Arts in Residential Care Seed Grant Recipients 2024 Announced

an image promoting the Arts in Residence Seed Grant Programme from IHF

Arts in Residential Care Seed Grant Recipients 2024 Announced

In conjunction with Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), Caru are excited to announce funding has been awarded for six Seed Grant projects to support creative exploration and responses to grief and loss in a residential care setting.

In May this year, following a call-out for applications, we received circa 40 submissions for a place on IHF’s Seed Grant programme designed to encourage creative exploration through micro-financing and mentorship.

“Following a rigorous selection process, six projects were chosen to align with Caru’s ambition to support and improve the delivery of compassionate, person-centred, palliative, end of life, and bereavement care to residents, loved ones, and staff in nursing homes. The successful applicants will join a nationwide Peer Network for capacity building, and will connect with quality improvement, staff engagement and care competencies.”

Awardees include activity co-ordinators, academics, artists, and writers. Deploying a wide range of creative practice, each project is aimed at encouraging safe conversations about end-of-life planning, dying, death, grief, and loss. This will be reflected in the use of song, drama, film, theatre, writing, poetry, movement, storytelling, memorabilia, mosaics, collage, and painting. In addition to financial support, our Caru and Arts and Cultural Engagement teams will provide bespoke mentoring to the awardees and residential care setting.

“Research resulting from surveys such as our own Time to Reflect and Dying Well at Home, along with National End of Life, show appropriate conversations about dying and loss in all its forms supports the personalising of care in residential care settings. Open discussion about end-of-life planning, cultural expectation and diversity in all senses can reduce stress at such challenging times. Often people lack confidence to do so. Creative approaches, or the use of the arts or cultural tools, can help.”

Our Seed Grant programme piloted in early 2021 catalysed with initial support from the Creative Ireland Programme.  To date, 61 projects have been supported with micro grants, expertise, and resources enabling communities of place or interest to develop their own tools or articulate their needs. Previous awardees include individual artists, writers, musicians, nursing homes, secondary schools, community groups, disability support centres, choirs, academics, and hospitals.

Projects will develop from June 2024 until November 2024 at residential care settings in Cavan, Clare. Dublin, Donegal, Limerick and Louth.

Arts in Residential Care Seed Grant Recipients 2024

an image of Gabrielle Breathnach, a youth drama worker in Dublin

Unveiling Shadows (Dublin)

Gabrielle Breathnach, a youth drama worker, will lead a series of drama and theatre classes for the staff and visitors of Anna Gaynor House, Residential Care, Harold’s Cross Hospice in Dublin. These classes will offer an open space outside of work to raise and discuss issues of dying, death, grief, and loss.

Activity Co-ordinator Michelle Clifford from Milford Nursing Home in Cork

Community Choir (Limerick)

Activity Co-ordinator Michelle Clifford will form a new choir at Milford Nursing Home in Limerick to nurture culture change and community building. Selection of songs, choice of moments to sing, and the dynamics of singing will offer prompts for conversations about death, dying, and grief.

Artist Lisa Hester from Ennis Road Care Facility in Limerick

Space for Remembrance and Healing (Clare)

Artist Lisa Hester, with a PhD in engaged practice, will develop on her existing relationship with Ennis Road Care Facility in Clare to establish both dedicated group and one-to-one art sessions aimed at safely and quietly exploring grief and loss.

Helen Keenan from Esker Lodge Nursing Home in Cavan

Moving Forward with Grief (Cavan)

Helen Keenan, a multi-disciplinary artist, will work alongside the Activity Co-ordinator at Esker Lodge Nursing Home in Cavan in delivering a series of phased interventions. These will start with prompts and movement, then video, culminating in collating a lasting momento mori for residents, staff, and loved ones.

Sunhill Nursing Home in Louth

In My Thoughts (Louth)

Under the stewardship of Elaine Moloney, Director of Nursing at Sunhill Nursing Home in Louth, two artists will build on existing residencies using multiple art forms to act as prompts for conversations with residents, staff, and loved ones, leading to a support pack for families.

Artist Rebecca Strain from Manor Nursing Home

Roots of Remembrance (Donegal)

Artist Rebecca Strain began working with Brindley Manor Nursing Home during the pandemic. She will establish a once-a-week art room focusing on mosaics for residents and staff, to encourage conversations staff rarely, if ever, have time for.

About IHF Arts and Cultural Engagement

Since our Arts and Cultural Engagement programme began in 2021, initially with support from the Creative Ireland Programme, we’ve focused mainly on the bereaved and grieving. In this time, we have led 61 Seed Grant funded collaborative projects exploring the:

  • Role of artists in bereavement and death.
  • Cultural understanding of grief and loss in a diverse society.
  • Importance of local community for bereavement support.
  • Impact on care staff where personal and professional grief combine.
  • Relationship between grief, mental illness, health and wellbeing.

Alongside supporting 16 Seed Grant funded initiatives completed in 2023, we trialled a 12-month “Artist in Residence in Service to People at End of Life” project. Operating somewhere between an artist-in-residence and an artist “on call” in an acute hospital, we wanted to find out what would happen if people were given the opportunity to explore creativity to the end of life. Our enduring lesson from this project is that many voices and many disciplines need to work together in service to people at the end of life to ensure a “good death”.

Our ambition with this current round of Seed Grant funded projects is to further develop our understanding of what creativity offers people in a residential care setting. In parallel, how to best support artists, what best practice is, and how to work in care systems all in support of “a good death”.

Learn more at: Arts and Cultural Engagement at Irish Hospice Foundation