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VIRTUALLY THERE, a national touring exhibition of work by artists, children and teachers created through online residencies, opened to the public on Monday 8 September 2014 at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Limerick. The exhibition stems from the VIRTUALLY THERE project, the only long-term professional arts programme running in Northern Irish schools, which is managed by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and has been funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland since 2007.

Demonstrating the use of virtual technology to connect studio and classroom, this exhibition – funded through the Arts Council’s Touring & Dissemination of Work Award, 2014 -  showcases work made by artists Ann Donnelly, Julie Forrester, Ann Henderson, Sharon Kelly and Andrew Livingstone with primary school children from all over Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of MIC, said; “We are delighted to be hosting this exhibition demonstrating the use of virtual technology to connect studio and classroom. The exhibition is yet another visible contribution of Mary Immaculate College to the National City of Culture 2014. I wish this exhibition every success”.

Children prepare their piece for the 'VIRTUALLY THERE' exhibition at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

VIRTUALLY THERE will be on show to the public in the main reception and An tSlÍ at Mary Immaculate College until 16 October 2014. Opening hours: 9am-7pm.

Anne-Marie Morrin, Lecturer in Visual Art Education, Mary Immaculate College, said: “This is the era of digital learning. Visual Art Education in MIC are delighted to be working alongside Kids’ Own on this project. We are looking forward to exploring methodologies that can change the way we approach teaching and learning and that are empowering for students, school children and teachers.”
Roisín McDonagh, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, funders of the Virtually There project since 2007 said: ‘Virtually There is discovering compelling new ways to engage this generation of young people in the arts...The democratising potential of the technology is being inventively exploited so that the arts are brought closer to young people and the young people are more fully able to realise their own artistic abilities.’

Orla Kenny, Creative Director of Kids’ Own, said: ‘This tour provides a significant opportunity for Kids’ Own to profile a very unique way of working between artists, teachers and children, which has been emerging through the Virtually There project over seven years. To us, what it highlights is that technology can provide a unique platform for connection between the classroom and the studio and gives children an opportunity to enter into an enquiring space with an artist. Far from drawing them away from their learning, it supports everything they are doing in the classroom and offers so much richness in terms of developing their creative and divergent thinking and supporting their learning and development through collaborative exploration. We look forward to bringing this exhibition to new audiences of teachers, artists, parents and children all over the country.’

The VIRTUALLY THERE exhibition and symposium at Mary Immauclate College forms part of Limerick City of Culture programme and Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival at Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of events for B.Ed (Primary Teaching) students at MIC in September and October. A national symposium, to be held on 16th October, for the representatives of the arts and education sectors will explore how technology can support meaningful collaborations between artists, children and teachers, and enrich children’s creativity and learning experiences within the school environment. This symposium is a free event and will take place at MIC from 11am-4pm. For further information and bookings, contact Orla Kenny or Jo Holmwood at Kids’ Own (info@kidsown.ie or 0719124945)

The exhibition will continue to Tralee, Carrick-on-Shannon, Derry and Banbridge, County Down from October 2014 to April 2015. The VIRTUALLY THERE exhibition tour is produced by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and is funded through the Arts Council of Ireland’s Touring and Dissemination of Work Award. The VIRTUALLY THERE residency programme has been funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland since 2007.

Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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