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TrainArt - The event brought together artist from all over Europe pictured above TrainArt - The event brought together artist from all over Europe pictured above


Limerick Artists take part in European Collaborative Project TrainArt



TrainArt – The event brought together artist from all over Europe pictured above.

Limerick Artists take part in European Collaborative Project TrainArt

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Tara Byrne

The four panellists from Limerick included Angie Smalis, Myles Breen, Gillian Fenton and Jayne Foley

The four panellists from Limerick included Angie Smalis, Myles Breen, Gillian Fenton and Jayne Foley



On Thursday, April 1, Richard Lynch of I Love Limerick hosted an online zoom event that brought together artists from Italy, Serbia, Sweden and Spain and Limerick for a moderated panel discussion on the themes of Creativity, Innovation and Connection in the Arts. 

The event was a part of a lively three-day experience organised by Social Impact Ireland in collaboration with the Limerick Culture and Arts Office for the European project TrainArt.

Trainart is a project that strives to build new skills for innovative business models in the performing arts sector. It was co-ordinated by Consorzio Marche Spettacolo and funded by Creative Europe. It aims at strengthening the competitiveness of the European performing arts sector and shaping new skills for cultural professionals interested in developing innovative business models in the cultural and creative industries.

Michelle O’Rourke from the Limerick Culture and Arts Office, Limerick City and County Council, spoke about the event saying, “Limerick Culture and Arts Office were delighted to work in collaboration with Social Impact Ireland who organised and delivered the three-day event for our European Project Trainart. We wish to thank all of those who took part and to our four Limerick panellists of creative practitioners and specialists who spoke on Creativity, Innovation and Connection and who shared their experiences of delivering art in the current climate.”

Social Impact Ireland was co-founded by Pauline Gannon and Eamon Ryan. It is a value-driven organisation that strives to make a positive impact on Irish society through leadership and collaboration. It has grown with incredible momentum over the past five years. As an organisation, Social Impact Ireland has moved from a local to a regional reach and now they move national, with a vision that is already seeing the start of continued growth to a European level.

Eamon Ryan, who welcomed everyone to the call said, “The major learning points from the TrainArt event to us is that people are just people, whether it’s in Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Sweden or Spain. Each faces similar challenges, each being met by people motivated by the right reasons and that by sharing our learnings and collaborating together we can all take a step forward.”

The aim of the event was to share and apply basic principles that can assist with driving towards developing sustainable working models. This was done by utilising practical peer-group mutual learning.

To achieve that, four key guest speakers from Limerick were invited to lead the conversation and share their good practices with the beneficiaries. The discussion panel was full of life and energy with the hosting skills of Richard Lynch, a publicist, journalist, actor and the founder of ILoveLimerick. 

The key speakers included:

  • Angie Smalis, who is the Artistic Director of Limerick Youth Theatre and the Director of Patterns Dance Collective, a group of dance artists with intellectual disabilities.
  • Gillian Fenton, Marketing Manager, The Lime Tree Theatre. Her main focus is promoting the artistic programme for both the Lime Tree Theatre and the Belltable. Other key aspects of her role are promoting venue branding, corporate fundraising and event management.
  • Myles Breen, an actor, director and playwright. In 2014, Myles Breen was honoured with the Limerick Person of the Month award for his outstanding contribution to the arts in the Mideest region.
  • Jayne Foley, the founder of the Fresh International Film Festival. Fresh Film Festival encourages young people to make films by hosting an annual international film festival for young people, presenting Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year Awards, acting as an advocate for young filmmakers and promoting their work worldwide.

Each panellist spoke about their personal journey to date, their experiences of challenges associated with the pandemic, how to balance craft and ‘business’ and finally personal resilience – the challenge and how they manage it. Richard then invited the guests to have an open discussion on these topics, focusing on the themes of collaboration and connectivity, inspiring the groups to think about ways they could work together creatively in the future.

Myles Breen, reflecting on the discussion, said, “It was wonderful to connect with such a wide variety of artists from all over Europe. Though we work in different countries and areas of the arts, it was great to come together and realise how much we have in common, facing these challenging times for the arts and how we can learn from each other”.

Gillian Fenton added, “It was a pleasure to take part in some small way with such a diverse group of people from across Europe. It’s always interesting to see how artists and venue managers are coping during this pandemic outside of Ireland. It’s fantastic when technology enables us to connect and talk about collaboration with an artist who may have never heard of Limerick before the conference. That’s where the magic happens creatively which is exciting.”

Trainart, after completing the successful discussion panel, said, “Thank you Social Impact Ireland for this stimulating journey towards sustainable working methods, also guided by guest speakers so well aligned with our beneficiaries expertise. So much food for thought and a wonderful chance to create meaningful connections! And of course, thank you to all the beneficiaries for participating and contributing to the conversation with your personal experience and ideas. We hope to have inspired you to look deeper into your core values!”

For more information go HERE 

For more stories on Social Impact Ireland go HERE

For more performing arts stories go HERE 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.