Tuam folk look a chat, and we love to listen! Community Conversations of all forms have played a huge part in Creative Places Tuam, from the initial meetings Carolann had in early 2020, to zoom calls and chats during Covid restrictions, to online Ory’Sta events. We have always embedded talking and listening in the programme, and continue to do so as part of the Reimagine Tuam programme, and in developing a Steering Group who will help to guide Creative Places Tuam in the future.
Our Ory’Sta: Talking on Tuam Series is the space where Tuam and Create get to know one another, for the voices of Tuam to take centre stage and introductions to strategic allies and partners can happen.
This is a space for real conversation and listening to take place that can and does directly impact and inform our programme of work.
Our first conversation welcomed Leo Moran, Tuam local and musician and Ailbhe Murphy, artist and Director of Create to our virtual fireside, to talk with Carolann Courtney, Programme Coordinator, at the close of the first year of Creative Places Tuam.
The second conversation featured David Burke, editor of the Tuam Herald, and Tom Flanagan, artist, filmmaker and educator, in conversation with Keelin Murray of Create. Creative Places Tuam is all about the place, the people, and the stories of Tuam and its hinterlands. How do we tell the story of ourselves, of our town, of our history?
The third Ory’Sta conversation was between Thinking on Tuam Resident Artist Oein De Bhardúin, curator Megs Morley and Owenie Ward, and took as its theme Nomadic Archives. This conversation allowed us to start thinking together on how we ensure the culture of the Travelling Community is centred in Creative Places Tuam.
Our fourth Ory’Sta conversation was originally pesented as part of the 2021 UK- based Creative People and Places programme conference. This conversation, filmed in Tuam town hall, features inaugural Thinking on Tuam resident artist Oein DeBharduin, film-maker David McDonagh, community development worker Maggs McDonagh and visual artist Joanna McGlynn.
In April 2022, no longer confined to a Zoom screen, we were thrilled to welcome artists and community members to discuss creative place making, in our very first live in-person Ory’Sta, featuring Maureen Kennelly (Director, Arts Council), Patrick Fox (Director, Heart of Glass) and Ailbhe Murphy (Director, Create).
In November 2022, we invited guests to an informal conversation between Tuam-based artists Jojo Hynes and Midie Corcoran, with artist and mentor Kate O’Shea, held in Reapy’s Bar. This event formed part of the Creative Places and Create Networking Event, hosted by Creative Places Tuam in November 2022.
Tuam has been selected for development funding as part of the Reimagine Hometown Architect initiative 2023.The Hometown Architect project is part of the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Reimagine programme, which aims to connect communities with architects to co-design and improve their local built environment.
This funding will provide a one-stop shop for bringing the community of Tuam together to address the issue of vacancy within the town, working with architects Niall O’Cleirigh and Helena Mecelmeel.
The other towns include Tipperary Town, Lisdoonvarna Co. Clare, Aughrim Co. Wicklow, and Belmullet Co. Mayo.
Help to Shape the future of Creative Places Tuam
Creative Places Tuam is in the final phase of its current Arts Council funding. This is an important time where the community’s ownership of the programme guides the next steps.
We are seeking residents and locals to be part of a steering group, to guide thinking about what Creative Places Tuam can be after 2023. We welcome local residents, organisations, community groups, workers, creatives and artists to have your say. This group will work together to think about, and deliver, the next series of actions for Tuam and the surrounding area, alongside Create, the Arts Council and Galway County Council.
Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, will continue to support Creative Places Tuam while no longer leading the delivery of the programme of work. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a collective of engaged and ambitious people, who want to build on the work of the last few years.