As part of the Shared Island dimension to the Creative Ireland Programme 2023-2027, Creative Ireland have supported the initiation of a 24-month project, Dance Connects in Rural Border Regions. Commencing in 2024, Dance Connects partners local authorities of Cavan, Monaghan and Fermanagh-Omagh with practitioners of diverse dance communities working across professional, amateur, community and commercial dance in contemporary, jive/country, line/social, Sean-Nós, hip hop/urban, Scottish Country and Flamenco in their border areas and researchers Dr Victoria Durrer (School of Art History and Cultural Policy, UCD) and Dr Aoife McGrath (School of Arts, English and Languages, QUB).
Employing an innovative, creative engagement approach combining dance practice-as-research and social science, the project strategically builds on the partners’ existing relationships and responds to the main areas of development identified in the research partners' recent (2023) Creative Ireland/Cavan Arts funded pilot project, Sites of Significance.
Working together, partners will respond to an expressed need for sustainable cross-border exchange that informs policy and is meaningful to the unique dance ecology of rural, cross-border areas. The project aims to establish a sustainable, rural dance network that engages in cross-genre peer sharing and skill building through a series of dance sharing events with local facilitators at their sites of practice. It will also develop: a publicly available, cross-border dance database; a touring, interactive, digital dance installation and public engagement programme; and website with video, podcasts and reports capturing regionally shared experiences of dance as a professional, enjoyable, social, cultural and creative activity. In doing so, the Dance Connects project will consolidate new connections forged through Sites of Significance, and also co-develop an innovative method of engaging with dance communities and the general public in further, rural border regions on (and off) the island.
Further project partners include British Council Ireland, ICBAN (Irish Central Border Area Network) and Scotland Rural Artists Network/Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
More information on the scheme is available.
Photo Credit: Donnie Phair