Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), with the support of The Creative Ireland Programme, began an Arts and Creative Engagement initiative early in the pandemic. With all citizens affected by loss, normal patterns of grieving disrupted and care staff fraught, the programme offered a way for people to make meaning in a difficult time.
The extended grant will lead to broader engagement with communities across the country. There will be 26 micro–Seed Grants for communities to support self-directed creative exploration of grief and 7 Compassionate Culture Network (CCN) programmes run over 12 weeks. The CCN programmes are local workshops exploring loss in the pandemic and are aimed at establishing a training programme for creatives working in arts and health, within a peer-to-peer framework.
Catherine Martin, T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media said
“I am conscious that every community in Ireland has been affected by this terrible pandemic. Not only did COVID-19 take so many of our loved ones, it also disrupted our traditional ways of grieving and memorialising. I recognise that the arts, culture and creativity can bring comfort and help people grieve and remember in some tangible way. With funding from my department through the Creative Ireland Programme, I am delighted that Irish Hospice Foundation can continue its important support for people and communities to cope with bereavement through creative and artistic expression.”
Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF, is confident that the continued investment in the arts and engagement programme will yield long lasting benefits.
“Arts and Creative Engagement offers us, in IHF, opportunities to use creativity and the arts to construct meaningful spaces where difficult things such as dying, death and bereavement are explored. Reflection, Remembrance, Renewal is an IHF framework for learning that will evolve over the coming year. This framework provides the opportunity to facilitate the public and communities to connect deeply with the issue of dying, death and bereavement. The potential of the arts and creativity to strengthen meaningful engagement and support around death and loss has been known for centuries. We are thrilled to have the backing of The Creative Ireland Programme and Minister Catherine Martin to do it.”
The publication of The Reflection Book marks the end of an initial phase of investment and the start of this new investment. It is a combination of interviews and poems detailing how people on the frontline coped during the early days of the pandemic and the impact of dying, death, grief and loss on them. Reflection is the first in a series of IHF led creative initiatives into learning from the pandemic.