First Fortnight Artistic Policy & Submission Process

access_time 9 minutes
person by Edel
create 22 June 2021

First Fortnight recognises the vital part that the arts play in the promotion of mental health and is committed to ensuring that Irish art reflects and represents today's society. We want to act as an artistic catalyst for the exploration of mental health across artforms, to nurture the creation of new work, to programme and support exisiting work to reach a larger audience and encourage active participation with the arts and so benefit mental health. Ultimately we envisage that this work will challenge mental health stigma and prejudice. 

First Fortnight advocates for change to the art making system (artists, art funding streams, art education programmes, cultural venues, arts institutions and discipline-specific festivals and groups) to accommodate creative responses towards the development and production of mental health themed artwork. 

Our Centre for Creative Therapies offers creative therapy to children, adolescents and adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We passionately advocate for the integration of creative therapies as a core element of the mental health care system model. 

The impact on mental health and wellbeing due to participation in the arts has been well documented. We encourage people to become/continue being active participants in the arts. We want to challenge the idea that the arts is not for everyone or that people can only be passive consumer of the arts.

We wish to remove the barriers that prevent people from accessing arts services, similar to our work and desire to remove barriers like stigma which prevent people from accessing mental health services.


The Festival Submission Process

Programming works is identified through the following pathways:

·       Collaborations with our various mental health and art partners

·       Work discovered by the Programme Co-Ordinator, CEO or Advisory Panel.

·       Open submission callout


All work submitted is assessed by Edel Doran, the  Chief Operations Officer who is assisted by our CEO Maria Fleming and an advisory Panel, who are made up of invited members active in the arts &/ mental health sector and board members.

 We programme work across all artforms and support new and established artists. 

First Fortnight is a curated programme of work and not a funding scheme. With a limited budget every year we are unable to programme and financially support all pieces submitted.

Festival Submission dates vary from year to year. All interested artists are invited to join the First Fortnight mailing list or follow us on social media where they will be notified of call outs.

Unfortunately unsolicitated submissions received outside of the submission dates cannot be accepted.

We appreciate that from time to time those who have created works may wish to share them with First Fortnight. While First Fortnight may occasionally promote some art work that aligns with the ethos of the charity, we unfortunately do not have the capacity to programme or promote individual work outside of the festival window. 

Festival queries should be directed to Edel Doran 

All applicants will be emailed with the outcome of their submission. We endeavour to notify everyone within 1 month of the submission closing date and will update everyone should there be any delay e.g. large volume of applications to process.

 First Fortnight is a small team who are active across the festival and service provision. As such we are unfortunately not in a position to give individual feedback to applicants. 


Any work submitted for festival consideration is assessed using the following priorities: 

·         Artistic merit 

·         The works alignment with the ethos and values of First Fortnight. See here for more info 

·         The work must be authentic, accurate and non-stigmatising 

·         Does the work explore a new artistic area or element of the mental health conversation we haven't explored yet? See previous festival programmes here

 ·         The artist’s experience 

·         The potential audience or public reach of the piece 

·         Is this a new piece or a remounted piece of work?



Photo Credit: Kieran Frost

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