SETU awarded €20,000 funding from Arts Council of Ireland

SETU awarded €20,000 funding from Arts Council of Ireland

South East Technological University (SETU) has been awarded €20,000 in funding from the Arts Council of Ireland as part of the Young People, Children and Education (YPCE) Residencies scheme 2023.

The YPCE Residencies scheme was established by the Arts Council of Ireland to encourage artist residencies in higher education institutions across the country. The scheme supports artists and arts organisations as they spend an academic year in residence providing initial teacher education (primary/ post-primary or further education) or a recognised qualification in early childhood education.

As a provider of this training, SETU can benefit greatly from an artist residency that enriches the university’s existing course offering across early childhood education and practice. The university’s funding application came about from the work of SETU lecturers: Eleanor O’Leary, SETU Green Campus Committee member, Muireann Ranta, PhD candidate, and Mary Beare Aust, programme director in early childhood education and practice courses. Carlow-based artist, Siobhan Jordan, will take up residency for the academic year 2023/24. Siobhán is a visual artist from Carlow who has worked extensively with educational leaders and runs an art school that is rooted in nature-based play and learning opportunities. Siobhán is particularly interested in helping to encourage self-expression and confidence-building through art. Her work engages with different materials and the art process to encourage sensory exploration, examination of new skills and questioning of ideas.

Speaking about the impact of the funding, Eileen Doyle Walsh, Head of Faculty of Business and Humanities at SETU, said, “This funding granted to SETU by the Arts Council of Ireland is an excellent opportunity for us to enhance the provision of early childhood education and practice here at SETU. Having an artist in residence of Siobhán Jordan’s calibre will enrich our offering for both students and staff alike. The support of the Arts Council in this endeavour will promote the value and importance of developing practitioners who can incorporate a range of creative methodologies in their work with children and explore significant topics with them in a child-centred, inclusive and supported environment”.

Commenting on the funding award, Eleanor O’Leary, said, “We are delighted to have been awarded this Arts Council funding which supports a year-long residency with local artist, Siobhán Jordan, who will work with staff and students in early childhood education and practice programmes on the important themes of nature, sustainability, and children's rights. It's a huge opportunity to further develop learning and research in this area.”

The YPCE residencies aim to support a diversity of artists, artforms, arts organisations and educational institutions with this scheme. The scheme benefits artists in developing their skills and experience in educational settings; while providing opportunities for teaching staff and lecturers in early childhood education to engage with practising artists in creating bespoke, creative initiatives with and for their students. This, in turn, allows early-years educators to develop the skills to facilitate arts experiences for children in the settings where they work.

The residency at SETU will run over the academic year 2023/2024. The project is entitled ‘Earth, My home, our Home: exploring visual arts and sustainability in early childhood’. The aim of the project is to inspire people to address the issue of the climate crisis while providing a pathway to foster greater understanding of sustainability and community activism in that space. Four themed workshops will be delivered by the artist in residence to students undertaking the BA in Early Childhood, Education and Practice. Each workshop will culminate in an exhibition held at SETU’s campus in Carlow, to allow the wider campus community to engage with the project. Children and practitioners from local early childhood education settings will also be invited to attend.

For more information on SETU’s courses in early childhood education and practice, visit