Creative Ireland - Open Call

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Creative Ireland Open Call 2 – 2021 –

Deadline for applications: Midnight, Friday 23rd July

A central theme of Creative Ireland is collaboration in order to facilitate an ecosystem of creativity and to nurture the creative imagination through active engagement with the arts and culture.

Leitrim as a county is regarded for its unspoilt landscape, culturally vibrant, rich in heritage and remarkable, relative to its size, for its levels of activity and capacity across a wide range of artforms and cultural arenas. Leitrim County Council recognises the value and importance of creativity.  We recognise that while the creative sector plays a central function in the cultural wellbeing of the county, it also has vast implications socially and economically, the three strands of which are inherently intertwined.

The Creative Ireland Programme defines 'creativity' as the capacity to transcend accepted ideas and norms and by drawing on imagination to create new ideas that bring additional value to human activity. Creativity is an essential skill and a mindset that every young person should be encouraged to develop in order to meet the challenges of their rapidly evolving future. Communities and individuals of all ages can develop a sense of self and a shared understanding though creative expression and every effort should be made to provide people with that opportunity.

We have seen how investment in the sector has paid dividend in terms of the social capital it builds and how it improves the lives of our citizens and grows pride. While this is invaluable to people of all ages who can engage in the arts, explore their creativity and our culture and heritage, it’s also a vital asset that brings real direct and indirect economic benefits.


Throughout 2020 and 2021 the Creative Ireland programme has proven to be an invaluable means through which groups and individuals across the county developed innovative approaches to how communities could engage with each other in creative ways. Projects demonstrated how creativity could be a vital lifeline and even an opportunity when faced with unprecedented challenges to try radically new and different things.

In many instances, projects will be designed specifically to mitigate the isolation felt by different communities, and these applications are very much welcome, particularly where they address communities impacted the most – older people, young people missing the strong social connections with their peers, and communities that were already experiencing isolation because of a variety of physical, social, cultural, economic or geographic reasons, that have become more acute because of Covid-19.

The approach, purpose or subject matter of a project can start from any interest or concern that the applicants share. It can be about the nature of the group itself: being young; being old; being from a particular place. It can be to do with an interest shared by the group for our future; our past; the environment; technology; for how we interact with each other, and how or whether people have the opportunity to express themselves.

Who can apply?

Applications must be developed by a community group, venue or organisation in partnership with individuals with professional expertise in any creative or cultural arena such as visual or performing arts, literature, heritage or other culture and creativity area. A group may approach the professional practitioner with a view to developing a project or visa-versa. The essential element is that the project provides the group members with the opportunity to express or explore their own creativity.

We particularly welcome project proposals that involve groups that have had little or no previous involvement in creative projects for whatever reason; and in such cases we will endeavour to give whatever advice and assistance we can to ensure such projects can achieve the best possible experience for everyone involved.

First time applicants may decide to apply initially to research an idea for a project, rather than commit to a longer, more involved and complex process. In these instances, the Creative Ireland programme can cover the costs of doing that, particularly the costs of professional practitioners to work with groups.

Social Practice Toolkit

The process that a group undertakes to develop a creative project with a professional practitioner can be very exciting, empowering, and rewarding on many levels. It can also be complex and requires good communication, respect and understanding. To assist those who work with groups in this way Leitrim County Council developed a Social Practice Toolkit, which provides guidance, resources and best practice examples of how such projects can best reach their potential. While the toolkit is written for creative sector practitioners who would work with groups, it has the same value to any group leader or member.

For all applicants, but particularly for applicants with little previous involvement in creative projects, we ask that each project develops a 'Memorandum of Understanding' between the group and the practitioner. The Memorandum of Understanding (or MOU) helps ensure that the group and the practitioner share a clear understanding about what the project is about and what everyone’s roles is within that. We have developed a simple MOU template which you can download and guidelines that will help you complete it.

We’re here to help.

If you have an idea for a project or need assistance or further information just to get started, please contact Alice Dixon, Creative Ireland Project Manager, on or contact Leitrim County Council on 071 96 21694.

Projects are primarily measured on the extent to which participants’ creative capacity is enhanced. Groups should be clear about who the beneficiaries are and how they are benefiting. Groups making further applications that build on previous ones should indicate how this project differs from or builds upon its predecessor. While one application may build on a previous one, each application should be considered as a distinct project with its own beginning, middle and end. The programme should not be considered as a means to fund ongoing or recurring programmes.

While there is no requirement for co-funding for first time applicants, returning applicants that are in receipt of core funding from any local or national government department or agency are required to provide for 50% of the project costs, 25% of which may be benefit in kind.

What would a project look like?

Projects are measured on the extent to which participants’ creativity is enhanced and should address one or more of Leitrim’s Creative Ireland Strategies as follows -

Creative PotentialProject under this pillar should seek to provide children and young people with opportunities to explore creative expression. Projects should be designed with young people rather than for them and be led by professionals with high levels of skills and experience of working with young people in creative and cultural arenas.
Creative CommunityProjects under this pillar should seek to provide opportunities for any group to explore their own creativity – particularly hard-to-reach groups – or any group who for whatever reason have had less opportunity to explore their creativity.
Projects under this pillar should seek to understand or explore place in a creative way. Projects may explore our cultural, built or natural heritage as a source of inspiration for contemporary creation and innovation, and strengthen the interaction between the heritage sector and the creative sector.
Creative ConnectionsProjects under this pillar should seek to support Leitrim’s creative sector to grow its national and global footprint through national and international linkages. Projects may look to develop collaborations or exchanges with counterparts in other countries, or to develop opportunities with Leitrim diaspora organisations.
Creative EnterpriseProjects under this pillar should seek to strengthen and develop Leitrim’s capacity as a creative hub and enhance development and sustainability in the Creative Sector. This might include the development and testing of new creative industries and other innovations in the cultural and creative sectors. Projects may also focus on how the creative sector can impact on other areas of industry or enterprise.

How are applications assessed?

Once developed all applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

·         Quality, innovation and creativity of the planned project.

·         The extent to which the project helps people explore their own creativity.

·         The extent to which the project helps achieve one or more of the strategy’s priorities.

·         Level of skills and expertise of culture/creativity professionals engaged with the group.

·         Ability of the group to undertake and manage projects and feasibility of project within the timeframe and budget.

The nominal amount awarded to any one project will typically be between €500 and €5,000. While there is no fixed number of awards, there will generally be a larger number of lesser value awards and a small number of higher value ones. The quantity and value of awards will depend on available funding, number of applicants and the quality of applications.

Payment to successful applicants will be made by electronic fund transfer only. Recipients of awards in excess of €1,000 may drawdown 50% of the award immediately following selection. Following completion of the project, the all successful applicants must complete a short report and provide evidence that the event has taken place (photographs, press reviews etc.), final accounts, and receipts for the full costs.

Download Application Form
Download Information Sheet
Download MOU Guidelines
Download MOU Template
Download Leitrim County Council Culture and Creativity Strategy


For further information contact Alice Dixon, Creative Ireland Projects Manager at






  • EU Sturctural Fund
  • European Union