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Experience: An Introduction to Arts, Health and the Older Person, an online learning programme, has been announced by Age & Opportunity, Waterford Healing Arts Trust and Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre.  Taking place over three mornings from Tuesday 7 to Thursday 9 December, this programme aims to outline the essential elements involved in working with older people in an arts and health and/or community context, and will feature presentations by some of the most experienced and inspiring practitioners working in this specialised field of practice.  Places are limited to 20 and cost €20.00 each, which covers attendance on all three days.  Further details and booking information is available from and from  Experience: An Introduction to Arts, Health and the Older Person is funded by the Arts Council and the HSE.

Experience has been devised in response to the need for more training and practical orientation for arts practitioners who already have experience of participatory work in a health and/or community context, and who are interested in developing their practice to include working with older people.  In a programme which aims to be inspiring and pragmatic, participants will gain an overview of approaches and ways of thinking in this rewarding area of work, practical information and advice for different art forms and disciplines, valuable insight from recent case studies, and opportunities to share ideas and build contacts with their peers. 

The exciting line-up of speakers includes Consultant Geriatrician Dr Paul Finucane, Clinical Nurse Manager Margo Daly, Activities Director at Bantry General Hospital Sarah Cairns, dance artist Philippa Donnellan, musician Liam Merriman, artist Caroline Schofield, composer Justin Grounds, collaborative theatre company Outlandish Theatre Platform, Director of Creative Ageing International Dominic Campbell and Project Co-ordinator, of Emma Eager, with additional contributions from Tara Byrne (Age & Opportunity), Claire Meaney (Waterford Healing Arts Trust) and Justine Foster (Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre).

Announcing details of Experience: An Introduction to Arts, Health and the Older Person, Tara Byrne, Arts Programme Manager with Age & Opportunity, said “We’re really pleased to present this new learning programme, in partnership with Waterford Healing Arts Trust and Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, to support artists who wish to develop their participatory arts practice to be more inclusive of working with older people.  Coming from an organisation which advocates increased creative opportunities for older people, it is essential that we support arts practitioners to develop the skills and knowledge to play their part in realising this vision in imaginative and responsive ways.” 

Claire Meaney, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, added “Our work in arts and health has partnership at its core, so we’re delighted that a number of our healthcare partners specialising in care of the older person are joining us to share their experience and expertise.” 

Justine Foster, Programme Manager, Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, concluded “Our three organisations have devised this programme in response to the need for more training, artist networking opportunities and practical orientation in this specialised area of work, and we’re really excited to have such a rich offering of artists from different art forms who have generously agreed to share their insight and perspective with arts practitioners coming through.  It promises to be an inspiring and energising few days.  Our sincere thanks to our funders, the Arts Council and the HSE, for their ongoing support.”

– Places for Experience: An Introduction to Arts, Health & Older People, which runs from Tuesday 7 to Thursday 9 December, cost €20, and are open to professional arts practitioners with experience in participatory arts work in a health and/or community context.  Places are limited in order to make this a valuable experience for all participants.  Those interested in participating should email by Wednesday 17 November 2021 with the following details:
:: Expression of interest: Why you would like to participate in this programme (50-100 words)
:: Summary of participatory work to date (50-100 words)

– Selected participants will be notified by 22 November and sent the link to complete their booking.
– Participants will receive the Zoom link for each day the evening before the event. 
– Live captions will be available each day if required.  If your application is successful, please indicate at that time if you wish to avail of this.

Programme Partners
– Age & Opportunity’s vision is for an Ireland where all older people can be more active, more visible, more creative, more connected, more confident more often.  The organisation’s Arts Programme provides opportunities for older people to be more creative more often, to create meaningful participation and representation for all older people in cultural and creative life and to demonstrate and celebrate how creative potential can improve with age.  The programme is based on the annual Bealtaine Festival in May and year round resource and development initiatives designed to support artists, arts participants and arts organisations.

Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre is a hub of arts activity in the heart of Skibbereen, County Cork, providing access to and engagement with the arts for all.  Its vibrant and diverse participation programme enriches the visitor experience through workshops, masterclasses, film screenings, and dance and discussion platforms, and encourages equality of access for people of all ages and cultures through its long-term programmes and projects. Since 2005, in partnership with the HSE, Cork Education and Training Board and Cork County Arts Office, Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre has been delivering a programme for older people in healthcare settings across West Cork. 

– Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) brings arts experiences to the bedsides of patients at University Hospital Waterford and other healthcare settings.  WHAT believes that the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society and that engaging with the arts stimulates our sense of identity and creativity.  See Core funded by the Arts Council, WHAT also supports the development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the national website