Surviving or Thriving? Online Series to support the wellbeing of arts professionals – Waterford Healing Arts Trust and Arts Council

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 www.artscouncil.ie and www.waterfordhealingarts.com

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.”

Noel Kelly, Director of Visual Artists Ireland, added: “Visual Artists Ireland welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Waterford Healing Trust on this initiative. As the wellbeing of artists and issues surrounding isolation is one of our core concerns, this important series for the wellbeing of people working in the visual arts sector is most welcome.”

Surviving or Thriving? programme schedule will take place from 15 March – 1 April and will include:

Thursday 18 March, 10.30am:
Panel Exchange 2: Visual Art
Chaired by Dr Maureen Gaffney, with guest speakers artist Brian Kielt, artist Miriam O’Connor and artist and educator Austin Ivers.

Friday 19 March, 10.30am:
Workshop 2: Visual Art
Sustaining the Self, facilitated by artist Marie Brett.

Monday 22 March, 10.30am:
Panel Exchange 3: Collaborative Arts
Chaired by Dr Maureen Gaffney, with guest speakers visual artist Deirdre O’Mahony, choreographer/ curator Ruairí Ó Donnabháin and dance artist Tobi Balogun.

Tuesday 23 March, 10.30am:
Workshop 3: Collaborative Arts
Building a Culture of Care: Anti-burnout practices for socially engaged artists, facilitated by trainer, researcher and activist Dr Krini Kafiris and artist Kate O’Shea.

Full Programme of events on waterfordhealingarts.com/surviving-or-thriving/

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