Thursday, 13 May 2021

 New creative projects designed to support young people as they emerge from lockdown were announced at the Creative Youth Conference 2021 “Creativity – the connection to the future, now” which is being opened today by Taoiseach Micheál Martin at Dublin Castle

These include:

  • Increased funding for Fighting Words to develop creative writing projects throughout the country with a focus on DEIS schools;
  • Increased funding for Youth Theatre Ireland to extend their programme further with extra support provided for Youth Theatre workers to enable them to assist young people emerging from lockdown;
  • A new Creative Technologies initiative that will promote capacity building within a variety of youth services;
  • Department of Education and Skills and Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to increase Creative Schools programme from 150 schools annually, to 190 schools in 2021.

Presented by the Creative Ireland Programme, the conference is focusing on the achievements of Creative Youth and the challenges that lie ahead as we consider what strategies will be required to deliver positive, sustainable outcomes for children through their engagement with arts, culture and creativity.

The conference is bringing together leading figures in education, enterprise, innovation and creativity, including Andreas Schleicher of the OECD, Bo Stjerne Thomsen of the Lego Foundation, Dr Michelle Cullen, Accenture, Professor Anne Looney, Institute of Education in DCU, Arlene Forster of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Helene Hugel, Helium Arts, author Roddy Doyle and Professor Linda Doyle – Provost-elect of Trinity College Dublin.

At the conference, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin is highlighting the impact that creative activity can have on the lives of young people:

At the heart of the Creative Ireland vision is that every person has creative capacities that should be encouraged throughout their lives. Promoting this creativity not only benefits our wellbeing, it also builds social capital and economic success. Creative Youth is but one part of this vision – but possibly the most important, as it is about the future.  It is about working toward a society which enables the innate creativity of all our young people to flourish – to support them in their education, their homes, their communities and their futures.

Joining the Taoiseach is Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD says: 

As the impact of a year under Covid-19 restrictions becomes clear, there could not be better time to reflect on the Creative Youth plan, but also to look to the future. To consider not only the challenges but also the opportunities that lie ahead, as we strive to provide better, more inclusive opportunities for young people to discover, nurture and celebrate their own creative potential.

As part of a broader deliberation on its future direction of travel, the Creative Youth Conference 2021 is an opportunity for all stakeholders to reflect on progress to date and input their views concerning the provision of enhanced creative engagement opportunities for young people – both in the classroom and their home/community.

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD says:

Schools and particularly our teachers play an extremely important role in introducing children and young people to the arts and encouraging their creative expression. The Creative Youth programme is a wonderful asset to our schools, supporting them to promote creativity in education. We can all be proud of the important role played by school communities in this area, and the hugely beneficial impact on our children and young people, in many cases sparking lifelong appreciation and creative endeavours.

Commenting on the centrality of young people themselves to initiatives such as Creative Youth, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, says:

Ensuring that the voices of children and young people are not just heard, but are listened to, is an important aspect in the work of my Department – and with Creative Youth we ensure that they are involved from the very start to design creative programmes and activities that stimulate their creativity.

Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte said:

According to Albert Einstein, he never made any of his discoveries through the process of rational thinking. It all starts and ends with creativity.  And everything else flows from that.  Rumi said it best:

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
― Rumi

 Creative Youth Conference 2021 “Creativity – the Connection to the Future, Now” is an online event on Thursday, 13th May at 12:00. To join, please go to