Image shown: Kevin Jones demonstrating how to splice when netting. Image courtesy of Colette Lewis.

Image shown: Kevin Jones demonstrating how to splice when netting. Image courtesy of Colette Lewis.

What Next? tells the story of four artists who worked with older people on a project that broke the mould. Their stories are told through the Arts and Ageing Podcast series. The What Next? programme will also include Arts and Ageing Workshops and Arts and Ageing e-Publication, both providing a toolkit for those working with older people. All of these resources reflect on real life projects that go beyond the normal templates for working with older people. 

What Next? is funded by The Arts Council Invitation to Collaboration Scheme – Continuation Phase. It is an outcome of Creative Enquiry – Arts and Older People, a project that creatively explored fresh approaches to arts engagement with older people in 2019, initiated by Cork City Council and funded by The Arts Council Invitation to Collaboration Scheme. Three artist-residencies were hosted by three organisations: Cork Midsummer Festival, MusicAlive and SIRIUS with the support of Cork City and County Councils, Age & Opportunity and the HSE.

Dancer and choreographer Helga Deasy and musician and choir leader Susan McManamon worked with MusicAlive on two artist residencies at Nazareth House, a nursing home in Mallow, and at Mayfield Men’s Shed. Visual artist Marie Brett worked with Cork Midsummer Festival on a project called Cultural Lore – the idea was that knowledge can be lost from our collective consciousness as technological advances replace more traditional manual methods.

Working with SIRIUS in Cobh, the focus of visual artist Colette Lewis’s enquiry was to consider ways of connecting with older people that are more accessible and innovative within a regional context. Colette brought together a new community of locals through her ‘Local Know-How’ project to share sustainable methods of living that are now in danger of being lost. She collaborated with Cobh resident Kevin Jones to revive knitting techniques used by fishermen to make and mend their own fishing nets. 

‘What Next?’ was a question posed by arts and culture consultant Terre Duffy in the publication that accompanied Creative Enquiry – Arts and Older People: ‘Unless there is commitment to deliver on the recommendations and learnings, there is a risk of this becoming another great case study for another great enquiry in a few more years.’ What Next? answers this call and provides practical outcomes that go beyond presenting case studies. 

Arts and Ageing Podcast Series
Produced by journalist Ellie O’Byrne, the series kicked off on 4 October and includes the following episodes:

  • Local Know-How with Colette Lewis, parts one and two, including Kevin Jones’ contributions as an ex-fisherman from Cobh
  • Cultural Lore with Marie Brett, part one released on 11 October and part two on 18 October
  • Freedom to Fly with Helga Deasy and Susan McManamon: part one released on Monday 1 November, part two on 8 November, and part three on 15 November.
  • The concluding episode, released on 21 November, will feature a critical reflection by Ellie. 

Subscribe and listen here:

Arts and Ageing Workshops
Workshops on planning and delivering arts programming in relation to older people will take place in November, each delivered by representatives of the partner organisations:

  • 9 November: Kevin O’ Shanahan, Creative Director of MusicAlive, with artists Helga Deasy and Susan McManamon
  • 10 November: Kath Gorman, former Head of Participation and Engagement at Cork Midsummer Festival, with artist Marie Brett.
  • 11 November: Miguel Amado, Director of Sirius Arts Centre, with artist Colette Lewis.

The workshops will be followed by one-to-one mentor sessions for registered participants with Miguel Amado, and the artists. Free, but booking essential. Booking information will be shared on

Arts and Ageing e-Publication
The Arts and Ageing e-Publication will be published in December 2021. This digital publication will be freely available and will include a summary of learnings and findings as well as recommendations. Further details to be announced.


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