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IHF Announces Recipients of New Seed Grants to Support Creativity in the Community during COVID-19 Crisis

IHF Seed grants recipients

22 February 2021 

Today we announced the recipients of our new Seed Grant scheme after a national callout last month. 

Over 70 applications were made for funding to projects which are in partnership with the Creative Ireland programme to inspire and support creative responses to the themes of dying, death and bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

11 projects from all over Ireland have been selected with Cork, Galway, Limerick, Meath, Donegal, Wexford, Waterford and Kildare all represented. 

Arts & Cultural Engagement Officer at IHF is Dominic Campbell:

“Processing the applications has been like reading a national audit of how people wish to reflect and remember all their losses during this pandemic. We received an extraordinary diversity of hugely creative responses to the breadth of grief in all our homes.

From the rural GAA club and the village choir creating murals and choral works reflecting loss in their communities, to the potter making personalised urns for an individual’s ashes. From the illustrator explaining a grandparent’s death while apart to a child, to the playwright talking to people facing the end of life, to the digital and architectural memorials which will invite Ireland to share their losses; all illustrate what IHF’s People’s Charter on Death, Dying and Bereavement revealed and the pandemic reinforces – people are seeking more opportunities to talk about and process death, dying and bereavement. Our Seed Grants are growing into places where we can be with each other in loss.” 

Tania Banotti is Director of the Creative Ireland Programme:

“We are delighted with the sensitive and thoughtful response from the creative community to this important project. We look forward to hearing more about the outcomes of these projects and congratulate all involved.” 

IHF Seed Grants recipients 2021 are: 

Marthaz Urns (Cork) 

Martha Cashman, artist/sculptor in Cork will make an urn for her brother who “wanted to be cremated but felt for my mother’s sake, who is 92, he wouldn’t do that but give her the traditional burial she is used to”. It will reflect his love of motorbikes and nature. This project sits within a bigger ambition of creating personalised urns and exploring women in funeral industry.  

One story encourages another/Meallan scéal scéal eile (Galway) 

Hazel Greene and Kathy Hyland, a bereavement support services coordinator and art therapist in Galway Hospice Foundation, will offer their community who have experienced loss during COVID-19 an opportunity to share experience in words, music and poetry, which will be shared as a video. 

Say It Feel It (Wexford) 

Chris Hayes at Crannóg Media produces the HedgeRadio podcast, he wants to “give voice to those grieving and dying who cannot have loved ones close” beginning by creating an audio work on a dedicated website where he will curate stories recorded with people affected by the pandemic.  

House of Memory (Galway and nationwide) 

Frank Monahan and the Architecture At The Edge team, who explore the role of architecture and its impact on our lives, will build a temporary installation proposed by architect David Kelly, that explores the boundary between life and death. It suggests how we can find a way to grieve and mourn the loss of a loved ones given the restrictions of social distancing and gathering. Installed in Galway in March, visitors will be invited to leave a token of remembrance or an offering before the installation is disassembled and set alight as a beacon of hope. 

Sorry for Our Troubles (Limerick and nationwide) 

Jennifer Moran Stritch of the Limerick Institute of Technology Loss and Grief Research Group/Death Café Limerick, together with Jantien Schoenmakers, Marketing Consultant, and David O’Neil of Limerick City Community Radio will set out to make a collective expression of grief when there is much grief but seemingly no place for it to go. Voice messages sent to a dedicated WhatsApp service will be processed through soundwave software to create a unique image for each anonymised recording. Images will be posted on a dedicated website memorial. 

Journey through the ritual of lament and caoineadh (Cork)  

Artist Michelle Collins is facilitating residents of Marymount University Hospital and Hospice to explore loss, grief, reflection, and remembrance through lament and keening/caoineadh workshops. This project is supported by Cork County Council Library and Arts Service. 

Murmurations: A Song Cycle (Kildare) 

Sharon Murphy and Sadhbh Murphy of Embrace Music are developing a cycle of three songs reflecting and drawing on the breadth and depth of loss in the residential care communities they work with. Supported by Kildare Arts Office, the title refers to the outbreak of empathy in the pandemic, and the final works will be available as digital recordings online. 

Absent Voices (Meath) 

Róisín Freeney and the 45 members of Dunshaughlin Choral Society, an amateur community choir where all are welcome, play a central role in village life. They propose to compose and record an original collaborative piece to reflect the loss of members and loved ones in their village. 

Dying to Know (Limerick) 

Joanne Ryan, theatre artist, specialises in making entertaining quality work about taboo and stigmatised subject matter. Supported by Limerick’s Lime Tree Theatre, and in collaboration with thanatologists and death historians, she will develop parts of a new performance interrogating issues around death that combines autobiography, documentary and research. 

Lily’s Grandpa is an Angel (Donegal) 

Spanish artist living in Donegal for 15 years, Maria Gasol’s father died due to COVID-19 in Barcelona last April. Her 6-year-old daughter trying to console her with care, innocence and imagination, led to a story-poem. As a volunteer in local residential care and community support agencies in West Donegal, she will join forces with community groups to illustrate the poem and create a digital illustrated book. In turn, the book will become a tool to generate conversation. 

Mural of Remembrance Project (Waterford) 

Gaultier GAA Club are deeply embedded in their community. Members of the club and the local community have been lost to COVID-19. With chair Richard Finnegan, they plan a memorial mural made with a local graffiti artist on a wall facing the Dunmore East-Waterford City Road to raise spirits and commemorate.