Social Inclusion: Partnership with other sectors

Blue Drum was nominated to represent the European Anti Poverty Network for the Voices of Europe meeting on social inclusion. From April 17 to 18 a group of invited cultural organisations and civil society platforms came together to exchange ideas and experiences.  Over the new few months a report will be compiled from those exchanges and later in September will be completed.  You can check out the preparatory paper prepared by Chrissie Tillier Read [+]


Website: Voices of Culture



Community Culture Strategy Review


Blue Drum developed a Community Culture Strategy and has coproduced a series of national events focused on finding interconnections between artists and activists working at community level.  The Strategy is now under review and a short document has been produced. Here [+]

Website: LegacyPapers



Gone But Not Forgotten

Legacies of community arts and culture as agency for social justice and transformation now

The community arts work undertaken in Ireland in the 1970s, 80s and 90s fomented new forms of empathy, resistance and solidarity. We explored the legacies and collective memories of this field of practice and developed a set of Legacy Papers.

Read [+]  Short Review May 2017


Website: LegacyPapers

These legacy papers are prepared in the form of a series of transcripts from new interviews with François Matarasso, Jo Egan, Mary Jane Jacob, Fiona Whitty, Arlene Goldbard, Sandy Fitzgerald, John Mulloy, Rick Lowe and others.


Broken Politics

Civil society's role in creating real change

Saturday 18th June, 2016 10.30am – 3.30pm. The Mansion House, Dublin 2

Our representative political system is failing to respond to the core challenges of global and local inequality and climate change that face us.  There is widespread acknowledgement that new ways of organising politics and decision making are required. Civil society has a major role to play in making more effective democracy and meeting the needs of all people.  It is vital that all parts of civil society concerned with social, economic, environmental and global justice and equality come together to reflect, connect and imagine new strategies for transformative change at this important time in our society.  We really hope you can make it. Register [+]  



Community Culture Demonstation Projects

Since our country-wide series of cultural workshops we have progressed our ideas.  Local community development is about values, people and place. Civil society, including activists and artists, has a central role in developing sustainable urban and rural space. We are interested in developing a funding application, a collquium and identifying partners to join us in this work.  The vision for this initiative is to cultivate processes that embrace culture as a driver of integrated, sustainable and transformative practices within communities, and to ensure that opportunities created are accessible to all.  Read [+]


Framework for Collaboration

The Irish Arts Council and the County and City Management Association (CCMA), the local government management network, have just agreed “A Framework for Collaboration”. The Framework marks thirty years of collaboration between the Arts Council and the local authorities. We have reviewed its value as a new way for these partners to work together, maximise the impact of their collective efforts, and reflect their shared belief in the contribution of the arts to cohesive and sustainable communities. Read [+]


Capital of Culture Bids

None of the winning bids applied for the Culture 21 Prize which will be announced in Mexico in June 2015.  Dublin City Council Arts Office nominated its Art Plan 2014-2018.  Dublin 2020, Three Sisters 2020, Galway 2020 and Limerick 2020 have been very inventive for the purposes of advocacy in terms of consultation with citizens and came up with a host of platfroms: kitchen tables, culture cabins, speak outs and teas and chats. Can the rhetoric translate into community involvement in final bid making. Read [+]

Capital of Culture

Action for Change

It seems that as an organisation, the modus operandi of Blue Drum will be even more nimble and focused into the future now that Tusla has decided it is not funding any support structures after this year. 

A new vision for the Arts?

Summer’s end saw the following publications from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Arts Council:

Culture 2025 Discussion Document Read [+]

Value for Money and Policy Review of the Arts Council

Read [+]

Making Great Arts Work: Arts Council Strategy 2016-2025.

Read [+]

The Agency of Community Culture

Promoting Cultural Rights

Following our series of cultural rights workshops in Mayo, Sligo, Cork, Limerick and Galway we have produced a Charter for Cultural Rights and will produce a set of workshops notes and further workshops in the autumn. We're interested in what you think about the Charter.  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


What is community art?

Produced in 2010 by DCTV

art works reports uk

Funding the Cooperative City presents an interesting set of case studies.

Read [+] 

The City at Eye Level is a compendium of placemaking actions produced for the Amsterdam Placemaking Summit in October 2017. 



art works reports uk

Village Magazine puts spotlight on arts and culture

Read [+]  Ireland's First Culture Policy

Read[+]  The Emperor Has No Balls

Read[+] Collaborating but not Listening

Read [+] Culture Bids Can be About Change not Money


Creative Europe report on Audience Development

According to the report cultural institutions need to rethink how to engage with three categories:

Audience by Choice

Audience by Habit

Audience by Surprise


Our Voice, Our Rights
A Parallel Report In Response to Ireland’s Third Report under
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


Join us for the official Irish launch on Wednesday 19 November at 11am  in the Oak Room of the Mansion House. 50 local and national organisations working on the ground around Ireland have their say about rights in Ireland today.

Ireland will be examined under the Covenant on  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in June 2015, and the UN Committee will be drawing up its List of Issues for this examination in early December


For 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. .  Read [+]

Department of Arts

Statement of Strategy

Submission November 2014

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. 

Read  [+]

Arts Council Review

July 2014

The Steering Group Review Report strongly advocated that the Arts Council should be a development agency for the arts focussed on the public good.  In its consideration of The Public it argued:
‘The public’ and ‘the citizen’ appear to be secondary concerns of Arts Council policy. The public are largely conceived of as audiences for the professional arts, with the following consequences:
A. There is an almost exclusive emphasis on the production / consumption model of the arts. Within that model most Arts Council attention is paid to the ‘supply side’ with relatively little focus on the ‘demand side’.

B. There seems little emphasis on engagement and participation as a fundamental and valued aspect of the arts in Irish society. The amateur arts – one important such aspect – do not appear to register in Arts Council policy and strategy.

C. People who are not part of the audience for the subsidised arts largely fall outside of the compass of the Arts Council and its actions and investments. There is little evidence of attention to the potential of digital technology to extend the
reach of the arts within Ireland and internationally. Complementary to the matter of ‘reach’ is that of standards (specifically mentioned in the Arts Council’s statutory remit)
and the challenge and opportunity bound up with the effect that digital dissemination
has on audience expectations of production values and performance standards.
E. There is limited evidence of demographic understanding informing arts planning.9
F. Relative to the size of the population cohort, their developmental significance, their
economic dependency, and the stated public preference for spending on them10, the
current investment by the Arts Council in provision for children and young people in
out-of-school settings (where the Arts Council has primary responsibility) is low.
G. There is an increasing risk of the Arts Council presiding over a growing ‘disconnect’
between the arts (as it defines and funds them) and significant cohorts of the population
(who define and engage with them in quite different ways)11.
H. Most Arts Council communication is sector-facing.

1 from

magine 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. 

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