Justine Foster, Arts for Health Manager


028 22090


Web address


Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre,
Skibereen, Co. Cork


Dance, Film, Literature, Multidisciplinary, Music, Puppetry, Theatre, Visual Art

Healthcare context(s)

Older people

Arts for Health (AfH) is a partnership programme based in West Cork, which has provided a managed arts programme for older people in healthcare settings since 2005. The programme is supported and steered by a partnership which includes Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, with Cork County Council, Cork County Education and Training Board and HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare through the Community Work Department, Primary Care and Community Hospitals.

Mission / Aims

The partnership:

  • recognises the importance of a participant-centred approach based on principles of partnership, inclusion, life-long learning and quality
  • respects the right to cultural access for older residents in care settings
  • is committed to regular evaluation and research to inform and support the development, sustainability and quality of the programme.

The Community Hospital Arts Programme aims to implement a programme into the culture and practice of all long-stay units as a core activity and to deliver an appropriate and meaningful arts programme for the patients and staff of the hospitals.

The Day Care Centre Programme aims to deliver a number of projects with the staff and service users of the centres which develop the participant’s capacity to work at the limits of expressive capability and to develop a balanced and complementary relationship of creative exchange between the artists, staff and participants.

Areas of activities

The delivery of the programme is through an Arts for Health artists’ team which is managed by West Cork Arts Centre. They have established a close, professional working relationship with the staff and management of each care setting. The artists, each with distinctly different practices, have developed their professional expertise in working with older people and numerous individual and collaborative projects have been undertaken since it began in 2005.

The Community Hospital Arts Programme (approximately 170 participants) is ongoing and is delivered in Bantry General Hospital and 5 West Cork Community Hospitals; Skibbereen, Schull, Dunmanway, Clonakilty and Castletownbere. Initiated in 2005, it centres on a consistent structure of delivery for the benefit of the participant. It involves a weekly group workshop and regular one to one support to encourage and develop individual creative ideas. The content of the workshops evolve and change responding to the exchange between the artist and the participant.

The Day Care Arts Programme (approximately 400 participants) is project-based and delivered in five Day Care Centres; Skibbereen, Dunmanway, Clonakilty and Bantry. Developed in 2010 each Day Care Centre (DCC) is allocated a number of sessions each year with an artist from the AfH team. The artist and the DCC co-ordinator develop a schedule and programme for delivery. Outcomes are various with some performative encounters, short artist led interventions to longer participant led projects.


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