Begin Together

Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund

The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Business to Arts, continues a long legacy of support for the Arts. We have committed a total of €1 million between 2020 and 2022 for projects across all art forms, funding artists to collaborate within their community and bring to life ideas that inspire us all.

The third round has now closed and applications will be judged over the summer. An announcement on successful grantees will be made in September.

The Fund supports or commissions artists and arts organisations to develop arts projects that engage the individuals, audiences and communities involved. All art forms are eligible to apply to the fund.

During the second round of the Arts Fund over €300,000 was distributed to 39 projects across the island of Ireland which are listed below.

One of the projects we’ve supported is the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA), enabling them to continue to preserve and share the music, song and dance traditions of Ireland. Connecting the artists of today with the archives, our funding is helping to breathe new life into these art-forms for future generations to enjoy.

*Bank of Ireland is not responsible for information on 3rd party sites.

  • Andrew Tinney, What Happens Next, Donegal

    “What happens next” is an interactive storytelling project inspired by the lockdown which will allow children and young adults with learning difficulties to reflect how they would like to see society reopen. Working in groups, the participants will use storytelling and performance to design how they see their future develop. This project will be filmed and delivered remotely to Rosemount Resource Centre, who will facilitate Ardnasee School (Derry), and to Newtowncunningham Community Playgroup (Donegal).

  • Ciara Meade, SingStrong, Limerick

    The COPD Support Ireland (COPDSI) SingStrong project improves physical and psychological health for communities with chronic respiratory disease including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF), lung cancer, and long Covid in Limerick, Tipperary, and Clare. Sing Strong for lung health provides group-based breathing and singing interventions as well as educational sessions and informal break-out rooms to improve members’ respiratory health and address loneliness, anxiety and isolation.

  • Ciarán Taylor, Breath, Leitrim

    Music theatre play with actor Karl Quinn and musician/composer Steve Wickham will explore how the pandemic brings breath into focus. We collectively hold it, waiting for a result, waiting for a loved one to recover, waiting to be released. We run to the window, the park, the sea, to breathe deep and release. Linking breath to thoughts, actions, emotions and musical ideas of phrasing, tempo and attack, the play will look at the erratic breath of first love, the quick breath of surprise, the deep breath of joy, the held breath of grief, the laboured breath of illness.

  • Conan McIvor, A New Topography of Love Part II, Antrim

    A New Topography of Love Part II is a participatory environmental arts project using specially composed music, choral singing, and animation, in which children voice their hopes and concerns for the planet. The project will create an animated-videogame, operatic experience that resonates with children’s hopes and fears for the planet. Telling the tale of the earth, ravaged by waste and excess, it encourages audiences to reflect on current issues, as it takes them on a journey through destruction, re-birth, love and, most importantly, hope.

  • Connolly Cleary & Cork Youth Orchestra, The Music Box, Cork

    ‘The Music Box’ is a new light and sound installation by Cleary Connolly and the School of Looking in The Lord Mayor’s Pavilion, with the participation of Cork Youth Orchestra, in partnership with Sample-Studios and Cork City Council’s Glow Festival. Cork Youth Orchestra will perform inside the Music Box and, through the use of motion capture technology, their movements will be turned into moving dots, projected through the windows and visible through the interior and exterior for audiences.

  • Cormac Begley, The Shed Sessions, Kerry

    Festival in a Van – a mobile arts venue in a van – was inspired by Covid to create a safe live performance space that could tour at all levels of lockdown. In Shed Sessions, musician and PhD, Cormac Begley, who has researched men’s mental health, will engage with the Irish Men’s Sheds Association using the van to create a platform for music and conversations.

  • Dave Keary and Tony Perry, Digicontainer, Tipperary

    A series of recording studio workshops, covering a) musicianship, b) sound engineering, c) music production and d) live performance recording. The Workshops will be for digital and online audiences, and for a small group of in-person participants (10 – 15) who will be present in the Ballyhane Studio as participants during the recording.

  • Declan Gorman, Sharon Mc Ardle, Luca Truffarelli & Cara Holmes, Prison Notebooks, Louth

    The first of a series of creative pieces planned for this project is entitled ‘Prison Notebooks’ a new, solo performance play. Co-written by director Declan Gorman and actor Sharon McArdle and based primarily on first-hand gaol journals and other writings undertaken by Dorothy Macardle over the course of her six-month incarceration as a Republican Prisoner of War during the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. In addition to giving live performance at An Táin Arts centre, the play will be filmed for online distribution.

  • Eimear Quinn, Breath Upon The Flame, Meath

    This project is a recording of an album of Irish song and music reimagined for voice, brass and strings, featuring ‘The Voice’ Eimear Quinn and some of Ireland’s finest instrumentalists. Normally, concerts would be held to release and perform this album, but instead, it will be made available online with live performances streamed to reach as many people affected by Covid-19 as possible.

