News archive

Arts Council announces closing date for Young Ensembles Scheme 2011

The next Young Ensembles Scheme (YES) closing date has been set for Friday 29 April 2011.

Applications are invited for activities beginning between July 1st and December 31 2011 and completed by June 30th 2012. The primary purpose of this award is to support groups of young people between the ages of 12 and 23 to create ambitious and original work together in any art form (e.g.: circus, dance, digital media, film, music, theatre, literature, visual arts, or any combination of the above). Groups/ensembles must be made up of 3 or more members.

The maximum award available is €10,000.

Full details on this award, including guidelines and criteria, are available here.

Please feel free to print out the Flyer (0.08 MB, Adobe PDF) for distribution and display!

The music capital scheme continues into 2011

With the support of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the Music Capital Scheme is continuing past its initial pilot phase (2008 - 2010). The scheme is available again in two streams; Stream 1 for the purchase of banks of instruments for non-professional performing groups and Stream 2 for the purchase of an instrument by highly-skilled musicians, performing at a professional level in any genre of music.

The deadline for applications to the scheme is Tuesday 04 October 2011, at 5.30pm and applications must be in the Music Network offices in hard copy, by that time.
The application forms and guidelines are available on the Music Network website, in both PDF and Word formats.

For information and enquiries on the Music Capital Scheme, either contact Aisling Ryan at or on 01 4433320.

President Mary McAleese announces first Laureate na n-Óg (10 May 2010)

President Mary McAleese announced Siobhán Parkinson as Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s first laureate for children’s literature, presenting her with the Laureate na nÓg medal at a special event at the Arts Council.

Laureate na nÓg is a new initiative of the Arts Council with the support of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Children’s Books Ireland and Poetry Ireland. The honour has been established to engage young people with high quality children’s literature and to underline the importance of children’s literature in our cultural and imaginative life. Laureate na nÓg is also supported by Eason’s and by the Irish Times.

Speaking to an audience of children and adults, the President said writers had "woven magic into people's minds and hearts with words".

"Books are stepping stones to your best self," President McAleese said. "They take you right into your own head, they give you a great realm of friends, they open you to the whole world around you."

Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council, said, "The Arts Council is proud to initiate Ireland's first laureate for children's literature. Laureate na nÓg seeks to broaden and enrich young people's imaginative worlds, to encourage a love of reading and to inculcate the value of literature among children and young people."

"Literature plays a unique role in helping us to interrogate who we are as a society, it has the power to make us understand what it means to be human, and it offers us that most subversive of things - pleasure," Ms Moylan added.

She continued, ‘This is an exciting and valuable initiative and it comes at a time when good news and optimism, particularly in relation to children and young people, are vital. Through the Laureate, and the Arts Council's overall support for children's literature, we are working to get more children reading and reading more adventurously.'

Speaking about her appointment Siobhán Parkinson said, "I am thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the first Laureate na nÓg. I believe that children's literature lays the foundations of the imaginative life of a people, and that every child deserves to have access to a reading haven -- a well-stocked and well-run library in their school and in their community."

Artist in youth work residency scheme - open for applications

This scheme is co-funded by the Arts Council but administered by the National Youth Council of Ireland. Please note that this award may be subject to different conditions and criteria than the awards directly administered by the Arts Council. Requests for information or application forms should be directed to the National Youth Council of Ireland.

The Artist in Youth Work Scheme is offered as a means of extending and enhancing opportunities for young people to experience and participate in the arts.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage artistic collaboration between professional artists and young people. Young people will have the opportunity to work with and learn from practitioners of excellence in their field. Equally, artists will have the opportunity to enrich their own professional practice through the contextual experience of working with young people.

There are two awards under this scheme. The Artist in Residency award and the Youth Arts Development award.

The closing date for applications is 5pm Thursday 29th September 2011.

For more information please visit the National Youth Council of Ireland website here.

Young Ensembles Scheme 2010 Networking and Showcase Event

Young people from ensembles awarded funding through the Arts Council's Young Ensembles Scheme (YES) 2010 participated in a showcase and networking event on 5th March, 2011. The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, which ran a project supported through the scheme, hosted and facilitated this event at the Gallery in Cork city, in partnership with the Arts Council.

The Arts Council places immense value on the young people and youth arts leaders who develop artistic work under the scheme and we were delighted with the high quality of the projects showcased on the day.

Open planning meeting Art-Youth-Culture: FYI (19 February 2010)

You are invited to attend an open meeting at the Arts Council, on Friday 19 February, to assist in planning the three-day event, Art-Youth-Culture: FYI.

When: Friday, 19th February, 2 - 4pm
Where: The Arts Council, 70 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
Who: This planning meeting is for young people between the ages of 15-23, and youth arts leaders.

Background - Art-Youth-Culture: FYI invites young people between the ages of 15 and 23 to discuss young people's participation in cultural life and the arts with their peers and key policy-makers. The event will take place in Dublin from March 27th -29th and will include three days of arts-based workshops and discussions, concluding with a meeting between young people, arts policy makers, and government representatives. Art-Youth-Culture FYI is an initiative of the Arts Council’s Young People, Children and Education team and is supported through the EU Youth in Action programme, administered by Léargas.

