Artist Statement


Social Movements

Groundswell activates public spaces to generate hospitality, artistry and agency.

Artworks are generated within studios found within nature, public thoroughfares, health and cultural environments.

Festivals and celebrations feature bespoke events that bring art to people in social gatherings.

The wellness factor of the arts is restorative and an elixir to compensate for disillusionment and discontent.

Groundswell facilitates art from the materials of life with relevance to experiences in the making. The goal is to inspire participation, representation and the enthusiasm to make a difference.

Polyphony Journal


Polyphony: Journal of the Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists

Journal Co-Editor

Polyphony is many voices speaking at the same time—a simultaneous composition where each contribution is a distinct offering.

The journal is a relationship between art, music, dance and drama therapists and allied artists of every discipline.

The journal also organises writing events throughout Ireland.

By putting ourselves in writing, and discovering the words that move us, we tread on the page.

Articles by Pamela Whitaker:

Poiesis: Encountering a Philosophy of Composition

Writing the Language of the Body: Áine Stapleton’s Score 

Link to Polyphony:

Drawing with Words


Visual Research Journals for Primary School Students 

Blackrock Library, Dublin

Research as a graphic design with words evoking images of knowledge.  A visual journal can illustrate ideas, through the combining of words and art, which become depictions of information. Art and expressive writing add drama to research, encouraging the telling of facts as scenes of discovery.

Drawing with Words is a workshop for primary school students aged 10-12 held at the Blackrock Library, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Arts in Education Ireland

Arts in Education

National Arts in Education Portal Day

National University of Ireland, Galway

The art of walking is education on the move. It is a methodology that facilitates social research, cooperative learning, critical thinking and responses to civic environments.

The workshop offered participants at the National Arts in Education Portal Day a versatile educational approach, aimed to meet a variety of goals in primary and secondary school curriculums (social, personal, health education/civic, social and political education/environmental and social studies).

The workshop was co-presented with Marietta Graham Reynolds (Creative Schools Coordinator, Tullyallen National School) and Declan Gorman (Creative Associate, Creative Schools Ireland)

Photo Credit: Arts in Education Portal, Ireland,

The Forest Studio


Artist—Creative Schools Ireland

Tullyallen National School

Tullyallen National School (County Louth, Ireland) is a Creative School designated under Creative Ireland. The school’s Forest Studio is an environment for land art, site specific writing and outdoor studios, which encourage artist collectives amongst primary school students.

“Creative Ireland is a nationally funded culture-based programme designed to promote individual, community, and national well being. The core proposition is that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal well being and achievement”.

“A Creative School develops and celebrates the arts and creativity. It establishes a range of collaborative opportunities to strengthen its relationships with the broader cultural and community infrastructure. The aim is for every school in Ireland to fully embrace the arts and creativity, ensuring a positive experience and strong outcomes for children and young people”.

Photo Credit: Declan Gorman


Festival of Social Science

Pamela on Ground

The Body Social – Feminism, Performance, Protest

Festival of Social Science at Ulster University 2019

Economic and Social Research Council

Sarah Edge/Pamela Whitaker/Rosy Martin

Come along and here lectures profiling the work of two Ulster University academics: Sarah Edge and Pamela Whitaker. Their research examines how the body can be employed as a form of resistance in art practice. Sarah Edge will re-examine the history of feminist performance art, and link this to post-feminist concepts. Pamela Whitaker will talk about her work on public practice art therapy in civic spaces, outdoor studios and within cultural contexts. They will be joined by Rosy Martin, who will discuss collaborative performances incorporating photography, phototherapy and re-enactment.

Physical Graffiti

Cork Uprising

Crawford College of Art and Design (Cork) + School of Visual Arts (New York)

An interactive experience for art therapy trainees from Crawford College of Art and Design and the School of Visual Arts.

The art therapy studio can include the world-at-large.

Outside and making a statement within everyday places—graffiti is making an impression upon a physical location.

Graffiti is an artistic enterprise, claiming territory and making one’s mark upon the scenes where people live out their lives. As a form of public art, “it is the strength of feeling that these artworks engender that is so enrapturing” (John Fekner, The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti).

