My Weekend: Moving Culture Night online will still be an enjoyable event for people of all ages

Siobhán Clancy is the community arts coordinator, Cork City Arts Office. Here she tells us about a very special upcoming weekend with Culture Night on Friday, September 18
My Weekend: Moving Culture Night online will still be an enjoyable event for people of all ages

Siobhan Clancy.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work;

I have a life-long interest in socially engaged and community-based arts that started when I facilitated my first workshops at 16 for my local library. I’m also a firm advocate of youth arts. I was an active youth theatre member until the age of 18 and have had the privilege of working with young people on many projects over the years, including a number of ‘Globalfest’ events with Mayfield Arts.

My background is visual arts. Following graduation from the National College of Art and Design in 2005, my practice centred around social health and has involved collaboration with other artists, activists, youth, community, women and groups with disabilities. Together, we’ve produced multi-media works, immersive events, participatory performances, dialogues, play and live action in contexts of health, education and justice. I have completed a number of artist-in-residence projects in Ireland and abroad.

In 2014, I completed a Masters in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at Maynooth University. The previous year, I had become a founding member of the Abortion Rights Campaign in Ireland motivated by an aspiration to tackle abortion stigma in Ireland creatively. Since 2015, I’ve worked with founder Kate Delaney on the development of the ed-tech startup ‘Make Create Innovate’, designing and delivering STEAM-based workshops, training courses, touring events and bespoke programmes for national institutions, festivals, educational, youth and community contexts. For over a decade until earlier this year, I worked with Helium Arts, most recently coordinating the Cork Creative Health Programme in partnership with Cork University Hospital for U18s living with long term health conditions.

I took up the appointment of Community Arts Coordinator at Cork City Arts Office in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020. After an initial period of redeployment on the COVID helpline that gave me an unexpected but valuable opportunity to learn about the workings of the council generally, my time is now fully focused on Arts Office responsibilities. 

As we emerge from the immediate threat of the pandemic, there are many questions that remain to be answered for our sector. It is an incredibly challenging time. Appreciation for the centrality of the arts and culture to our wellbeing has increased and so much support for its sustainability. We are currently working on Culture Night Cork City which will take place on Friday September 18th and although we acknowledge this year’s celebrations will be different from what we are used to, we are certain that with the variety of online and virtual events that are due to take place, Culture Night Cork City will be still be a very enjoyable event for people of all ages.

We’ll still be able to enjoy and experience the true extent of culture that the people of Cork are so proud of!

Cork City Culture Night Ambassador and local Playwright Cónal Creedon with Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh launching this year’s 60+ virtual, physical and hybrid events, connecting the people of Cork city through Culture. Picture: Darragh Kane
Cork City Culture Night Ambassador and local Playwright Cónal Creedon with Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh launching this year’s 60+ virtual, physical and hybrid events, connecting the people of Cork city through Culture. Picture: Darragh Kane

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

Prior to lockdown, my favourite Friday nights in Cork have been at a gig or taking in the sunset from any of the number of beautiful vantage points around the city. Thankfully, we can still enjoy nature’s spectacles. As the gigs moved online, so did I and I have been really enjoying recent shows such as the Lords of Strut’s weekly Dance Out and Stevie G’s live streams for the 2020 Midsummer Festival to name just a few.

Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

Saturdays and Sundays are for lie-ins; preferably under the canvas of a tent when the weather is sunny!

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

As I maintain an arts practice, albeit to a much reduced extent, on occasion I take the opportunity to experiment or research a little.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

Knowing what our frontline workers and the most vulnerable members of our communities are going through during COVID-19, I’m all for staying local with at the weekend currently. I am really enjoying taking the time to experience and appreciate as yet undiscovered aspects of Cork City and surreounds.

Last weekend I had the most wonderful time biking with friends along the Greenway between the Marina and Monkstown, taking a ferry to Cobh and then looping back on the train back across those beautiful channels of water and inter-tidal plains.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries? 

West Cork is without doubt the most beautiful part of the world. I always feel amazing after 24 hours in the wilds or along the coast. I accidentally found a freshwater waterfall into a saltwater pool on the Sheep’s Head this summer and it was paradise.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Yes. Obviously the need to stay socially distanced has complicated that a little but luckily the weather has meant lots of catch ups and birthday celebrations in gardens, parks and beaches.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

My main hobbies are all arts related; I am kind of boring that way! But I recently discovered a love of being on water despite my land-locked roots. This summer I had a lot of fun falling off paddle boards and getting seasick in kayaks! I cannot wait for Meitheal Mara to reopen so that I can fulfil my dream of rowing a currach down the Lee.

Entertain or be entertained? If it's the latter do you have a signature dish?

Ok so I have to admit, entertainment to me does not immediately equate to food! If I entertain, it will involve some kind of murder mystery or parlour game or some other thing I’ve talked guests into over the years. I will gladly let better chefs than I take care of the cooking while I take care of the costumes.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork - where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

Miyazaki off Barrack St is my favourite foodie treat. While I’m not a vegan myself, I also love the Cork- based food company My Goodness and what they are all about. I guess that both of my choices are indicative of my preference for picnics (or swift-nics) in natural settings over table service. I’ll often be seen loitering by the beautiful Lee at lunchtimes.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

Meandering back to the city from some outdoor adventure. If I go to bed with seasalt in my hair, that was a weekend well spent in my book.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

Too early!

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