Wednesday 22 November 2023







Festival in a Van is hosting an online lunchtime seminar exploring the benefits, challenges, and key learnings of engaging people with dementia through the participatory arts.

A mobile live arts event, Festival in a Van has been bringing live performance to towns, villages and doorsteps around the country since 2020. Established initially as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Festival in a Van promotes wellbeing and quality of life for all citizens by bringing free cultural events to diverse audiences.

Songlines took place in spring 2023 in four locations across Wexford and Waterford. An introductory session and three subsequent workshop sessions saw four artists engage with those living with dementia and cognitive impairment through discussions of poetry and songs. Focusing on favourite poems and songs learned in childhood, during the teen years and into adulthood, the workshops revealed memories associated with both artforms, and resulted in the creation of new work, which was performed from the Van by the artists, residents, and staff at celebratory wrap-up live performances.

What to expect
For this one-hour online lunchtime seminar, Liam Merriman (musician), Margaret Galvin (poet) and Paul Carey (Manager, Grantstown Daycare Centre) will be joined in a conversation hosted by Joe Brennan about the benefits and challenges of bringing the participatory arts into healthcare settings.

The discussion will include ethical considerations, expectations versus reality, and what sort of investment and preparatory work is necessary to make a programme such as Songlines successful. This event will close with a Q&A.

Who is this event for?
This webinar will be of interest to artists working in the area of arts and health, activities co-ordinators and community workers interested in bringing a similar programme to your location; and arts professionals.

Register your place here.

Festival in a Van are grateful to the Arts Council, Waterford County Council, Wexford County Council, Waterford Healing Arts, Poetry Ireland, Marie Brett and Jane O’Hanlon, and all the staff and residents of the care homes and day care centres for their support of this Festival in a Van project.


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