Physical graffiti is a pubic demonstration, that contributes to civic dialogue and public art therapy.

Link to Physical Graffiti Blog Post:




Collaborate, Participate, Disrupt

Symposium Curator

Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists Symposium at the Irish Museum of Modern Art 2019

Unravelling is to unwind, unknot, and undo. It also means to solve a problem, to resolve or explain something.

The day is a festival of simultaneous improvisations and unexpected possibilities.

An opportunity to encounter arts therapies in action, in collaboration, and inviting participation.

Enter into evocative art forms that unravel and reassemble creative arts therapy disciplines. The symposium is a meeting point, a place for arts therapists, artists, and allied professionals to encounter each other through shared artistry and camaraderie.

First Fortnight, European Mental Health Art and Culture Festival


Walking off Course 

A walk with a difference—an encounter with pedestrian art and places found in between the National College of Art and Design  and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

An opportunity to be restored by serendipity, the speaking of truths, and companionship along the way.

There will be conversations, notes to self, and the chance to be part of a collective of passersby seeking meaning in everyday circumstances.

The First Fortnight Festival “unapologetically disrupts” complacency around mental health issues in Ireland. For the first two weeks of every year, First Fortnight addresses “Ireland’s attitudes and behaviour when it comes to mental health” through an arts festival geared to challenge stigma, illuminate understanding, and activate voices for change,

LASALLE Artist in Residence

Singapore Print 1

Artist in Residence, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore 2019

MA Art Therapy Programme

Art Therapy Out of Bounds

A residency devoted to the creation of land art within the nature of public environments. Artworks will be both site specific and transportable, assembling ingredients of location to portray the energies of participants and the character of place. Art therapy will become a happening within the nature of landscapes that are not neutral, but alive with potential and processes of becoming.

Residency Themes

The Nature of Art Therapy: Materials, Landscape, Context

The Artistry of Location

Spoken Word Performance

The Choreography of Space

Therapeutic Habitats


Outdoor Celebrations: Festivity, Hospitality and Generosity

The Outdoor Studio


Art Therapy Conference on Parent-Child Relationships for Mental Wellness 2018

Hong Kong Art Therapy Association 

The Outdoor Studio: Anything Can Happen

An outdoor studio is a place of possibility. It can inspire partnerships between adults and children with materials found within the world-at-large (in parks, community contexts, and cultural spaces). Art therapy is a way to reach out to others, to be of service, and to inspire families within everyday environments. The outdoor studio is a space for artistic discovery and ingenuity. It develops collaboration and collective imagination within family life. An outdoor studio encourages a creative alliance between family members and can serve as a vital medium of communication. In this workshop participants explored the potential of outdoor studios as places for therapeutic rejuvenation, where family members become better known to themselves and each other.

The Nature of Art Therapy

Pamela Art 4

Canadian Art Therapy Association/l’Association canadienne d’art-thérapie Conference

Concordia University, Montreal, October 12-14, 2018

Keynote: Making a Scene in Public 

“Composing art from the materials of life and within environments of encounter. Art therapy should be relevant to life where it happens, becoming a beacon of possibility and an antidote to indifference”

The Nature of Art Therapy is the title of an exhibition and website for art therapists and allied professionals interested in working within outdoor studios, landscapes, walkways and environments with foraged materials. The exhibition will be composed of artworks from the homelands of conference participants.

The Nature of Art Therapy

The Art of Walking

Art on the Mountain

Canadian Art Therapy Association Conference, Concordia University, Montreal

and An Tain Arts Centre, Dundalk

Autumn, 2018

Walking and the Impromptu Studio

The Milestones of Moments

Two walking workshops where the making was on a pathway to somewhere. Each workshop featured foraging, notes to self, performing a landmark, and speaking out loud.

The An Tain Arts Centre workshop involved families as artist collectives on the move seeking inspiration from their surroundings.

The workshop for art therapists at the 2018 Canadian Art Therapy Association Conference incorporated site specific choreography and artistry within public thoroughfares.

