Common Ground first connected with Dolphin House in 1999 when we were invited to develop a creative consultation process around the re-development of the Youth Centre. From 2000 Common Ground was involved for many years in the planning of arts and cultural projects as part of the Dolphin House Summer Festival, the facilitation and support of projects such as ‘We’re from the Barn’ Drama group and the ‘Moment in Time’ photographic archive and ‘Music for Me’ programme in Dolphin House Homework Club.
Dolphin House Summer Festival
Common Ground developed arts and cultural elements of the summer festival each year. Projects were planned in advance with community workers and groups. They included dance and visual arts. One example of the work was the ‘Garden of Hope’. Artist Mirjam Keune worked with children and young people to create large wooden flowers that were ‘planted’ in the green space between the middle blocks of Dolphin House.
The aim of the Garden of Hope was for young people to recognise and realise their own value and think ‘this is our land, we value our green space, this is my flower in my land in my garden outside my flat.’ The exhibition of the ‘Garden of Hope’ remained in place during the summer programme and festival.
We’re from the Barn Drama Group
The origin of the drama group began with one of the founding members gathering stories from people in Dolphin House over many years. The members of the group were formed from people living and working in Dolphin House. The group devised a play ‘Flat’s Life’ with script writer Bernie Downes based on the stories gathered of life in Dolphin House. In 2004 they worked with drama facilitator Fiona Nolan to present an extract from the play at the summer festival and in 2005 the full length play ‘Flats Life’ was performed in St Andrews Community Centre as part of the 50 years celebration of Dolphin House – ‘Raising the Roof’ Festival.
In 2006 the drama group continued to work with actor Eoin Lynch to produce a film ‘7 nights‘ that addressed 7 topics that affected local people – such as domestic violence, loneliness, money lending, drug abuse – performed by 7 members of the drama group.
A Moment in Time
A Moment In Time was a photography project celebrating community and family life in Dolphin House, Rialto. It was started in 2006 and concluded in 2007. Common Ground and Dolphin House Development Association commissioned artist Enda O’Brien to capture and document families and community life through a photographic studio process and through the development of relationships with people living in the estate and its environs.
The vision behind the project was to capture family life in Dolphin House prior to the onset of a possible regeneration process in the flat complex and to archive and exhibit family life in Dolphin House.
The images that emerged from the project were exhibited during ‘Dolphin Decides’, a summer regeneration festival held in Dolphin House during the summer of 2008. It has been exhibited since in different formats both in and outside the community to demonstrate the diversity, participation and contribution that family life makes to the Dolphin House community.