The Art of Mental Health with First Fortnight Festival @ The LAB, Dublin City Council

January 13, 2016 – January 19, 2016

The Lab Gallery

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Visual Artists Ireland in partnership with First Fortnight Festival and The LAB Gallery. Talks and discussions  for artists and freelancers in the visual arts around good mental health. Part of the First Fortnight programme of events that accompany the Damien Doyle and George Bolster exhibitionAmazement Insulates Us All/Memento Vivere’ @ The LAB Gallery.

Wed 13 Jan (11.30 – 13.30) Resilience and Self Support – with psychotherapist and mindfulness practitioner Adie Clarke and psychiatrist Dr. Niall Crumlish.

Sat 16 Jan (11.30 – 13.30) Healthy Work Practices with psychologist Dr. Loren Duffy and visual artist Theresa Nanigian.

Tues 19 Jan (13.00 – 14.00) Talks & Panel Discussion with artists George Bolster, Alan Counihan and Ciara McKeon whose practices address mental health and the issue of suicide.

To register to attend please follow the registration link and tell us which of these events you would like to attend.

Wed 13 Jan – Resilience and Self Support – Dr. Niall Crumlish psychiatrist and music lover will give a talk around resilience and positive mental health followed by a short mindfulness session around resilience facilitated  Adie Clarke.

Sat 16 Jan –  Healthy Work Practices  –  Dr. Loren Duffy will open a discussion with participants around what aspects of your work you find most challenging to your mental wellbeing. Theresa Nanigian will discuss how she has built in proactive practices into her work as an artist developing good communications with clients and using project management skills to support her creative work

Tues 19 Jan – Talks & Panel Discussion with artists George Bolster, Alan Counihan and Ciara McKeon. Each artist will give a short talk about aspects of their work which have developed out of direct experience.  Eithne McAdam First Fortnight organiser and Art Therapist will facilitate a discussion with the artists and audience.


Dr. Niall Crumlish is a psychiatrist since 1999 and a music fan since 1984, which he says ‘is the first time I remember telling my dad not to turn a particular song (Wham’s ‘Freedom’) off the radio’. He has written for State and Hot Press, Sunday Business Post and opinion pieces in the Irish Times and Irish Independent. He has been a consultant psychiatrist in St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, since 2010. He blogs about music and mental health on Psychiatry and Songs:

Adie Clarke has had a varied career as a teacher, a psychotherapist, a group facilitator, a behaviour management consultant, and as a mindfulness mentor and educator. She has over 30 years’ experience working with schools and other organisations, children, adolescents, teachers, parents and health professionals, both here and in Canada.  Currently, the focus of her work is to offer skills in the areas of stress management, self-regulation and behaviour management for both adults and children through practical tools & strategies and CBT based mindfulness and resilience training.  Her motto is: ‘Whether we’re eight or eighty, we’re all trying to get through the day the best way we can.’                              

Dr. Loren Duffy is a psychologist, writer, and speaker born in Ireland.  He has studied 20th Century psychology, mental disturbances and disorders (e.g. neurosis, psychosis) to understand human functioning. As a psychologist and coach, he specialises in personal change, resilience, empowerment and creativity. Loren has advised senior executives, entrepreneurs, and sport and creative professionals in over 40 countries around the world. As a speaker, he has lectured in, and delivered keynote addresses to, several leading universities.

Therese Nanigian –

George Bolster is originally from Cork and currently lives and works in New York city.  His current exhibition at The LAB Gallery, Amazement Insulates Us All/Memento Vivere, features his work and that of his late partner Damien Doyle.  Their discussions about art over many years informed their art practice and Doyle’s death in 2010 was a huge personal loss to Bolster who has sought to make sense of it through a number of his text based works. The central conceit of the exhibition, drawn from a piece by Bolster called self erosion, examines the shared lives and experiences of two artists and assesses their collective motivation for being cultural producers, as well as their mutual history of depression.  This exhibition provides an opportunity for Bolster to combine his art and curatorial practice and is accompanied by an essay by Sara Reisman, Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation in New York City.

Alan Counihan is a Kilkenny based artist and has been practicing for over over twenty years as a sculptor. The focused of his work is on the specificity of place, whether through large-scale public and private commissions or through smaller studio-based works, in all cases centering on the exploration, and hopeful enrichment, of the human experience of place. His current work in progress,  Personal Effects: a History of Possession, has grown out of an engagement with the personal effects of past patients from The Richmond Asylum – later known as St Brendans Hospital, – in Grangegorman, not far from the heart of Dublin. Given the provenance of these personal possessions the title should also be read to include the meaning of the effects of institutional care upon the person. For twenty months, alongside members of the Grangegorman Community Museum and under the guidance of the National Archives, Counihan sorted through the records that were also retrieved in the hospital’s attics. In the process he made a selection of memorabilia, correspondence and documents for which he received permission from the Health Service Executive to develop a response both as an artist and as a citizen. Some of these possessions were used to create a work of art that has at its core the histories of anonymous persons who lived, and were cared for, within the institution of the hospital. Given their context these possessions remain charged objects yet with little of the strange to be found among them. They are of the everyday, suggestive of inner lives no less rich nor remarkable than our own and revelatory of stories as much about ourselves as about their owners.

Ciara McKeon is a Dublin based visual artist whose work focuses on performance. She works as curator and artist, curating Unit 1 with Dominic Thorp.

Eithne McAdam is an Art Therapist and founder member of First Fortnight and the First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies, based in Dublin.

First Fortnight is a charity-based organisation with the express aim of challenging mental health prejudice through the creative arts. We believe the arts allow us to create a space where people can talk about mental health issues in a non-scripted manner. Once that conversation has begun, we hope this will then help to change people’s perceptions about an issue that affects us all with one in four of us set to experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives. With that in mind, we hope to make the First Fortnight of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma.

Founded in 2009, First Fortnight staged its first two-week arts festival in 2012. The charity has since become a mental health service provider with the establishment in 2013 of the First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies. The centre currently employs two psychotherapists providing art-therapy for individuals experiencing homelessness and mental ill-health in Dublin.



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