  • Emer Barry, Mary McCague, Aisling Ennis, Memory Lane with Affiniti, Kildare

    There are two elements to this project. The first is an outdoor performance in the grounds of Castletown House, aimed at people suffering from dementia and their carers. The second part is a special concert in The Long Gallery at Castletown House. Depending on restrictions, there may be a small, invited audience of carers. The concert will focus on a programme of requests by carers of special songs for their loved ones. It will be streamed with a link provided to carers, as a symbol of gratitude for the sacrifices they have made, particularly during Covid.

  • Emily Cuddy & Loretto McGary, ‘The smallest piece can complete the puzzle’, Longford

    Inspired by the people of Longford who took care, not only of each other by staying apart, but of the whole country in this undertaking, this project will see local people working together apart to create a tapestry that will be exhibited in Longford Library.

  • Emmet Kane, Kildare

    Since Covid-19, St. Conleth’s Community College has had to adjust the building on the campus to accommodate social distancing and has encouraged the students and staff to use the outside spaces more during breaks and lunches to enjoy the fresh air and let them have a mask break. The funding will be used to create a seating area which will be carved from large tree trunks and an oak tree planted in memory of all those who have died from Covid in the school community over the last 15 months.

  • Emmet Stewart / ES Creative, DEEP Project, Tyrone

    In the DEEP Project, 20 young people, aged 15-18, will participate to showcase a piece of dance, showing how they coped with Covid. This will take place and be filmed, over a residential weekend that will also include workshops facilitated by Explore Happiness CIC. These workshops will teach the five steps to wellbeing and give the participants their own mental health toolbox. The dance performance and residential video will be showcased to the local community and local schools at an end of project celebration event and the digital version will be posted online.

  • Fiona McDonnell & The Little Museum of Dublin, Senator Eileen Flynn, Dublin

    This will be an exhibition outreach program with two strands: Out into the community and Welcome the Community. Rebuilding confidence post pandemic, we will meet individuals within their local communities and online, to foster conversation and empower them to visit. Confidence building by empowering first-time guests to understand what a museum visit involves, and how to avail of a complimentary visit (removing economic barriers). We will cultivate community ambassadors to build trust and encourage future visits through meaningful word of mouth. Children from DEIS schools will take part in a school visit and receive a free ticket to return with their families

  • Karen Underwood, Cork

    Singer, writer, and storyteller, Karen Underwood, will travel to eight DEIS schools in Cork’s RAPID area and Cork’s direct provision centres and create an immersive experience for her audience, the theme of which will be telling her own life story of immigration through the music and lyrics of soul singer Nina Simone.

  • Kathryn Boyle, Ciara Dunne, Connecting Communities, Antrim

    Neighbouring communities will collaborate to produce a winter lantern parade, from one neighbourhood to other, connecting in festive celebration. The event will be outdoors, with Covid safety precautions. Free performances will bring colour and spectacle to residents’ doors, where the audience can stay socially distanced. Following this, two of the neighbouring groups will come together to discuss and explore contradictory feelings of anxiety and excitement in post-lockdown freedom. Artists and participants will then design and create a small float that visually captures the narrative of their joint story. These new floats will be part of a bigger spring-themed outdoor parade, involving community participants and performers.

  • Kevin Brennan, Years Go By, Galway

    Years Go By is a visually-grounded documentary film, charting a year of isolation and uncertainty in the lives of those in Direct Provision (DP) during Covid-19. Filming with subjects began in 2020, but without further funding the project will cease. Documentary is a process of time and communication. As filming continues, their lives may change enormously through integration, deportation or sickness. Without continuing this work, their stories and this chapter in Ireland’s history may be forgotten.

  • Kevin Sheedy, Paint The Town, Killaloe/Ballina, Mayo

    The project was born from the impact of two young suicides in our community, which occurred within a week of each other in August 2019. As both families were well known, this shocked the community to its core. The community-held opinion was that the towns needed a boost in morale spurred on the project and inspired me to take a literal approach to brightening up the towns.

  • Kim Magee & Mullingar Town Band, Fusion, Westmeath

    Fusion is a collaborative project between Mullingar Town Band and The Petitswood Art Makers from Mullingar Resource Centre, who found themselves sharing a space during Covid-19. The project tells the story of how both groups had to reimagine ways of working allowing them to continue to make their art and music. Fusion will culminate in a musical performance, a visual arts exhibition, and a documentary film.

  • Marie Barrett, Mapping The Territory, Donegal

    Mapping The Territory (MTT) will develop an interconnected photography programme with Refugee and BAME communities. It aims to create dialogue around the local border topology and redefine the notion of cultural practice in a public space with a specific historic and post-conflict fabric, within the tensions of the larger global events. MTT will develop a programme that examines charged issues specific to crossing borderlands, including forced migration and global socio-political transformation. This will be achieved through the use of photography screening and will culminate in an outdoor projection event.

