Category: MT Festival

Mother Tongues Festival 2019. Tallaght, 2nd and 3rd March 2019. Picture Enzo Francesco Testa Photography.

Mother Tongues Festival: an arts festival with a difference

Imagine a place where people have fun speaking many different languages, a place where children and adults learn about culture, stories and languages through art-making, music and dance! This is what the Mother Tongues Festival was all about!

Over the last two weekends we hosted more than 50 events in over 20 languages, we met artists, professionals and performers from India, Ethiopia, Russia, Libya, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Egypt, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Spain, France just to name a few! They filled rooms and entire venues in Galway and in Tallaght with their talent, through workshops, talks, poetry, music, dances and science. Participants of the Festival had a chance to listen to multilingual poetry, try Bollywood dancing, draw Irish wild animals with a Polish illustrator, learn Chinese calligraphy, meet musicians from Congo and Nigeria and learn Japanese through origami making!

The aim of Mother Tongues Festival is to promote languages and cultures in Ireland through the arts. Most of the people we spoke to at the events told us that they were happy to learn something new through languages that are currently spoken in Ireland and many families said they loved the opportunity to cultivate and share their community languages outside of the home.

As we pack our Festival suitcase and go home to prepare our 2020 edition we are filled with the positive energy gained at the event.
There are so many people we need to thank! We are extremely grateful to RuaRed, the Civic Theatre and Galway2020 for believing in our project and making it happen in Dublin and Galway. Without the support of the Arts CouncilSouth Dublin County Council and the Small Town Big Ideas Initiative our festival could not have been so successful. We are honoured to have been granted funding to pursue our dream! The many sponsors that have come on board this year have allowed us to make it an even more special event! We are very grateful to RTE’, the Ambassade de France en Irlande, the Goethe InstitutLanguages Connect, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in DublinSt. Kilian’s Deutsche Schule in Dublin, the Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese, Your English Language School in Dublin, the Istituto Italiano di CulturaBrady LanguagesThe Stop B&BAtlas Language SchoolSeachtain na Gaeilge le Energia, the Chester Beatty LibraryUnuhiIrish Architecture FoundationÁras na nGaelCreative Ireland and Massimo Russo.

And last but not least, do not forget that the festival is only good craic if you come!
A MASSIVE thank you, grazie, merci, gracias, obrigados, mulțumesc, go raibh maith agat teşekkürler
to all the hundreds of people who have attended our two Festivals!

See you in 2020!

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Mother Tongues Festival Art competition

“My world of Languages” – Art Competition at the Mother Tongues Festival

Mother Tongues art competition

About the Competition

The first Mother Tongues Art Competition was instituted by Mother Tongues to celebrate International Mother to celebrate International Mother Language Day and the International Year of Indigenous Languages within the Mother Tongues Festival. The goal of the competition is to explore the role of language in our everyday life.
Everyone between the ages of 4 and 18 is welcome to submit an entry.
All works submitted will be exhibited at the Mother Tongues Festival in Dublin on 2nd and 3rd of March 2019. Three prizes will be awarded for each category.
Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Rua Red Arts Center, Blessington Rd, Tallaght, Dublin 24.

How to enter

The subject of this competition is “My world of languages”

Size of artwork
Your entry should not be smaller than A4 (29.7cm x 21.0cm) or larger than A3 (59.4cm x 42.0cm). Entries should not be mounted.

Use of Materials

You may use any type of paper, white, coloured, rough or smooth. The work that you submit may be drawn or painted in pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, crayon, pastel, watercolour, gouache, acrylics, oils, poster colour and collage. The work may be a print created from a lino block, wood block or any other method, and your artwork may be submitted on canvas. The work may be digitally produced. Digitally produced artwork may be emailed to the address
A photograph or scanned image of an original artwork will not be considered.


Your work should be original and unaided.

Number of Entries
You may submit only one entry per individual. Only individual entries will be accepted and they may be submitted directly by you, by your school or by your art group.

Information Required
Your submission should include the following information on the back of your entry:
Name and age
Category and title of the entry
Your home address or your school address
A signature of your teacher or your guardian
A contact number
An email address

Please note:
Your age as of the closing date of the Competition (1st February 2019).
One signature from a teacher will be sufficient to cover all entries from a school.

