First Fortnight is Ireland’s annual Mental Health Art & Culture Festival, challenging mental health stigma and promoting mental health wellbeing nationally through art and culture. The 2023 edition runs from 6-15 January with events happening throughout Ireland. Here are some of our highlights.
Dance Ireland is hosting a series of events for dance practitioners and organisations, including Taking Care, a round table discussion on mental health and wellbeing in the dance sector, and a social gathering focused on dance artists and their wellbeing.
A Celebration of Hope on Nollaig na mBan, presented by First Fortnight and HSE Engagement and Recovery, brings together inspiring speakers and performers who will share their lived experience of overcoming difficult times.
For the theatre community, Where’s the hub? is an Open Space Technology Meeting exploring how we create support structures and systems for theatre makers.
First Fortnight and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services are hosting Cistin, an online celebration of music, poetry and storytelling to warm hearts and souls of a winter’s evening.
Vital Signs, published by Poetry Ireland, is a new anthology of powerful and courageous responses to the human experience of illness and healing. Join poet and poetry pharmacist, Enda Wyley, for a Poetry S.O.S. at Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Enda will select and prescribe a Vital Signs poem for you, designed to make you feel better, which you can bring home and read at your leisure.
What is a flat white? is a participatory theatre piece which invites people across Donegal to come along and experience a typical week in Donegal’s Wellness Cafes. These events aim to de-stigmatise mental illness and mental health issues by giving people a look at what really happens in the cafes week to week.
Mental Health First Aid Ireland is offering those working or volunteering in the arts the opportunity to undertake Adult Mental Health First Aid training. There is a separate Youth MHFA training course for those working or volunteering with young people in the arts. Both courses take place over two days and are fully funded by Saint John of God Hospital.
Notifications Off, an Electronic Sheep Tapestry commissioned by First Fortnight and the Arts Council of Ireland, will be on display at Project Arts Centre for the duration of the festival. A year in the making, this artwork focuses on the positive and depicts places, people and objects that bring happiness, particularly in times of sadness. There will be a series of accompanying events including art workshops for the public and service users of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, and a conversation with Electronic Sheep artists Helen Delany and Brenda Aherne.
Freedom of Choice is a body of work at Riverbank Arts Centre providing a glimpse into the lives of women who took part in a residence programme with artist Clodagh Kelly. The artwork shows their personalised take on health/wellbeing and journeys of healing.
View the full 2023 programme and ticket information at
Feature image: Sections from ‘The Kilburn Tapestries’ by Electronic Sheep, 2022.