Check out The Art of Walking,  a blog post to accompany the walking workshops.

International Literature Festival Dublin 2018

Scroll 2

An Autobiography in Moments

Stories from the City of  Words

A listing of pasts and futures.

With words dedicated to both directions.

Who are you at this moment?

Connections with background and forthcoming.

A few moments to take stock.

Plan ahead.

Making a commitment to tomorrow, based on yesterdays.

Self-declarations shared with others.

Remembered in “notes to self”

Spoken out loud.

A proclamation scroll—with a nod to the past and a leap into the future— rolled with a promise to remember.

The Blackrock Park Art Hive

Art Hive Poster Social Media 2-3


An Art Hive is a community art studio where everyone is considered an artist. The Art Hive movement began in Montreal, Canada with the vision of Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos, Associate Professor, Creative Arts Therapies at Concordia University. An Art Hive “celebrates the strengths and capacities of individuals and communities and fosters self-directed experiences of creativity, learning and skill sharing” (

The Blackrock Park Art Hive was located in Blackrock, County Louth. Blackrock Park is a community crafted park, designed and cultivated by hundreds of adults and children living nearby. The gardens in the park are biodiversity and pollinator friendly. There is a forest garden (with edible wild foods), a medieval garden, a Celtic garden, an intergenerational flower garden, a wildflower garden and nature habitats developed by local school children.

During the summer of 2018, The Blackrock Park Art Hive developed an outdoor studio for families, which produced creations for a home display of seasonal artworks.

Click for more information about the Blackrock Park Art Hive.

The Blackrock Art Hive was supported by Create Louth: The Arts Office of County Louth.

Out of Order

Out of Order Final

Northern Ireland Group for Art as Therapy Summer School 2018

Ulster University, Belfast School of Art

Working collaboratively in outdoor studios participants will construct artworks from their surroundings. The forest of Belfast Castle will be the scene for our encounters with materials foraged and assembled into compositions from the landscape. Spoken word enactments, combined with physical actions, will complete the experience.

Creative Agency

youth 2


Creative Agency and Political Responses through Arts Therapy

Editor for a special  issue of the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal in collaboration with the Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy. It highlights debates and calls to action on the topics of reconciliation, decolonization, Indigenous art therapy, cultural humility, child and youth care, cultural competence, self-compassion and culturally appropriate art materials.


Guest Editorial: Musing on Cultural Humility by Michelle Winkel

Cultural Humility in Art Therapy and Child and Youth Care: Reflections on Practice by Sikh Women by Jaspreet Bal and Rapinder Kaur

Gaining Cultural Competence through Alliances in Art Therapy with Indigenous Clients by Tzafi Weinberg

ONEBird: Integrating Mindfulness, Self-Compassion and Art Therapy by Patricia Rose Williams. 

A Proposal for Culturally Informed Art Therapy with Syrian Refugee Women: The Potential for Trauma Expression through Embroidery by Alexandra Hanania

Reconciliation: A Contemplation of the Role of Art Therapy by Jennifer Vivian. 


ROUTES, Arts Therapies NI



ROUTES was a symposium by Arts Therapies Northern Ireland in partnership with Ulster University, Belfast School of Art.

The event was a tribute to the roots of arts therapies in Northern Ireland and also routes to new opportunities. Art, music and drama therapists highlighted both the history and potential of the arts therapies in Northern Ireland. This inaugural event was attended by  arts therapists and allied professionals.

Groundswell contributed a performance of words spoken by participants about their past and future.

Ecology in Art Therapy



Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork

MA Art Therapy Seminar

This workshop investigated the creation of land art within the nature of public spaces. Working with found and natural materials, in outdoor studio areas, artworks related to both personal and collective themes. Therapeutic situations were encountered en route through the examination of outdoor habitats. There was a consideration of how art therapy could be choreographed through spontaneous relations with the environment. Artworks were both site specific and transportable, assembling ingredients of location in an attempt to enact the energies of participants and the character of place.

