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Mentoring and Learning

for arts and health practitioners

Opportunity for Artists – Arts for Health Learning Residency

Deadline Wednesday 28 July at 5pm

Please click this link for further information

Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre in partnership with Cork County Council/Creative Ireland, Cork ETB and HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare are inviting expression of interest from artists who would like to take up learning residency as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme.

Uillinn Residencies are supported by the Arts Council and Cork County Council.

Snapshot of Artists Learning Programmes that are repeated as the artists team changes…

Arts for Health, Working with people living with Dementia (Training session, part 1)

A professional development session aimed at artists working in care settings and care workers delivering arts programmes. The sessions will inform the learners’ practices when working with people who have memory loss and dementia. Sarah Cairns will inform on conditions and explain methods and techniques to enhance arts practitioner’s communication skills.

Arts for Health, Exploring Working with Cognitive Difference (Training session, part 2)

This professional development session seeks to further inform arts and health practitioners when working with people who are experiencing memory loss and dementia. Continuing the conversation from part 1 participant consider techniques and their environment. The latter part of the session will serve as a clinic to address specific challenges.

Learning more about Cognitive Difference (On-site mentor, part 3)

This series of outreach mentoring sessions takes place over three months with two artists working with Sarah Cairns on site, to develop facilitation techniques, creative approaches and on site structures when working in healthcare settings with people who have memory loss and dementia. The one-to-one mentoring responds to a self-conducted learning needs analysis to address specific on site challenges.

“The outreach mentor sessions have been fruitful and informative. Each centre has been very welcoming and staff are clearly behind the AfH programme. The artists are dedicated to bringing the participants a high quality programme, we have worked together to fine tune the workings of the programme in each centre and explore supportive ways of working with people with dementia and other cognitive differences.” Sarah Cairns

Composer in Healthcare, Learner Programme (Peer Mentor )

Five composers took part in this three part peer mentoring programme in February to June 2017 

Learner session at Uillinn with Liz Clark followed by three one to one sessions on site with Liz. Meeting and support time was incorporated into this very specific learning programme, enabling five very experienced composers to begin work in a new and challenging environment.

Placement Programme

Arts for Health placement takes place annually in autumn and follows a flexible sixteen week programme of shadowing, planning and delivery under the supervision of Arts for Health core team artists. The programme invites submissions from artists with an identified and specific interest in learning and developing their professional practice in working with older people in healthcare settings. To date the there have been six artists accepted onto this programme since the placement began in 2010.


At the outset, the placement artist shadows an AfH artist to establish the basics; meet the artists’ team, navigate the working environment, take a supporting role during weekly workshops and get to know the care staff and the participants’ interests and capacity.


The next step is for the Placement Artist to establish a project plan for the programme with the Arts for Health Artist. The plan must fit into the overall programme aims and must prioritise the welfare and cultural requirements of the participants. It should provide creative opportunities for the residents in the long-stay unit, supporting access to and engagement with the arts for older people in this context. It should offer an element of challenge and interest beyond standard transferral of skills and reflect the artist’s professional practice. It can be in any artform. The level of collaboration with the AfH Artist can be negotiated at this point.


The Placement Artist should take a lead role in the delivery of their project with a small group of older residents in the long-stay unit. The supervising artist will advise where appropriate and offer holding support initially and quietly observe throughout to support when needed.

The Placement Artist is expected to learn about and engage in best practice, this includes documenting their work, keeping a reflective journal, attending team meetings, engaging in pre and post workshop discussion and submitting documentary evidence of the experience, along with a short written report.