- 25 Nov 21
OPEN, First Fortnight's Mental Health Art & Culture Festival 2022, will run from Sunday, January 2nd until Sunday, January 16th.
First Fortnight has announced its eclectic 2022 programme for the organisation's Mental Health Art & Culture Festival, featuring a slew of well known names in comedy, music and literature.
Annually, during the first two weeks in January, First Fortnight creates a space in which they aim to challenge mental health stigma through the arts and the art of conversation. Indeed, this was the catalyst for creating the festival originally. 11 years on, First Fortnight's Mental Health Art & Culture Festival is a welcome and staple friend opening the country’s annual event calendar.
In 2022, new and returning participants and contributors are officially on the bill. Renowned poet Stephen James Smith, Colm Mac Con Iomaire (violinist, composer and film score arranger), Ruairí McKiernan (author and campaigner), Mikey Graham (producer, musical artist with Boyzone), Ciara Ní É (Irish Writing Centre Ambassador and DCU writer in residence 2020), musician Robert Grace, The Two Norries, Rory Draper (visual artist), Ann Ingle (author and Irish Book Awards nominee for Openhearted), poet Geoff Finan and writer, author and presenter Stephanie Preissner are among the names that will be lending their hand to challenge mental health stigma.
EMBODY will see choreographer and curating artist, Tobi Omoteso, collaborating with filmmaker Stephen Hall, musician and mental health advocate, Mamobo Ogoro together with Yumi Lee, William "Willzee" Casey, Sara Granda and Walter Nied to create a dance film. Shot in Limerick, it looks to explore embodiment and the physical representation of music, spoken word and rap through the form of dance. EMBODY is supported through funding by the Arts Council of Ireland.
WHAT IF BRITNEY SPEARS WAS IRISH? is a panel discussion exploring the Irish version of conservatorship and the historic changes to come in 2022 and is presented by First Fortnight in partnership with Mental Health Reform. BREAKING THE BUBBLE, an exhibition of work by Rory Draper, will be shown at Presentations Arts Centre, Enniscorthy. CHIME, a beautiful evening of music and spoken word is presented by First Fortnight in partnership with the HSE Mental Health Recovery and Engagement Office. Balbriggan Gospel Choir join the festival line up for their first performance with 'Hands Open'.
The Therapy Sessions also returns. The popular gathering of poets and musicians features unmissable panel discussions and interviews led by RTE’s Jim Carroll (Banter), The Irish Time’s Ian O’Riordan (Corinthian) and Arts & Culture editor and journalist, Nadine O’Regan (The Art of Anxiety). In addition, music-based events Cistin and My Story, My Song return and The Dublin Story Slam; the open mic storytelling night hosted by award winning Comedian, Writer & Broadcaster, Colm O'Regan. We are also thrilled to welcome the return of our film partnerships with both Irish Film Institute (IFI) and Alliance Francaise.
With 40% of the festival’s 60+ events online, the festival is available to a national audience. However, First Fortnight are also thrilled to be staging in person events again. A wide range of disciplinary events will feature across eleven counties. As with #FFFest21, registration is necessary for all online events - even if the event is free. Once registered, you will be issued with an access link before the shows. All details can be located on firstfortnight.ie.
“The last two years has opened the conversation around mental health in new ways and there is a welcome awareness of all our fragility and our resilience when it comes to our own mental health," First Fortnight CEO Maria Fleming explains. "However, the crucial question for First Fortnight is how the conversation has changed, if at all, in relation to the stigma attached to mental ill health. Are we more open now to discussing anxiety and wellness? Does our comfort level stretch to an openness to discuss depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia or OCD?”
“As First Fortnight opens once more, it is time to connect again and time to decide, do we pick up where we left off or has the conversation moved on since we all last gathered in person? We at First Fortnight believe the conversation has moved on since we all last met; but there is so much more to do and we are ready to take on the challenge.”
Later this afternoon, Maureen Kennelly from The Arts Council will be in conversation with First Fortnight incoming CEO, Maria Fleming. Maria and Maureen's conversation can be viewed on First Fortnight digital platforms from 4.30pm.
“Having worked in the arts for over 20 years and following many years working in festivals I look forward to experiencing once again the healing power of gathering with others for cultural activity," Fleming adds.
"I hope you join us to experience participation, to bear witness to the work of diverse artists, to question the status quo through engagement as an audience member or be an active participant in cultural workshops. There is much to discuss, much to explore and First Fortnight wants you to start the year 2022 with us, questioning, celebrating, exploring and investigating mental health, stigma, and change through two weeks of high octane cultural activity.”
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- 22 Sep 22