Image shown: L-R: Jenny Elliott

We are delighted to announce the programme for Arts + Health Check Up Check In 2020, which takes place online from 23 – 26 November. Themed ‘Taking Risks’, this leading national arts and health event is open to healthcare professionals, arts practitioners and anyone interested in learning more about this exciting field.

Check Up Check In provides opportunities for participants to share their experiences, exchange ideas and support and inspire each other in their practice through a range of themed presentations across four sessions.

Responding to the theme, presentations will explore the notion of ‘risk’ for artists compared to healthcare professionals, and the challenge of creating innovative, exciting and inspiring art within the specific context of a health setting. The impact of Covid-19 will be addressed within each presentation.

Artistic director, contemporary dance choreographer and healthcare professional Dr Jenny Elliott will deliver the keynote address on Monday 23 November. Jenny will consider the necessity for artists who practice in healthcare contexts to push boundaries and to engage in experimentation. Through philosophical consideration and examples from professional practice, she will trace the benefits of risk taking and the deep impact of the arts on wellbeing, reducing practice fatigue among artists and nurses in clinical settings and inducing change in healthcare cultures. Jenny will also present a dance/movement based workshop on Thursday 26 November.

Check Up Check In 2020 is organised by / Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) and Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, with local partner Fingal County Council Arts Office, and is funded by the Arts Council and the HSE.

There will be a nominal fee of €5.00, payable on booking, to attend all four mornings.


Monday 23 November, 11am-12pmKeynote Address by Dr Jenny Elliott
Why artistic risk-taking, creativity and wellbeing are vital components of transforming contemporary healthcare culture

Session Chair is Justine Foster, Programme Manager Education and Community at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre and Chair of ACHI (Arts and Health Co-ordinators Ireland), with musician Leah Clarke.

Dr Jenny Elliott has worked in arts in health development locally and internationally for over 25 years as a contemporary dance choreographer, dancer in residence, healthcare professional, artistic director, lecturer and researcher. As Artistic Director of Arts Care, she has developed models of health and wellbeing which engage service users and healthcare staff in bespoke dance programmes, in addition to many other arts in health initiatives. The author of several articles and reports on arts and health, Jenny also contributes to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Westminster.

Tuesday 24 November, 11am-12pm: Sticking Points: What to do when you get stuck
Artists and healthcare professionals share challenges they have faced in their work and look for solutions to overcome them

Speakers include Paula Lowney, occupational therapist working in Mental Health Service Reform; Justin Grounds, composer and violinist working with Arts for Health West Cork; Fran Hegarty, Chief Healthcare Technology Officer and Chair of the Art in Hospital Advisory Group with Children’s Health Ireland; and musicians in healthcare Sharon Murphy and Sadhbh O’Sullivan, Embrace Music. The session will be chaired by arts, health and wellbeing specialist Carolann Courtney, with art making led by artist Caroline Schofield.

Wednesday 25 November, 11am-12pm: Other People’s Practices: Dealing with the reality 
A conversation with artist John Conway about an innovative artist residency and research project at Usher’s Island, a National Forensic Mental Health Service community centre.

John will be joined by Sheelagh Broderick, Executive Manager, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Health and Wellbeing; Ann Dunmurray, mental health nurse and formerly Programme Manager at the National Forensic Mental Health Service community day programme in Usher’s Island; and Caroline Cowley, Public Art Co-ordinator, Fingal County Council.

Thursday 26 November, 11am-12pm*: What’s My Practice?
A series of workshops examining methodologies employed in collaborative/ participatory arts and health practice, across a range of artforms. 

Workshops will be presented by Dr Jenny Elliott, contemporary dance choreographer and healthcare professional; John Conway, visual artist; Grainne Hallahan, Irish Aphasia Theatre; and Grainne Hope, Artistic Director of Kids’ Classics and Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute, TCD. (*Please note: Workshop 4, facilitated by Grainne Hope, takes place at 2pm)

Download the full programme and contributor bios here.


Tickets cost €5 to attend all four mornings.

Bookings link:

Once you have booked, you will be added to the attendee list and will receive the Zoom link for each day the evening before the event.Please note: You must book for Monday 23 November in order to receive the Zoom link for each day.

Workshop bookings: 26 November
Places for the workshops on Thursday 26 November (listed below) are limited and must be booked separately. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please first book for Check Up Check In 2020 and then email to reserve your workshop place.


Workshop 1: 11am-12pm | Dr Jenny Elliott
Dance, a Critical Artform in Health during Covid-19: An exploratory Laban-based movement workshop focusing on ‘Connection & Disconnection.’ 
In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to be experimental, creating a digital reflective movement work as a response to their lived experience of connection and disconnection during a pandemic. The workshop will also integrate dance in health practice and the increasing delivery of online dance facilitation.

Workshop 2: 11am-12pm | John Conway *SOLD OUT*
Your practice. Their place: A CPD session for collaborative artists. 
How is accessibility, ownership and collaboration in socially engaged art balanced with artistic integrity, quality and the pushing of boundaries? Visual artist John Conway will deliver this online workshop for artists interested in exploring the challenges of merging their interests and expertise with the interests and expertise of participants in community settings.  |

Workshop 3: 11am-12pm | Grainne Hallahan
Participant Led. 
Founder and Director of Irish Aphasia Theatre (IAT), Grainne Hallahan will lead this practical workshop demonstrating IAT processes. Through theatre, IAT engages, trains, facilitates and produces work by participants who have cognitive, communicative and physical disabilities, in particular participants who have aphasia and/or acquired brain injuries related to ageing conditions and other brain traumas.

Workshop 4: 2pm-3pm | Grainne Hope *SOLD OUT*
Catching the COVID Curve Ball. 
Has COVID thrown you a curve ball as an artist and arts and health practitioner? Are you trying to work out how to catch that COVID curve ball? Or are you tired of saying ‘I think you have frozen’? As one looks to make sense of a re-modelled cultural landscape of the future, this is an opportune time to actively engage with the challenges and opportunities offered by online and socially distanced models of delivery. This new way of facilitation may well take you outside your comfort zone on a journey of growth, developing new approaches to communication, engagement and facilitation. This workshop will support artists, through peer exchange, to identify key values that underpin their work in order to create a personal framework for quality in their practice. Participants will also discuss how risk-taking and reflection can lead to a practice which is responsive, relevant and innovative.


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