Summer School

Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change 2023

Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change 2023
Learning Lab, Cork City: Create and Counterpoints Arts. Imagery by Esther Blodau. Photo: Marcia Chandra

Create and Counterpoints Arts are pleased to announce the 2023 Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change for up to 14 artists.

In a world increasingly shaped by displacement and uncertainty, the Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change is framed by global and trans-local frameworks. It is influenced by the diverse practices and experiences of participating artists and the mentoring and organisational frameworks of visiting international facilitators.

Collaborative and socially engaged arts practice lies at the heart of the Summer School, in the context of exploring  different forms of social interaction produced through cooperative methods of working with and alongside communities, and the building of intersectional partnerships.

The 2023 edition of the School will specifically focus on the potential for collaboration between artists and investigative journalists, with the aim of integrating the place-based skills of socially engaged arts practice with the forensic, storytelling skills of journalism and digital activism.

Lines of inquiry include the following questions, among others:

  • What does place, community and civic/political participation mean in an age of human displacement?
  • How can working cooperatively form a central part of the artistic and storytelling process, as a driver for equity and change in neighbourhoods and communities?
  • How can social change be understood in the context of de-colonisation, global displacement and climate emergency?
  • How do we practice solidarity as near neighbours – artists, cultural and community actors and activists – despite the turbulence caused by local/global displacement.

The Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change will take the form of a six -day residency enabling a ‘think and do’ approach, utilising a combination of skills training workshops, critical and comparative case studies, a creative group challenge, one-to-one mentoring and reflection. The Summer School is delivered in partnership by Create and Counterpoints Arts with funding support from The Arts Council of Ireland.

Directed by: Dr Áine O’Brien – Curator of Learning and Research and Co-Founder, Counterpoints Arts

Visiting artists and facilitators include:

Dana Olarescu,  Independent Artist and Cultural Activist

Ismail Einashe, Investigative Journalist and Cultural Activist

Abdullah Al Kafri, Director, Ettijahat Independent Culture


The school will take place over six days: 12 – 17 June 2023, at Killary Lodge, Co Galway.

The deadline for submission is 5pm, Wednesday 5 April 2023.


About Killary Lodge Co. Galway

Participants will stay in Killary Lodge, Co. Galway, which is a country lodge nestled among mature native trees, just 250m from the waters of Killary Fjord, in the heart of Ireland’s stunning Wild Atlantic Way. The house has 10 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. Please note that participants must be willing to share bedrooms, however this will be done in consultation with you. The house is wheelchair accessible, it includes a lift to the first floor and ramps to access outdoor spaces, please contact us if you have any questions or need clarification. The residential will include full board, travel and an appropriate participant allowance to cover additional costs incurred. For enquiries contact: support[at]

Making an Expression of Interest

See the Guidelines for Summer School on Collaborative Practice and Social Change, linked on this page. All applications must be made using the online form. The deadline for submission is 5pm, Wednesday 5 April 2023.

Applicant Supports

Create and Counterpoints Arts aim to make the application process accessible to all. We provide supports to remove barriers for artist applicants to the Summer School. These may include translation from other languages or transcription of audio and video files. We will use all reasonable endeavours to assist applicants eligible under the conditions of the Summer School. To find out more, please contact Create (info[at] or 01 473 6600) at least 2 weeks in advance of the closing date. If you feel your needs are not outlined here, please contact us and we will do our best to support you.



Create is the national development agency for collaborative arts. Our work initiates cross-sectoral national and international partnerships which support artists and communities to co-create work of depth, ambition and excellence. Our mission is to lead the development of collaborative arts practice by enabling artists and communities to create exceptional art together.

As a resource organisation we offer supports for artists working in social and community contexts. These include professional development, mentoring, project development support, commissioning and project opportunities as well as research and training. We also manage the Artist in the Community Scheme for the Arts Council. Create believes that by working together, artists and communities can purposefully explore how collaborative arts engage in distinct, relevant and powerful ways with the urgent social, cultural and political issues of our times.


