HOMEGROUND was a two-year Artist Mentoring Programme that ran during 2020-2022 and comprised of bespoke artist supports, both personal and professional, for artists from or with a connection to
Draíocht, Dublin 15 or the wider Fingal County and whose work was socially engaged, collaborative or focused on children and young people. Four artists were chosen and over a 2 year period, which included the very challenging and uncertain period during Covid-19, the artists met with 8 mentors; had 12 peer discussion group sessions; had 50 one to one Coaching Sessions; and had 75 one to one Mentoring Sessions, both in person and online.
The four participating artists of HOMEGROUND selected via open competition were: Michelle Hall – an interdisciplinary visual artist from Dublin 15. Thomas Johnston – a musician and theatre maker, dedicated to promoting high quality and meaningful experiences of the traditional arts amongst children. Monica Muñoz – a choreographer and dancer, and recent artist in residence in Balbriggan Educate
Together National School. Jijo Sebastian Palatty – a collaborative Film Maker, based in Dublin 15, with more than a decade of experience in participatory, collaborative and intercultural filmmaking. HOMEGROUND was conceived and led by Emer McGowan Director, Draíocht and Sharon Murphy, Resident Curator, Draíocht with support from Sarah O’Neill (Deputy Arts Officer, Fingal County Council) and Caroline Cowley (Public Art Co-ordinator, Fingal County Council).
Launching the HOMEGROUND Report & Documentary, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony, said “Fingal County Council has been committed to Draíocht’s Programme delivery for over 20 years. We have
been proud to watch its importance grow not only as a recognisable asset to Dublin 15, but to the greater Fingal area and beyond with programmes like HOMEGROUND. We wish the artists and the team continued success in their professional journeys.”
Of HOMEGROUND, Emer McGowan, Director of Draíocht commented “HOMEGROUND was conceived both out of Draíocht’s 5 year Strategy ‘A Space for the Arts’ where providing support and expertise to develop artist’s practice is one of our stated goals and out of a body of collaborative and children/young people’s practice that we have engaged in over our 20 years of operation. I am delighted to be working with this group of artists – Michelle Hall, Thomas Johnston, Monica Muñoz and Jijo Sebastian – and mentors – Marie Brett, Annabelle Comyn, Christine Devaney and Fearghus Ó Conchúir amongst others and under the guidance of Draíocht’s Curator, Sharon Murphy, in a considered and curated programme that will support the development of their work and practice. I know this programme will have far- reaching outcomes and I look forward to supporting the participating artists on their individual and collective journeys. Our key partner on this is Fingal County Council Arts Office – we are looking at what we can do together to create a sustainable impact on artists’ practice and how we could act as a key support to them which will also have resonance for Dublin 15 and Fingal.”
Resident Curator of Draíocht, Sharon Murphy said of HOMEGROUND “For 20 years there has been a huge commitment by Draíocht to artists and particularly artists whose work is rooted in children and young people. HOMEGROUND was conceived as being very holistic. It was really important that the mentorship had a number of strands that focused both on the professional practice of the artist but also on their personal development. I think this has been the key and the distinctiveness of HOMEGROUND for the awarded artists. It has provided long term benefits by being tailor made, looking at the person first, then their practice and finally at their specific outcomes.”
A documentary film of HOMEGROUND was commissioned by Draíocht from Joe Lee and Tom Lee, to accompany the Report of the same name, available now on Draíocht’s social channels and website
Pictured: Jijo Sebastian Palatty, Collaborative Film Maker; Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony; & Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht