Research and Learning

Create values and promotes the development of new ways of learning about collaborative practice in social and community contexts.

Research and Learning
Learning Lab, Cork City: Create and Counterpoints Arts. Imagery by Esther Blodau. Photo: Marcia Chandra

In keeping with our strategic goal to be Ireland’s expert resource, network forum and research engine for cultural, cross-sectoral and international knowledge about collaborative arts practice, Create values and promotes the development of new ways of learning about collaborative practice in social and community contexts.

The question of artist formation is key and speaks to Create’s responsibility and commitment to advance learning and understanding about collaborative arts within the cultural sector. For the next generation of artists, Create works to encourage, support and foster learning initiatives to expand and challenge thinking about ideas, processes and practices in the collaborative arts arena, as well as what constitutes a ‘community’. Working in partnership with a number of arts organisations and educational institutions, Create provides experiential learning opportunities for artists looking to develop skills to work collaboratively with communities of place and/or interest. This complements our ongoing CPD (continued professional development workshops) for established and emerging artists. A full list of our CPDs are available at our events page.

In addition to our commitment to artist formation, we maintain strong collaborative relationships with partner organisations and institutions, supporting research and exploratory work into collaborative arts which enhances and expands our definitions and understanding of the field of practice, allowing us to engage more richly with audiences, artists and communities.

This page provides a selection of our recent work in this arena.


Artist Mentor Panel

Established in 2022, Create is delighted to offer an Artist Mentor Panel, made up of experienced collaborative socially engaged practitioners who specialise in a range of artforms, and who have worked with diverse communities across Ireland. Each brings in-depth knowledge of the field, and a deep awareness of key considerations when working with communities, including in sensitive settings and where projects are addressing significant social issues.

Artists who feel in need of mentoring from artist peers can currently access this via a suite of offerings under the Artist in the Community Scheme (AIC). This includes the AIC Scheme Mentoring Award, an open call process in which five artist mentors and five artist mentees are paired for durational mentoring.


Critical Friends in Residence in Create Library and Archive

Critical Friends is a network of professional practitioners with socially engaged, participatory and collaborative practices who have graduated at a Masters level, currently undertaking a hybrid research residency with Create.


Dublin 8 Neighbourhood Residency

Create has partnered with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and community development organisations since 2020, on a community-based residency for undergraduate students. The residency is accompanied by artist-led workshops and explores the multi-faceted nature and potential of collaborative practice in community development contexts.

Annually 12-15 Fine Art students engage with the programme, which offers on-the-ground learning in and with community groups Fatima Groups United, Rialto Youth Project, The Bridge Project, Liberties Weavers and the Robert Emmet Community Development Project.


Evaluative Framework

Create is pleased to be working with TU Dublin as part of an Irish Research Council-funded post-doctoral fellowship entitled ‘A New Framework for Evaluating Socially Engaged Art’. Dr Gráinne Coughlan is working with us to produce a framework for evaluating socially engaged art by proposing a new lexicon for its analysis and practical methodologies for implementation by diverse stakeholders, that compliments the requirements of intrinsic and instrumental value of the practice.

This work builds on previous work on an Evaluative Register involving Gráinne and our partners Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Bealtaine (Age and Opportunity), Fingal Arts Office (Public Art Programme), IMMA (Engagement & Learning Dept.) and the University of Limerick.


MA Art and Social Action

Create collaborates with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) on the delivery of the newly-established MA Art and Social Action. Engaging with theory and practice, and offered both part-and full-time, this programme provides its student cohort with dynamic educational experiences in local and national contexts; across and beyond academic boundaries, to develop their practices in response to their own research and engagements within diverse contexts, including urban and rural place-based sites, temporary and online communities, and public and cultural settings.


New Foundations (IRC) award –  a collaboration with DCU and Ukrainian Action

The project Community Engagement Through Performance Art (CEPA) is a collaboration between Dublin City University (led by Principal Investigator Marcos Dias), Create, and Ukrainian Action in Ireland, funded by an Irish Research Council (IRC) ‘New Foundations 2022’ award.

The project investigates the potential of performance art in urban space to be a conduit for the values, needs and desires of those displaced (in this case, Ukrainian refugees), thereby raising awareness for their situation among wider publics. It involves the collaborative development of a performance art intervention involving Ukrainian refugees and artists.


Research into Cultural Diversity in Collaborative Arts (Artist in the Community Scheme)  – 2017 – 2020

In 2017, working closely with the Arts Participation team at the Arts Council, Create began to develop a programme of work within the AIC Scheme, to increase the capacity and engagement of artists and communities from ethnic and other minorities to access the Scheme. This report, researched and written by Evgeny Shtorn, then Artist in the Community Scheme Cultural Diversity Researcher, evaluates the current state of affairs for migrant and minority ethnic artists working in collaborative arts in Ireland through interviews and quantitative analyses, before establishing a number of recommendations for the field.