Surviving or Thriving? Resources

Welcome to the Surviving or Thriving? Resources page, part of an online series from Waterford Healing Arts Trust in partnership with the Arts Council, to support wellbeing in the arts sector.

Please note: This page is a work-in-progress and will be updated regularly with additional recommended resources.

Covid-19 has had a profound professional and personal impact on artists and arts workers, and major structural impacts for arts organisations, caused by the overnight cessation of all arts activity in Ireland as a result of the pandemic.

See below for a range of resources which you might like to explore to support your wellbeing. These include sector specific resources and recommendations from national and regional art form resource organisations, health and wellbeing resources available from the HSE and a range of recommended resources which may be helpful in different ways.


Surviving or Thriving? Partners

Arts Council / An Comhairle Ealaion
The Arts Council is the national agency for funding, developing and promoting the arts in Ireland.  It has a dedicated webpage offering sectoral information and resources in response to COVID-19, including practical information and links to a huge range of art form organisations for further support.

Waterford Healing Arts Trust
Waterford Healing Arts Trust manages the national website providing a focal point and resource for the field of arts and health in Ireland. The website has a dedicated Covid-19 resource page that includes information on supports for artists and arts organisations during the pandemic, specific supports and sharing opportunities for the arts and health sector, online networking hubs for practitioners, mental health supports and government information on COVID-19.  Artists and healthcare staff have also shared their responses to this period of isolation, uncertainty and loss through a series of Covid Chronicles


Surviving or Thriving? Associate Organisations

Minding Creative Minds (MCM), is Ireland’s (32 county and Irish overseas) first 24/7 mental health and wellbeing support programme for the Irish creative community delivered by Spectrum Life and includes access to the following services:

-24/7 Dedicated Phone Line (Phone 1800 814 244) | (Calling from NI – 0800 0903677)
-Counselling Service (Short term intervention / Up to 6 Sessions) | Telephone Counselling
-Secure Video Counselling | You can also text ‘Hi’ to 087 369 0010 for SMS & WhatsApp Support (standard rate applies) with a qualified psychotherapist / counsellor
-An extensive web portal and app enabling live chat function with a counsellor

The Minding Creative Minds programme includes access to a number of additional services to help users overcome various practical issues you are experiencing, or may in the future.  Here are some examples, but more details can be found on

-Advice on practical, day-to-day issues that cause anxiety and stress
-Legal Assistance | Financial Assistance & Consumer Assistance
-Career Guidance & Life Coaching | Support for non-Irish nationals & their families | Mediation Services

*When registered you are entitled to 30mins free advice per topic.  If you need financial assistance but in a couple of different areas, you are entitled to 30mins advice on each, for example, Taxation (30mins), Mortgage enquiry (30mins) etc.

MCM also posts real-life testimonies (‘Your Story’) by arts professionals in short online films and organises monthly Meet & Greet evenings via Zoom.  Keep up to date on these via and MCM’s social media platforms FB. @Mindingcreativeminds | T.  @MindingCreative  | Insta. @mindingcreativeminds


Music Network is Ireland’s national music touring and development organisation, founded by the Arts Council in 1986.  Music Network makes high quality live music accessible to communities throughout Ireland and helps musicians to develop fulfilling careers.  Music Network’s vision is of a culture which increasingly values live music in our everyday lives, embracing it as an essential part of a healthy, vibrant society.  Everything Music Network does stems from this vision: from music education, to supporting musicians at various stages of their development, to providing opportunities for performance and participation through their network of partners.  Music Network brings musicians and listeners together through the magic of live performance.

Music Network offers a free online training series to support professional musicians.  These include:
Taking charge of your performance career
Advice for musicians returning to live performance

You can sign up here to receive further details on all Music Network initiatives.

FB. @Musicnetworkireland  |  T.  @MusNetIrl  |  Insta. @musnetirl


Theatre Forum working alongside members and partners, aims to strengthen Ireland’s performing arts community and to advance its interests to ensure a sustainable future.
Working to their core values of Community, Support and Strength, Theatre Forum
– provides training, organises events and creates opportunities for members to collaborate and set their community’s agenda
– provides a forum for members to share knowledge, expertise and resources, offers mutual support and advances the theatre sector
– derives strength from its membership: members’ connectivity strengthens the community from within.
Theatre Forum members include venues, arts centres and festivals; theatre, dance, street arts, circus and opera production companies; independent practitioners, makers and performers; and Local Authority arts officers and resource organisations.
Theatre Forum produces practical, well researched guidelines for its members, covering various aspects of working in the performing arts in Ireland.  These include the following COVID-19 related documents:
– Creating Work Guidelines
– Arts Centres: Working during COVID-19. A framework for arts centres and performing arts venues.