Counterpoints Arts support, produce and promote the arts by and about migrants and refugees and communities of place/interest. Our work is done in collaboration through local, national and international co-productions – with artists, arts, cultural and educational organizations, neighbourhoods/communities of place and civil society activists. We believe in the ability of the arts to inspire social change and reach our mission via three integrated strands: ‘Enabling, Producing and Learning’. We develop strategic programmes and platforms, enabling organisations and practitioners to improve networking, develop practice and showcase work. We produce high quality work across different artforms and outputs – events, exhibitions, commissions, digital platforms, artefacts and residencies engaging diverse audiences. We facilitate learning through peer-to-peer learning labs and platforms – encouraging imaginative reflection, cross-sector conversations, skills transfer, and the sharing of evaluation and impact.


Áine O’Brien is Curator of Learning and Research and Co-Founder of Counterpoints Arts, London. Áine runs Learning Lab, a platform supporting cooperative (un)learning through socially engaged art (SEA). A recent collective learning initiative includes Mutual Affinities 2022 (commissioned by Creative Scotland) and the publication Art, Migration and the Production of Radical Democratic Citizenship (co-edited with Agnes Czajka, Rowman International – Frontiers of the Political Series, 2022). She is currently developing a series of international, place-based commissions engaging socially engaged artists, investigative journalists and digital activists with Beyond the Now – a syndicated social practice platform working across curation, commissioning, research and production.


Ismail Einashe is an award-winning investigative journalist and writer who has written for BBC News, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, The Sunday Times, The New York Times and The Nation, among many others. At present, he is a Senior Journalist at Lost in Europe, a cross-border journalism project, which investigates the disappearance of child migrants in Europe. He has co-edited the book, Lost in Media: Migrant Perspectives and the Public Sphere, a collection of essays on the representations of migrants and refugees in the European media. In 2021, he won the inaugural Investigative Journalism for the EU (IJ4EU) Impact Award as part of the Lost in Europe team. In 2019, he won a Migration Media Award and in 2020 he was shortlisted for the European Press Prize. He is an Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Tate Etc., the magazine of the Tate Galleries.


Dana Olărescu is a socially engaged artist with a focus on challenging minority exclusion and environmental injustice. Through participatory methodologies that democratise access to art and knowledge, she aims to give agency to underserved migrant groups so they can become active co-producers of culture. She works at the intersection of performance, installation, and social design. At present, as part of the ESRC-funded ‘Open City’ project, she is working with residents of Hilgrove Estate in London, to co-create an experimental inclusive public space. Most recently, she has designed a collection of posters inspired by communities’ reflections on the closure of West Burton A power station, Gainsborough, as part of the ‘Decommissioning the Twentieth Century’; and co-designed and built a low-impact straw bale classroom with young asylum seekers at May Project Gardens, London. Her projects have been presented at institutions in the UK and abroad, including Tate Modern, Museum of London, The National Maritime Museum, the London Short Film Festival, the Low Carbon Design Institute, Art Gene, x-church, ArtHouse Jersey, Incheon Art Platform (South Korea), and Tanzhaus NRW (Germany).


Abdullah Alkafri is an award-winning playwright and theatre director. He has also collaborated with arts organisations including LIFT (UK), the Royal Court Theatre (UK), IEVP (Norway) and Lark (USA). He also works as a trainer, strategic planner, fundraiser and designer for arts intervention initiatives, working with Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung among many others in Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Arab Council for Social Sciences, the Artistic Committee of Sundance Institute’s MENA Theater Lab and the board of the 10th Summit on Arts and Culture.In 2014. As a member of Ettijahat – Independent Culture, Abdullah was chosen to succeed Rana Yazji as Executive Director of the nongovernmental organisation. Ettijahat is dedicated to supporting Syrian artists and cultural practitioners and their peers across the Arab region and Europe, providing capacity-building and educational opportunities to artists, cultural practitioners and academics, as well as financial and legal support. He also teaches MA Theatre at l’Université Saint-Joseph, Beirut, where he was awarded a PhD in performing arts in 2022.


related programme
Summer School

Counterpoints Arts
Killary Lodge
Dana Olarescu
Ismail Einashe
Ettijahat Independent Culture