Information for Participants 

Workshop Themes: Art Therapy Out of Bounds, Social Environments, Land Art, Choreography of Space, The Artistry of Location, Enactments, Habitats

Art Therapy and Visual Culture

Street Art


Editor for the 30th Anniversary Issue of the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal

This journal issue is about art therapy being forthright about its capacity to inhabit the public domain. It encourages art therapy to return home to the profession’s roots in visual art, where studios, artist materials, and collaborations among artist peers prevailed. The issue also explores the significance of galleries, exhibitions and art history within art therapy.



Art Therapist Facilitated Open Studio Versus Colouring: Differences in Outcomes of Affect, Stress, Creative Agency and Self-Efficacy by Girija Kaimal, Janell L. Mensinger, Jessica Drass, Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell

Exploring the Museum’s Images-Exploring My Image by Aphrodite Pantagoutsou, Elisabeth Ioannides, Grigoris Vaslamatzis

Creating Community and Shattering Stigma: Collaborative Arts Interventions for the Forensic Population by Jaimie Peterson and Alison Etter

Standing Tall: Students Showcase Resiliency through Body Tracings by Marygrace Berberian

Public Practice Art Therapy: Enabling Spaces Across North America by Janis Timm-Bottos

Art Therapy and Environment



Editor for the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal’s special issue, Art Therapy and Environment. Environment is defined broadly and includes compelling and thought provoking articles from Canadian and international art therapists and allied professionals.



Art Therapy Caves: Linking Community Art to a Therapeutic Space  by Cora H. McLachlan

Global Action Art Therapy: Cross-Cultural Experiences in South Korea by Seung Yeon Lee

Garden as Canvas: Therapeutic Metaphors in a Children’s Garden by Carol Knibbe & Petrea Hansen-Adamidis

A Natural Response to a Natural Disaster: The Art of Crisis in Nepal by Jess Linton

The Flowers of Compassion: A Trauma-Informed Artistic Event Involving Three Generations of Slovenians by Katarina Kompan Erzar

Access the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal


Public Relations: Art and Social Enactment



Public Relations: Art and Social Enactment is the title of a seminar at the National College of Art and Design, Department of Visual Culture. Participatory arts, co-production, and activism will feature in this seminar that examines the potential of art that seeks relationships with others. Through artistic collectivity, partnerships and collaborations with the general public, there emerges a sense of social enterprise that makes art happen out-in-the-open and in relation to social contexts and the diverse experience of participants.

Public Relations is also the title of a series of blog posts that will accompany course participants as they develop team-led projects enacting theories and practices of collectivity in the production of art for the people.

Terms of Reference/Participatory Arts, Community Arts, Socially Engaged Arts, Activist Arts, Interventionist Arts, Social Practice, Guerrilla and Street Arts, Collaborations and Co-Productions

Public Relations = Actions promoting the creation of goodwill.

A Celtic Garden



A Celtic Journey: The Spirit of Nature is an environmental challenge for primary school students to design a community garden based on their interpretation of a Celtic garden. The reference book for this project is The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture our Land and Ourselves by inspiring Irish garden designer and Chelsea gold winner Mary Reynolds who declares that ‘we need a green-fingered revolution to bring nature back into the garden’.

Photo Credit: Mother Earth Print by Ruth Evans

An Apothecary Garden

An Apothecary Garden for Ardee Educate Together primary school students that grows remedies for both body and mind. Students researched the curative properties of plants grown in Ireland and throughout the world. The garden accompanies local biodiversity research and generates a fascination with nature as an elixir of life.


Either Way, Make a Move

Omeath Fade


School of Arts Education and Movement
Dublin City University, Institute of Education

Either Way Make a Move 

The classroom as happening promotes animated learning. A situation is created whereby students re-define their educational surroundings. Their classroom becomes flexible. Art in this sense is related to environment and a studio of ideas. Happenings were first introduced by the artist Allan Kaprow. They are experiences where art, physical action, sound, words and environment are assembled within a specific time frame to promote participation and improvisation.

Classroom as Art Studio
Teaching as Performance
Teacher and Students as Artist Collective
Social Choreography in School
Students as Curators
Education as a Happening

What of It?



