With a thousand
and one things left to complete days before the end of school term, I was in two minds about whether I had enough time and energy to fill in the application for Creative Schools or not. I committed, got the head down and filled it in. This was May
2019, before the world, and education as we knew it had changed. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that we had been selected as a Creative School. As an art teacher, I place huge value on creativity, and see the benefits of creativity in
students learning experiences every day.
I wondered what I had let students and staff in for, but as soon as I met our Creative Associate, Laura Ní Fhlaibhín, everything fell into place. We clicked immediately. We surveyed parents, students, and staff to identify ways in which we could be more
creative and discussed many project ideas right across the arts spectrum based the results. Our school has a wonderful history, as the birthplace of international architect and designer, Eileen Gray. This was always going to be a part of one project.
Laura created links with artists who would work with us: photographers, graphic designers, painters, poets, writers, architects, rap artists, animators, music video creators... the list goes on. Just as we began our projects, Covid hit, and schools closed.
Laura and I continued to meet regularly, and being a Creative School became a lifeline for artistic projects. Participating artists pre-recorded videos of themselves and shared the content. They provided engaging lessons and interacted with student
work through live, online calls. Students were thrilled to take part and are thrilled with the outcome of their work. One student even won an iPad for a “Scéal 6 fhocal” that she wrote.
The students voice has certainly been projected because of the many projects they have chosen to participate in. The students and I are extremely grateful for all the doors, possibilities, and opportunities that our Creative Associate Laura, through Creative
Schools has opened for us. The support has been astounding for the past two years, and I will certainly miss having a creative associate and funding at the other end of the phone. Moving forward, it has created many links between the school and various
artists, that we can continue to use and build on, to project the voice of young people.
—Danielle Dempsey, teacher at Meánscoil Gharman, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford