Erasmus Intensive Programme a huge success

The "Creative Aesthetics Learning Process" Erasmus Intensive Programme, which was hosted by the Section of Music at DkIT, proved a huge success with its participants and organisers, concluding with a stage performance arranged by participating staff and students.

The course, which lasted a duration of two weeks, commenced on the 13th of February and welcomed students and lecturers from Artesis University College in Belgium and Stord Haugesund University College in Norway to DkIT's college campus. 'Coming from a range of different discipline areas, including art, drama and music, the students were challenged to incorporate skills and approaches that were new to them. Creativity and inspiration was key to the success of the project', explains Adele Commins of DkIT's Section of Music.

The primary objective of the project was to support and promote the multi-national integration of third level institution staff and students. Over the two-week period, students took part in workshops covering multiple aspects of the creative arts, including improvisation, sound, film, drama, creative practices, art, song and dance. Particular emphasis was placed on Irish traditional song and dance, as students learned how to play the tin whistle and how to ceilí dance. During the second week, students arranged presentations, which they delivered to groups of students in two local secondary schools, St. Louis Secondary School and St. Vincent's Secondary School. A trip to the cities of Dublin and Belfast was also featured on the itinerary, giving the students a chance to observe and study Irish culture in two of the country's most prominent metropolitan areas.

The three colleges collaborated on a creative performance, which included elements of art, drama, dance, film, music and photography, staged for the public in the McAnna Theatre on the final day of the course. Senator Mary Moran was the guest of honour at the performance, at which she delivered a speech praising the project and the spectacular concluding performance. She also noted the multi-cultural and integrative aspect of the project and stressed the importance of creating opportunities, which give us the chance to experience and learn from different cultures: 'this is a wonderful example of swapping cultures and being involved in everybody else's culture. We are part of Europe and it is important that we get to know as much as about each other's cultures as possible.' Indeed, one of the reasons students were primarily interested in participating in the programme was that it would enable them to integrate with students from a different culture with a similar background in the creative arts.

Following the completion of the Creative Aesthetics Learning Process Intensive Programme, students praised the programme, and the project received positive feedback from participating students. Many felt the programme helped enhance a range of skills including their organizational, performance and communication skills, as well as boosting their self-confidence. The diverse mix of students brought a wide variety of thoughts, ideas and perspectives to the table, which encouraged students to be open-minded and to consider ideas from a number of different aspects. During the process, the students became aware of cultural contrasts, varying perspectives and different ways of encountering and interacting with the world around them. As an exploration of creative thinking, the performance demonstrated how their experiences shaped their creativity, as they were challenged to keep an open mind and explore creative opportunities.

For many of the students the highlight of the programme was the stage performance, which took place at the end of the two-week period. Norwegian professor, Oded-Ben Horin, described his experience of the programme as 'intensive, creative and through-provoking.' New friendships were formed and music students and staff at DkIT are very much looking forward to working closely with their partner institutions in the future.