Image shown: First Fortnight 2021

First Fortnight, Ireland’s annual Mental Health Art & Culture Festival, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2021. An adapted version of the festival for the times we’re living in will take place during the month of January.

Armchair Azure (delivered via Zoom) is part of IMMA’s response to support people living with dementia and their families, friends and carers who have been cocooning during Covid-19. Explore a selection of artwork from IMMA’s Collection with a team member trained in dementia-inclusive arts programming. EOLAS ‘The Road We Travel’ (in-person, subject to Covid-19 guidelines), a photography exhibition at Donegal County Museum, features the work of service users and family members who facilitate and participate in the delivery of the National EOLAS mental health information programme. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Festival, First Fortnight and Presentation Arts Centre, Wexford are hosting a retrospective exhibition, Coalesce (in-person and online), featuring the work of 11 invited artists who have previously contributed to the festival on separate occasions and are now gathered together under one roof.

What Do Art, Science And Mental Health Have In Common? Dr Richard Roche (Maynooth University’s Department of Psychology) joins Dr Josen McGrane (Dublin North East City CAMHS) in conversation to talk about what happens in our brain when we look at and appreciate art. Psychotherapist Mary Mullins will outline how important it is to become aware of, and address, our own mental health in these challenging times as part of Mental Health Matters For Artists. Dancers can face many challenges and stressors: how do you look after your mental health while developing your career? The expert panel for Dancing Lives and Mental Health includes international dance artists Adrienne Truscott, Tobi Omoteso, and Sydney Magdalene Magruder Washington in conversation with Dr. Aoife McGrath.

Literature / Spoken Word
The Dublin Story Slam is back in an online iteration, once again hosted by comedian and broadcaster Colm O’Regan. This year’s event is a partnership with Volunteer Ireland and will feature personal stories on the theme of community. Fighting Words will host an online workshop for young writers aged 10 and 12 exploring what makes us unique and what brings us all together. Libraries across the country are joining forces with First Fortnight once again to shine a spotlight on mental health-related books, from fiction to informative texts, as part of Mind-Reading.

For My Story My Song (online), a stellar lineup of Irish artists perform unique versions of the songs that have helped them through tough times. Flagship First Fortnight event Therapy Sessions (online) will see some of Ireland’s most exciting musical and spoken word talent perform in a specially curated four-corner tour of Ireland.

Join a Playback Theatre Performance to see your everyday events come to life on your screen, as Full Circle transforms them into dramatic and compassionate theatre through the use of body, voice and music. My Mind was a Stranger is an immersive audio journey into one man’s experience of living with Bipolar Disorder.

About First Fortnight
First Fortnight is an arts-based mental health charity that organises a festival in the first two weeks of the year aimed at challenging stigma. An awareness campaign in the First Fortnight of the year works because we are all a little raw that time of year and more likely to be open to an empathic response. First Fortnight has become a fixture in the cultural calendar and synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma. First Fortnight also runs a Centre for Creative Therapies, which provides an art psychotherapy and music therapy service to adults with experience of homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

View the full 2021 programme and ticket information at


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