This year’s Meitheal na mBeag Conference for those working in children’s arts through Irish will be held in An Taibhdhearc, Co. na Gaillimhe. The two day conference, entitled “The Cultural Rights of the Child“, will take place on the 15th and 16th of February 2013. This year’s event takes its theme from Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ‘to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.’
Meitheal na mBeag is an umbrella and resource group for artists, educators, theatre companies, arts centres and institutes that have a commitment to the development and production of child-centered performing arts through the medium of Irish. This is a group of people who are energetic and passionate about children having access to a range of cultural activities. These teachers and artists feel that for a healthy future of culture to grow, children must first gain access to a wide variety of arts like drama, music, poetry and art. It is essential that children are exposed to such art forms. Meitheal na mBeag aim to be an active part in fulfilling these cultural rights for children.
As part of the conference there will be a keynote address from Martin Drury of the Arts Council and founder of the Ark, a cultural centre for children. Also in attendance will be former Laureate na nÓg, Siobhán Parkinson, as well as Michael Finneran who is Head of the Arts and Physical Education Department in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. The strong international tradition of Meitheal na mBeag will be upheld this year by Angus Macleod, Drama Officer from Fèisean nan Gàidheal in Scotland.
During the conference there will be a ‘Call for Submissions’ from artists to create a piece of art that will travel from county to county housed in the County Hall. The hope is that by welcoming this symbolic piece of art to their county, each council will question their provision of cultural activities for children as equals.
The two-day event features presentations of work by Graffiti and Branar as well as panel discussions, debate and networking opportunities. With the Children’s Referendum, a recent national conference on the work and development of the arts through Irish, and the ongoing success of local companies such as Branar and Moonfish, this year’s Meitheal na mBeag conference should make for an informative and entertaining weekend. All are welcome to attend the conference and share your views on the matter with people in similar roles to you.
You can download a registration form from www.meithealnambeag.ie