|As this tumultuous year draws to a close, John O Donohue’s invitation to “find ease in risk” immortalised on our gallery wall by former student Sydney Parks, serves as a clarion call to seize this moment of disruption, to consider what is important in life, to discard what no longer serves us and to boldly imagine new ways forward.
Since working with the unknown and with risk is the natural milieu of BCA, ReSource, our Creative Leadership centre now extends this opportunity to organisations seeking to reconnect and reboot post Covid. The centre’s work with the education system progressed apace virtually with the third Creative Education symposium in September preparing the ground for the Citizens Assembly on Education.
Our focus on Art and Ecology has never been more relevant and so we are currently developing a Summer Academy entitled “Art, Environment and Eco -Justice “(watch our website for details in January) This will complement our ever-popular Global Ecologies Studio Summer School and post graduate programmes, which are open for enrolment.
We are delighted to be the visual arts partner for a new BA in Visual Arts, recently launched by NUIGalway. This innovative interdisciplinary programme which will begin in September 2021, will enable Irish and international students avail of the vast resources of the University, together with the specialist focus of our independent art school.
Little did we imagine when committing to constructing large individual studios and a spacious rural campus, that we were also preparing a safe haven for a time of pandemic. Providing Time, Space and inspiration, our tag line since our foundation, has served us well in sustaining a Covid free bubble. A cautious reopening for Summer workshops in August facilitated a collective exhale of contained creative energy as participants worked feverishly in the studios. This creative fervour has continued throughout the semester as our graduate students and resident artists have benefited from in person teaching and full access to the studios and facilities. Covid has taught us just how lucky we are to be in this unique position, and we remain eternally grateful to our supportive college community and to all who have believed in our alternative student focussed model.
2021 dawns with fresh hope and we look forward to welcoming back undergraduates, summer groups and resident artists to join our postgraduate cohort. Your absence this year highlighted for us just how much we miss our returning group leaders, faculty and participants who have become friends and part of our college life. Our Summer workshop programme has brand new offerings in 2021 with gift vouchers proving very popular. The Burren Leadership Retreat makes a welcome return in person in August following its virtual 2020 gathering.
The pandemic has taught us all many lessons. For us at BCA, it has reinforced our belief in the healing and creative power of Nature, in the importance of human interaction and the value of simplicity. Our doors remain open and Newtown castle fires burn brightly to welcome you back to the Burren.
Wishing you all peace this holiday season and Misneach – an irish word encompassing hope and courage – for the year ahead.