A fim about older men taking to the street with stories from now and then.

There is graffiti.

The making of scenes.

Social Movements.

Declarations by word and song.

Anti-Stereotypical Behaviour.


These are Dundalk stories.

A town like any other town in Ireland, but different.

An Táin Arts Centre (Dundalk, County Louth) supported the production of What of It? in collaboration with the Dundalk Men’s Shed, filmmaker Steven Larkin, graffiti artist Barry Finnegan, performance poet Jinx Lennon, composer Patrick Connolly and Pamela Whitaker of Groundswell.

Words That Move Us

Science Gallery


A mental health event at Creative Spark, that was part of First Fortnight 2017. The First Fortnight Festival “is a space in the cultural calendar where citizens can be inspired through arts events and experiences to talk about mental health issues in a non-scripted manner” (

Words That Move Us was a path of movement inspired by metaphors and idioms related to resolutions for the new year. Participants walked a route of messages that related to purpose and determination. Their line of passage incorporated objects and actions that set up a pathway of intention with the goal of trying something different.


antidote logo final web2


The Well Factor of the Arts

An Táin Arts Centre and Droichead Arts Centre showcased art, music, poetry and theatre events in recognition of World Mental Health Day.

Participants included Quintessence Theatre, Dundalk Youth Centre, Music Generation, Spoken Word Dundalk, Creative Spark, Pangur Ban Productions, Groundswell, and environmental artist Úna Curley.

Groundswell presented a workshop called Antidotes: Tonics and Energies for Mind and Body. These existential remedies promoted vitality and determination for a variety of conditions—uncertainty, fatigue, disheartenment and disillusionment.

in:Action Irish Live Art Review

Our Story of Resistance

Vickey Curtis is a spoken word artist. Her performance A Rose By Any Other Name spoke the language of street harassment in the course of a walk from the Spire to Rathmines in Dublin. Read a witnessing of her performance that was part of the Dublin Live Art Festival 2016 in:Action/Irish Live Art Review.


Along the Walking Route, A Rose by Any Other Name by Vickey Curtis, Dublin Live Art Festival, August 14, 2016. Photograph by Blue Print Photography.

Raw Material



Art Therapy Students from Emporia State University (Kansas) at Airfield Gardens, Dublin

A workshop for MA art therapy students from Emporia State University was conducted at Airfield Gardens, Dublin. The workshop entitled Raw Material examined art therapy themes related to the raw materials of fibre, nature, and cloth and their connection to narrative. The students were accompanied by Dr. Joan Phillips (University of Oklahoma, School of Art and Art History) and Dr. Gaelynn Wolf Bordonaro (Director of the Emporia State University Art Therapy Program).




A workshop for the Northern Ireland Group for Art as Therapy (NIGAT) Summer School 2016 with a focus on fibre arts in art therapy. Edgelands was situated on Torr Head, overlooking the Mull of Kintyre, and invited participants to respond to both a dramatic coastline and the ruins of an abandoned signal station once used as a communication point for transatlantic ships. Transportable bundles of fabrics, threads, and papers were distributed to accompany the makings along a route of passage.

Medieval Garden Challenge



Photo Little Garden of Paradise by Upper Rhenish Master, 1410

The theme for the 2016 environmental challenge for primary schools in County Louth was ‘A Medieval Garden’. Nine primary schools participated from throughout the county, each cultivating their unique interpretation of a medieval garden and implementing a day of environmental action to promote their project. The Medieval Garden Challenge involved children in the research, design, cultivation and promotion of gardens that reflected both a specific historical period and positive environmental practices.

A medieval garden was typically cultivated near a castle, monastery or manor house. It combined plants for health, food, and natural dyes. Herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers were all featured in these gardens that grew both essential plants and plants for the senses and contemplation.

Each school will be mentored in their production of a medieval garden and their organisation of a public event launching their garden for the community.

Dublin City University, School of Arts Education and Movement



A Festival of Story

A workshop for student primary school teachers at Dublin City University, School of Arts Education and Movement and primary school students inspired by a UNICEF Ireland campaign titled It’s About Us. Acting as collaborators student teachers and children enacted an uprising related to social issues of mutual importance.

