It Takes A Village


It Takes A Village sees Dublin City Council Area Office, Arts Office and Libraries guide a series of community based projects in partnership with The Irish Museum of Modern Art. The theme of village emerged from our conversations with local community groups. In the area, there are many emerging villages, new communities such as Belmayne and Clongriffin springing to life in areas that were fields not long ago. There are also many long-established villages, in the traditional sense, such as Coolock and Raheny. The project sees community members from Coolock and Belmayne exploring and representing their surroundings through a variety of creative methods. From here they are encouraged to imagine what changes they would like to see for their villages and communities.

Artist Seoidin O’Sullivan and Landscape Architect Roisin Byrne have been working with children from Belmayne Youth Club to discover Belmayne from the children’s viewpoint. They have done this through mapping exercises (both through drawing and 3D model making) and physical explorations of the ‘village’. They have also gone back in time to imagine what possibly occupied the space hundreds and thousands of years before this new community emerged. We are looking forward to seeing what the children dream of for their village and community going forwards.

Past pupils from Coolock Libraries Communiversity Class have been working with artist Dorothy Smith using a combination of drawing, photography and creative writing to study the built environment that surrounds us and examine how this impacts on us as citizens. Using photography, they are identifying local spaces they perceive as negative and are expressing what change they would like to see.

All the Men’s Sheds groups and St Benedict’s Photography group have been invited to attend a series of facilitated visits to The Irish Museum of Modern Art. After an initial meeting with each community group, facilitators, who have trained with Dublin City Arts Office, specifically designed a series of four visits to IMMA to connect with the Museum and its artworks in a meaningful way.



It Takes a Village, as the name suggests, brings together a wealth of individuals and communities to create this project.

Artane Men’s Shed


Ayrfield Men’s Shed


Belmayne Youth & Community Group

The group exploring a flower box with magnifying glass
The group exploring a flower box with magnifying glass

A voluntary community based organisation working towards meeting the needs of the community, aspiring to make Belmayne a great place to live.
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We have been working with a group of past pupils from the 2016 Coolock Communiversity Class. The Communiversity programme has been set up between Northside Partnership, Maynooth University and Coolock Library. This programme has been set up to help encourage adults to consider education as an option in the future. In essence the programme is designed to address the need for social inclusion directed at the Partnership target groups by providing a high level of community education support and active citizenship courses outside of traditional educational settings

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Donaghmede Men’s Shed


Priorswood & District Men’s Shed


St Benedict’s Photography Group




It Takes a Village, as the name suggests, brings together a wealth of individuals and communities to create this project.

Helen Barry

Helen Barry is a Dublin based visual artist, arts educationalist and early years arts practitioner. She has been working with children, adults and families in communities, museums, galleries and educational contexts for almost 30 years. Her vision is driven in her belief that creativity is crucial to the holistic wellbeing and emotional development of every individual and community. Helen’s collaborative work is an intrinsic part of her practice.

Helen has received a number of commissions and awards and is currently working on a number of new initiatives including ‘Virtually There’ – Kids’ Own, Artists Teachers Partnership- The Dep. of Education, Creative Practitioners- DLRCC. Helen’s work with early years has been supported by the Arts Council since 2013.

Roisin Byrne

Roisin Byrne is a landscape architect with specific interest in nature–based solutions and re–naturing cities.  Roisin works mainly on Place Projects  that are collaborative, seeking to facilitate local actors in the development of ecologically harmonious projects to solve their own found problems, building on their own recognised capacity, connecting with knowledge resource and supports available. The idea that local solutions can contribute globally is applied through documentation, reflective practice, and contribution to international dialogue.  Roisin has just completed research and innovative work with the highly successful EU FP7 TURAS Project and is an expert on the ComPass solution.

Roisin is also voluntary consultant landscape architect and woodland and nature reserve coordinator to Greenfriends Ireland. Her creative output includes publications, landscape architecture drawings / specifications: analysis, artistic abstracts, concepts, schematics, tendering, and construction. Roisin has a background in organic farm methods, (27 years) architecture technology, landscape design to private gardens, residential and public projects. She has an honours degree in Landscape Architecture (2013, University College Dublin).

