Archive for June, 2019

2018 Docklands Arts Fund Small Grants Recipient Fergal McCarthy’s project – ‘Dublin’s First Port of Call’

June 26th, 2019
Fergal McCarthy - No Man's Land

Visual artist Fergal McCarthy, ‘No Man’s Land’. Image: Andreas Pettersson

Visual artist Fergal McCarthy is one of the three recipients of the 2018 Docklands Arts Fund Small Grants.

Fergal is a visual artist living in Dublin, who originally worked as a painter but in recent years has widened his practice to include installations, photography and film.

He has spent several months researching source material relating to the Dublin Docklands area to create a book, which delivers an engaging and humorous account of the story of the Docklands. This book was distributed without cost to local primary schools in the Docklands area, with Fergal hosting presentations of the project to school pupils.  For information on Fergal’s other work, please see his website here.

Commenting on the Docklands Arts Fund, and working on his project ‘Dublin’s First Port of Call’, Fergal says:

 “Since I moved to Dublin almost 20 years ago I have been fascinated by the Liffey, I refuse to see it in any way that doesn’t involve rose-coloured glasses. I have worked on many art projects over the years responding to the river including ‘Liffeytown’, a small estate of red and green Monopoly-style houses moored on the river for a fortnight and ‘No Man’s Land’, a floating desert island in the Docklands that became my temporary home for a week.

By being awarded a grant from the Docklands Arts Fund, I was enabled to shift my interest in the Liffey further down river to Dublin Port. I spent several happy months reading into the history and geography of Dublin Port and making visits to the area to chat with former dock workers about their time in the port. By the end of my research I was considering moving house to Ringsend just so I could watch the ships come and go all day and maybe join a rowing club. All the information I gathered became the basis of a little book of cartoon-style drawings detailing Dublin Port’s back story. I got to tell such stories as the unexpected formation of Bull Island, Captain Bligh’s commissioning of the North Wall, the shipwrecks on the Kish Sandbank and the Diving Bell’s usage to deepen Dublin Port.

On completion I printed up several hundred copies of my little book, Dublin’s First Port of Call. These books were distributed freely to primary schools in the Dublin Port area which I visited to conduct workshops and readings. I’m glad to report that in the course of ten workshops only one child managed to fall asleep! Most of the children I met in the schools had parents and grandparents who worked in Dublin Port, and they shared their experience of living in a Docklands community. I was pleasantly surprised that many of the pupils I worked with knew far more about Dublin Port than I do. Retired Dockers had already spoken to them in their schools and Fighting Words had initiated writing projects in response to the port and the local environment. The Docklands communities have an incredibly rich history, and I am incredibly grateful to the Docklands Arts Fund for providing me with this opportunity to respond to it with this book.“


Fergal McCarthy - Dublin's First Port of Call_newspiece


Business to Arts & Creative Ireland Programme Announce Businesses Selected to take part in the Artist-in-Residence (AR) Programme

June 20th, 2019
Pictured (l-r) at the announcement of the businesses taking part in the match-funded Artist in Residence (AR) Programme with Creative Ireland's National Creativity Fund and Business to Arts were Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts and Minister Josepha Madigan T.D with business participants Emmet Scully, Managing Partner, LK Shields, Adrienne Harrington, Chief Executive, The Ludgate Hub and Martina Westphal, Director of Community & Social, BHP Community beside artist James Kirwan's installation, Portal to a Vague Place.

Pictured (l-r) at the announcement of the businesses taking part in the match-funded Artist in Residence (AR) Programme with Creative Ireland’s National Creativity Fund and Business to Arts were Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts and Minister Josepha Madigan T.D. with business participants Martina Westphal, Managing Director, BHP Community, Adrienne Harrington, Chief Executive, The Ludgate Hub and Emmet Scully, Managing Partner, LK Shields beside artist James Kirwan’s installation, ‘Portal to a Vague Place’, in the RHA Gallery. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography.

Business to Arts announced the three companies selected to take part in the Artist-in-Residence (AR) Programme, one of 30 initiatives supported as part of the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund.  Expressions of interest were sought from businesses interested in developing new (or significantly enhance their existing) CSR activity through the AR Programme.

The three businesses selected include:

  • BHP Insurances (Dublin): BHP Insurances will work with a piano musician to develop a combination of performance and education based initiatives for clients in the not-for-profit sector.
  • LK Shields (Galway): LK Shields will work with a performance-based artist, to explore ways of using performance techniques to develop presentation skills and leadership skills, focusing on working with third-level students to prepare them for entering the workforce, and to overcome barriers to progressing their chosen career.
  • The Ludgate Hub (Cork): Ludgate Hub will work with a local artist and local community of older people to connect with the older diaspora community through technology and creativity.

The AR Programme covers a broad spectrum of activity and opportunities for artists and companies. The selected programmes involve a minimum of twelve-months of community engagement, staff engagement or work-place creativity activities by the host companies and artists.

At the announcement, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan T.D., commented: “The all-of-Government Creative Ireland Programme is now two years in existence and already we are beginning to see the impact of key initiatives such as the National Creativity Fund.

Collaboration and community engagement are core principles of the Creative Ireland Programme and I am particularly pleased that we have supported the Business to Arts Artist-in-Residence (AR) initiative – which encourages and enables active partnerships between business, artists and local communities.

Through initiatives such as the AR Programme, we want to encourage ambition, risk and innovation by harnessing the incredible talent and passion of our artists, our creative communities and local business innovators.  I look forward to following the progress of these partnerships and sharing the outcomes of each as they come to fruition.”

Andrew Hetherington, Chief Executive, Business to Arts, stated:

‘Alongside our Creative Ireland Programme partner, we are looking forward to working with BHP Insurance, The Ludgate Hub and LK Shields as we expand our AR Programme across other regions in Ireland. We look forward to working with these businesses, their resident artists and local community groups, fostering an environment of collaboration, learning and wellbeing through creative practice.’

Any artist interested in working with a company can join the Business to Arts register by emailing

Full details of the Open Call for artists are available here.


A&L Goodbody & Business To Arts Celebrate 3 Years Of The A&L Goodbody Writer-In-Residence Programme

June 17th, 2019
Picture: Jason Clarke

Students from St. Joseph’s Co-Ed Primary School in East Wall with A&L Goodbody Writer-in-Residence Catherine Ann Cullen. Picture by Jason Clarke

On Thursday June 13th, A&L Goodbody and Business to Arts hosted a Writer-in-Residence event at St. Joseph’s Co-Ed Primary School in East Wall. Pupils, teachers, family members and A&L Goodbody employees were in attendance to celebrate three years of partnership with the A&L Goodbody Writer-in-Residence Catherine Ann Cullen, under the Docklands Arts Fund. Music and songs composed during the programme by the pupils were performed by the pupils and Catherine Ann, with musical accompaniment by Imogen Gunner.

Catherine Ann has worked with 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th class in St. Joseph’s Co-Ed Primary School in East Wall with a view to improving their creativity and literacy skills. Each week, the pupils ‘commissioned’ her to write a poem on a theme of their devising, and the following week’s session opened with that poem. Catherine Ann has helped the pupils to develop creative writing skills, enabling them to express their thoughts and emotions about daily life in East Wall, as well as their dreams for the future. The students work has been compiled into books called ‘Words for Third’ and ‘Suggestions by Sixth’.

Students from St Joseph's Co-Ed Primary School in East Wall. Picture by Jason Clarke

Students from St Joseph’s Co-Ed Primary School in East Wall. Picture by Jason Clarke

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