Eric Sweeney and Edward Denniston have been selected as Composer and Poet-in-Residence, respectively, at WHAT/ University Hospital Waterford (UHW). This is the first time for WHAT to bring together two art forms under its Artist-in-Residence programme. The aim of this exciting new approach is for both artists, working together, to collaborate with patients at UHW, and to create new work – including a new choral work – inspired by these experiences. This choral piece will be part of the permanent legacy of the organisation’s 25th anniversary and will be performed in December. The Artist-in-Residence scheme is funded by the Arts Council.
Eric Sweeney, a Dubliner by birth, has lived in Waterford since 1981. Head of Music at Waterford Institute of Technology until he retired in 2010, Eric previously lectured in music at the Dublin College of Music (now Dublin Institute of Technology) and at Trinity College, and was Choral Director at RTÉ from 1978-1981. A frequent visitor to North America, he has been Composer-in-Residence at the Newport Festival Rhode Island, Memorial University, Newfoundland, the University of Illinois, Indiana State University and the University of Portland, Oregon, among others. He is a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists.
Edward Denniston has lived in Waterford since 1980. He retired from teaching English and Drama in 2014. His publications include The Point of Singing (Abbey Press, 1999); Interacting – 60 Drama Scripts (Russell House UK, 2007); Eskimo Advice – an ebook of poems (Rectory & Hayrake Press, 2007); The Scale of Things (Salmon Poetry, 2013) and For Crying Out Loud (Salmon Poetry, 2017). He has published in various journals and some of his poems have been translated into French. His collaboration with photographer Abigail Denniston Word To Image was published in 2014.
Announcing details of the residency, Claire Meaney, Acting Arts Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, said “We are thrilled and honoured to welcome Eric Sweeney and Edward Denniston to Waterford Healing Arts Trust as our Composer and Poet-in-Residence. The WHAT Artist-in-Residence programme is a means of engaging patients in contemporary arts practice and an opportunity for artists to develop their professional practice within an acute hospital context. This year, to mark our 25th anniversary, we are extending this a little further by engaging Eric and Edward to work together to create a new choral work inspired by their collaborations with patients and staff at the hospital. We are delighted to announce that this piece will be performed in December here at UHW by Madrigallery, the acclaimed Waterford-based chamber choir, under their director Dr Kevin O’Carroll”.
Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is Ireland’s leading arts and health organisation. Established in 1993, WHAT brings arts experiences to the bedsides of patients at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and other healthcare settings. WHAT believes that the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society and that engaging with the arts stimulates the participant’s sense of identity and creativity. WHAT also supports the development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the national website www.artsandhealth.ie