The theme of the workshop was championing social change. It’s About Us focused on children’s capacity to become social activists in relation to issues that affected their own lives and also the lives of their peers internationally. “We are voicing our concerns and initiating action, not only to influence the present but also to take responsibility for our shared future” (Dublin Declaration of Children and Youth 2014).

Lay Your Cards on the Table



An Event for the First Fortnight Festival, 2016

Groundswell and the Dundalk Library

The First Fortnight Festival challenges mental health prejudice through the visual arts and “unscripted conversations to change people’s perceptions about the ordinary experience of a mental health problem and the less ordinary experience of mental ill health” (

Lay Your Cards on the Table offered visitors to Dundalk Library the opportunity to produce condensed visual journals on a selection of playing cards. A chance to share accounts of daily living, bits of advice, and heart-to-heart messages. The playing card journals were shared as gifts, hidden in the library, traded, or retained as keepsakes.



A library, as an archive of human experience, is one of the most democratic spaces to explore stories in relation to mental health. A place for reflection, knowledge, debate and communication, a library represents the diversity of the human condition within its collections.


This event was accompanied by a bibliotherapy display compiled from a selection of self-help books and literary reads evoking themes related to mental health.

Dancing with Words



Poems, words and graffiti can provide inspiration for dance within indoor and outdoor healthcare environments. Lines of poetry inform movement sequences typically developed as duets between service users and their carers. The poems can also be inscribed on tactile art materials, which are then incorporated into participant led dances. Dancing with Words was a series of workshops within disability support services.




Wildcrafting is a philosophy and method of assembling foraged natural materials into artworks. An Táin Arts Centre and Groundswell are presenting a Wildcrafting workshop for families to celebrate winter forests, hedgerows, and native plants. The ethos of the workshop is how to integrate nature into family homes, and each family will be encouraged to create a home based art environment that will act as both a studio and interactive surrounding. Families will work as collaborative artists, each family member contributing their unique compositions to a resulting domestic art installation. Suspended art forms and sculptural shapes will be the main focus of the wildcrafting experience. The goal of wildcrafting is to seek out wild experiences in nature, and to craft these encounters into forms that accompany daily life.



Festivity and Public Art

Public artworks for celebrations and festivity compliment outdoor seasonal events. Coming together to mark the passing of summer, daylight and the growing season is traditionally associated with the Irish festival of Samhain (beginning each year on October 31st). Also known as the Celtic New Year, the rituals of this season incorporate letting go and cultivating aspirations for the coming months of darkness. Public gatherings and processions with environmental artworks, poetry and music have been produced to celebrate Samhain within community playgrounds and within the grounds of therapeutic care centres.


Land Art



O’Fiaich Institute of Further Education, Field Trips to Ravensdale Forest

Land Art is an intriguing form of contemporary art which works within a variety of natural environments, transforming living materials into distinct compositions. The forest studio offers many ways to perceive nature, and to structure these perspectives into a variety of artworks that explore lines, shapes, dimensions, and patterns found in the natural world.

The art, craft and design students of O’Fiaich Institute (Dundalk, County Louth) have undertaken a series of field trips to Ravensdale Forest to produce artworks using foraged natural materials. The students worked with found organic materials to produce works on paper and larger sculptural forms that evoked the idea of shelter within forest habitats.



Dundalk Youth Arts Festival

Urban Art Encounters and Guerrilla Land Art

Supported by An Táin Arts Centre and Dundalk Youth Centre

A workshop for young people interested in making street art and trying out guerrilla art tactics. Urban Art Encounters offered an opportunity for three primary school classes to become street artists making artworks that reached out to others through pop-up encounters. Photography, message writing, and land art were explored within a variety of outdoor locations.


Poster Heading Animal Architecture


Animal Architecture was a series of pop-up workshops at Stephenstown Pond (Knockbridge, County Louth) where children and their families made imaginary dwellings for animals using foraged natural materials. The artworks took the form of small site specific sculptures situated within the pond habitat inspired by nests, cocoons and animal shelters.

