Autumn School on Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice

Autumn School on Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice

An initiative of The Arts Council’s Artist in the Community Scheme (AIC) and managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts.

For a third year, Create and Counterpoints Arts are pleased to announce the School on Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice for up to 15 artists.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing, we are hosting the 2020 School in the Autumn and virtually over four days: 9th , 16th , 17th & 23rd October.

The new deadline for submission: 31st August, 5pm.

About the Autumn School

The concept of 'cultural diversity' is often narrowly read through the lens of policy. It’s a repeated term but what does ‘cultural diversity’ mean in practice: in people’s intimate lives, in neighbourhoods and within communities of place and interest? How does the practice of cultural diversity resonate as an intersectional and dynamic part of everyday life?

How might the experience of ‘cultural diversity’ be enacted in the context of collaborative arts practice? How might ‘cultural diversity’ form an intrinsic part of the artistic, socially engaged process and act as a powerful driver for social change?

How might we understand the critical intersection of ‘culture diversity’ and collaborative arts practice in the context of decolonisation and the urgency of global racial justice movements?

This autumn school is interdisciplinary both in curriculum and composition of participants, presenters and facilitators. It will take the form of a four-day virtual residency enabling a ‘think and do’ collaborative approach, utilizing creative workshops, critical and comparative case studies, one-to-one mentoring, international guest artists including curators, policymakers and activists.

Directed by: Dr Áine O’Brien - Co-Director/Co-Founder Counterpoints Arts

Visiting artists and facilitators include:

  • Abdullah Al Kafri, Director Ettijahat Independent Culture
  • Isabel Lima, Independent Artist and Director of The Gresham Horse project
  • Juan del Gado, Independent artist and Co-Founder/Creative Producer, Qisetna

Artist in the Community Scheme (AIC)

A key aim of the autumn school is to create a peer-to-peer space in which to explore the concept of ’cultural diversity’ through the lens of the Artist in the Community Scheme (AIC), which has to date resulted in rich cultural ecosystems and cross-sector methodologies. Funded by the Arts Council and managed by Create, the AIC Scheme has a long history in the development of collaborative arts in Ireland.

Established in 2002 with the aim to encourage and support meaningful collaboration between artists and communities of place and/or interest, the AIC scheme supports dynamic collaborations across art forms and context areas across the country. Examples include film making with divers off Malin head, Co. Donegal; dance in Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork; sound art with Beekeepers in Limerick and visual arts with Migrant Women’s Group in Dublin.

Autumn School on Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice

Who should apply?

  • Any Artist based in the Republic of Ireland who is from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background, including members of the Traveller community, migrants, refugees and people in need of international protection who are in a position to take up this opportunity, will be particularly welcomed.
  • Emerging, mid-career and established artists, based in the Republic of Ireland, who have a collaborative arts practice (working in any artform including architecture, circus, street art and spectacle, dance, film, literature, music, opera, theatre, visual arts and traditional arts). Undergraduate students are ineligible to apply.
  • Artists who are interested in exploring the questions outlined above alongside their individual and shared practice.

How to apply:

To apply please submit

  • Proposal (maximum of two A4 pages). See Proposal outline
  • CV and/or Biography
  • PDF with a maximum of 5 examples of recent projects with short descriptions and relevant links which can include images and videos.

Proposal outline

In order to make the best case for why you should be part of the Autumn School, you should give very careful consideration to what you include in your proposal.

a) Tell us about your practice

Describe your work, mention recent achievements and give a general overview of your main interests and ambitions as an artist, relevant to your proposal.

b) Your proposal- Why do you want to attend the Autumn School?

You should include the following.

Outline why you are applying to this Autumn School. Explain your interest in the issue of cultural diversity and the Artist in the Community Scheme and what you wish to learn and explore alongside other participants.

We want to know why the autumn school interests you, tell us something about why ‘cultural diversity’ might be relevant to your current and future practice. Why apply now? What do you hope to develop in your practice in relation to this area of work?

Since the Autumn School will be run along the lines of a ‘think and do’ residency, we invite participants to play an active role in all aspects of the programme. We’re therefore interested to hear about what you might contribute to the Autumn School’s conversations and collaborative activities. What will you bring to the collective table?

This is the place to put any other information you consider relevant.

The deadline for submission is 5pm, 31st August.

Send completed applications to: apply@]

For enquiries contact

Applicants must be available to attend all dates. Details of the virtual programme and structure will be sent to attendees in September 2020.

Selection process

Selection will be made by a panel of representatives from Create and Counterpoints Arts. The open call will be advertised through usual visual arts channels, informal networks and complementary fields of development.

Create is the national development agency for collaborative arts. Our work initiates cross-sectoral national and international partnerships which support artists and communities to co-create work of depth, ambition and excellence. Our mission is to lead the development of collaborative arts practice by enabling artists and communities to create exceptional art together.

As a resource organisation we offer supports for artists working in social and community contexts. These include professional development, mentoring, project development support, commissioning and project opportunities as well as research and training. We also manage the Artist in the Community Scheme for the Arts Council.

