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Artist Residencies & Research

Developing Arts and Health at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre

Studio layout

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre offers Artist in Residence studio opportunities to artists and research supports for artsist working on the Arts for Health Programme and in an arts and health context. Applications are currently open for 2024, with submission deadline of 31 July 2023, 5pm.

Artists of all disciplines are invited to apply for an opportunity to research and develop their practices and to engage in dialogue with Uillinn, other organisations in Cork, the local community and general public.

There are three Artists’ Studios located on level 2 of Uillinn, suitable for visual artists or writers. They range in size from 18.2 metres square to 21.2 metres square. They are interconnecting work spaces, with north facing roof lights, that can be closed off from each other.  There is a fourth studio on level 4  suitable for dancers, musicians or performers, equipped with barres and mirrors and wired for sound and projection.


Dominic Thorpe – Collective memory and perpetrator trauma
Uillinn/Crespo Residency Award 2023
22 July to 16 September 2023

Aine Rose – Art & People living with Parkinson’s
An Arts for Health Supported Research Project
30 May to 30 November 2023

Sarah Ruttle – Exploring Possibilities: Visual Impairment
An Arts for Health Research Project
17 April to 30 September 2023

Philippa Donnellan – Taking Flight Dance Production
An Arts for Health Research Project/Arts Council Bursary Award 2022
Phase 1: 4 July to 16 July and Phase 2: 5 December to 11 December 2022 Phase 3: 20 June to 1 July 2023

Toma McCullim – Salt and Pepper
Supported by Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, HSE
1 May to 13 May 2023

Sharon Dipity – Bridging the Imagination
Arts Council Agility Award 2022
November 2022 – February 2023


Ida Mitrani – Arts for Health Learning Residency

September 29 to November 6, 2021

Ida Mitrani’s concerns and interests are influenced by concepts and theories of plant culture in the current environmental crisis, including plant blindness, post-naturalism and hybrid material. The creative process explores the relationship and the interaction between humans, plants and technology, and looks at the function and meaning of weeds in today’s society. Her aim is to capture a memory of the present era using an environment of textures that reflects the diversity and adaptability of life, and contemplates a vision of a possible new understanding of a ‘clean landscape’ where plastic is incorporated in nature.

During her residency at Uillinn, – with guidance from her mentor, Sarah Ruttle and Programme Manager Justine Foster – Ida designed a creative kit that was mailed to eight participants on the arts for health programme at isolating home.

The experience of the residency benefited the artist in generating new ideas while learning new techniques and methodologies to better adapt to various situations, to help with problem solving, and to develop and deliver future socially engaged creative projects in a safe environment.

Ida Mitrani is a multidisciplinary artist and art educator currently living in the Beara peninsula, in West Cork. She recently graduated from the Crawford College of Art and Design with a First class honours masters degree in Art and Process (2021).

Toma McCullim_Coming Home

June 2019 – June 2020

In a year long project based in the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen , West Cork, Toma McCullim will be engaging older generations to talk and share stories of emigration, through a series of workshops in the community and as part of the Arts for Health Programme. Toma will be making links with residents in the community attending day care and resident in Community Hospitals. To make the connections, Toma will be benefiting from Ludgate’s 1GB internet, linking with diaspora who left these shores for new lives in other countries. She will be also be gathering stories of what it was like to be left behind. Calling Home will create a virtual holding place for memory, a liminal space between places and time.

Toma has also been awarded a studio residency at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, February 7 – 21 and again April 23 – June 3 2020 to coincide with the national Beataine programme, celebrating creativity as age. Funded through the Ludgate Hub AR Programme, as part of the Business to Arts, Artist in Residence Programme in partnership with the Creative Ireland National Creativity Fund, Arts for Health Partnership and Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre

Sarah Ruttle and Charlotte Donovan, Marielle MacLeman, Kirsty Stansfield_Fragments

11 May – 27 June, 2019

In Spring 2018, following the annual Check Up, Check In, a reflective practice and reading group was initiated at Uillinn. The group comprises West Cork-based Sarah Ruttle and Charlotte Donovan, Galway-based Marielle MacLeman, and Glasgow-based Kirsty Stansfield – all visual artists with over 15 years experience of working in Arts and Health.

This group provides a supportive space for the individuals to reflect on their broad experience and explore pertinent questions relating to maintaining an artistic practice in health settings. The residency will form an important incubator period for the group – time to focus on critical reflection with peers, using dialogue, making and writing to explore participative and collaborative methodologies in Arts and Health – and a catalyst to generate the momentum needed for continuous exchange.

During the residency at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre,  the group will explore ideas related to:

autonomy, creativity and end of life; place-making and place-based knowledge in hospital and community health contexts; the interplay between participative and collaborative approaches in hospital and community health contexts; authorship and visibility of the visual artist in Arts and Health and in the wider contemporary art world

Kirsty Stansfield   Sarah Ruttle and Charlotte Donovan

Marielle MacLeman studied Drawing and Painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee and relocated to Galway in 2011. She has worked widely in participatory Arts and Health contexts for 15 years including the development of long-term programmes in palliative care and haemodialysis, and public art commissions spanning care for the elderly, paediatric, maternity bereavement, neonatal, and mental health contexts. She has written and designed for publications including The Music of What Happens (2014), The Magician and the Swallow’s Tale (2013), The Pattern of a Bird (2008), and Creative Engagement in Palliative Care (2007) and collaborated with filmmaker Tom Flanagan for GUH Arts Trust on the Documentation Bursary 2017-18. She was awarded the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2018: Collaborative Arts in Health Contexts.