The project took its inspiration from animal homes showcased in the book Animal Architecture by Ingo Arndt, and involved families working together to create their own naturalistic dwelling spaces. The building of each nesting space involved communication and collaborative creativity.

This project was supported by Create Louth, The Arts Service of Louth Local Authorities


Light the Summer Fire



Age and Opportunity, Bealtaine Festival 2015

The Bealtaine Festival is a nationwide celebration of ‘creativity as we age’ organised by Age and Opportunity Ireland. One of the festival’s themes for 2015 is reflecting upon our relationship to landscape.

As part of this celebration, St. John of God North East Services in Drumcar, County Louth staged a May procession of song, art, poetry and movement, within a forest filled with wildflowers.

Seasonal celebrations at St. Jon of God North East Services are now regularly held as a collaboration between staff members involved in art therapy, spiritual care, art, music, and activation programmes. Each celebration incorporates folklore traditions, ritual, music, artworks, and environmental installations.

A Dance of Touch



A series of creative movement workshops are exploring touch as a stimulus for dance for adults living with physical disability and limited mobility. Improvisation through finger and hand contact examines relationships with carers through non-verbal communication.

Gestures unfold into a series of evocative explorations of space, time and inter-subjectivity.

This project is supported by Saint John of God North East Services, County Louth

Dundalk Youth Centre Live Art

Groundswell worked with the Dundalk Youth Centre to develop a series of pop up performance art events. Performane art can be a way of making something happen on the streets, using art to get in contact with people and to make a difference in everyday life. Performance art is a live art form, and the Dundalk Youth Centre performance art group shared art remedies, positive pieces of advice, and site specific movement installations under the heading Art Cures.



Performance Art…

Physical and Spoken Graffiti

A Live Art

A Way of Getting Your Message Out in the Open

Creating a ‘Scene’ that Pops Up  in Everyday Places

Mixing Words, Art, and Physical Actions

A Way to Make an Impact

An Opportunity to Share Ideas and Experiences

A Chance to Make Something Unexpected Happen

This project was supported by Create Louth, The Arts Service of Louth County Council


Botanical Expeditions



Artist books displaying the discoveries of walking expeditions through floral gardens is the feature of a project for adults with special needs. Botanical drawing, in this instance, captures not the actual representation of a plant’s features, but rather how the viewer moves and responds to the plant itself. Walking and artistic gestures are combined, and movement accompanies observation and depiction. The goal of the project is to document botanical experiences that are full of colour, texture, and a feeling of abundance.

This project is supported by Saint John of God North East Services, County Louth


A Feast of Words

Feast of Words

Groundswell coordinated an arts and health celebration for Spring 2015 entitled A Feast of Words: Arts and Well Being. The celebration was an inaugural event launching an arts and health partnership composed of the following participants: The Arts Office of County Louth (Create Louth), Creative Spark, An Táin Arts Centre, The Dundalk Youth Centre, and Louth County Council Library Service.

Feast of Words Events

International Women’s Day Book Displays at Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee Libraries

Remote: A Play about Protest, Power and Protecting Yourself, M.A.D. Youth Theatre, An Táin Arts Centre

Pulp and Print Exhibition of Handmade Paper Banners with Screen Printing at Creative Spark

Performance Art for the Dundalk Youth Centre’s Open House and St. Patrick’s Day

Writing History, A Workshop for Adults with author Nicola Pierce, Drogheda Library

A Life: A Play about Connections Between the Past and the Present, Dolmen Theatre Group, An Táin Arts Centre

Writing History, A Workshop for Adults with author Nicola Pierce, Dundalk Library

The aim of the Louth arts and health alliance of cultural programmes is to promote community based access to arts interventions that examine and enhance human experience. Of particular interest is the delivery of arts and health services that reflect the integrity of locality as a cultural orientation. Interaction, expression, and achievement are proposed outcomes of an arts and health agenda within this community context.

