Working on The National Neighbourhood in Dublin’s north inner city has demonstrated to me once more the power of music to reach across communities and to create bonds between people. On many occasions, almost becoming a habit, music was played before words were even spoken, proving a shared language that formed a mutual sense of trust. Playing music is an opening to the world and to everyone around you – your cards are laid face up on the table for all to read. As preparation for the laying bare of words, we laid bare our wordlessness.
Collaborating with Linda Devlin and Colm Keegan has been a huge inspiration. True artists make no distinction between life and art, and here are two true artists – what a pair of dreamers making real their dreams! Leading by example, a poet and a maker are showing young people what powerful changes are made possible when belief and imagination coincide.
The poetry of Ballybough, told through the stories of the young people that live there, is a multi-layered and complex narrative of identity and challenge. Meeting and learning together each week has been like mapping the boundaries of an archaeological dig – now we have marked out the territory and very soon we will start breaking ground.
In the next phase, as we begin to sculpt the individual pieces into a single story, we will create a safe space for the expressive musical voices of the groups we’re working with – showing how the city, as an instrument, can lead them to discover their own musicality, just as imagining their city as a story leads them to discover the poetry that is inside us all.
Nick Roth, artist, The National Neighbourhood
With the National Neighbourhood, we want every neighbourhood to know and “own” their city’s cultural resources so we build cultural projects in community settings. We connect artists, groups and villages with libraries, museums and creative places to deepen their understanding of each other and themselves.
The National Neighbourhood spans the Dublin City Council region, and brings together Dublin City Council’s City Library & Archive, the area offices, the City Arts Office and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, in partnership with National Cultural Institutions (The Abbey Theatre, The National Museum of Ireland, The National Library of Ireland, The National Gallery of Ireland, The National Concert Hall, The Chester Beatty Library, The National Archives and The Irish Museum of Modern Art).
Faetured image: Dublin’s Culture Connects The National Neighbourhood Workshop by Nick Roth Colm Keegan with Marino CFE Theatre Performance, Class of 2017. Photo by Linda Devlin0