Tipperary Town Library – The Real Me Project

Today in Tipperary town library we launched six life story books as part of ‘The Real Me’ project. The children’s project engaged six children: John Shanahan, Sam Fryday, Ashton Bourke, Alice Ryan, Jacob Harding & Stephan Mongan, each with different disabilities.

Often as a society we see the disability first and not the person. The aim was to explore and share their personal life experiences living in the community with a disability and expressing their story through art. Each participant made their own book, sharing what they would like to share about their own life stories and using art they expressed their likes and dislikes about it and what their dreams for their futures are like.

Art allows people in. The group here who undertook this project have been very generous and courageous. They have opened their hearts and given so much of themselves through their creativity and their willingness to experiment. The results of their work speak for themselves. Their work is warm, open and very moving. Art is not about accuracy, it’s about expressing the human spirit. These books contain very personal and emotional content.

Over the ten workshops we learned much about of these individuals from the importance of chewing gum, to the importance of waiting for an answer when you ask someone how you are, to the love of “Captain Underpants”, becoming a magician, farming, Santa, 12th birthdays, crystals, space, the universe, Mars bars, dogs, Disney, family, peace proms , the love of dentists, animals, new toy inventions, Roblox and sewing .

The workshops, while being very good craic, also highlighted how adversity and resilience can stimulate growth and potential. These are six hugely talented and creative people whose work we celebrated.

Today we presented those books to family and friends in this launch to mark the end of the project. The books will be held at the Library and made available to people who would like to browse or explore disability issues at the Library.  The 6 children together with Mags created a one off collective large piece “The Tree of Life” which will hang permanently on the wall here at Tipperary Library. We would ask you to take the time to call to the library to view/enjoy these books.

Our thanks to all the carers/special needs assistances who came with the kids and made the project much more engaging and fun. Thanks to the schools for allowing the children the time to attend. Our huge thanks to the facilitating artist Mags Rudnicka who helped to inspire all six individuals and set them on the path of creativity, through varying mediums, clay, fabric, paint. Our sincere thanks to Mags and we hope to work with you again in the near future.

Our thanks also to Creative Ireland and the HSE for their support and for funding the project. Thanks to Derval Howley, Head of Health and Wellbeing, for supporting Anne Bradshaw with HSE Disability Services in Tipperary Town and for securing funding from Creative Ireland to enable the “Real Me” project to go ahead. 

This step by step plan for the Real Me is now being used as a readymade model for a project just started in Wexford.  The project was a fantastic one – enjoyed thoroughly by all who took part. We would definitely recommend it as project for the future again in Tipperary.  The Star of the show was Stephen Mongan who had produced a little puppet show “Deady Bear Rises again” together with his carer Mattis.

News By Category

Accessibility Toolbar