Lynn McGrane

Lynn McGrane works with varied audiences, education and arts organisations to investigate ways of learning through the visual arts.  Her practice has been focussed on exploring methodologies which place the viewer at the centre of the process as meaning makers.
She is currently Project Manager for Exhibitions at The National Gallery of Ireland, has taught on the MA in Visual Arts Education at The National College of Art and Design and has held the positions of Education Officer at The National Gallery of Ireland, Head of Education for Dublin Contemporary 2011 and Head of Learning for Turner Prize 2013. She has worked with The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin City Council Arts Office,  The Royal Ulster Academy, The Highlanes Gallery Drogheda, The National Museum of Ireland, Louth County Council and Dublin City Council Arts Office on varied and challenging projects with artists and educators of diverse practices.

Bridget O’Gorman

Bridget O’Gorman (b. 1981, Co. Tipperary, Ireland) graduated with a BA in Fine Art Painting from the Crawford College of Art (IRL) in 2003. In 2008 she completed an MFA between the Department of Applied Art and The School of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Recent solo and selected group exhibitions include In The Flesh at The Lab Gallery IE 2016, Telling the Bees at the Galway Arts Centre IE 2015, On Beauty at the Roscommon Arts Centre IE 2015, Wade In at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. Johns CA 2014, From a Studio Exchange at Acme Project Space, London UK 2014 and If I show you the Roses, Rubicon Projects, Dublin IE 2014.

She is the recipient of various awards including the Golden Fleece Award Shortlist/Commendation 2015, Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary Award 2016/14, Fire Station/Acme Work/Live Programme Exchange London 2014, the Future Makers Travel & Training Award 2011 and the Wexford Emerging Visual Artist Award 2010.  During 2012 – 13 she her work was supported through the Artist In Studio Residency at the National Sculpture Factory in Cork (IRL).  She currently lives and works at Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin and will shortly commence the Wheatley Bequest Fine Art Fellowship at Birmingham School of Art (UK).

Seoidin O’Sullivan

Seoidín O’Sullivan is a contemporary artist and educator. Her art projects are largely collaborative and her practice focuses on socio-political and ecological narratives. Case study works focus on people joining together in action to protect or develop an aspect of their local ecological commons.

Seoidín often deploys research based methodologies and works with communities in developing critical spaces of exchange. Her creative output includes drawing, photography, publications, film works and interactive sculptural works.   Recent Projects are her ‘Revolving School’ for  the Irish Museum of Modern Arts ‘A Fair Land’ 2016, ‘Orchard System’ for Galways TULCA, 2015.
Upcoming Projects are ‘Hard Graft’ for Studio 468, 2017 and ‘A Tree Line Project’ which was recently awarded An Arts Council New Work Award with Oonagh Young Gallery 2017.

She grew up in Kitwe, Zambia and later lived in Durban, South Africa where she completed a degree in Fine Art (2000).  She has a Masters in Fine Art from National College of Art and Design, Dublin (2005- 2007) and  Post Graduate Diploma’s  in Third Level Teaching and Learning (2010) and in International Development Studies (2004). She currently lectures in Art on BECE at St Patricks College, DCU.

Dorothy Smith

Dorothy’s practise is concerned with the built environments in which people live and work and in particular in the built environment of public space. Drawing, inclusive of printmaking, has always been the under pining to Dorothy’s practice and in recent years it has become her predominant methodology. In much of her recent work the language of drawing is her subject as well as her means of enquiry.

Dorothy Smith holds an MA in Visual Arts Practices from the Institute of Art Design and Technology Dun Laoghaire, a Degree Fine Art Painting from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and a Post Graduate Diploma in Arts Administration from University College Dublin.

