Image shown: Stories from the Well-Field: Tess Leak

We are delighted to announce a new bi-monthly online conversation series beginning this January. Arts practitioners and healthcare professionals will provide in-depth insights into arts and health projects and discuss hot button topics including the possibilities and challenges of working in a shifting health landscape. 

For our first conversation on Tuesday 26 January, artist Tess Leak and Activities Director Sarah Cairns (Bantry General Hospital) will explore the learning from the remote delivery of The Museum of Song Postal Project.

This project is part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, West Cork and was created and adapted by Tess and artist Sharon Whooley as a response to the isolation of residents in five Community Hospitals in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

In St. Joseph’s Unit, Bantry General Hospital, Sarah Cairns facilitated the delivery of the Museum of Song and this engaging conversation will explore how she worked together with the artists through the uncertainty and fear of the first Covid-19 lockdown to the current, changed arts and health landscape. Together they will consider ideas such as creating new pathways to connect, virtual challenges, and coping with ‘on-the-spot’ learning.

The conversation will include a Q&A session.

Location: Online via Zoom
Date: Tuesday 26 January 2021
Time: 1-2pm
Registration link:
*Advance booking is essential*

Tess Leak
Tess Leak is an artist and musician who has been working with the Arts for Health Programme in West Cork since 2010. She is a graduate of the BA in Visual Art on Sherkin Island and The Curious School of Puppetry in London. In 2020, she created the Museum of Song Postal Project in collaboration with artist Sharon Whooley which was delivered to healthcare settings as a response to the isolation of participants during the pandemic.

In 2019, Tess collaborated with a group of residents in Bantry General Hospital to create the puppetry-based performance Stories from the Well-Field which brought to life participants’ poems about childhood friendships. This was supported by an Arts Council Project Award and an documentation bursary. Tess is co-founder and curator of participatory projects Haiku Island Press, The Museum of Miniature and The Museum of Making and Mending and is cellist with the Vespertine Quintet.

Sarah Cairns
Sarah Cairns has been a Sonas Programme Tutor with Engaging Dementia since 2009 and is Activities Director in St. Joseph’s Unit, Bantry General Hospital. She has a diploma in Older People in Dance, and Person-Centred Dementia Care from the University of Surrey. Sarah is currently doing a MSc at UCC in Dementia Studies and is particularly interested in finding ways to support people achieve agency, empowerment and connection through creative activities. She is on the steering committee of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, West Cork, for which she also acts as dementia advisor. In 2019 Sarah was a performing member of the ‘Well-Field Company’ in St. Joseph’s Unit for the project Stories from the Well-Field.

Arts for Health partnership programme
Arts for Health partnership programme is based in West Cork and has provided a managed arts programme for older people in healthcare settings since 2005. The programme takes place in Community Hospitals in Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Schull, Skibbereen, Bantry General Hospital Care of the Elderly Unit and Day Care Centres in Bantry, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway and Skibbereen. Managed by Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, Arts for Health runs all year round and is delivered by a team of professional artists from different disciplines.

The Arts and Health Conversation Series 2021 is produced by and funded by the Arts Council and the HSE.


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