  • Martin Tourish / IMBOLC Youth Folk Orchestra, Derry/Londonderry

    This project will commission composer Martin Tourish to compose a new work for the youth folk orchestra that responds creatively to the pandemic and its effect on the lives of young people, in particular young musicians. The project will involve creative workshops with the young people with whom Martin will work to translate their stories of lockdown into musical elements that will inform the core of the final work. The final piece will be performed in public in the course of 2022 with contingency plans in place to move the project should circumstances dictate.

  • Mary Scott, Cavan

    Throughout Covid-19, patients at Cavan inpatient Psychiatric Unit have spent long periods of time indoors. The goal of this project is to bring nature inside by creating pieces of art based on nature. This project will encourage participants to learn new skills and use a variety of mediums including mosaic, paint and mixed media, creating a sensory finish to their artworks.

  • Maximilian Le Cain, Cork International Film Festival

    As a result of COVID-19, many young people in socio-disadvantaged communities already require support for their wellbeing. This project supports the artistic practice of a filmmaker, facilitating young students in a Cork City DEIS school to develop, to co-create and to share their experiences on film, supporting their wellbeing.

  • Meabh Ivers with Paul Taylor, Takeaway Theatre, Down

    Take Away Theatre is an interactive performance that happens at home for people with disabilities and their families. It engages and empowers the recipient and their families to co-create a drama based on a story of their making. This project will offer families the opportunity of fun and escapism and will enable the people with disabilities the opportunity to lead on the activity when too often their interaction with siblings/families is based on caring needs.

  • Meadhbh McIlgorm, Limin-Alley (ii), Antrim

    *Limin-Alley* brings high-quality art, craft and design to the oft-neglected back alleyways of Belfast. The project will see four commissioned artists partner with four community groups actively working to improve their alleyway environment. The artists will respond to these groups and their locations to develop new work for outdoor presentation in a city-wide, exhibition and ‘alley open day’ programmed as part of the Imagine Festival 2022.

  • Niall Sweeney / THISISPOPBABY, The Baby & The Seagull, Kilkenny

    A pair of giant, contemporary balloon structures that will be installed in various locations at Kilkenny Arts Festival e.g. the train station, the Castle lawns, on the banks of the River Nore, in a meadow on the edge of town. The Baby and the Seagull are great friends. They are searching for each other over the course of the festival. Perhaps they will find each other. Encompassing ideas that have arisen from the pandemic around renewed relationships – between humans and nature, between urban and rural, around life and death – The Baby & The Seagull seeks to inspire joy, playfulness and imagination in audiences of all ages.

  • Niamh McGrath, Bubble, Sligo

    Niamh McGrath has been developing ‘Bubble’, a one-woman show built around a day in the life of a woman adapting to life alone during the pandemic. As part of the artistic process, Niamh is seeking to gain a deeper understanding of how the past year’s experiences have affected people, in particular the experiences of two community groups – older people in care settings and younger people. To do this, Niamh will facilitate a number of workshops, utilising fun drama exercises and scenarios to start conversations, giving the participants the opportunity to reflect on their lockdowns and express how their experiences have directly affected them.

  • Orlaith Treacy & Cindy Cummings, Danesfort Centenary Dance Project, Kilkenny

    In 2022, creative producer, Orlaith Treacy, and dance artist, Cindy Cummings, will collaborate with the Danesfort GAA Club and community to imagine and develop an exciting, engaging and high-quality dance event that highlights the skills and talents in the area, as part of the club’s centenary celebrations. Cindy will develop the dance pieces with locals of all ages creating pieces for their interests, skills and abilities. These dance pieces will be performed outdoors.

  • Paul Currie, Filly and Mare's Mobile Music Hall, Antrim

    Filly & Mare’s Mobile Music Hall is a travelling, Victorian-style cabaret/circus created by transforming a horsebox. Live performance brings people together, allows for shared experience, a sense of joy, and a collective catharsis after a time of intense isolation and uncertainty. The mobile music hall will provide this to communities without the need to travel to venues and the ability to do so safely, outdoors with social distancing. Using the exuberance and excitement of Vaudevillian style circus, Filly & Mare’s Mobile Music Hall will provide much needed joy to both its participants and audience members.

  • Paul Kinsella, Grief Songs, Mayo

    Taking inspiration from Mayo’s stunning landscapes, rich heritage and fascinating history, Grief Songs will immerse audiences in an act of female, public grieving through song. The project will involve four short, transportative films, each five minutes in length and taking inspiration from four different traditional lamentation styles, from Irish, Greek and Slavic traditions. The 360-degree virtual reality films will be set in locations within the Mayo landscape that evoke, or have witnessed, grief, absence or loss.