FB. @theatreforumireland  |  T.  @TheatreForumIE  |  Insta. @theatreforum


Words Ireland is a grouping of seven literature resource organisations who have worked together collaboratively since 2015 to provide coordinated services to the literature sector, including the guidance on pay rates for writers and delivery of the National Mentoring Programme for literature.  Words Ireland commissioned writers to give a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in its Ireland’s Writers on Covid-19 series

The seven Words Ireland organisations are Poetry Ireland, Munster Literature Centre, The Stinging Fly, Children’s Books Ireland, Publishing Ireland, the Irish Writers’ Centre and Literature Ireland.

FB.  |  T.  @WordsIreland  |  Insta. @wordsireland


Visual Artists Ireland (VAI) is the representative body for professional visual artists in Ireland. Through the delivery of networking, support, and information services, VAI allow individual artists and artist groups to develop their careers, develop a capacity to take advantage of opportunities, and to share knowledge. Information specific to COVID-19, including updates and links to official support and information is available here

FB. @VisualArtistsIreland  |  T.  @VisArtsIreland  |  Insta. @visualartistsireland


Dance Limerick promotes, supports and celebrates dance creation, presentation and participation.  Dance Limerick is a support and development organisation, funded by the Arts Council and Limerick City Council.  Through a combination of performance platforms, residency opportunities, master classes, talks and lectures, Dance Limerick advocates for artistic dialogue and exchange.  In collaboration with dance artists across a range of practices, Dance Limerick promotes the creation of new and innovative work, and devises programmes of access, engagement and participation for the wider public.  Current opportunities at Dance Limerick for professional dance artists include:
Light Moves Festival of Screendance 2021 film open call 
Step Up Dance Project 2021 for emerging dance artists 

FB. @DanceLimerickHub  |  T.  @DanceLimerick  |  Insta. @dancelimerick


Create is the national development agency for collaborative arts. Its mission is to lead the development of collaborative arts practice by enabling artists and communities to create exceptional art together. It offers supports for artists including professional development, mentoring, training and research. During the Create Networking Day in December 2020, attendees came together to co-create a Collaborative Arts Resource Pack. This pack, featuring over a hundred recommended resources for those working in and engaging with the arts, was co-produced by Create and Heart of Glass, and is reflective of a sense of collective wisdom, provocation and support by the field of collaborative practice.

FB. @createcollaborativearts  |  T.  @CreateIreland  |  Insta. @createcollaborativearts


Age & Opportunity is the national development organisation improving the quality of life of people aged 50 – 100+. It operates a year round arts and culture programme and runs support programmes for arts organisations, participants and audiences, as well as professional artists in the area of the arts and older age. Age & Opportunity has developed a series of resources to help people stay safe, connected, creative and active during the Covid-19 pandemic.

FB. @AgeandOpportunity  |  T.  @Age_Opp |  Insta. @age_opp


Health Sector and Government Resources

HSE COVID-19 information page

HSE Minding your Wellbeing Programme: This evidence-based programme provides a unique opportunity for people to learn more about mindfulness, gratitude, self-care and resilience.

HSE Minding your Mental Health during the Covid-19 Pandemic

World Health Organisation

Government updates 



The Creativity Tonic
An online space developed by MTU Crawford Department of Arts in Health & Education which aims to nurture a healthy imagination in challenging times. The Creativity Tonic gathers original material and some of the best online initiatives in one hub.

National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA)
A volunteer-led, grassroots movement that makes the case for the arts in Ireland.  The NCFA works to ensure that the arts are on local and national government agendas and are recognised as a vital part of contemporary Irish life.

Dearest Stress
Combine the power of writing and gratitude to transform your struggle into strength.

A Lust for Life
Multi-award winning Irish mental health charity that uses content, campaigns and events to facilitate young people to be effective guardians of their own mind.