This project was supported by Create Louth, The Arts Service of Louth County Council

Physical Constructions



Saint John of God North East Services in Drumcar, County Louth supported an art therapy residency featuring sculptural forms and movement studies, as a therapeutic practice for adults receiving disability services. The manipulation of materials resulted in three dimensional constructions that also explored collaborations between service users and their carers. These ‘duets’ were enacted within movement sessions aimed at unfolding new physical possibilities. Art and movement studies apply art therapy to interrogations of space, and examine how physical contact can create extensions into new dimensions of experience.



Groundswell has worked in collaboration with Louth County Council Environment Section, Louth Tidy Towns Together and Blackrock Tidy Towns Together on two biodiversity projects which have received national recognition.

1. Pride of Place Awards in Association with Cooperation Ireland (2014)

An all-island competition that acknowledges the work of communities.

Eco Tribes, Eco Initiative Category, Runner Up

2. Local Authority Community and Council Awards (LAMA) 2014

Awards acknowledge County Council collaboration with community projects that enhance localities.

Blackrock Playground Park, Best Public Park

Visual Journals


Retreat 3

Visual Journals: Mixed Media Artist Books was the title of a month long course at Ardee Library combining journalling and creative writing. A visual journal combines words, photos, images and memorabilia. It is composed from a variety of materials, creating a series of reflective and personal compositions of ideas, experiences and daily activities. The course included outdoor printmaking, photography, environmental art, visual poetry, collage making, drawing and excursions to explore natural and architectural surroundings.

This project was supported by the Louth County Council Library Service

The Nature Studio


The Nature Studio, 2014 Culture Night Ireland, An Táin Arts Centre,

The Nature Studio was composed of environmental artworks by residents of St. John of God North East Services, St. Mary’s Drumcar, County Louth.

The landscape of this residential health service is composed of gardens and forests that inspire artistic creation. Residents encounter the natural world through walking, observation and touch, providing the inspiration for art forms that reference the environment as a habitat for creativity.

The artworks were made in a forest studio using natural materials. The exhibition itself was also a studio and workshop space. Local primary school students were invited to co-create with service users of St. John of God Day Services as part of the exhibition’s community outreach ethos.

Biodiversity Training for Primary Schools Activists



This project will highlight the European Year of Active Citizenship by implementing a series of training workshops for local communities and biodiversity Green Schools. Primary schools will participate in a challenge to improve their local environment, by ecologically transforming an area of neglected land within their communities.

Members of Tidy Towns Together, County Louth will learn how to develop biodiversity gardens through a series of training workshops, that will combine practical gardening skills with strategies for organising community celebrations. Ecologically friendly gardening, media promotion, event management, and social activism will be features of the training agenda for participating primary schools and Tidy Towns communities.

This project is supported by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government


Young Guerrilla Gardeners


Groundswell, in conjunction with Louth County Council Environment Section, works with groups of primary school children, training them to become guerrilla gardeners. Guerrilla gardeners transform neglected areas of community landscapes into productive or decorative gardens. Collaborating with local Tidy Towns groups the children act as gangs of environmental activists, cultivating nature within local towns and villages.

Each primary school’s group of guerrilla gardeners choose a tag name based on Irish tree or wild flower. From garden design and cultivation to pubic events and environmental education, these troops of young guerrilla gardeners act as leaders in a campaign to change the nature of local landscapes.

This project is supported by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Art Out Loud


What Art Means to Children

Artwork: The Foot Series by Gemma Tipton

Art Out Loud offered primary school children the opportunity to interact with artworks from the County Louth Art Collection at the Basement Gallery, Dundalk. Children discussed the artworks in regards to their own life experiences and perspectives. The goal of the project was to offer children the opportunity to engage with contemporary art as a springboard for their own ideas and inspiration. The Basement Gallery become a space for children to reflect upon their own identities and life stories in relation to themes evoked within a selection of thought provoking images.

The children developed a large installation composed of personal objects that they brought from home, i.e. toys, hobby materials, sports gear, photos, souvenirs, games, memorabilia, etc. This collaborative installation was generated as a dialogue with the Art Out Loud exhibition.

This project was supported by Create Louth, The Arts Service of Louth County Council