Image: Sean O’Hagan ‘Impressions of the Sea’

Toma McCullim_110 Skibbereen Girls

 8 January to 7 February and 5 to 22 June 2018

This year-long project explores the poignant stories of 110 girls from Skibbereen who escaped famine for Australia c1850. Artist Toma McCullim plans to investigate how various people sharing Skibbereen Community Hospital campus today – staff, service users, residents and visitors – can contribute to the development of a permanent site specific artwork to mark this moment in history. Attention will be paid to how the process impacts on the participants’ sense of place, their relationship with the location and with each other.

Toma explains, ‘Earl Grey’s Famine Orphan Scheme sent 110 girls, aged between 14 and 18, from Skibbereen workhouse (now Skibbereen Community Hospital campus) to Australia between 1848 and 1850. It is now estimated that there could be 10,000 descendant diaspora from this group of girls, each with a story. History lives on through us. Narratives tell us who we are. Making new stories of the past can change how we feel about who we are in the present. By bringing people together to talk about the legacies we have inherited we can make new shapes of the future. The Skibbereen girls can be celebrated for their contribution to the making of modern Australia. A diaspora of relations can find their way back to celebrate these young women’s courage. Modelling a spoon from beeswax, we feel that connection made in our own hands. Making together we are made one.’

The process begins with a studio residency at Uillinn, shortly followed by a residency on site in the Hospital Campus. The residencies will give time for Toma to research and develop her ideas and support a number of public interactions to include tours, talks, film screenings and participatory workshops, all investigating the theme of the 110 girls, their journey to Australia and diaspora that exists now.

A series of 110 bronze spoons will be cast to signify the 110 Skibbereen girls. A stone donated by the Australian Embassy has been brought from Australia to incorporate into the artwork which will be located near the Famine burial ground on the Hospital Campus. Work from, and documentation of, the project will be exhibited alongside Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger, an exhibition of historical and contemporary artwork from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, USA which is being shown at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre from July to October 2018. An online documentation with photographs, sound clips and film will document the process, the artwork and emergence of a story.

110 Skibbereen Girls by artist Toma McCullim is a Cork County Council, West Cork Arts Centre and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Famine Heritage Project, funded by the West Cork Municipal District Creative Communities Scheme, Cork Arts and Health and the National Lottery.

Find out more

Sarah Ruttle_Parachute in My Purse

September – October 2016

Sarah Ruttle, along with artists Colm Rooney in Dunmanway Community Hospital and Tess Leak and Liz Clark in Castletownbere Community Hospital  worked with participants to imagine Ireland in the future, casting their minds back and referring to influential and personal events from the last one hundred years.
Together the artists and hospital residents have travelled through a hundred years unfolding, seeing into the future and imagining how it might have played out differently. Being the children of Ireland following the years of the Rising, hospital residents told the stories of how historical moments affected their lives, families and communities.
Three workshops were held in each hospital with the artists and Sarah produced an art installation comprising of huge paper cuttings to represent the residents’ memories, stories and the dialogue they held with the artists. “One lady whispered to me during our first workshop, I have a parachute in my purse and hence the title of the art installation was born”, says Sarah.
Other residents at Dunmanway Community Hospital made references to; the introduction of rural electricity, to the men who cut the roads through the mountains to get the latest news on the Rising and all how important these were to the community. The large scale paper cut outs were constructed during a three week residency at Uillinn artists studios, the final cuts outs represented a dresser, a parachute, jars of jam and an accordion, were installed at each hospitals for three months to stimulate further conversations in hospital.
Director of Nursing at Dunmanway Community Hospital, Theresa Healy Kingston said, “The installation is a wonderful celebration of history between the residents and artists. It opens our minds to what our older people perceive as Ireland 2016. It’s great to see the art work that Sarah Ruttle produced after listening and chatting with the residents. Every one’s interpretation is different and the view developed with the artistic eye provides an exceptionally diverse product. One of our female residents spoke of the fact that “only for the boys of Kilmichael West Cork would have been wiped out .”

Find out more about this project in Sarah’s Case study on

Amanda Jane Graham _Art and Illness

August – September 2016

Amanda Jane Graham was awarded the Cavan Arts/ Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre Arts Residency 2016. Amanda’s intention of the residency was to address the fears, taboos and societal stigma that surround serious, terminal illness and palliative care.  Amanda approached this by creating a public space for discussion about how we collectively deal with illness, with the objective that individuals with a diagnosis are not defined by their illness but only by who they are. The residency involved working with HSE staff in West Cork and asking them, if they were to describe Palliative care by a colour what colour would it be? From Dulux paint charts, wool was matched to the chosen colours. The uplifting and vibrant colours that were chosen have been used to create a tapestry. One HSE staff member said, ‘Palliative care is not about dying, it’s about living. We want to help people to live’.

podcast from about the residency from both Shannonside and Northern Sound station

Toma McCullim_These Tangled Threads

November – December 2015

I am an artist working on the Art for Health Partnership Programme, West Cork. This means I am often making art work with people who are experiencing cognitive changes. I am also an anthropologist of art. I am interested in what art does. When I am making art I am thinking about thinking. When we make visual an idea, we communicate in the grammar of dreams. We sort these picture ideas into concepts which frame how we see our world. To find out more see Toma’s case study on

For this residency Toma was picturing dementia. Endeavouring to translate, in the turns and twists, how it is to think through this different narrative structure, bringing into focus how adjusting our own way of thinking can help us to reconnect with people who we have stopped understanding.

Toma opened up her studio on Fridays and welcomed visitors to come and talk about how we can use art to communicate with our loved ones. Toma was listening, prompting and working to create a participative art piece.