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Update from Joanna Parkes October 2021

Joanna Parkes has been working with the children in Ballyogan Community Childcare and they’ve been focusing on the idea that there are little elves living in the trees and bushes at the end of the garden. The elves come out at night to explore and play in the garden when the children are at home. The elves have left little notes and messages for the children and they’ve been using magnifying glasses to look for other signs or evidence of their presence. The children have found an amazing number of elves 'footsteps' and have been very taken with the idea of communicating with the elves each week. They found the elves washing lines as well as jars of food and little chairs.

The children were worried that the play equipment in the garden might be too big for the elves to play on so they thought it might be a good idea to make some playground equipment that is the right size for the elves. So based on their ideas and suggestions Joanna made playgrounds for the elves.

Their focus at the moment to help the elves get ready for Autumn and some animals prepare for hibernation. We are looking forward to seeing what the elves, children and Joanna do next!


dlr Arts Office in partnership with Ballyogan Family Resource Centre is commissioning 2 artists to work with early years children from 2 to 5 years to co-create artwork that is fun, creative and connected to the outdoors.

The artists are Thomas Johnston and Joanna Parkes. 

Joanna Parkes has been working in the field of Creative Arts Education as a Drama Facilitator for many years, in many diverse contexts. Her practice uses participative process drama methods, underpinned by the belief that Drama provides people of all ages, from toddlers to 90 year olds, with wonderful opportunities to investigate the world - and their role within it - through play and lived experience. 

Thomas Johnston is a musician, educator, researcher, his work lies in those spaces between Irish traditional music, performing arts for children and young audiences, community music, and music education practice and policy.  He is the Artistic Director of Ceol Connected, a company that produces and tours gig theatre experiences for young audiences, and Tradoodle Festival, County Monaghan’s traditional arts festival for young audiences. 

These two commissions are funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and supported by dlr Arts Office and Ballyogan Family Resource Centre.

Playful encounters between children and artists offline have been rare in 2020 and 2021 and these 2 commissions are designed to create space and time for these two artists to co-create work with early years children in the Community Childcare Service in Ballyogan.

We are looking forward to hearing updates from the artists and children involved!