The Closing Date
The closing date for receipt of entries is Friday 1st February 2019.

Sending Your Entry
Please post your entry to:
My Art School of Dance and Art
CityHouse, Newmarket, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8

4 to 6 years
7 to 10 years
11 to 14 years
15-18 years

Special Category
The Special Category encourages participants with a physical or intellectual disability to submit entries in free expression without the restriction of the competition’s official theme if they so wish.

Quick Checklist – Rules of entry
To enter, you must be under 19 years of age by 1st February 2019 and you must be resident on the island of Ireland.
You should print the following information (IN BLOCK CAPITALS) on the back of each entry:

-Name and age
-Category and title of the entry
-School name, school address, school email address, school telephone number and school teacher or Art teacher’s name.
If you are submitting artwork to the Competition that has been undertaken in your school or at an external art class, your school teacher or Art Teacher’s signature will also be required. If you are submitting artwork to the Competition that has been undertaken in your home, your parent or guardian’s signature will be required instead in addition to your home address, your home telephone number and your home email address.
– You may enter only one piece of artwork. Only individual entries will be accepted. A photograph or scanned image of an original artwork will not be considered under any circumstances.
– Your entry should be submitted in flat format and should remain within the specified size guidelines. Framed entries will not be accepted under any circumstances.
– The closing date for entries is 1s February 2019.
– The Judging Panel is responsible for the allocation of awards. The decision of the Judging Panel is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding that decision.
– Mother Tongues will not accept liability for loss or damage to any work submitted.
– All entries together with the artists’ details (name, age, school or town) may be used in publicity campaigns after the Mother Tongues Art Competition and in future Competitions. Photographs of the winners together with their names and ages may be used in publicity campaigns where the parents or guardians of the winners have given their consent.
– The rules of the Competition may not be changed or modified and will strictly be applied.
– All personal information supplied will be used by Mother Tongues solely for the administration and management of the Art Competition.

Find out more about Mother Tongues Festival

Mother Tongues Festival, Mother Tongues Dublin, mother tongues, multilingualism, rising bilingual children Dublin, bilingualism, Dublin

Mother Tongues Festival 2019

After the resounding success of our first edition, we are glad to announce that the Mother Tongues Festival 2019 will take place on 22nd-23rd February 2019 and it will be a celebration of Ireland’s linguistic diversity, with performances and workshops in many different languages. The festival will cater for all ages.

We are now accepting expressions of interest from musicians, writers, storytellers, actors and other performers.
Performances and/or workshops can be in any language spoken in Ireland, but priority will be given to languages other than English.
Performers should be based in Ireland.
Deadline for submissions is 6th April.
Our Festival committee will review expressions of interest and will invite selected artists to submit a full proposal in August.


Festival manager:

If you would like to sponsor the next edition fo Mother Tongues Festival, please get in touch:

Mother Tongues, Mother Tongues Dublin, mother tongues, multilingualism, raising bilingual children Dublin, bilingualism, Dublin

Great success for the First Mother Tongues Festival!

On 24th February we celebrated UNESCO International Mother Language Day and the first birthday of Mother Tongues with a Festival of languages.

The idea for the first Mother Tongues Festival started over coffee during a sunny afternoon in August 2017 and, as the project developed, we discovered that many artists were very keen to be involved in a project aimed at celebrating language.
More than 300 people attended the festival, which took place at the Outhouse, on 105 Capel Street, and all events were well attended.
From the first chat about our plans, we knew that this idea would be new to the Festival scene and we often wondered whether people would want to take part and whether funders and potential sponsors would believe in our project. We soon realized that many people loved the idea and we received great support from many organizations and individuals, who kept encouraging us along the way.
What made the festival really unique was the possibility to take part in art, music, drama and science workshops in over 10 different languages. In each class native speakers of the language used by the workshop leader worked together with language learners and people who had never heard the language before. What was really interesting was to see people of all ages and nationalities walk into a class led in a completely new language. This is what really showed us that the project worked.
Our festival allowed people to connect through language and diversity did not represent a barrier, but rather a reason to get together and celebrate.
We already look forward to the next year Mother Tongues Festival!
We want to thank once again all our funders, partners and sponsors: