Embracing Diversity in the Arts

Embracing Diversity in the Arts

Mother Tongues' Impact on South Dublin's Cultural Landscape

Cultural diversity is a cornerstone of South Dublin’s strategic development in the arts. 

Since 2021, with the support of key partners in the Cultural Quarter, including South Dublin Libraries, The Civic, Tallaght Community Arts and Rua Red Arts Centre, Mother Tongues has been driving a collective effort to make South Dublin County’s artistic landscape more representative of the people living in the county.

Programme Priorities

Our programme started by prioritising the artists. One of the key needs identified were training and networking. We created an online database of artists who live and work in South Dublin and are belonging to groups that we identified as being underrepresented.

Since the start of the programme, we delivered workshops, training sessions, networking events and a residency programme. 

The Intercultural Network of Artists in South Dublin continues to be actively promoted, with the aim of curating a database of local artists eager to stay informed about the latest news and opportunities. 

Following the open call published in 2021, a total of 78 artists, either actively working within the South Dublin County Council or calling it home, joined this vibrant network. 

I joined the Intercultural Network in February 2023 and connected with Tallaght Community Arts in June 2023. After four meetings with Tatiana, I received support to work on my CV and how to present my work. In March, I received an offer to present my work during an event for the Five Lamps Festival and just recently I got invited by another member of the network to participate in an upcoming Black History Month Festival. I have also connected with Tony Fegan and I am currently in discussions with Tatiana's mediation regarding a project in South Dublin County. I am grateful for the invitation to join the Intercultural Network and the opportunities that came with it.

Facilitating Collaboration

As a result of the Cultural DIversity Programme’s activities, three members of the Intercultural Network embarked on an exciting journey by participating in the Cre-Actore workshop at Tessa House, Tallaght, in collaboration with Tallaght Community Arts. This international project brought together theatre companies from across Europe, including Border Crossings (Ireland), the Théâtre du Soleil (France), Teatro dell’Argine (Italy) and The Fence (Sweden). Their mission? To explore innovative approaches to collectively creating performances in response to the ever-evolving cultural landscapes of society.

Mother Tongues continued to serve as a vital bridge connecting organizations and their programmes with the members of the Intercultural Network. For example, one of our members found exciting work opportunities as a costume designer for Tallaght Community Arts’ Street Arts Academy. Several other artists seized local opportunities and established meaningful connections with organizations while gaining invaluable experience and paid work. The artists who participated in the Residency also found themselves linked with local initiatives and individuals working within relevant organizations, paving the way for future collaborations.

Residency Programme

In March 2023, Mother Tongues launched a new artist residency as a crucial component of the Cultural Diversity programme, coordinated by Tatiana Santos, Mother Tongues’ Transcultural Programmes Coordinator and Trainer, and supported by the Cultural Diversity Steering Group in Tallaght. The residency aimed to provide an all-encompassing blend of training and mentorship opportunities, catering to artists residing or working in South Dublin County.

Participants in the residency were also granted access to a dedicated workspace within the Mother Tongues Office at Rua Red.

Meet the Resident Artists

“I am really enjoying this experience. It has brought to light the deeper aspects of my practice and has reshaped my foundation by prompting me to ask thought-provoking questions. This programme has not only allowed me to reflect on my current practice but has also sparked a desire to explore new paths in the future. These past few sessions have only reinforced my belief in community-building through the arts.”.

The residency has been something illuminating for me. Being in contact with artists and share experiences - I have learned a lot. I feel that the moment of check-in with Tatiana is very important also because she raises some questions that challenge us. The residency has been a gift for me, I am already grateful for all the connections we are making and for Tatiana's work with us.

As part of the residency programme, these artists had the opportunity to engage with experienced arts managers and advisors, Juley-Ann Collins and Rebecca Blake, who acted as mentors. Additionally, we involved artists-mentors rooted in the local community, Neltah Chadamoyo and Shinu John from the Intercultural Network.

We strongly believe in a mentorship model where local artists can inspire and guide, and artists with lived experiences of migration can provide valuable insights, thanks to their unique perspectives and understanding of common challenges.

The conversation I had with the Residents was very enlightening for me and very engaging. They were open and asked some very deep questions that I HAD to think about even after the session. I know they needed support figuring out some things and finding out more information but they were clear in what they were hoping to achieve at the end of the Residency. I learnt a lot from them as well and in the engagement, they also got to teach me as well as learn from each other.

The artists who participated in the Residency organized an exhibition during the programme’s closing day. This event provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on the Residency Programme’s outcomes.

Cultural Diversity Programme Event. Photography Gabriel Borges Magalhães

With great enthusiasm, we look forward to the third year of the South Dublin Cultural Diversity Programme. We are committed to building on the successes of the past two years, learning from our experiences and continuing to foster a dynamic and diverse artistic landscape that celebrates the richness of our community. Together, we will embark on new creative endeavours, bridge more connections, and write the next chapter of this inspiring journey.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get some
actionable tips in your inbox immediately!