Artists Interviews

November 2014:

Consultations for the new National Arts in Education Portal


Helen Barry, shadow puppets

Last week I attended my local consultation for the new national Arts in Education Portal. This initiative comes from the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht, and the consultation process is being led by Kids’ Own.

It provided a forum for excellent discussion on a number of areas. Depending on whether one came from the arts sector or education sector the perspective and priorities varied.

Two specific points that were raised by both sectors was ‘flexibility’ or lack thereof. For most it seemed that though ‘flexibility’ is encouraged, the demands of the curriculum and the practical reality on a day-to-day basis in the classroom proves too challenging and is often unrealistic. The second was the desire to find a common ‘language’ that could be understood by both sectors.

My experiences in the classroom to date, both in primary and post primary school, have offered positive examples of both. Teachers have been fully supportive of what I bring to the classroom, however abstract and experimental.

My current artist in residency is in the Muslim National School where I run weekly workshops. Half way through each session almost a third of the children would leave to go to the support teacher in a different room. By the third session the support teacher had decided to join us in our room, having seen the evidence that many of the curriculum and support needs were being met through the creative process in my workshop.


Helen Barry, Muslim School
The work we are doing has come from the children’s ideas and suggestions. We have developed shadow puppets and plays that led to the construction of imaginative geometric 3D forms.


Comments about this interview

    No comments added

Post your comment!

To comment this interview you must be logged.