Common Ground was founded in 1998 as an arts development organisation for the Canal Communities area. The Canal Communities area spans Inchicore, Rialto, Kilmainham and Bluebell in Dublin 8. The inspiration for setting up Common Ground came from research commissioned by the Canal Communities Partnership, which explored the potential role of arts and culture in urban community regeneration.
Common Ground began with only one worker and the support and vision of a number of individuals with experience of arts and community development at local and national level. It sought to develop a way of working that both engaged with the community and supported artists with an interest in locating their practice in that community.
In the early years, Common Ground concentrated on building relationships with local community groups in order to respond to local needs. Common Ground experimented with processes that included setting up community based artist’s residencies, delivering arts training, capacity building with youth leaders and community workers and providing mentoring opportunities for artists. The results of the work were considered by those involved to be enormously positive.
Today, Common Ground continues its work in the community through arts education, music facilitation, collaborative community arts projects and a new early years programme. It continues to support artists in sharing their knowledge and experiences with others and by assisting them in identifying the evolution of their own practice through their teaching.