Surviving or Thriving? Supporting wellbeing in the arts sector: Collab Arts

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An online series from Waterford Healing Arts Trust in partnership with the Arts Council seeking to promote wellbeing in the arts sector.

About this Event

Panel Exchange 3: Collaborative Arts

Monday 22 March, 10.30am (online)

Chair: Dr Maureen Gaffney

Speakers: Dance artist Tobi Balogun Enright, choreographer/ curator Ruairí Ó Donnabháin, and visual artist Deirdre O'Mahony.

Part of an online series of panel discussions, workshops and resources seeking to strengthen resilience, restore confidence and promote connectedness across the arts sector.

Adm free but booking essential. Book your place for the Collaborative Arts Strand on this page.

See below for info about the entire Surviving or Thriving? programme.

About the speakers:

Tobi Balogun is an artist working across dance, theatre, fashion and design. As a professional member of Dance Ireland and founding member of Human Collective Dance Company, Tobi has co-created many works for stage including FABLE for Dublin Fringe Festival (2018), performed at Project Arts Centre and been nominated for a Best Ensemble Award. He has developed collaborative projects in association with choreographers Cathy Coughlan, Maria Nilsson Waller and with organisations such as South Dublin County Council, Tallaght Community Arts, Dublin City Council and Dance Ireland. Tobi Balogun is the recipient of the Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2020: Collaborative Arts and Human Rights, managed by Create.

Is gníomhaí teanga agus choreografadóir é Ruairí Ó Donnabháin, tá sé ag thógáil uirlisí deasghnáth de treibh atá chaillte. Bíonn sé ag eagrú damhsaí in Éireann ó 2008. Tá Máistreach aige i Choreografaí ó DAS Graduate School Amstardam agus Céim Onóracha dhá ábhar i Béarla agus Dramaíocht ó Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh. Is as Chontae Chorcaí é Ó Donnabháin agus tá a taidhde faoi 'chleachtais aeistéitic chúraim'. Tá sé ag obair ar agus ag chur Oileán Chléire fuann.

Ruairí Ó Donnabháin is a language activist and a choreographer; he is making ritual objects for a tribe which doesn't exist. Ó Donnabháin has been making dances in Ireland since 2008. He is a Masters in Choreography Graduate from DAS Graduate School Amsterdam and holds a joint honours BA in Drama and Theatre Studies, and English from University College Cork. Ó Donnabháin’s choreographic practice is concerned with aesthetic practices of care. A native of County Cork, he lives and works on Oileán Chléire (Cape Clear), a remote island and Gaeltacht off the south west coast of Co Cork, investigating Gaeilge as a site of queer resistance and new materialist collaboration in the wild.

Deirdre O’Mahony is a visual artist whose practice is informed by a deep interest in sustainability, farming, food security and rural/urban relationships. For more than two decades she has investigated the political ecology of rural places through public engagement, archival and moving image installation, critical writing and cultural production. Current and recent projects and exhibitions include POST, an audio work for Saolta Arts/Galway 2020; Little did they know EVA Guest Programme (Phase 2), curated by Merve Elvern; Untitled an Askeaton Contemporary Arts publication; SPUD publication and CErere (2018) EU Horizon 2020 project for Teagasc. O’Mahony initiated X-PO in 2007, since recognised nationally and internationally as an exceptional social practice project, and she has had numerous solo and group exhibitions and commissioned public artworks along with Irish Arts Council bursaries, awards and international fellowships.

Scroll down or click here for more info on Surviving or Thriving?

WORKSHOP: A follow up workshop with artist Kate O’Shea and researcher, trainer and activist Dr Krini Kafiris entitled ‘Building a Culture of Care: Anti-Burnout Practices for Social Arts Practitioners’ takes place on Tues 23 March at 10.30am. **UPDATE: This workshop is fully booked. [More details here]

Our sincere appreciation to our associate organisations Create and Age & Opportunity for their support and guidance in putting this Collaborative Arts strand together.

