[SQUEEZED] - a campaign in progress (Summer 2019)



[SQUEEZED] emerged as an idea for a new campaign to help those on the margins in Ireland to be heard. It is about making art by, with and about those who have least, but in ways that always put them in charge. The form and content of the work will be decided by its makers. It is in the act of creation, especially shared creation, that we discover what we think, feel and want to share. That act is, in itself, empowering, especially if it is supported by the human, artistic, technical and social resources of community art. [SQUEEZED] will be presented at the Activist Camp #6 in 2020. Interested?  Have a story to tell?  Get in touch. Email [+]


Activist Camp 2018 coincides with the two-day event SEA CHANGE - A blueprint for change Cork (May 17/18, 2019)

The Sea Change conference incorporated this year’s 5th edition of the Activist Camp and took place on May 17 and 18 in Cork. It was an initiative of Cork Community Art Link, the Community Arts Partnership in Belfast and was co-organised with Blue Drum and The School of Applied Social Studies, UCC. What emerged was 'not yet' a sea-change' but more the potential for it!  Here is a short report about it..Read [+]


durty words

Victoria Brunetta and Kate O’Shea @ https://piquant.ie/news/durty-words/ invited Blue Drum to contribute to their collaborative two-year process of producing the book Durty Words. The publication is an invitation to make a space for dialogue, solidarity, resistance and creation through the medium of print. Each contribution was asked to respond to the relevance of Anarchist thought today. The title alludes to the fact that anarchism, along with other theories and practices that seek alternatives to capitalism, are often misunderstood. There are fractures within how we organise for a better world; it is important to recognise these, and therefore we set out to create a space for debate that is built on respect. Durty Words compiles 134 contributors from all over the world and begins to map the resonances and dissonances across diverse social movements. Here is our contribution Read [+]


Activist Camp - Glendalough Youth Hostel [16/17 June 2018]




Design: Caroline Praile

Community Culture: Balconies and Regeneration [3 November 2017]

Background: Almost 50 years ago (1969) the first residents moved to Tom Kelly Road.  Now, having fought for regeneration, they will move to 78 social housing units opening in November 2017 on Charlemont St.  

What’s the idea:  For this event forty residents made a cultural journey to celebrate the good, the bad and the spirit of community. We walked around each block.  Jackie Brady spoke about her joy that the move has finally come and Trish Brennan wished everyone good things for the new community centre.  Antoinette Carroll shared her poem Heart and Soul. Finally, Brian Fleming, Kieran Walsh and Eoghan Scott (whose family came from Charlemont) gave us all beautiful rhythms and songs to help us on our way.  Looking at the eyes of the young children it was certainly a night that will be remembered. Here is a short review Read [+]

Community Culture is a strategy developed by the Charlemont  Regeneration Board with technical support from Blue Drum and funding from the Regeneration Board and Cork Street Fund.  Since 2015, Vita Geluniene and Ed Carroll, supported by Lyndsey Anderson, Una Rafferty and Trish Brennan, along with 40 residents organised cultural actions during key moments of the regeneration process. In 2018 Blue Drum will continue to work with the community during its transition phase through support from Dublin City Council Arts Office.


Activist Camp, Glencree [17/18 June 2017]


The Activist Camp built bridges between 35 activists and artists working in diversity of ways at community level. It draws from a cohort of about 200 people and is always open to newcomers.  First there were previous editions of the Activist Camp initiated in 2015 by Claiming Our Future. Second there are the biannual gatherings which have been convened by Blue Drum, most recently, the Legacy Event in Galway last October, in association with the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway. 

Each strand seeks to move from conversation towards practice sites that test the power of community art, culture and activism for social transformation. Read Review [+]



Community Culture: Balconies and Regeneration [21 June 2016]



An intimate journey of balcony culture lived close on the banks of the Grand Canal, Dublin took place on 21 June 2016 at 5pm in Dolphin House, moved to St Teresa’s Gardens at 7pm and onwards to Charlemont at 9pm.

The regeneration of balcony culture started on a pilot basis in June 1999.  In 2008, Dublin City Council had to halt plans because of the economic crash .  Now in 2016 regeneration is moving again.  The journey will explore how arts and culture helped sustain communities through roots to the past,  patience for change to happen and imagining well being in the future.

Residents in each estate hosted the visitors, guided the tour of the estates. There will also be some surprise cultural samplers like a poem, performance and presentation.  Special thanks to John Bissett and Chris Maguire for presenting on the day.

Concept/Idea:   Blue Drum Agency in association with Charlemont, St Teresa's Garden's and Dolphin House Regeneration Workers.


Second Summer Camp [3/4 July 2016]

Claiming Our Future is organising its second summer camp for everyone interested in working better towards social change in Ireland. It takes place on Friday 3rd July at 12 pm with lunch until Saturday 4th July at 4 pm at Knockree Youth Hostel, Enniskerry, County Wicklow.

Costs: 40 Euro waged, 20 Euro unwaged (incl. children), 3 Euro Asylum Seekers. This includes the accommodation for 1 night in a shared room and food.  Book [+]


2nd Annual Summer Camp [3/4 July 2016]

Claiming Our Future is organising its second summer camp for everyone interested in working better towards social change in Ireland. It takes place on Friday 3rd July at 12 pm with lunch until Saturday 4th July at 4 pm at Knockree Youth Hostel, Enniskerry, County Wicklow.