She has worked with many community based organisations and national institutions as a manager, facilitator and teacher. Her work is in the collections of the Office of Public Works (state art collection), the Irish Contemporary Arts Society, NIVAL (National Irish Visual Artists Library), the New York Public Library Print Collection, AXA and private collections. She is a recipient of the Taylor Bequest Award and the RHA AXA Drawing Prize.

Claire Halpin

Claire Halpin is a visual artist, curator and facilitator based in Dublin and has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions in Ireland and internationally. As a facilitator, Claire works with groups in a range of contexts including arts in education, museum, health, public art projects, community based projects and is currently working on the National Neighbourhood Project. Facilitating workshops for over 15 years has afforded her valuable experience which she continually uses to evaluate and contribute to the ever unfolding process of creativity and development within participatory projects and within her own artistic practice.



Project Advisory Group

Kate Aston, Project Manager, It Takes a Village
Iseult Byrne, Project Director, Dublin’s Culture Connects
Noel McMahon, Senior Librarian, Coolock Library
Helen O’Donoghue, Senior Curator Engagement & Learning, Irish Museum of Modern Art
Liz Coman, Assistant Arts Officer, Dublin City Council
Aileen Doyle, Senior Community & Development Officer, North Central, Dublin City Council
Tony Fagan, Community & Development Officer, North Central, Dublin City Council

Dublin City Libraries

Dublin City Libraries’ mission is to maximise opportunity for all – individuals and communities – through guided access to ideas, learning, literature, information and heritage resources supported by cultural programming.

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is Ireland’s national institution for the presentation and collection of modern and contemporary art. IMMA is committed to supporting artists’ work, and works with artists and partners to support the development, accessibility and enjoyment of contemporary art in Ireland through an ambitious programme of exhibitions, talks, tours, performances, workshops, and more.

IMMA’s audience is growing each year and in 2016 they welcomed over 500,000 visitors to their home in the historic Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin 8. IMMA is the home of the National Collection of modern and contemporary art and takes responsibility for the care and maintenance of this national resource, which numbers some 3,500 works. They ensure that the collection is accessible to visitors to IMMA and beyond through exhibitions, collaborations, loans, and digital programmes. IMMA has a busy Engagement and Learning Programme which aims to foster an increased awareness and understanding of the visual arts by creating innovative and inclusive opportunities for people to engage with the Museum’s exhibitions and programmes, both as audience members and participants, creating opportunities for meaningful exchanges between artists and the public.

Dublin City Arts Office

The City Arts Office assists artists and communities to enhance their contributions to and experiences within the arts. The City Arts Office is part of Dublin City Council’s Culture Recreation Amenity and Community Department. The City Arts Office works in partnership with other Dublin City Council sections, and in particular with those concerned with arts and cultural programming and provision. It holds a specialised remit to practice the arts, participate in the arts, develop audiences for the arts, and work with other City Sections to maximise opportunity for the public to engage in the arts, and particularly to improve access to the arts.

Dublin North Central Local Area Office

The North Central Area is one of 5 administrative areas used by Dublin City Council to co-ordinate the delivery of services in the city. This area includes Kilbarrack, Raheny, Donaghmede, Coolock, Clontarf and Fairview.


We are working with a range of community groups situated within the North Central Dublin City Council Area. The community members taking part in the project come from: Artane, Ayrfield, Belmayne, Coolock, Donaghmede and Priorswood.

Artane has a history dating back 900 years and is a village on the Malahide Road. Ayrfield is situated between Coolock and Donaghmede. Belmayne is a new community in the northern fringe of Dublin City, the development was launched in 2007, originally community facilities and amenities were included in the plans for the development but these facilities have not emerged as of yet. Five kilometers south of Belmayne, situated on the Santry River, Coolock is one of Dublin’s largest suburban areas and is one of the oldest villages in the area, Priorswood is situated in the Northern part of the district of Coolock.

These emerging villages and new communities such as Belmayne and Clongriffin are set alongside the long established villages, in the traditional sense, such as Coolock and Raheny. The ‘It takes a Village’ project works with each on village identity, seeing their neighbourhood anew, and sharing it with others.