The National Neighbourhood programme is for anyone who calls Dublin home, and would like to explore culture and connect to communities, groups, artists, museums, libraries and creative places across the city.
Through one of our exploratory 8 - 12 week projects, participants are invited to try something new by talking, sharing, learning, making and doing. At the end of the project, we hope to help people identify their next creative or cultural steps, whether that is through developing a project idea with us, engaging in one of our other programmes, or using new connections to the city’s cultural resources to continue their own adventure.
Trisha Geaney was a participant on the most recent project with artist Shaun Dunne, and below she tells us all about getting to experience another side of the city through The National Neighbourhood.
If you’d like to start your own cultural adventure, you can find out more about The National Neighbourhood here.
Learning new things
I enrolled in The National Neighbourhood with few expectations apart from refreshing my memory regarding the various cultural centres in the city. However, a phone call from Evan, one of the Dublin City Council Culture Company’s engagement coordinators, where he took the time to find out about me and fill me in on what was proposed, made a huge difference to my understanding of the project.
The sessions were split between talks and discussions from 14 Henrietta Street, the Abbey Theatre, Chester Beatty, the National Library, IMMA, and also some artist-led sessions. Each session began with a 15-minute warm up which was wonderful for getting to know each other but also challenging. We answered questions like "What secret talents do you have?”, or “What would you put in a film about your life?". These are questions that are hard to answer but they were handled so professionally by Shaun and Evan that we all revealed some of our hidden selves, and I for one actually learned a few things about myself!
The artist-led sessions with Shaun Dunne were amazing and at times very emotional. He showed us some of his short films made in communities around the city and gave us a wonderful insight into how he approached each project and encouraged people to participate. I had forgotten just how many young talented people we have. He was inspiring!
Each of the presentations from all of the cultural venues had wonderful bits of information that were new to me and again the presenters drew us into the sessions by getting us to "look more closely" at works of art. I had no idea, for example, just how involved the Abbey Theatre is with communities of all kinds in Dublin and how they boost the confidence of the people who get involved.
It was a real pleasure to see the work being done by Evan and Shaun and particularly the amount of meticulous preparation and thought they put into every session, which of course is why it all ran so smoothly! I’m looking forward to getting involved in some way here in my own neighbourhood and in the meantime I’m taking two enthusiastic grandchildren to each of the venues passing on some of what I’ve learned.
Patricia (Trisha) Geaney was born in 1948 in Tipperary. A primary school teacher, she moved to Dublin and taught there for 35 years. She married Michael in 1971 and together they have two children and four grandchildren.
In the seventies and eighties she was involved heavily in community development in West Tallaght, setting up the first Youth Club and an Urban Farm as well as working with the local Vincent de Paul. She sang with The Goethe Institute Choir for 35 years in all major venues here in Ireland and also in Germany and Italy.
She’s looking forward to returning to cultural venues soon.