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BLAST Residency Initiative - Arts & Creativity in Education 2024

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Bringing Live Arts to Students & Teachers (BLAST) in Primary, Special and Post-Primary Schools and YouthReach Centres.

The Department of Education announced the launch of the 2024 arts and creativity in education BLAST Residency programme, which will bring arts and creativity in education to up to 425 new Residencies in the school year 2024/25. This initiative aims to support the objectives of the Creative Ireland Creative Youth Plan (2023-2027) which builds on the principles and skills outlined in the Arts in Education Charter (2013) and the achievements of Creative Youth (2017-2022). BLAST aims to provide pupils in schools all over the country, time and the space to work with a professional artist/creative practitioner on imaginative and joyful projects. BLAST is a key Department of Education initiative of the Creative Youth Plan 2023- 2027 which aims to foster creativity in schools focus and to provide young people with opportunities to learn and develop the key skills and competencies of collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. Innovative BLAST residencies are designed and developed between the artist/creative practitioner, teacher, students and the school community under the coordination of the 21 full-time Education Support Centres Ireland (ESCI) network.

How will the BLAST Residency initiative work?

Education Support Centre: Schools and YouthReach centres apply for a BLAST Residency via a centralised online application link (see below) which will be processed by their local full-time ESC. The programme is nationally coordinated by the National Arts in Education office, Tralee Education Support Centre. Every local ESC has a BLAST Register of Artists & Creative Practitioners who are trained to deliver BLAST Residencies. The BLAST Register is arranged by artist / creative practitioner and discipline. It includes required training, examples of previous work and relevant experience in an educational and community context. Schools and YouthReach centres may apply for one of these creative practitioners to work with them in their school. In excess of 300 artists are currently trained and registered on the Register of Artists & Creative Practitioners managed by the ESCI network nationally. Local ESCs administer the payment for creative practitioners which removes the administrative burden on teachers and schools.

Garda Vetting:

Garda vetting for creative practitioners for BLAST Residencies is organised by the local ESC. Some schools may separately request that creative practitioners apply for Garda vetting specifically to work in their school.

Creative Practitioners will have completed Tusla Children First Training and submitted their certificate to the local ESC. Schools must follow and make creative practitioners aware of their school’s / centre’s Child Protection Procedures, Safeguarding Statement and Designated Liaison Person.

Artists & Creative Practitioners:

Creative practitioners on the BLAST Register of Artists & Creative Practitioners have been trained and have engaged in school residencies under the Teacher-Artist Partnership+ (TAP+) professional development initiative which is approved and led by the Department of Education.

Artists and creative practitioners from any creative discipline who have been trained in partnership working with schools will be registered with the 21 full-time ESCI. Artistic and creative disciplines include visual arts, crafts, music, dance, drama, literature, heritage and film. Creative disciplines will be expanded as the residency programme develops over the next number of years.

Schools & YouthReach Centres:

Schools and YouthReach Centres that apply for BLAST:

● Must be in the catchment of a local full-time Education Support Centre.

● Fee Paying Schools are not eligible to apply for BLAST Residencies.

● Schools that are not in the free-education scheme cannot apply for BLAST.

● Schools in receipt of capitation grants from the Department of Education or Education and Training Boards scheme can apply for BLAST.

● Each School may submit only one application.

● Schools/Centres make their own selection of creative practitioners on the BLAST Register of Artists & Creative Practitioners.

● Please note that schools may not always be partnered with their choice of artist or creative practice - this is due to practitioner availability and demand.

Once a school / centre is approved for a BLAST Residency, the school has a commitment to the creative practitioner, who will have earmarked time for the project and could potentially turn down other work in favour of the Residency.

BLAST Arts & Creativity in Education Residency Funding:

The artist’s fee is €1,100 per residency. This is funded by the Department of Education via the ESCI network. Local ESCs pay the creative practitioner in accordance with agreed guidelines after the artist and teacher/school project completion processes have been submitted. In certain instances, this may include the payment of two instalments of €550 with the prior agreement of the ESC and creative practitioner.

The artist / creative practitioner will be funded for 20 contact hours, including 6 hours for planning/development/evaluation. Participating schools must pay for materials associated with the project and also for any fees relating to documentation of the project (photographs, film, recording etc) and any other costs involved including insurance costs. Funded residencies can be delivered throughout the academic year commencing in September in the year the residency was approved.

Schools must acknowledge the Department of Education, Creative Ireland, their local ESC and National Arts in Education office in publicity relating to the project.

BLAST Application Link BLAST 2024/25

Application Form apply here:

Please note only online applications will be accepted.

BLAST Timeline

Opening date for applications 19th March 2024

Closing date for applications 10th May 2024

Announcement of successful BLAST Residencies Late May 2024

Residencies can begin September 2024

Initiative completion and review Mid May 2025

Applications will open on 19th March 2024. The closing date is 10th May 2024.

Wexford BLAST Register of Artists and Creative Practitioners 2024:

Olivia O'Dwyer
Eilish McCann
Helen Flanagan
Anita Mahon
Tony McCleaneFay
Brendan Fahy/Juggler Brendan
 Lynn Haughton  Products - The Upcycle Movement
Nonie Stafford
Sonya Weston Site Under Construction
Sheila Forsey
Trish Middleton
Niki Keane
Ann Kenny
Alan Nolan
Caroline Busher
Lani O' Hanlon
Jeni Roddy
Kate Murphy
Mirona Mara
John Busher
Nadia Corridan
Brid Colloton