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BLAST Arts in Education Residency Initiative 2023



Arts in Education residency initiative in primary and post-primary schools

Guidelines and application forms here: 

The Department of Education is announcing the launch of the 2023 Arts-in-Education BLAST Residency Programme, which will enable up to 425 new Arts-in-Education residencies in schools each year.

This initiative aims to support the integration of the principles and key skills outlined in the Arts-in-Education Charter and the Creative Ireland Programme (2023-2027), Pillar 1 Creative Youth.

The aim of this scheme is to give students in schools all over the country the opportunity to work with a professional artist on unique projects to be planned and developed between the artist, the teacher and the school under the co-ordination of the Education Support Centres Ireland ESCI network of 21 full-time education centres. This initiative supports children and young people for the future, where skills like the ability to connect and collaborate with others, engage in creative and critical thinking and practice inclusivity at every level will be paramount to peace, stability, sustainable economic growth and equality.

What is proposed is a unique streamlined process whereby schools apply for an artist on the Online Register of Approved Artists who are already trained for the new BLAST Arts-in-Education Residency Programme, managed by the local education centre. The education centre will also pay the artist which will further remove the administrative burden on teachers and schools.


How this BLAST residency initiative will operate


The education centre:

While the programme will be nationally coordinated by the Arts in Education administrative base located at the Education Centre Tralee, schools will apply for a BLAST Arts-in-Education Residency to the full-time education centre in their area, based on the Online Register of Approved Artists. The Register of Approved Artists in each education centre will be arranged by artist and discipline, include relevant required and approved training experience, examples of previous work and examples of relevant or related experience in an educational and community context.

In excess of 412 artists are currently trained and registered on the Online Register of Approved Artists, managed by the education centre network nationally. All artists will have submitted their Child Safeguarding Best Practice Policy (to include Child Safeguarding Statement) and their Certificate of completion of the Children First Training module to the education centre.

What is proposed is a unique streamlined process when schools apply for an artist under the new BLAST Arts-in-Education Residency Programme. The education centre will also arrange for payment of the artist, which will further remove the administrative burden on teachers and schools.


Garda vetting:

Garda vetting for artists for successful school applications will be organised with the individual artist by the education centre in collaboration with the school. Schools may separately (if they wish) request the artist to apply for Garda vetting specifically to work in their school.


The artists:

Artists from any artistic discipline who have been trained in partnership working with schools will be registered with each of the 21 full-time ESCI centres. Artistic disciplines include visual arts, crafts, music, dance, drama, literature and film. Creative disciplines will be expanded as the residency programme develops over the next number of years.

The artists on the Register of Approved Artists will have been previously trained and have engaged in school residencies under the Teacher-Artist Partnership CPD and Residency initiative or the Arts in Junior Cycle Programme which are both approved and led by the Department of Education.


The school:

The schools must be in the catchment of the local full-time education centre. Schools may submit only one application. Schools should make their own selection of artists on the Approved Register, based on CVs/examples of recent work, training and recommendations. Inclusion of artists on the Approved Register is based on training in the education centre (TAP) in addition to suitability/artistic qualification etc. and has taken place in advance to ensure the selected artist satisfies school policies in relation to engagement of external personnel.

Once a school is approved for the scheme, the school has a commitment to the artist, who will have earmarked that time for the project and could potentially turn down other work at the times scheduled to work with the school.


This initiative encourages:

  • Schools, primary and post-primary, that have not recently had an opportunity to participate in such creative initiatives to apply.
  • Schools supporting inclusion and enhanced arts-in-education engagement with students from disadvantaged backgrounds and students with special educational needs to apply.
  • Schools that have a track record in teacher-artist partnership working in the classroom and school to apply.
  • A whole-school commitment to the project, but it is not a requirement that all classes work with the artist.
  • A whole-school commitment to the project, but it is a requirement that one teacher and class work with the artist in a teacher/artist/class partnership.
  • Projects should have regard to the relevant school curricula where appropriate and have a focus on process.

BLAST Arts-in-Education Residency funding:

The artist’s fee is €1,100 per residency with up to €200 of that allocated to travel costs for the artist. This is funded by the Department of Education via each education centre. The education centre will pay the artist in accordance with agreed guidelines after the artist and teacher/school evaluations have been submitted and received. In certain instances, this may include the payment of two instalments of €550 with agreement.

The artist will be funded for 20 contact hours, including 6 hours planning/development/review time. Participating schools must pay for materials associated with the project and also for documentation of the project through photographs etc. and any other costs involved including insurance costs. If an artist needs to use their own materials for the project, please be advised the artist is entitled to invoice the school (with the school’s prior approval) to cover the cost for these materials. Funded residencies can be delivered throughout the academic year commencing in September in the year the residency was approved.

Schools must acknowledge the Department of Education and the local education support centre in all publicity relating to the project.


Successful applications:

Successful schools will be required to sign a short contract with their local education centre accepting the terms of the BLAST Arts-in-Education Residency Programme prior to the commencement of the residency. Successful residencies should not be started until official written notification to proceed has been received from the education centre and once Garda vetting has been completed and this has been communicated to the school.

It is a specific condition of this residency programme that a teacher works closely and collaborates with the artist to plan the learning experience and is present at all times with the artist while working with students in the school and to enhance further teacher-artist partnership. Schools will be responsible for ensuring the residency complies with Public Health advice relevant at the time of the project.



The education centre will put in place the necessary evaluation for Arts-in-Education residencies. This will include a school visit, completion and return of the Teacher/School Feedback Form and the Artist Feedback Form. The second instalment of the artist fee will be paid following the submission of the final reports.

Any images submitted by the school either in reports or on completing the project may be used to promote the department of education approved and lead creative youth initiative under the creative Ireland 2023-2027 Programme, through print and other media including social media. It is therefore important that the schools have permission for the use of such images, noting in the consent forms that they will be used for this purpose, and only send images to the education centre once parental consent has been obtained. A nationally approved Consent Form will be provided to each school.


Completed applications must include

  • A completed general information section.
  • A completed application section outlining the following information:
  • Theme of the project,
  • Rationale for application,
  • Benefits to teaching and learning,
  • Capacity and commitment
  • Children and young peoples voice.
  • Please also indicate the planned time-frame schedule and planned method of documentation for the project.

The application should demonstrate a whole school commitment to the project. It is a specific condition of this residency programme that a teacher works closely and collaborates with the artist to plan the learning experience for their class and is present at all times with the artist while working with students in the class in the school to enhance further teacher-artist partnership. (This means that the whole school should be supportive and flexible in facilitating the project).

Applications will open on 23 March 2023.The closing date is 19 May 2023.

This initiative will be supported by the ESCI education support centre network, Teacher Artist Partnership CPD programme, Arts in Junior Cycle, NAPD Creative Engagement Programme and the Arts in Education Portal.


Guidelines and application forms here: 

Watch promotional video here: