Cork County Council Creative Communities Award was introduced in 2017. CTN is very grateful that a proposal to work with 6 groups in the Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District was awarded full support from Cork County Council.
Aim: The Cork Textiles Network originally set out to work with 6 different community groups within the Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District as part of the Creative Community Awards Scheme. Each group would work with a member of the network over a number of weeks to work on a common theme - ‘Welcome to my world....exploring the senses’. There would also be public workshops in the Libraries of the Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal Districts. The final works from each group would be displayed in a group exhibition in the Gallery at Library HQ in County Hall.
Project Coordinator: Emer Fenlon
Artists working with the groups: Emer Fenlon, Carmel Creaner, Lesley Stothers, Sara O’ Hara, Ann Kiely, Sarah Geary.
Community groups involved: St. Gabriel’s Special School, NCBI, Direct Provision Kinsale Rd, YMCA STEP, Marymount hospital & hospice, Headway.
Project outline: Each artist was to work with the individual groups over a period of 10 weeks. It would be a collaboration of artist and members of the individual groups with the work tailor made to suit the different interests and abilities of each group.
Summary of the workshops
Each artist worked with their community groups carrying out weekly 2 hour sessions over a period of 10 weeks. These sessions helped to shape the work that each group produced and the nature of the work changed organically to meet the needs and wishes of all the participants. The participants taking part in the project varied greatly in age, ability and background so the work across the 6 groups was very diverse. For some participants who were physically limited, consideration was taken to ensure there was assistance in the form of care workers. In these instances, the people aiding the participants would engage them with the work and if a participant was uncomfortable with some aspect of the session, it was then customised to suit their individual abilities and needs.
In general, the participants embraced the classes with great enthusiasm and they learned how to complete a project which is an important aspect to help many of them to achieve success in their everyday lives. In most cases there was an abundance of support from the centres where the groups were based. In some cases, this was the first time the participants were given an opportunity to express themselves in an artistic format and this proved to be very beneficial for those who have a difficulty with language.
Overall, the final exhibition was very warmly and positively received. Members of each of the groups attended the launch of the exhibit and it proved to be a great way for these very diverse groups to connect with a common theme. It has helped to bring together these groups that may normally be considered to be on the margins of society. The work of the members who took part has given them the means to creatively express their emotions which is a language that all can understand.