The Good Grief Festival
Over 100 free online events exploring hope and meaning in the Covid era. 27-28 March, but access to events for one year for a subscription fee of GBP20.00.  Speakers include Michael Rosen, Suzi Quatro, Michael Morpurgo…

The Wolf Willow Institute for Systems Learning
A community of systems educators, practitioners, guides, activists and artists which exists to serve those dedicated to building a flourishing future for all.

The Embodiment Conference
Learn practical embodiment tools to help you feel human again.

Creative Capital
A resource website for artists, including a list of resources to support artists during COVID.

Berkeley Bootcamp
Resources to help prevent professional and creative burnout, from University of California (Berkeley)

More websites are being added as we discover and quality check them…



You ok?
A podcast about support, hosted by Jan Ní Fhlanagain.  This series doesn’t offer a magic solution to the complex emotions many of us are feeling, but it does offer a safe space to hold those emotions, to engage with them and to take a moment in the madness to mind our mental health. Episode 31 is specifically about artists / arts workers wellbeing.

Where is My Mind?
A podcast about how we can navigate the manic, always-on, and head-melting world we live in.  Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin talks about what impact this fast-paced society has on us, and how we can deal with it by introducing the basics of mindfulness practice and meditation.

Pat Divilly
Ideas, insights and inspiration to upgrade all areas of your life.  Pat also offers a free 14 day meditation journalling course.

On Being
Big conversations to moments of discovery, hosted by Krista Tippett.

Unlocking Us
Conversations that unlock the deeply human part of who we are, hosted by research professor Brene Brown.

A Bit of Optimism
Hosted by Simon Sinek.  Particularly episode 27 with Brene Brown

More podcasts are being added as we discover and quality check them…



Your Story – Minding Creative Minds
People working in the creative industry in Ireland talk openly and honestly about challenges they have faced, personally and professionally, and how they came through to the other side.

The Axis Chats
A series of interviews with performers, makers, directors, artists, designers, technicians…. all who work in the arts in Ireland.  A trip behind the curtain to explore what drives and inspires them, why they do what they do and the importance of the arts.

More links to videos will be added as we discover and quality check them…



Flourishing, by Dr Maureen Gaffney, psychologist, writer, broadcaster and Chair of our Surviving or Thriving? Panel Exchanges. See especially chapter 19 Flourishing Under Fire.

Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande – Recommended by Lani O’Hanlon (see below)

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron – This best-selling book/workbook offering tools for unblocking your creativity is now also available as an online video course.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey – Recommended by Grainne Hope (see below).  See especially his Circles of Influence.

The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk – Recommended by Louize Carroll (see below).

Special request: If ordering books, please support your local independent bookseller.



Survive Adapt Renew
A report of the special Advisory Group established by the Arts Council to identify ways for the arts sector to deal with the Covid-19 crisis (published June 2020)

Life Worth Living
The report of the Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce (published November 2020)


Recommendations from Surviving or Thriving? guest speakers and workshop facilitators: This will be updated as recommendations come in.

Workshop 1: Literature – Recommendations from poet & movement artist Lani O’Hanlon
From Sickness to Health: Beethoven’s Heiliger Dankgesang from Stanford UniversityA holy song of thanks by a convalescent to the Divinity, which inspired Lani’s workshop Slowing down as a source of creativity. This link was shared with Lani by the poet Peter Hughes.
Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande (1934) – Recommended particularly because Brande writes about accessing the unconscious and how to do that without becoming overwhelmed by it.

My Year on Paper, reading list from artist Miriam O’Connor, guest speaker at Panel Exchange 2: Visual Art (18.03.2021)

Workshop 2: Visual Art – Recommendation list from artist Marie Brett

Workshop 3: Collaborative Arts – Recommendation list from Artist Kate O’Shea & Researcher, Trainer & Activist Dr Krini Kafiris

Workshop 4: Dance – Dance Artist, Choreographer & Arts + Health Director Dr Jenny Elliott  to follow

Workshop 5: Music – Recommendations from Music in Health Specialist & Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute (TCD) Grainne Hope
Stephen Covey’s Circles of Influence – see the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Brene Brown, research professor – particularly her books and podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead

Workshop 6: Theatre – Recommended reading list from Louize Carroll Chartered Psychologist & Musician


Please note: This page is a work-in-progress and is beingupdated regularly with additional recommended resources.