Arts & Community Creative Community Engagement


The Museum of Hope currently has 5 themes. We have yet to decide on the other themes. Often what is captured through a photograph under one theme suggests another theme. The Museum of Hope will also host a Cabinet of Curiosity that will show other works that do not quite fit into the themes or transfer to the postcard format or are using other disciplines like spoken word, poetry or story forms. Below is 5 of the themes and we invite you to explore them and experiment with what you feel fits into the themes for you. You do not have to submit photographs for every theme but you are welcome to do so. If you have any questions please email artist Helen Barry, her email is below.

Theme One: The Open Hand

Theme One invites you to place an item or object in your outstretched hand. The object can be reflective of an activity, an interest, offers a bit of breathing space or something that has given you hope or inspires positivity for you during this time.

Theme Two: Stepping Over The Threshold.

What do you consider when going outside into the community, stepping over the threshold, closing the front door and moving into the outside world to engage with others.

Theme Three: In my Space

This theme was initiated by one of the school groups. The task is to capture the other people living within your immediate domestic environment. The composition will offer a snippet of other people, perhaps from an unusual perspective whilst presenting an almost too close a proximity that almost feels like you can feel or hear their breath. Note: we do not want to be able to identify the people in the image.

Theme Four: A New World

You are invited to look at the world around you within your 5km radius. What do you see that you have never seen before? What is happening now to what was there in a pre-Covid world. This theme is quite broad and can be people engaging at a distance from each other, people queuing for take away coffee or at their local shop, empty sports grounds, empty streets devoid of cars, families cycling together. These images can be taken day of night. Note: please avoid taking direct images of peoples faces.

Theme Five: Hazy Days

Observing people’s mood being lifted when waking up to a bright blue sky inspired this theme. This theme invites you to be creative with what you place in the picture keeping the blue sky at its focal point. Play around with the geometric edges of buildings or the space between two buildings. Maybe you are lying on the grass with your feet in the air, your toes of tips of shoes appearing in the composition. Be playful and try to create an image that lifts your mood and/or suggests fun, lightness or just a lazy day off.


  • When taking photographs please keep the setting on rectangular and do not set it at square as this will distort the images, when printed onto postcards.
  • Experiment with the images, the content, angle, colour and lighting. Email and I will respond to your images with suggestions to edit or select the one that works best with a specific theme.
  • Please suggest themes and areas of interest that you feel we should document at this time.
Arts & Community Creative Community Engagement

Making Art Work For Our Communities

Making Art Work For Our Communities was a mid way marking point for Tic-Tac-Hello, one of 3 commissions awarded by ANAM, Dublin City Universities Arts and Cultural programme. It provided an opportunity for all 3 artists to share with each other, project participants, key stakeholders and the wider public to take a look at each project. Each artist offered an insight into their practice highlighting and how their processes responded to the changing demands of engaging with a community during the pandemic.

This on-line forum offered the artist Helen Barry to clearly outline how Tic-Tac-Hello has been transformed from being ‘her’ project to ‘our’ project. The artistic direction had to respond to the ongoing restrictions COVID dictated. Helen and the participants went back to the drawing board and together they developed a new concept through which a collective art project is now unfolding titled the Museum of Hope; a visual record of life during the pandemic, with a specific focus on Dublin’s Northside.

Making Art Work For Our Communities invited people to come together using an on-line platform for a panel discussion chaired by DCU’s Visual Arts Officer Marcella Bannon. If you missed the event and would like to look at the recording of the discussion please click on this link.

Images above, from left to right, Dermot Seymor, ‘Some marginal subsidised peripheral cohesion in the disadvantage fringe of West Mayo’, artist Helen Barry, still from on-line panel discussion, Amy O’ Riordian ‘Self Portrait’ The artworks are part of DCU’s art collection.

Creative Community Engagement

The Museum of Hope

We have had to have a slight change in the artistic direction of where Tic-Tac-Hello was originally intended to offer and where. Over the last few weeks government guidelines have dictated the way in which we are going about our daily lives. When the concept for Tic-Tac-Hello was initially proposed, it was designed to enable people to engage through level 5 lockdowns. What I did not anticipate was the variants of COVID that was to come. I have had to go back to the drawing board and rethink how the ‘artworks’ to be created by participants could be created together and still be able to invite and engage the wider community in a public setting. Thankfully I have the participants of Tic-TacHello join me back at the drawing board and we are designing, creating and cataloging the Museum of Hope; a visual record of life during the pandemic. Through photography we will capture our domestic and community lives and how we now interact within these spaces. We are experiencing these spaces in a new way – everyday! We have been challenged to find the extraordinary in our ordinary and everyday surroundings. The Museum of Hope is aiming to capture a sense of where we can find the positive in our everyday, the breathing space, a connection with others and to celebrate and share what we discover with others.

