An additional 81 schools will also join the Schools Excellence Fund – Creative Clusters initiative, forming 21 new Creative Clusters. A Creative Cluster consists of between three and five schools collaborating on the design, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of an innovative arts and creative learning project which supports them in addressing a common issue or challenge, identified by that cluster. Clusters can consist of primary schools only, post-primary schools only or a combination of primary and post-primary schools.
Announcing the creation of 21 new Creative Clusters, Minister Norma Foley said: “Now more than ever, it is important that our students are supported to develop their creativity and given flexibility to express themselves in a variety of exciting new ways. Today I am delighted to announce the 81 schools that are coming together to form 21 new Creative Clusters. I would like to welcome these new schools into this Schools Excellence Fund initiative, and I look forward to seeing how these exciting projects develop over the coming two years. This year has seen a very significant level of interest from schools applying to participate in the 2021 Creative Clusters initiative across the country. I am hoping to increase the number of Creative Clusters in the 2022 intake.
In addition, the new BLAST initiative I announced earlier this year will also provide opportunities for schools to collaborate with established artists, supporting our children and young people to collaborate and engage in creative and critical thinking – all crucial skills for their futures. Applications for BLAST closed recently and I look forward to finalising the details of this exciting programme in the coming weeks.”
Creative Clusters is a pilot initiative of the Department of Education, led by and in partnership with Ireland’s 21 full-time education centres and funded through the Schools Excellence Fund.
In addition to Creative Schools and Creative Clusters, the Creative Ireland Programme continues to support a wide range of both school- and community-based initiatives to enable greater participation by children and young people in all forms of creative activities.
Minister Martin added: “Our ongoing commitment to Creative Schools and Creative Clusters has meant that in just three years almost 1,000 schools have been given the opportunity to engage with arts, culture and creativity in new ways, helping to enrich the learning experience of thousands of children and young people. Together with our continued investment in an array of community-based initiatives and projects, made possible by the Creative Ireland Programme, young people are being provided with evermore opportunities to engage in creative activities – not only as a support to their learning and development, but also for the sheer enjoyment and hopefully to develop a lifelong love of arts, culture and creativity.”
Find out more about Creative Schools here and see the 2021-22 list of participating schools here.
Details of new schools participating in Creative Clusters from September 2021 are available here.