Published 20.06.2023
by Kids’ Own

New Artist in Residence Project with St Cecilia’s in Sligo


Kids’ Own has embarked on an exciting journey to develop an artist residency program with St Cecilia’s school in Sligo! Over a period of six months, this collaboration aims to provide a unique mode of expression for young individuals, who have learning disabilities. The project was developed in partnership with class teacher Triona O’Dowd Hill, who knew it was really important to foster a sense of equality among the students by establishing links with a mainstream secondary school. In the autumn,  collaborative opportunities will be extended to a local school and we look forward to this part of the project! As this process-based, abstract art project unfolds, t the participants’ artistic journey will be documented through a video and there will be an exhibition of their creative work.

For the past seven weeks, the students have been working closely with our associate artist, Andy Parsons. The initial phase of their artistic exploration focused on creating smaller sculptures, which allowed them to delve into concepts of movement, scale, action, and motion. Each week, they were exposed to various materials and different techniques, broadening their creative horizons.

Moving on from that the students began developing larger-sized sculptures. This shift in scale offered them a multitude of opportunities to experiment with shape and surface design. Guided by Andy and the dedicated St Cecilia teachers, Triona O’Down-Hill and Janice O’Brien, the group delved into abstract shapes, embracing the freedom to create without the pressure of representation. This approach empowered them to mold their imagination into unique and meaningful forms.

Most recently our project manager Lorna visited during Creative Schools Week  where the students warmly welcomed peers from other classes into their creative space. This interaction allowed for a rich exchange of ideas and the chance to experience Andy’s sessions and collaborative working firsthand. The inclusive environment provided a transformative opportunity for different students to come together, fostering a sense of unity and shared creativity.


Each session throughout this artistic residency has been filled with joy, laughter, and valuable lessons for both the students and the artist. As the summer months approach, the group will take a well-deserved break, eagerly anticipating the continuation of their artistic journey in the upcoming autumn.

The artist residency program between Kids’ Own and St Cecilia’s school is an inspiring initiative that encourages creative expression among students with learning disabilities. By engaging in abstract art projects, these young individuals are provided with a means to communicate and express themselves authentically, transcending the limitations often imposed by verbal communication. The collaboration with a mainstream secondary school further reinforces the value of inclusivity and equality, promoting a sense of unity among all students involved.  With a video output and an exhibition of their creations on the horizon, the young artists of St Cecilia’s have an exciting future awaiting them as they continue to explore the boundless possibilities of their creativity.

We’ll be sure to keep you update along the way! You can read more about our work with St Cecilia’s here:

This project is kindly funded by The Ireland Funds, Heart of the Community Fund 2023