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Further support for Irish Hospice Foundation’s creative exploration of loss

3 min read

Further support for Irish Hospice Foundation’s creative exploration of loss

3 min read


Further support for Irish Hospice Foundation’s creative exploration of loss

Minister Catherine Martin has announced further support for the Irish Hospice Foundation’s invaluable creativity-focused community bereavement schemes.

Rooted in creativity, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), with the support of The Creative Ireland Programme, began an Arts and Creative Engagement initiative in the early stages of the pandemic. With all of us affected by loss, deprived of the normal customs of grieving and our care staff fraught, the programme offered a way for people to find meaning in a difficult time. 

The extended grant will lead to a broader engagement with communities across the country. There will be 26 micro Seed Grants for communities to support self-directed creative explorations of grief and seven Compassionate Culture Network programmes run over 12 weeks. 

The 26 micro-grants aim to support groups, organisations and individuals in exploring creative, tangible ways to mark their response to the universal realities of dying, death and bereavement, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority will be given to creative initiatives that take innovative approaches to reflection and remembrance. The grants aim to help start new local art projects, or to support existing projects in gaining momentum – this may involve artists, craftspeople or coders. It may be a group or simply an individual who has a good idea. 

Grant applications open on Thursday 7th October, apply either via the digital application form on the IHF website or download and print an application form from the IHF site and send via post.

The Compassionate Culture Network programmes are local workshops exploring loss in the pandemic and are aimed at establishing a training programme for creatives working in arts and health, within a peer-to-peer framework. Seven artist-facilitators, along with support workers, will work in seven venues around Ireland and invite local communities to explore “loss” as “un-lockdown” happens. The aim is to use creative practice to establish places where people can talk about loss.

"“The arts, culture and creativity can bring comfort and help people grieve and remember in some tangible way”"

Minister Catherine Martin said “I am conscious that every community in Ireland has been affected by this terrible pandemic. Not only did COVID take so many of our loved ones, it also disrupted our traditional ways of grieving and memorialising. I recognise that the arts, culture and creativity can bring comfort and help people grieve and remember in some tangible way. With funding from my department through the Creative Ireland Programme, I am happy that the Irish Hospice Foundation can continue its important support for people and communities to cope with bereavement through creative and artistic expression.” 

Sharon Foley, CEO of IHF, is confident that the continued investment in this programme will yield long lasting benefits. “Arts and Creative Engagement offers us, in IHF, opportunities to use creativity and the arts to construct meaningful spaces where difficult things such as dying, death and bereavement are explored. Reflection, Remembrance, Renewal is an IHF framework for learning that will evolve over the coming year. This framework provides the opportunity to facilitate the public and communities to connect deeply with the issue of dying, death and bereavement. The potential of the arts and creativity to strengthen meaningful engagement and support around death and loss has been known for centuries. We are thrilled to have the backing of Creative Ireland and Minister Catherine Martin to do it.”

Launch of Irish Hospice Foundation’s book ‘Reflection’. Photo: Paul Sherwood

Also supported by the Creative Ireland Programme, the publication of the IHF’s book ‘Reflection’ – a combination of interviews and poems detailing how people on the frontline coped during the early days of the pandemic and the impact of dying, death, grief and loss on them – marks the end of an initial phase and the start of this new investment. ‘Reflection’ is the first in a series of IHF-led creative initiatives into learning from the pandemic.

View the ‘Reflection’ publication online here.

Find out more at Irish Hospice Foundation online.

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