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Welcome to the July edition of the Arts and Human Rights Newsletter!
This month’s Newsletter is themed ‘The Arts and Youth’ and features insight into the work of some of our European partner organisations, as well as Smashing Times News and information on grants and opportunities. We are delighted to announce that this month’s feature artist is Tobi Balogun, a Nigerian born, Dublin based, multidisciplinary movement artist working primarily in dance and fashion!

Feature Artist

Tobi Balogun
Tobi Balogun is a Nigerian born, Dublin based, multidisciplinary movement artist working primarily in dance and fashion. His work explores themes of social nuances, racial context and masculinity, seeking to tell emotionally evocative stories and promote diversity. A professional member of Dance Ireland and founding member of Human Collective, Tobi has performed and created community-led performances and projects with many artists/companies such as Cois Céim, Cathy Coughlan, Story of the Sei, Dance Ireland and more.

In December 2020 he was the recipient of the  Arts Council of Ireland's Artist In the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2020: Collaborative Arts and Human Rights, managed by Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts. This period of research and critical reflection stems from a specific interest in delivering high quality arts engagement to Black-Irish communities and in expanding points of access for young Black Artists. He aims to examine the barriers for Black-Irish creatives in accessing the necessary support to establish meaningful and ongoing engagement with the arts sector and more importantly, to highlight the rich cultural contribution that is already being made.

Have a look at some of Tobi’s work below, including They, Hey There Black Child, and Spotlight: Eire to the World.
They is an exploration of identity, modern society and race. It is a safe space for the words of poet Felispeaks and rapper Jafaris. Both writers were asked to create a poetic reflection on the realities of Black lives and the effects of racism. Taking these two poems as the guiding light, the creative team worked together to facilitate a visual representation of these words.
Hey There, Black Child is a dance-poetry film with collaboration between FELISPEAKS, a Nigerian-Irish poet, performer, playwright from Co. Longford, and Tobi Balogun, a Dublin based urban multidisciplinary creative specialising in dance and fashion.
Marrying poetry, dance and film, the narrative flows as a world is being created by the dancer. This interdisciplinary piece highlights the message and themes of the poem in an exciting and creative way.
A poem that speaks to the youth with care and gentleness interpreted through dance and movement. The use of film allows a world to be created in which the audience can immerse themselves into.
Spotlight: Eire to the World 2020 was commissioned by Project Arts Centre and supported by Dublin City Council. Project Arts Centre is supported by The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. Movement direction by Tobi Balogun and Zeda the Architect.
Visit Tobi's Website

Creative Partnership - Smashing Times and M.A.D. Youth Theatre

M.A.D Youth Theatre has been working with children and young people between the ages of 6 to 21 years old in Dundalk and wider community since 2011, providing professionally led weekly drama workshops and quality arts experiences in a variety of arts disciplines. They focus on creating a fun and innovative approach to drama and theatre, aiming to challenge thinking and attitudes toward the arts in our community.  Through their engagement with the community, M.A.D. Youth Theatre endeavour to create new and exciting work and to have relevant themes that are youth centred. M.A.D Youth Theatre plans to continue to honour Irish heritage and culture and to support the new voices that will help shape tomorrow’s Ireland. They strive to empower the lives of youth in the Dundalk community through a variety of drama and theatre skills development programmes. Their Drama Workshops are designed to provide members with all the tools they need to develop personally, socially and artistically. M.A.D. Youth Theatre are happy to be a driving force behind the development of our children and young people and hope to continue making a difference in the lives of young people today and into the future.
M.A.D. Youth Theatre is run by Artistic Director, Kwasie Boyce. Smashing Times are delighted to be working with Kwasie as a feature artist with the company.  Kwasie was born and raised in Trinidad and later grew up in New York from his early teens. He found his calling as an actor and trained and performed with IMPACT Repertory Theatre Performance Company, Negro Ensemble Company and Theatre For the New City. He was drawn to theatre companies where Activism is at the core of the work created and stories told.  Kwasie has taken part in many film projects including Vikings, Red Rock and Bloods.  With M.A.D. Youth Theatre he has devised and produced award-winning plays and has a reputation for taking risk and not shying away from issues that young people want to talk about.  He works as a freelance drama facilitator in schools and various youth organisations and currently serves as Dundalk Youth Centre’s programme coordinator for PEACE IV Anticlockwise programme, where they use art as a tool to explore conflict, peace and reconciliation.
MAD Youth Theatre are currently developing 'Hope', a new Musical Theatre project, supported by Creative Ireland, Louth. This musical tells the story of a group of friends navigating the fallout from the pandemic. Dealing with the pressures of lockdowns, misinformation and trolling, their friendships are tested and the hurt is real. Extracts from this exciting new piece of work will be presented by the youth theatre members online as part of the 2021 Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival.
The Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival is an annual festival organised by Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Human Rights and Front Line Defenders since 2019. Partner organisations include Amnesty International, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Fighting Words, Trocaire, and Poetry Ireland. The Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival will take place from Friday 15 October to Sunday 24 October 2021 and promises to include an exciting blend of in-person and online events, reaching audiences locally, nationally and internationally. Our events will include theatre, visual arts, music, panel discussions, presentations, and more, all linked by the common goal of promoting human rights and justice for all. The festival will be curated by Mary Moynihan, Artistic Director, Smashing Times with Tara Madden from Front Line Defenders working as co-curator in relation to human rights. 

