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arts & health sectors through Covid-19

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COVID-19: Resources for the arts and health sector

Date posted: 26 March 2020

Image shown: The Wishing Balloon Project by Brigid Teehan, 2003. Photo by Aidan Dunne

This resource page includes information on supports for artists and arts organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic, specific supports and sharing opportunities for the arts and health sector, online networking hubs for practitioners, mental health supports and government information on COVID-19. This page is updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available.

We are deeply grateful to all the healthcare workers, carers and frontline staff who are going above and beyond to care for people at this most challenging of times.

*Updated 25 July 2020*


Advice sessions
Waterford Healing Arts Trust, which manages artsandhealth.ie, is offering advice sessions for arts and health practitioners. If you would like to avail of a phone / virtual advice session email ClaireA.Meaney@hse.ie / info@artsandhealth.ie

Online exchange
We are facilitating online exchanges via Zoom to provide arts and health practitioners with an opportunity to connect, share experiences and brainstorm ideas. Email info@artsandhealth.ie with the subject line ‘arts and health online exchange’ if you would like to take part.

Art Responds: engaging healthcare communities in a time of corona
Arts and health practitioners in Ireland have been developing new ways of connecting with health service users, healthcare staff and members of the public who may be particularly vulnerable to isolation and loneliness at this time. This page brings together some of these innovations with the hope of providing inspiration to fellow practitioners. Initiatives are added as they come onstream.

artsandhealth.ie 2020 artist bursary: reflecting on arts and health practice
*Closing date has now passed*. Given the current challenges faced by the health sector and the curtailment of arts programming in health settings, this year’s artsandhealth.ie bursary was offered to artists working in arts and health contexts to reflect on their practice. The recipients were announce in June 2020: visual artist Emma Finucane, dance artist Helga Deasy and writer Sylvia Cullen. The artists will share learning arising from the bursary with the wider arts and health community via artsandhealth.ie in early 2021.

Sustaining the Self: Online event to support self-care among the arts and health community
Sustaining the Self, a virtual workshop for the arts and health community, took place on 23 June. Led by artist Marie Brett, this free workshop was designed to support self-care among those working in arts and health, particularly in the context of the seismic shift in practice since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions. Sustaining the Self: Close Up: An additional workshop and tutorials led by Marie was offered, by application, to a small group of practitioners with significant experience in arts and health. 

Sustaining the Self Toolkits: Recognising that internet access is not universally available for a variety of reasons, a limited number of Sustaining the Self Toolkits, created by Marie Brett, are available by post.

Checking In: Showcasing new methods of working in arts and health
A virtual gathering of the arts and health community in Ireland organised by artsandhealth.ie took place on 23 April. Checking In showcased examples of some of the new ways of working devised by arts and health practitioners since the introduction of Covid 19-related restrictions. You can read about these examples at the link above. This online event was open to healthcare professionals, arts practitioners and anyone interested in learning more about arts and health.


The Arts Council
The Arts Council is operating fully throughout the COVID-19 crisis. All existing funding commitments will be honoured and grantees will be able to draw down 90% of their funding to allow them in turn to fulfil their own business commitments, especially to artists.

Arts Council COVID-19 Crisis Response Award: A special €1m euro fund was launched by the Arts Council to enable Irish-based professional artists to provide access for the public to new and original art during the period of COVID-19 isolation. The deadline has now passed.

The Arts Council launched a survey to capture the impact of Covid-19 on artists with a view to gathering information on what actions the Arts Council can take to support and advocate for artists in the short to medium term. The survey closed on 9 April.

Please check the Arts Council’s dedicated COVID-19 page for further information on sectoral support (link in title).

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment 
This payment of €350 per week is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From 17 September, three rates of payment will be introduced. If you have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week, you may qualify for Short Time Work Support.

Illness Benefit
When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or the HSE or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week. It will be paid for a maximum of 2 weeks where a person is self-isolating and for a maximum of 10 weeks if a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Freelance practitioners can avail of this benefit (no minimum PRSI contributions are required).

Create, the national development agency for the collaborative arts, is available for advisory sessions via phone and email. In response to Covid-19, changes have been made to the Arts Council’s Artist in the Community Scheme which is managed by Create. A number of online initiatives and CPD opportunities have been developed.

Visual Artists Ireland 
Every Wednesday visual artists can book an online Help Desk session with VAI. These Help Desks are free of charge for members and non-members for the duration of the current crisis. Help Desks can be on any topic related to your practice or about general advice on supports available to you at this time.

A set of curated, mostly free and open source resources to support creative practitioners who need to migrate their practice onto digital places and spaces.

Artist Emergency Relief Fund
*Due to demand applications are currently suspended*
The Civic Theatre has established a fund to provide financial relief to Irish artists experiencing lost income related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to €500 have been made available on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups. As further funds are raised, applications will reopen. Grants will be paid out in order of application receipt.

National Campaign for the Arts
NCFA has launched a survey to collect data on cancelled events, postponed performances, lost opportunities and loss of income in the sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 and provide potential solutions.

Culture Ireland Ireland Performs Scheme [closed 5 May]
This initiative by Culture Ireland in collaboration with Facebook Ireland enabled Irish artists to livestream their material.


Poetry Prescriptions
Our new poetry series pays homage to William Sieghart’s acclaimed collection The Poetry Pharmacy. Healthcare workers, poets, arts and health practitioners, health service users and others are sharing poems that speak to them in this moment or simply poems they return to time and again.

Covid Chronicles
Artists and healthcare staff have been sharing their responses to and experiences of this period of isolation, uncertainty and loss.


Voluntary Arts UK & Ireland #CreativeNetwork
Arts practitioners in the UK and Ireland who would like the chance to speak to peers at this difficult time can take part in a daily online #CreativeNetwork get-together (Mon-Fri) from 9:30-10:30am. No log in is required.

The Creativity Tonic
This new online space developed by CIT Crawford Department of Arts in Health & Education aims to nurture a healthy imagination in challenging times. The Creativity Tonic gathers original material and some of the best online initiatives in one hub. Mindful handwashing a bonus.

Sharing moments of beauty
We know that art can provide solace, laughter, beauty, hope and moments of discovery on our best and worst days. With this in mind, artsandhealth.ie initiated a #momentsofbeauty campaign on our website and social media channels to highlight innovative ways arts and health practitioners are adapting to the current climate, to showcase practice via our extensive online archive, and to share cultural activities that can be enjoyed online.

Tag on us our social media channels and we’ll share your initiatives and moments of beauty:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artsandhealth.ie/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/artsandhealthie
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artsandhealth.ie/


Gov.ie: Getting through COVID-19 Together
The Department of Health and the HSE, in collaboration with key cross-Government and cross-sectoral partners, have developed a mental wellbeing campaign aimed at offering support and resources to help deal with the stress, anxiety and isolation currently experienced by many people. This resource page includes online and telephone services as well as tips and advice from cross-Government and Healthy Ireland partners on topics such as physical activity, parenting, coping with daily routines, supporting the ‘cocooned’ and getting involved in community solidarity efforts.

Stress Control Online programme
HSE, Health & Wellbeing are offering a Stress Control Online programme, free of charge to the public and delivered by Dr. Jim White, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Stress Control Ltd. New live-streamed classes start on 11 May.

SpunOut has collated a list of mental health supports available during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also initiated a Crisis Text Line, a 24/7 messaging support service with trained volunteers available to listen to people going through a tough time. This service provides in-the-moment anonymous support and problem solving when you need it most. Text YMH to 086 1800 280 to begin right now. (Standard SMS rates may apply)


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