Costs: 40 Euro waged, 20 Euro unwaged (incl. children), 3 Euro Asylum Seekers. This includes the accommodation for 1 night in a shared room and food.  Book [+]


Agenda 21 Awards 2016

Blue Print 2015-2019 lays out the strategic options for us:


Theme 1 - Community Culture, Equality and Rights

To advocate for the right to art and culture through a strategy to reset, renew and refresh community arts.  Activities will look to transfer know-how and show-how and will strengthen the constituency for equality, cultural rights and social inclusion.  Modest cooperative ventures and the artefacts produced can have potential to be calibrated to a larger scale. Read [+]

Theme 2 - Cooperative Ventures and Sustainability

To be connected to a field of national and international practitioners pioneering solutions to the challenges identified.

To draw from the capacity for imagination (artists) and for transformation (activists). 

To take risks so we co-generate and thus open up new cultures of co-creation focused on citizen and community.

We do everything through the power of ‘our,’ If you want to build a barn, you don’t study the theory and practice of barn building. You build a damn barn, and if the barn’s broken, what do you do? You fix it.’ I just took that homespun philosophy, and we created our own situation. .”

Tim Rollins 1955-2017



Art and the City

Watch  [+]

How to foster creative learning?

Prioritize Intrinsic Motivation

Creative engagement unfolds when “making stuff we care about.”

The key choices people make should arise from their own ideas, curiosity and passions (intrinsic motivation). Just because people follow instructions, does not mean that they are engaged.   


Establish Creativity Conducive Environments

Stimulate self direction

Developing creative capacities requires more than presenting interesting activities for learners. The learning environment must engage the whole person—body and mind— involve different ways of learning, and allow for timing that is flexible and responsive.


Promote Flexibility as Paramount Intrinsic Motivation

Creative learning can’t unfold with sequential reliability

High-quality creative processes and true collaboration involves figuring out ways to accommodate, celebrate, and take advantage of the unanticipated. Creative learning inevitably produces final results that are often different than those originally anticipated, requiring an open mind to change.


Activate creativity inside the Educators themselves

Creative capacity is cultured in an authentic ‘we’ environment

The most powerful tool for those who guide creative learning is the active presence of their own personal creative engagement in the work. Creative process unfolds best in a “we” co-learning, co-exploring environment in which the educators and learners adventure within the same processes.


Craft effective partnerships

Creative Partnerships must support creative work in flexible and responsive ways.

Partnerships must dedicate careful attention to clear roles, responsibilities in the evolving work, and shared understandings about creativity.

Adapted from Creative Capacity in Vermont Students Read [+]


Core principles of the community play movement:

-Work respectively with peopleand their communities;

-Build local ownership of the enterprise;

-Meticulously research and workshop local material and verify with people its authenticity;

-Don't gloss over the darker side in personal and community life;

-Challenge people to be their best in giving of themselves, in learning new knowledge and skills; and

-Professional and community artists are a powerful partnership - the latter bring their lived experiences, the former the skills that enable these experiences to translate into artistic expression.


Globally new ideas and plans are emerging for participation.

A distinction between local development and community development is worth considering:

Community development is a

-bottom-up, developmental activity

-focused on a task of social change

-process led by principles of participation, empowerment and collective action.

Local development is defined as a

-collective efforts (community, statutory agency and social partner) to act together for the benefit of the area.


HOMEBAKED, Liverpool

Susan Potts wrote the Homebaked Impact Report – Recipes for Revolution that was commissioned by Liverpool Biennial. Here are six ingredients:

Find the Correct Oven

The Mitchells bakery building has significance for the Anfield community; it is a long-standing community asset and has import in hearts, minds and memory of place. With this in mind the project was set in a location that had not yet gone cold and lost its meaning for the community.

2. Set the Right Temperature

Underpinning factors for success were the personal attributes of those who set the project in motion and supported its growth. These attributes including integrity, being trustworthy and ethical in approach attracted like-minded people and gained support and confidence from volunteers and participants.

3. Use Locally Sourced Ingredients

The principles of co-production were applied to this project. The method of working with people instead of for people has enabled the bakery to accomplish community ownership.

4. Kneed with Care

The Homebaked network delivered back to its participants as sense of belonging and place which has been taken away in quite cruel and unjust circumstances. The dynamics set within the bakery, despite its long and sometimes painful journey to fruition were of care and compassion, carried out with an understanding of place and a willingness to set the right conditions of care.

5. Bake

This project took a long-term view to enabling the community to take ownership. In the interview with Liverpool Biennial’s director, she states that ‘the board was brave’. The project took significant input from all those involved including paid staff and volunteers who worked for a couple of years to put in place the right measures for the bakery to evolve in the right format for community ownership that is informed. Expert talks, visits, networking and learning opportunities all contributed to the ‘bake’, which produced the end product.

6. Understand your Customer

Homebaked provided a mechanism to growth and mobilise social capital in Anfield where a power shift, no matter how small, was needed. The bakery has enabled participants to emerge as winners in a powerless situation. The seemingly impossible task has been achieved and its impact is significant for those involved. In fact, in some stories analysed in this report, Homebaked has contributed extensively to changing their lives.


UNESCO Status of the Artist

Eurobarometer Report on Culture Access and Participation

EU/OMC Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialgoue

EENC Participatory Governance of Heritage


DAHG Culture 2025

Arts Council Making Great Art Work

DAHG Value for Money and Policy Review of the Arts Council


Galway - 10 Year Cultural Strategy

Galway - Arts Strategy

Galway City LECP

Sligo County LECP

Limerick LECP




Community Art

Workshops aimed as an introduction to community arts methodology and its place within community development.  Read [+]

Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today is one day workshop focused on work with active age groups e.g. dementia care. It is linked to practitioners who are developing a reminiscence Network

Happy Parent is an intensive workshop aimed at parenting support for parents and anyone working with young children. Interested in a resource booklet? Read [+]

Community Culture: Enzyme for Change involves our ambition for a series of workshops for artists and activists who want to find new modes of participation.