Grants and Opportunities

Meet and Code 2021
Deadline 8 September
Link here

Hope for Youth NI
Deadline 21 July
Link here

Arts and Older People Programme- NI
National Lottery Fund
Deadline 21 July
Link here

Arts Council Festival Investment Scheme
Deadline 22 July
Link here

Words Ireland Mentoring Opportunity
Deadline 22 July
Link here
Unapologetic Magazine Call for Submissions
Deadline 31 July
Link here

Creative Places Tuam Cooperative Commission: Open Call
Deadline 21 July
Link here

Anthology Short Story Award
Deadline 31 July
Link here

Royal Ulster Academy of Arts 140th Annual Exhibition
Deadline 30 July
Link here

Culture Ireland Regular Funding
Deadline 1 August
Link here

Smashing Times News

The Art of W/Rights – A Literary Carnival of Arts and Rights
Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, in partnership with Irish Modern Dance Theatre, South Dublin County Council Arts Office, Rathfarnham Castle, Pearse Museum and the Office of Public Works – Rathfarnham Castle Park and St Enda’s Park, are delighted to present an outdoor programme of arts activities in Rathfarnham Castle Park and St Enda’s Park, both located in Rathfarnham, South County Dublin. The grounds of Rathfarnham Castle and Pearse Museum play host to a carnival-style performing arts spectacle, an offering of intimate, site-specific, outdoor theatre, film, and literary pop-up events.
A series of new artworks will be presented in Rathfarnham Castle Park and St Enda’s Park to create a ‘gathering space’ to celebrate stories of care and compassion and to act as a catalyst to generate creative conversations on visions of a better world.  The artworks will tell stories of people in the past and today who shaped society in a positive way and will be a mix of stories of artists and other key people with an association to South County Dublin intersecting with words and stories gathered from the general public through an open call.  

Public Call: People that have helped Shape Our Lives
We are all formed and shaped by the people who pass through our lives. A key part of the project is to directly engage the local community through an open call for stories based on the theme ‘people who inspire or have shaped us in some way’.  A public call will be made asking members of the public to tell us who your hero is, a person from the past or present who has inspired or shaped you in some way. All stories submitted are displayed online via the Smashing Times International online digital arts platform for the arts and equality, a new digital platform supported by The Arts Council. A selection of 100 stories will be designed and a summary of each story will be displayed in a ‘digital book’ projected onto the walls of Rathfarnham Castle with a page of the book turning very slowly every few minutes.
The Art of W/Rights is funded by the Arts Council In The Open/Faoin Spéir scheme.
Find Out More
Creative Connections for a Brighter Future
Smashing Times are delighted to implement Creative Connections for a Brighter Future, supported by the Reconciliation Fund, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Creative Connections for a Brighter Future is Implemented by Smashing Times in partnership with CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) at Ulster University and with a range of organisations on a cross-border and cross-community basis. Groups include Clann Eireann GAC Health and Well-being programme, South Shore Health and Well-being Outreach project, Ballybeen Women’s Centre, Old Warren Community Association, Lisburn, UDR Association, Portadown and the New Garage Theatre, Monaghan and MAD Youth Theatre, Dundalk, Louth.
Find Out More

News From the Network

This month, Smashing Times want to give you insight into some of our partners who work to promote youth across Europe! We work extensively on a variety of projects that use the arts to promote values of equality, diversity and human rights for all with young people, see below for more information.
Youth Peace Group Danube

Youth Peace Group Danube is a non-profit and non-governmental organization from Croatia whose goal is to promote the work of young people through self-development, character building and networking, and to support the emancipation of individualism and personal freedoms.