Arts & Community Engagement


Throughout the past months together we have been looking at a series of different artworks from DCU’s collection. As directed by the Visual Thinking Strategies ( approach I have chosen to use for Tic-Tac-Hello, it is conversational in it’s approach. It invites the viewer to make their own interpretation of what’s going on in this picture? A good example of this and the different view points that were offered and explored together was the work pictured below by Oisin Kelly ‘Interior of Capel Street’.

A key element of VTS is that there is no right and no wrong answers. My own initial interpretation of this artwork is that it depicted two students attending a lecture in an annex of an art college. Perhaps a temporary space set off campus in a disused bedsit. This of course was what I myself had experienced having attended art college. The bare walls with bare floorboards, perfect for life drawing, the model kept warm with a two bar heater.

Others thought of this as an institution or an asylum. The male sitter looking depressed and despondent, further emphasised by the nondescript walls and bare floor. The woman standing in the door way inspired different narratives. Was she working in the institution, watching her charge. Some felt she was imposing, her stance and facial expression giving her a position of power over the man sitting in the foreground. Others felt she was mindful of this same figure, allowing him the space to reflect as she stood on the threshold, there if he needed her but giving him privacy too.

The architectural features suggested an old Georgian building, a familiar site across Dublin. The lack of attention to the decor and DIY upgrade on the electrics suggested 1980’s bedsit another aspect of a real life experience shared by many. The longer we looked we began to see other possible narratives. The relationship between two solitary figures intrigued us. Were they a couple in dispute, one seemed in a far more powerful position than the other. Or was this a ordinary everyday scene where a couple were yet again arguing over the colour of the paint just applied.

Non shared my view that this was some sort of workshop or lecture attended by students. The lecturers in attendance shuddered to think that they could offer a lecture where students looked on so bored. What the conversation offered was that the scene depicted in an artwork could offer so many different interpretations and a lively conversation contributed to by all. Each perspective shared was equally valued and respected. I began to see people’s confidence in their interpretation of contemporary art rise.

Arts & Community


‘Self portrait on carousel’ Amy O’ Riordan

I am wondering as to whether the art of conversation or art in conversation or both should really be the above heading. Tic-Tac-Hello is currently hosting 6 on-line conversations each week that centres on art. Our conversations are embedded with a deep respect for listening, looking, sharing ideas and exploring different perspectives and experiences as they unfold in response to the artworks we are looking at together. Each week 2 artworks are selected from DCU’s 300+ art collection. Most of the works are by artists who have lived or are currently living in Ireland and are from the later half of the last century to more recent works.

The participants are all connected in some way to DCU. Each week I am joined by staff, students and neighbouring residents of DCU’s campuses, along with prospective students from secondary schools and individuals living across Dublin’s Northside. Whether we have a little or a lot of art experience what we share in common is a desire to know more about art, artists and the making of art. Our curiosity to know more about art is equally matched with a desire to remain connected during this time and being able to share with the wider community how the arts and creativity can support and invite connection with others.

Arts & Community

Carving out a creative space.

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Drop everything and sit. No prep required, no list to tick, stop texting and press join meeting. There are no requirements other than just being here. Here is Tic-Tac-Hello, an interactive creative space connecting DCU and local communities through an arts project.

Arts & Community

Finding a creative space.

Drop everything and sit still, there is no prep or lists to tick off. There are no requirements other than being here. Here is Tic-Tac-Hello, a creative weekly space inviting staff, students and communities who engage with Dublin City University to connect with local residents from Dublin’s Northside communities. Each hour long on-line session invites you to join in conversations about art and culture. As our programme develops we shall have the opportunity to make some new artworks together. The designs will develop through discussions and sketching out our idea to present on-line. The making will be done, some by the artist, individuals and by participating school groups who already form existing bubbles. The starting point is DCU’s own art collection. These works can be seen here on this blog as we discuss them each week and where they are located on one of DCU’s three campuses. These are DCU Glasnevin, DCU St. Patrick’s College and DCU All Hallows both in Drumcondra.

Tic-Tac-Hello is an intergenerational project and needs enthusiastic and curious people with internet access to get involved. It has been designed specifically to enable participants to engage fully as we adapt to the day to day changes as directed by government guidelines. If you would like to know more about Tic-Tac-Hello or participate in one of the groups please contact