Developing Community Arts Practice – Training

For the past 5 weeks a group of us here at Signal have been doing training on Fridays. It is a course run by the Kildare Wicklow Enterprise Training Board (KWETB) entitled “Developing Community Arts Practice”. The course tutor is Aoife Patterson, a former Signal Arts Centre employee, and she really knows her stuff!

It has been a long time since I last undertook formal education. I am constantly up-skilling myself through reading, online courses, YouTube videos, and undertaking self-driven projects to learn new skills. This is a different kettle of fish altogether but I am enjoying it and learning lots of new concepts that are very relevant to my own practice.

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Sitting through a lecture can get tiring, so Aoife breaks up the process with “ice breakers” and “energisers”. Ice breakers are usually at the start of the session, a simple exercise to get us thinking creatively and to begin interacting with one another.

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A lot of the lectures also end with brain storming sessions where we are broken up into groups to discuss ideas and issues that were raised during the class, focusing on one specific topic such as creativity, or types of groups, etc.

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As the lectures can be quite long, they are broken up with “energisers” which are small tasks that get us thinking creatively again, to get our energy levels up with a bit of insight or most often with a bit of a laugh!

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That last one involved blowing ink around on a page using a straw, and then writing a Haiku poem (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables) inspired by the ink or the action. Fun and got us thinking verbally as well as visually!

James Hayes

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