Surviving or Thriving? Panel Exchange 4: Dance

Panel Exchange 4: Dance

Thursday 25 March, 10.30am (online)

Chair: Dr Maureen Gaffney

Speakers: Choreographer David Bolger, choreographer and dance artist Catherine Young and choreographer and dance artist Fearghus Ó Conchúir.

From Waterford Healing Arts Trust in partnership with the Arts Council.

Part of an online series of panel discussions, workshops and resources seeking to strengthen resilience, restore confidence and promote connectedness across the arts sector.

Click here for info about the entire Surviving or Thriving? programme.
Listen to a recording of this event here:


Our sincere appreciation to our associate organisation Dance Limerick for their support and guidance in curating this Dance strand.

About the speakers:

David Bolger is the Artistic Director and co-founder of CoisCéim Dance Theatre. His work has been seen worldwide and has received prestigious awards for its innovation, performance and choreography. David has directed and choreographed over 20 original productions for CoisCéim, including the highly lauded Francis Footwork, The Wolf and Peter, Body Language and the major international co-production These Rooms (Irish Times Irish Theatre Award, London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), TATE Liverpool). His work for the company has been presented at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Peak Performances in the USA, Spring Loaded (The Place) and the Brighton Festival in the UK, Ten Days on the Island (Tasmania), Arts Centre Melbourne and Sydney Opera House (Australia). David has received numerous choreographic commissions for theatre and opera including Druid (Ireland), Spoleto Festival (USA), Guthrie Theatre (USA), RTÉ (Ireland), National Theatre (UK), Abbey Theatre (Ireland) and Opera Ireland. He is a member of Aosdána.

Catherine Young is a Dance Ireland Associate Artist, a UK BENCH Fellow and has been Dancer in Residence in Kerry with Kerry County Council and Siamsa Tíre for many years.  She was also Artist in Residence at the Backstage Theatre and Shawbrook in 2017/2018.  Catherine has created work for the Dublin Dance Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival, CoisCéim Dance Theatre, The Big Bang Festival of Rhythm, Féile Fáilte and the University of Limerick, among others. Her company works State of Exception, Ultima Thule, Woman Stood Regardless and Welcoming the Stranger have all been received to critical acclaim, with Welcoming the Stranger opening the Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival in Palestine in 2017.  Her new work Floating on a Dead Sea inspired by her time in Palestine will premiere in 2021.  Catherine established The Welcoming Project in 2016 – a multi-cultural dance programme that fosters cultural integration and social inclusion of Ireland’s new communities through dance.

Fearghus Ó Conchúir is a choreographer and dance artist.  Frequently collaborating with experts from across and beyond the arts, he has made film and live performances as frameworks for audiences and artists to build communities together. He’s currently co-leading a project with Micro Rainbow International that he initiated as part of The Casement Project (2016) to support LGBT refugees and asylum seekers through creative movement workshops.  From 2018-2020, he was Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales. Fearghus is Deputy Chair of the Arts Council of Ireland. A founding Associate Artist at Project Arts Centre, Fearghus gained his PhD at the Geography Department in NUI Maynooth with the support of an IRC Employment-based Scholarship.

Psychologist, writer and broadcaster Dr Maureen Gaffney earned a BA in Psychology from UCC, an MA in Behavioural Sciences from the University of Chicago and a PhD at Trinity College Dublin. She has completed Executive Education Programmes on leadership and governance in the Harvard Kennedy School, the University of Chicago Business School and the Kellogg School of Management. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board and served on its Executive Committee.

Dr Gaffney brings the latest research and thinking on emotional intelligence, resilience, and transformational leadership to her work with companies.  She has worked with a wide range of organisations, including Intel (Ireland and the US), Boston Scientific, Amazon, Google, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, as well as major professional service companies and the educational sector in Australia.

She is a much sought-after speaker and has addressed businesses in Ireland, the UK, the US, Sweden, Germany and Spain.  Dr Gaffney is a highly experienced chairperson and moderator in both the public and private sector including Executive Chair of the National Economic and Social Forum, Chair of the National Monitoring Committee of the Programme for Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development and Chair of the Insurance Ombudsman of Ireland Council for three years. She was a Board member of the HSE and has extensive experience of the health sector. She has retained a long-term interest in the legal sector since her ten year tenure as Law Reform Commissioner.  She has worked in many other sectors of Irish life – as Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Society in University College Dublin and she served on the board of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Institute.

A follow up workshop with Dr Jenny Elliott, dance artist, choreographer, Artistic Director and CEO, Arts Care, a leading arts and health organisation in Northern Ireland, entitled ‘Embracing your dance practice and knowledge to support your wellbeing’ takes place on Fri 26 March at 10.30am. More details here.