Create believes that by working together, artists and communities can purposefully explore how collaborative arts engage in distinct, relevant and powerful ways with the urgent social, cultural and political issues of our times

Counterpoints Arts support, produce and promote the arts by and about migrants and refugees and communties of place/interest. Our work is done in collaboration through local, national and international co-productions – with artists, arts, cultural and educational organizations, neighbourhoods/communities of place and civil society activists. We believe in the ability of the arts to inspire social change and reach our mission via three integrated strands: ‘Enabling, Producing and Learning’. We develop strategic programmes and platforms, enabling organisations and practitioners to improve networking, develop practice and showcase work. We produce high quality work across different artforms and outputs - events, exhibitions, commissions, digital platforms, artefacts and residencies engaging diverse audiences. We facilitate learning through peer-to-peer learning labs and platforms - encouraging imaginative reflection, cross-sector conversations, skills transfer, and the sharing of evaluation and impact.

Dr Áine O’Brien is Curator of Learning and Research and Co-Founder of Counterpoints Arts, London. She has worked across the arts, education and activism in the US, Ireland and the UK and was Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts 2012- 2020. She set up the Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice in 2005 (re-named Centre for Socially Engaged Practice-Based Research), a doctoral programme aligning migration research with the creative arts. She created FOMACS (Forum on Migration and Communications) in 2007, developing creative, arts and cross-sector public projects focusing on migration.

Her creative productions to date within the University sector, FOMACS and Counterpoints Arts (spanning across documentary film, print, exhibition and curation) explore global storylines linking migration with social justice and change. Including film productions: Silent Song (2000) on Kurdish lyrical protest in Europe; Here to Stay (2006) on migrant activism; and Promise and Unrest (2010) on gendered migration and long-distance motherhood. She is co-editor of a combined book/DVD-ROM Projecting Migration: Transcultural Documentary Practice (Columbia University Press, 2007); and is co-editor of Art, Migration and the Production of Radical Democratic Citizenship (forthcoming Rowman and Littlefield International).

Áine leads on Counterpoints Arts’ Learning Lab platform, developing national and international learning/creative production partnerships (with artists, curators, cultural activists and organisations, policymakers and academic institutions). And on the cross-platform Who Are We? Tate Exchange programme at Tate Modern.

Abdullah Alkafri, Executive Manager - Ettijahat- Independent Culture

A playwright and cultural activist, Abdullah Alkafri works as a trainer in the field of arts and culture. He has taken part in many projects focusing on writing, particularly for theatre, organized by both Syrian and international organizations, and co-organized “Miniatures: A Month for Syria”, in collaboration with Shams Association in 2013; and “Agora: Platform for Theatre Labs”, in collaboration with Hananne Hajj Ali (in 2014), both of which took place in Beirut.

He has published/directed several plays, including Mrs Ghada’s Pain Threshold in Beirut; was a member of the selection committee for ‘Arab Contemporary Dramaturgy’ (organized by IEVP 2012) selecting nine Arabic texts to be published in French. He has contributed to ‘An Enemy of the People and Pillars of Society: the Tragedy of the Individual’, produced by the Ibsen Conference in 2014 in Norway with Zoukak Theatre Company.

Abdullah was awarded first place in the 19th Mohammad Teymour Competition for Theatrical Creativity for his text ‘Damascus – Aleppo’ (shortlisted for the BBC Competition for Best Translated Work in 2008). Abdullah graduated in Theatrical Studies from the High Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus, 2004 and completed his Master’s study at Saint Joseph University, Beirutin 2015. He is currently a PhD Student at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon

Isabel Lima, Independent Artist and Director, The Gresham Horse project

Isabel Lima is an artist and researcher based in the UK since 2001. Lima develops socially engaged works, which question the sense of belonging, identity, place and culture. Her own family history of displacement is the catalyst for her research. In her practice Lima develops collaborative and/or participatory works with different groups of people, namely refugees and asylum seekers. The outcomes of her projects usually take the form of video, performance, publication and installation.

Isabel is interested in probing the contradiction between the theoretical framework of postcolonialism and the structures governing our society today, looking at ways of mapping and rendering visible the current refugee crisis in Europe and investigating the role and responsibilities of the artist as a mediator and image producer when engaging audiences with the issues of ethics, risk and precariousness.

Juan del Gado, Independent artist and Co-Founder/Creative Producer, Qisetna

Based in London, Juan delGado works across a range of media including installation and photography, exploring themes of displacement, landscapes, disability and gender. The experiential rather than the visual is consistently emphasised through his work.

delGado examines issues and themes on-site, in the location where the ‘narrative, the content of the project is waiting to be unfolded’. His intention is to actively engage the audience, challenging perceptions of what they are experiencing by presenting varying elements of the work in different media that inform each other; often through the visual and audio.

He is the co-founder and creative producer Qisetna: Talking Syria, an on-line platform initiated in 2013 to share the voices of those internally displaced within Syria. His work has been supported by The British Council, Spanish Ministry of Culture, Artschools Palestine, Arts Council England, The Wellcome Trust amongst others.

His film installation Altered Landscapes toured across the UK and Internationally, and delGado is currently working on a creative documentary and multi-screen installation, In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun, set in the Arctic and focusing on human displacement and climate justice.…


General Info

Date Entered/Updated
22nd Jul, 2020
Expiry Date
31st Aug, 2020