Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsIMMA is housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in a magnificent 17th century building, which lies west of the city centre of Ireland's capital, Dublin. The Royal Hospital was restored by the government in 1984 and opened as IMMA in 1991. Since opening to the public, the museum has exhibited and represented a broad range of Irish and international art and artists to its exhibitions, off-site projects, and artist residencies. The programme at IMMA aims to foster within society an awareness of and understanding and participation in the visual arts through creating innovative and inclusive opportunities for meaningful access to the museum's resources.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsThe museum offers a wide range of learning and engagement programmes to schools and colleges, families, young people, and adults of all ages. The museum's programme for older adults was originally set up in 1991 with a local group from an active retirement association. The programme has continued and grown to include adults of all ages from a broad social and geographic demographic. Every week, this community of learners gathers at 10 am in Studio 10 in IMMA's artist studios and work together to engage with ideas and art-making techniques. The sessions are led by IMMA's gallery staff, who share knowledge and skills across a wide variety of arts practises that are centred on work that they explore in exhibition programmes.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsThrough this programme, which is run in a series of three consecutive sessions over as many weeks, participants can deeply immerse themselves in exploring themes and learn about the ideas behind artwork or artists that they focus on and subsequently draw from this and their own life experience to make their own artwork in the studios. Many benefits, I would say, in that years ago while in school, I thought I wasn't so good at art because I compared myself with others. But I think maybe getting a bit older and having a son and looking at what he was starting to be interested in, I actually went to the Trinity Arts Workshop to do a class called "I Can't Draw."

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 secondsBecause I thought I couldn't draw. But to see others who had thought that like months beforehand and what they were producing was an inspiration. Now, I didn't always find it easy, and sometimes I found I had to get over myself and carry on and not get frustrated, because I knew at the end I would be delighted with what had appeared out of me, out of my imagination or the inspiration. Well, I think first of all, friendship and creativity, the two go very well together. People who maybe have never met before and they unite instantly over projects, like when Barbara was referring to the friendships develop, again to endorse what's already been said, looking forward to Fridays.

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 secondsIt's helped in so many ways, making friends, learning more about art and artists, having a cup of tea. And then meeting others leads to other things as well. You hear of other events. I saw a little piece in the Irish Times saying that there were vacancies. So I started, and really, from that moment on, I've loved every single second and learned so much.

Creativity and social engagement: Studio 10 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)

We have discussed the importance of social engagement and creativity in this course, and Studio 10 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art is an example of how both of these elements can come together to bring benefits to participants.

Studio 10 is a programme for adults of all levels of creative experience at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). Every week, this community of learners gathers at 10:00 am in Studio 10, one of IMMA’s workshop studios, and participants work together to engage with ideas and learn art-making techniques.

The sessions are led by IMMA’s gallery staff, who share knowledge and skills across a wide variety of art practices that are centred on work that they explore in IMMA’s temporary exhibition programmes.

  • Through this programme, which is run in a series of three sessions over as many weeks, participants can immerse themselves in exploring themes and learn about the ideas behind the specific artworks or artists that they focus on.
  • They can subsequently draw from this and their own life experience to make artwork themselves in the studios.

Some of the benefits that participants have described include:

  • Fun and enjoyment
  • A sense of connectedness
  • Engaging with a community of like-minded people who share similar interests
  • The continuous opportunity to learn new skills
  • The opportunity to meet and to work with people of different ages
  • The opportunity to work with and meet different artists

This project is a good example of how being creative and getting socially engaged can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing.

Helen O’Donoghue is the Senior Curator at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

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This video is from the free online course:

Strategies for Successful Ageing

Trinity College Dublin

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