In December 2016 the Government approved a new five-year initiative entitled Clár Éire Ildánach/Creative Ireland Programme, as a legacy project arising from the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. The Programme is an ‘all-of-Government’ initiative to mainstream creativity in the life of the nation. The underlying proposition is that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal well-being and achievement. There are five pillars of the Creative Ireland Programme.
The Pillar 1 plan is Creative Youth – a plan to enable the creative potential of every child and young person. This plan – Creative Youth – is about securing an opportunity for our children and young people to become creative citizens. The Department of Education and Skills has a key role in implementing Pillar 1, and is working in partnership with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Arts Council, and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The Óige Ildánach/Creative Youth Plan was launched by An Taoiseach in early December 2017. The Creative Ireland Pillar 1 commitment is to ‘enable every child in Ireland to have practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, art and coding by 2022.’ The Creative Youth plan sets out four high level strategies to work under in the coming years:
1. Supporting collaboration between Formal and Non-Formal approaches to Creativity in Education
2. Extending the Range of Creative Activities for our Young People
3. Embedding the Creative Process
4. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Seventeen actions have been identified for 2018/19 under the Creative Youth Plan. These actions are either the expansion of existing pilot initiatives or new programmes being piloted and encompass some of the commitments in the Arts in Education Charter. The following actions are among those included in the plan, at least part of which may be drama and theatre-based initiatives:
- Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools initiative will be implemented.
Formerly developed as ARÍS under the Arts in Education Charter, Creative Schools will be piloted in 150 schools across two academic years. As part of the programme, schools will work with Creative Associates (a mixture of teachers and artists) to reinforce the impact of arts and creativity on student learning and development. They will work in partnership schools, clustered by region, to develop the knowledge, expertise and approaches that will embed each school’s creative practice, providing a mechanism for these schools to share learning with other schools.
- A Creative Clusters scheme will be piloted.
This initiative is still being scoped out. However, it is envisaged that it will commence in September 2018 as a pilot project. This opportunity for schools to form clusters will be made available in order to generate creative cultural and artistic projects. Cluster meetings will be held in Education Centres, with each cluster consisting of a range of primary and post-primary schools. Seed funding would be provided to clusters based on the number of participating schools to allow them to progress projects. This scheme will be funded under my Departments School Excellence Fund.
- Youth Theatre
There are currently 55 youth theatres in Ireland: the target is to substantially expand this number by 2022, commencing in 2019.
- Local Creative Youth Partnerships will be established on a pilot basis.
Building on the model for Local Arts Education Partnerships contained in the Arts in Education Charter, Local Creative Youth Partnerships will be established to provide support and delivery mechanisms for optimisation of local creativity resources. As part of this, new and existing collaborative youth creativity initiatives across the country, will be able to apply for funding, based on provided guidelines, administered through the ETB network. Successful applicants will be determined by local committees which will consist of a range of representatives from Local Authorities, ETBs, and local arts and community representatives. The concept will be piloted in three ETB areas in 2018.
- A National Creativity Fund will be established.
Intended to primarily provide financial support for organisations that promote creative activities for young people that may not be eligible for other agency funding and that have capacity for significant scaling. The Fund will be established by the end of Quarter 2 in 2018.