On Friday, 19th February, the Arts Council will host an informal meeting for anyone interested in participating in Art-Youth-Culture: FYI. At the meeting, we will share a rough outline for this event and invite you to share your ideas about the structure over the three days and the key questions you consider important to explore. Young people interested in attending as delegates, as well as youth arts leaders, are welcome to attend the planning meeting.

If you wish to attend the planning meeting on Friday February 19th, please reply to:

For more information on Art-Youth-Culture: FYI, and how to get involved, please visit the Arts Council website:

If you are unable to attend the planning meeting, have too far to travel, or learn about it too late, we welcome your ideas by email. If you wish to send suggestions by email, please sent a completed (0.07 MB, Adobe PDF) to

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Arts Council hosts Young Ensembles Scheme Reflection and Evaluation Workshop (09 January 2009)

On October 28th 2008, the Arts Council hosted a reflection and evaluation workshop for groups funded through the Young Ensembles Scheme. This highly interactive workshop, facilitated by David Kelly of the National Association of Youth Drama, aimed to gather recommendations and feedback about the pilot scheme and to give ensembles that received funding in 2008 an opportunity to meet each other and exchange experiences. 45 young people and leaders from 16 ensembles, representing a range of art-forms including film, dance, drama, writing, music, circus and street arts, shared their insights and ideas throughout the day.

The workshop was followed by a celebratory event, featuring music by the Mount Temple Jazz Ensemble and members of the Axis-Ballymun Ensemble.

The full list of ensembles funded through the scheme can be viewed at

Young people ready to breathe life and arts into derelict buildings (01 April 2010)

Young people have vowed to transform derelict and unused buildings into vibrant cultural centres - if Nama and local authorities around the country give them the space and the opportunity.

The idea emerged from the first ever Arts Council youth arts forum, which saw some 60 young people from all over Ireland gather in Dublin. They said that, given the chance, young people could take over buildings now lying empty around the country and turn them into exciting exhibition centres, rehearsal spaces, film sets and artists' studios.

The gathering, made up of young people from all over the country, played an active role throughout the weekend, participating vigorously in the debates and discussions.

The participants, all aged between 15 and 24, said they wanted agencies like the Arts Council to form their own "youth advisory committees" to nurture their creativity. Such initiative within state bodies would mean that young people could represent themselves, putting forward their own ideas and proposals on cultural policy, not merely being represented by older adults.

Delegates from Wicklow, Antrim, Donegal, Monaghan, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Westmeath, Laois, Louth as well as various parts of Dublin said they wanted to form a national union for youth arts to create more opportunities for talent to emerge.

Art-Youth-Culture: FYI, a series of arts-based workshops, discussions and meetings between young people and policy makers, took place in Filmbase, Exchange Dublin and the Civic Office on Dublin's Wood Quay. Organised by the Arts Council with support from the European Commission's Youth in Action programme administered by Leargas, the gathering quickly burst into life. Young visual artists took to the streets, musicians jammed with a mixture of French horn, cello, electric guitar and more, while ideas about the arts and cultural policy were "tweeted" and used to update blogs.

Gaye Tanham , Arts Council’s Head of Young People, Children, and Education said the weekend had been a huge success, giving voice to the 15 percent of the citizenship of Ireland between 15 and 24 years of age in an unprecedented and direct way. 35 percent of the population Ireland is made up of 0-24 year olds (CSO 2006 figures).

"FYI represented a great opportunity to shed light on the important contribution of young people to the arts and cultural life, and to listen to the ideas, views and experiences of the young people from different backgrounds who took part in the event" she said.

"It allowed us to reflect on the art and practice of consulting, listening to and transferring power to young people in policy-making processes that impact on their experience of the arts and cultural life. It has undoubtedly opened a new chapter in young people's participation in Ireland." Gaye Tanham added.

More information available on the conference website:

Arts Council announces Young Ensembles Scheme 2009 funding decisions (08 May 2009)

The Arts Council is pleased to announce funding decisions for the Young Ensembles Scheme in 2009. 66 eligible applications were received, and of these 14 have been offered funding. The total demand for funding was €822,202.92. The available funding in 2009 was €140,000. A list of successful applicants is now included in the decisions database.

The Young Ensembles Scheme was introduced in 2008 and includes an evaluation process that will help to inform the future provision of Arts Council support in this area. We invite you to view the video of a reflection and evaluation workshop carried out with groups funded in 2008 on the Vimeo website.

Natural Born Artists Conference (19 October 2009)

Natural Born Artists, the international conference on arts for early years, organised by Baboró, took place this October in Galway.

The conference was opened by Michael D Higgins, TD. Keynote speakers included Martin Drury, Arts Director of the Arts Council, and David Coleman, psychologist, author and radio and television presenter.

Download the text of Martin Drury's speech (0.08 MB, Adobe PDF).

Arts Council publishes Arts and Education report (01 July 2008)

The Arts Council today published Points of Alignment(0.29 MB, Adobe PDF)the Report of the Special Committee on the Arts and Education. The report was presented to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, T.D., and the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe, T.D.

To read the full press release please visit:

A Summary Guide to the report is also available: Summary Guide_Treoir Achomhair(0.08 MB, Adobe PDF)

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