We base our work on conducting youth programmes in the field of culture and arts, international cooperation and development, informal education of youth, and also programmes in which young people themselves are included in activities as users but also volunteers, which contributes to the development of the local community. In addition, our 25-year long experience in youth work, contacts and cooperation with national and international organizations and networks in conducting projects successfully reflects on the total social engagement of youth in all areas of the community.  
Activities that we conduct, based on research into community needs are:
- creative workshops, educational workshops (digital and IT soft skills, learning assistance)
- social activities (sports events, exhibitions, book and poetry nights, intercultural evenings)
- work and educational camps
We base all our activities on community needs; a need for socializing, entertainment, activism, education, a safe environment, mobility, cultural exchanges, and solidarity. Those activities develop a sense of contribution to the community, and also transfer cultural differences which strengthens the youth capacity of our community.
Find Out More
Youth Peace Group Danube have partnered with Smashing Times, Dah Theatre, Kane, and IFESCOOP to develop ‘Equality Ambassadors’, which uses creativity and new digital technologies to promote democracy, equality and human rights with youth workers and young people in an equal Europe. The project is funded by Erasmus+.
Learn More

KANE in Greek means do or make!
We conduct national and international youth work. We aim to offer opportunities of personal and social development to local youth through socio-educational activities and informal education. Our main target is to create independent youth structures as well as to achieve the recognition of youth work in Greece.

Our vision is to foster youth motivation and to create youth initiatives to support active citizenship. Our mission is to provide educational and training opportunities for youth and people that work in the youth field. We also aim to fight discrimination, fostering intercultural and social development, and promoting social inclusion and equality, particularly for young people. At an organizational level, we promote cooperation among local, regional and international organizations and public bodies.

Following the principles of “Education for Sustainable Development”, the organisation’s activities focus on the implementation of European programmes for youth, seminars and the organization of educational, cultural and environmental activities, international training courses, conferences, mobility projects, voluntary projects and professional and personal support for youth and adults. Through its activities, the organization has established stable and successful partnerships with organizations and public bodies both locally and internationally.
Find Out More
KANE have partnered with Smashing Times, Point Europa, In the City, DK-BEL Company, and Intras to implement ART4US, which uses the power of the arts to transform the lives of young people and promote positive mental health, wellbeing and inclusion. This project is funded by Erasmus+.
Learn More

Favourite Quotes

"If I can make my mark, just a little bit, then great."

― Florence Pugh


"Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming whether you like it or not."

― Greta Thunberg


"Theatre is an effective and important tool for promoting equality in today’s society because it is one of the only places we actively choose to listen to someone else’s story"

― Megan O’Malley,  Smashing Times Youth Arts Ensemble Artist on Flaming Inspirations

Recommended Reading

Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty

Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of Dara McAnulty's world, from spring to summer, autumn to winter, on his home patch, at school, in the wild and in his head. Evocative, raw and beautifully written, this very special book vividly explores the natural world from the perspective of an autistic teenager juggling homework, exams and friendships alongside his life as a conservationist and environmental activist.
Buy it here.
I AM MALALA by Malala Yousafzai
I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

Buy it here.
An Unassuming Woman by Onis Sampson
An Unassuming Woman revolves around the struggles Belema has in finding genuine love and finding fulfilment in her acting career. The story shows a woman who finds her voice and speaks up irrespective of the forces contending against her. Belema’s experiences and her strong sense of identity and values shed light on similar struggles faced by women in today’s society.
Buy it
That’s all for this month! Thanks for reading our Arts and Europe newsletter. Feel free to reach out with any comments, questions, or suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered in the Arts and Human Rights monthly newsletter.

Stay safe and enjoy the sunshine!

The Smashing Times Team
Copyright © 2022 Smashing Times, All rights reserved.

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