Surviving or Thriving? Arts Council and Waterford Healing Arts Trust announce innovative online series to support the wellbeing of the arts sector in Ireland

The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon and Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) have announced details of an innovative new online series designed to support the wellbeing of arts professionals in Ireland, with particular relevance to the present Covid-19 pandemic. Entitled Surviving or Thriving?, the series of panel discussions, workshops and podcasts, which is open to all those working in the arts in Ireland and is free of charge, aims to strengthen resilience, restore confidence and promote connectedness across the arts sector. The programme features panel exchanges chaired by psychologist Dr Maureen Gaffney, with guest speakers from a range of art forms, including writer Anne Enright, musician Eleanor McEvoy and artist Austin Ivers, in addition to follow-up workshops and online resources exploring self-care and wellbeing. Surviving or Thriving? takes place over three weeks from 15 March to 01 April 2021, with podcasts and other online resources available ongoing. Admission is free, but booking is required. Further details and booking links for all events from and

Surviving or Thriving? has been developed in response to the cessation of arts activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 has had a profound professional and personal impact on artists and arts workers, with major structural impacts for organisations. Artists and arts workers from across the arts sector in Ireland provided a myriad of real-life examples of the effect the pandemic has had on their wellbeing to the Arts Council for its report Survive Adapt Renew. Among its recommendations the report included commitments to building resilience, inclusion and sustainability in the sector as it faces into the future.

Each element of Surviving or Thriving? seeks to inspire and support, while acknowledging current challenges and realities. Recognising the need to break through the saturation of online events available and to offer real value to the target audience of arts professionals, WHAT has been liaising with national and regional art form and development organisations who have offered their expertise and guidance in developing the programme and putting together a high calibre line up of speakers. These organisations include Music Network, Visual Artists Ireland, Theatre Forum, Words Ireland, Create, Age and Opportunity, Minding Creative Minds and Dance Limerick.

Speaking at the announcement of details, Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, said: “These past 12 months have been extraordinarily difficult for people across the arts landscape. Alongside their own cares and concerns for family and friends, they have been dealing with the shocking cessation of activity and the resulting loss of income. We continue to support individuals and organisations through various schemes and initiatives, and we hope that this new programme with WHAT will provide further vital support to this brilliant profession.”

Claire Meaney, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, added “Waterford Healing Arts Trust is very pleased to be working with the Arts Council on this important initiative to support the wellbeing of arts professionals in Ireland. The overwhelmingly positive response we have received over the course of planning Surviving or Thriving? indicates the need that exists for this type of support. We are extremely grateful to all of the associate organisations who have so generously worked closely with us to present a strong programme which participants can engage with at different levels and which, we hope, will not only lift spirits but will nourish and encourage artists and arts workers to restore their confidence, foster their resilience and fall in love with their creativity all over again.”

About the Arts Council: The Arts Council /An Comhairle Ealaíon is the Irish government agency for developing the arts. We work in partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life. We provide financial assistance to artists, arts organisations, local authorities and others for artistic purposes. We offer assistance and information on the arts to government and to a wide range of individuals and organisations. As an advocate for the arts and artists, we undertake projects and research, often in new and emerging areas of practice, and increasingly in cooperation with partner organisations.

About Waterford Healing Arts Trust: Established in 1993, Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is based at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and brings arts experiences – music, creative writing, painting – to the bedsides of patients at the hospital and other healthcare settings in the community. WHAT believes that exposure to the arts softens the clinical environment and reduces anxiety and stress for patients, families and staff. WHAT believes the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society as a whole, including within healthcare settings, and that engaging with the arts stimulates the participant’s sense of identity and creativity. WHAT is a leader in the national development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the highly regarded resource website

The organisation operates from the WHAT Centre for Arts and Health, the first of its kind in Ireland, on the grounds of UHW, enabling the org anisation to bridge its work between the acute hospital setting and the wider community. WHAT is a registered charity and is core funded by the Arts Council, HSE and Department of Social Protection. Additional funding is provided by Waterford City and County Council, Punchestown Kidney Research Fund, the Ireland Funds and the National Lottery. WHAT raises additional funding through sponsorship and fundraising initiatives.


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