Home » Arts & Culture » Call & Response festival sparking creativity in Clare
Monica Spencer

Call & Response festival sparking creativity in Clare

A HANDBALL alley in West Clare might not seem like the obvious place to showcase artistic talent, however this weekend at Querrin Pier the local sports facility will play host to a visual workshop for teenagers.
The workshop with artist Ruth Wood is just one of many events taking place in the county as part of this year’s Call & Response youth music and arts festival presented by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s Local Creative Youth Partnership.
The festival, which kicks off on Culture Night in Clare, will bring a host of free creative events to the young people of the county including the launch of a new pilot theatre project in Kilkee.
Monica Spencer, Creative Youth Partnership Co-ordinator with the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board tells us that Call & Response is all about encouraging and engaging youth voices.
“The name of the festival came from the call and response term in music, but really it has turned into this methodology where we are trying to reach out to young people, asking them what kinds of creative things they want to do.”
Following the success of events in Limerick already this month, Clare’s young citizens can look forward to taking part in the creative gatherings starting on Friday on the Loop Head Peninsula. Monica explains that the festival, now in its second year, particularly targets young people in rural communities with a view to encouraging creativity.
“We want to be able to open up avenues for young people to explore music, visual arts, or whatever creative avenues they would like. We hope to engage young people, to hear back from them about how they would like this to move forward. This is a conversation, with the overall aim of bringing art and creativity into every community in Ireland. We want to respond to their voice, to listen to what they are saying, what they think creativity is, and then try and build programmes around that.”
Culture Night, Friday September 17 kickstarts the festival in Clare when some of Music Generation Clare’s expert tutors, Dave Hope, ukulele, Shane Fahy, bodhrán and Mark Sheehan on percussion will give 5 to 8 year olds a swift taste of different instruments in an hour of musical fun.  This workshop in Kilkee Community College is very suited to children at total beginner stage.
Clare Youth Service is also joining in for Culture Night in Ennis, opening up one of their make-up workshops that members have been enjoying over the summer. Artist, Ellen Walsh Kerley engaged a group of young people who have been enthusiastically learning new make-up techniques in recent months.  For Culture Night, Ellen will run an open, online workshop for young people from Clare Youth Service.
An example of how the festival has been listening to the voices of young people in the area is the launch of a new pilot theatre project in Kilkee. Monica explains that young people in Kilkee, when consulted by the Local Creative Youth Partnership in 2020, identified youth theatre as an activity they would like to see provided in their community.
The youth theatre project will run over three Saturdays in September with support from Culturann Sweeney, Clare Arts Office and Clare County Library.
The location for the workshops is the outdoor space at the rear of the Culturann in Kilkee where a small, open-sided marquee will be in place, creating an outdoor venue in line with public health guidelines. Clare based theatre makers Jacinta Sheerin, Fiona Claffey-Kelly and Rob Hopkins will share their skills as they encourage young people to explore performance, character development, story, script-writing and the fun aspects of theatre.
Kilkee Youth Theatre workshops are open to young people aged between 9 and 12 with separate workshops for teenagers aged between 13 and 18 and absolutely no previous experience is necessary.  Workshops are free and places are limited to six.
Respected landscape artist, Ruth Wood is inviting teenagers to Querrin Pier’s handball alley on Saturday, September 18 for a site-specific visual workshop for young people living on the Loop Head Peninsula.
Monica tells us that, “It’s a magnificent location, very inspiring for artists. There is magnificent scenery, but there is also the built structure including the pier and the handball alley of course, and some lovely houses.”
As a qualified trainer, Ruth has extensive experience in youth art facilitation.  For the Querrin event, Ruth will adopt a process driven workshop, designed to enable and support participant’s visual engagement with the unique nature and built structures of this setting.
Young people will be guided to look at and record visual data creatively. Participants will make one observational pen/pencil drawing with a second image created using colour/mixed media. A wide range of quality materials will be used, including drawing boards, white, coloured and textured card, pens, pencils, chalk, silky crayons, brushes and glue.
The process will be documented throughout, and each participant will take home the two images that they create. Ruth particularly welcomes young people with little or no creative experience or ability. All that is required is a willingness to have fun trying something new.
All of the events featured in Call & Response are free and will be carried out in strict adherence with public health guidelines with events taking place out of doors and online. Planning for this year’s festival was done with Covid-19 in mind.
For details on how to get involved go to www.lcyp.ie and click on the logo for the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board.

About Jessica Quinn

Check Also

Clare kicked in the Derry-air by goal-hungry Ulster champions

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship QF Derry 5-13 Clare 2-8   An anti-climactic finish to the …