Stories Between Us
Curator: Janine Davidson
Community Partners: National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, St Gabriel’s National School, Dr Mary Muldowney Dublin City Council Historian in Residence Dublin Central, Henrietta St Adult Education, Phibsboro Retirement Group
Website/Social Media: www.janinedavidson.com
Dates: 2018 – 2020
Commission type: Open Call
Commissioner name: Grangegorman Public Art Group, Grangegorman Development Agency
Per cent of art: Yes
Stories Between Us initiated by artist Janine Davidson is an art-based intergenerational project involving partnering with The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks and St. Gabriel’s National School in the Dublin 7 area. Project participants included 5th and 6th class students of St. Gabriel’s National School and senior citizens from Henrietta Street Adult Community Education (HACE) and Phibsboro Retirement Association. The curatorial team included the artist Janine Davidson, Helen Beaumont and Aisling Dunne from The National Museum of Ireland, Education Team; Dr. Muldowney, Dublin City Council Historian-in-Residence and Anna O’Loughlin Project Leader and Community Liaison Teacher, St. Gabriel’s National School.
In September 2018 Janine Davidson and members of the Museum’s education team visited each group to introduce the project. In October and November 2018, participants met at the Museum to play games and share stories. During these sessions, smaller groups of both younger and older participants came together to be recorded talking about their childhoods, hobbies, and experiences of play and pastimes. Dr. Mary Muldowney provided expertise on collecting and recording oral histories at these intergenerational sessions. A memory box of objects was selected to encourage playful and practical interactions between intergenerational groups.
The Stories Between Us exhibition in the National Museum at Collins Barracks opened on 8th May 2019 and ran from then until March 2020. Visitors could engage with the exhibition through the display of personal artefacts donated by the participants and the tactile, specially created ‘Memory Boxes’. They could watch a short film of the project and listen to an audio recording of some of the participants’ interviews. Further elements included a flipbook of participants’ drawings and writing. An exhibition booklet accompanied the exhibition, with articles providing a range of perspectives, a catalogue of the donated objects and a pull-out family activity sheet. During May–June 2019, primary schools were invited to take tours of the exhibition, facilitated by the artist Janine Davidson and project participants from St. Gabriel’s NS. In August 2019 family audiences engaged in the ‘Games on the Square’ open air event and workshop facilitated by
the artist as part of Heritage Week 2019.
Additional support was provided by The National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks Education & Outreach Team – Edith Andrees and Lorraine Comer. Also Dr. Arlene Crampsie, School of Geography, UCD, Director, Oral History Network of Ireland; Dr. Carmel Gallagher, Lecturer, School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, TU Dublin; Dr. Gary Granville, Emeritus Professor of Education NCAD; Anne Fitzpatrick, Lecturer, School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, TU Dublin; Martin Brennan, carpenter for Memory boxes; Oisín McFarland, Film Editing; Language Communications Studio; Office of Public Works for assistance in exhibition installation. Photography by Lori Keeve, Brian Cregan, Aisling Dunne and Janine Davidson.
Stories Between Us featured on 8 May, in The Irish Times and on 6 November 2019 as part of RTÉ News2day. Discussions continue with the artist, The National Museum, TU Dublin and Henrietta Street Adult Community Education about further creative intergenerational initiatives.
Read the press release on Stories Between Us here.
- Artist Bio
Janine is a multidisciplinary artist who, over the past two decades, has developed an artistic practice that is committed to helping others engage in contemporary arts practice. Over this period she has worked with many diverse groups and institutions on multifaceted projects and initiatives. Davidson’s practice explores individual experience and collective memory, the social space in which we learn and how we learn from each other.
Janine Davidson, B.A, H.Dip, MFA, Projects have been funded by Arts Council of Ireland, the British Council, CDETB, Digital Hub, Dormant Account Funds, Dublin City Council Community Grants, Dublin Port Authority, Fundación Botín, National Learning Network, Royal Ulster Academy and Grangegorman Development Agency.
- Related Contributors
The National Museum of Ireland (NMI)
NMI collects and preserves objects relating to the history and culture of Ireland, and its place in the wider world. The Museum invites the widest range of people to engage in learning experiences, using the collections and exhibitions as inspiration. NMI Education develops specialised programmes and services for and with schools, families, adults and communities, including tours, conferences, performances, long-term projects and community exhibitions. Object- based learning through the use of Handling Collections is central to our programmes, stimulating memory, fostering historical empathy and encouraging creative thinking and interactivity using all the senses. The project team included Helen Beaumont, Education & Outreach Officer, and Museum educators Dr. Edith Andrees (to October 2018) and Aisling Dunne (from October 2018).
Phibsboro Active Retirement
Philsboro Active Retirement is a voluntary organisation for older people with a national membership of over 24,500 people and over 550 local associations. Betty Haynes set up Phibsboro Active Retirement in 1989. In 2003 Maura Murphy established the art group. The art group is based at St. Peter’s Court, Phibsboro Road meeting on a weekly basis. Classes are subsidised by Active Retirement Ireland and partly funded by Dublin City Council community grants.
St. Gabriel’s National School is located in Stoneybatter in Dublin 7 and has a rich history dating back to 1895. Principal Suzanne Comerford, is proud of the school’s participation in the project. The commitment and enthusiasm of the children who participated was clearly evident and they gained valuable insight into their community, as did those who viewed the exhibition. A special note of appreciation should be made for teacher, Anna O’Loughlin, who worked hard to engage young participants.
The Henrietta Adult and Community Education (HACE)
HACE is a service of the Daughters of Charity Community Services was set up in 2002 and is a dedicated Community Education provider for adults in the North Inner city who are educationally, socially or economically disadvantaged. HACE provides on average 25 part time courses and activities for its participants, the majority of which are held in the evening.