  • Philippa Donnellan, The Road We Live On, Limerick

    ‘The Road We Live On’ is a live and digital storytelling project in dance and music led by Philippa Donnellan and produced by Dance Limerick. Over 12 weeks, lively conversation, dance and music practice, will enable participants to share new skills, stories & experiences, leading to a public performance of vibrant and original choreographic and musical tales, performed by participants and the band.

  • Rhiann Jeffrey, VERGE, Antrim

    VERGE is a series of online rehearsed readings of new plays (first draft) by Irish playwrights, freely accessible to the public and an invited audience of international theatre producers and presenters. Each script is chosen and cast through open submission and a carefully curated shortlisting process. This project represents an unprecedented opportunity for writers to see/hear their plays read by a professional cast at the earliest stage as well as bringing industry professionals and public audiences together to give feedback to the writer through a discussion directly following each reading.

  • Sharon Devlin, Connections Arts Centre, Dublin

    Right now, many creatives with disabilities struggle to attend classes in person due to Covid restrictions, access issues, and a lack of inclusive programs designed to suit their needs. This programme will be facilitated online, removing any barriers to participation that these artists may encounter in life, supporting them in an accessible manner, and offering them a safe space to connect with the wider Disability Community. The project will be participant-led, with the support of experienced facilitators (Sharon Devlin, artist, and a member of Connections Arts Centre), the group will discuss and decide on the nature and subject of a final exhibition.

  • Sinéad Cormack, The Shed, Carlow

    The Shed is an innovative and experimental new theatre piece, which consists of a series of short performances/experiences for an audience of one, using sensory techniques, in an outdoor-roofless garden shed. This work will explore the theme of the sky/the world above our heads. It will be developed through collaboration between Sinéad Cormack, Emma O’Grady, Bryan Burroughs, Raymond Keane and Little John Nee, resulting in five, ten-minute performances/sensory experiences to be shown in repertoire in the shed. Costume design by Deirdre Dwyer.

  • Sorca McGrath, Westmeath

    A series of workshops for artists to share psycho-educational material around creativity and mental health. The workshops aim to support artists in the development of their practices through the development of tools to support their wellbeing. They are delivered through educational and experiential methods, highlighting the value of integrating lived experiences, developing a toolboxes that fit with the artist’s own practices, learning how to address creative blocks through reflective right-brain practices, learning to identify their own value in times of disconnect or distress and how this links to enhancing the wellbeing of the communities in which they share their work.

  • The Unwanted (Cathy Jordan, Rick Epping, Seamie O'Dowd), Roscommon

    The Music Network Roscommon Teaching Residency will provide participants with a course of one-to-one lessons, followed by a series of larger ensemble opportunities. The residency will be delivered by traditional music ensemble, The Unwanted, led by acclaimed Roscommon musician Cathy Jordan. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a hybrid approach to the delivery, with 160 virtual one-on-one lessons, three virtual coffee mornings, and 15 group sessions culminating in three in-person, socially-distanced, informal ensemble performances.

  • Theatre Lovett, The Girl who Forgot to Sing Badly, Waterford

    The Girl who Forgot to Sing Badly by Finegan Kruckemeyer, directed by Lynne Parker is a highly-acclaimed theatrical performance presented by Theatre Lovett. In partnership with Theatre Royal, this project will reframe the performance, digitally, for a new generation of young audiences. Teachers will receive free access to a pre-recorded performance from the Sydney Opera House, and a tailored teaching resource pack to support classroom engagement. In addition, each classroom around the county will have access to an inspiring Q&A session with actor Louis Lovett live from Theatre Royal.

    The Girl who Forgot to Sing Badly was originally commissioned by The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children and produced by The Ark in association with Theatre Lovett

  • Thomas Johnston, Sensory SongTales at Baboró, Galway

    Sensory SongTales is a unique and innovative multisensory arts experience designed for young children with additional needs. In each workshop, the artists will bring to life a soothing sensory world of music and song, light, smell, movement, and touch. The holistic approach incorporates a blend of in-person workshops, sensory packs, online resources, and CPD for educators/artists.

  • Young at Art and Duncan Ross, Touch, Antrim

    Using child-led creative techniques developed in his participatory and socially-engaged practice, Duncan Ross will have a creative conversation with schoolchildren exploring the impact of social-distancing, reflecting on and creatively responding to what it has meant to not be able to touch those outside their home – their grandparents, their cousins, and their friends. How has it made them feel? How has it affected how they play? Together they will create artworks responding to the theme ‘Touch’, in a hybrid exhibition, with an online component for digital audiences that inter-relates to a physical installation at the Belfast Children’s Festival.

2020 Grantees