Tag Archives: First Fortnight

Above from left: Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, Indian born, Dublin-based writer, performer and cultural consultant who performs this year at First Fortnite’s Therapy Sessions; Salma Ataya, a Palestinian born, Limerick based dance artist who co-leads in Cloud Study and Maria Fleming, CEO at First Fortnight.

Feeling down?

The first great cultural festival of the year is already in full swing. First Fortnight is a great way to beat the January blues, and offers a plethora of events both in person and online.

Maria Fleming, CEO First Fortnight, writes:

“The last two years has opened the conversation around mental health in new ways and there is a welcome awareness of all our fragility and our resilience when it comes to our own mental health. However, the crucial question for First Fortnight is how the conversation has changed, if at all, in relation to the stigma attached to mental ill health. Are we more open now to discussing anxiety and wellness? Does our comfort level stretch to an openness to discuss depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia or OCD?

Nick says: A healthy start to 2022.

First Fortnight Festival 2022

Pic: Conor McCabe

Ruairí McKiernan, host of the Love and Courage Podcast

Got the winter blues?

Don’t despair.

The programme of events for January’s First Fortnight Mental Health Art & Culture Festival 2021 has dropped.

Among many highlights is A Community Conversation About Hope In A Time Of Upheaval.

To quote the programme notes:

“It’s a time of great change and huge uncertainty. From the pandemic to politics, there’s lots happening and often not enough space for us to step back, reflect, and join others in meaningful conversation.

What has the past year taught you? What does the future hold? What are your hopes and dreams for ourselves and for our country and planet?

You’re invited to join us for an evening of inspiration, reflection, and connection through a community conversation that welcomes participants from all walks of life. The evening will be hosted by Ruairí McKiernan, host of the chart-topping Love and Courage Podcast and author of the acclaimed bestselling book Hitching for Hope – A Journey into the Heart and Soul of Ireland.”

Nick says: It’s good to talk.

First Fortnight Festival 2021

JP Swaine

Founded in 2009, mental health charity First Fortnight staged its first annual, two-week arts festival in 2012 to make the First Fortnight of each year synonymous with “mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma”.

The charity has since become a mental health service provider with the establishment in 2013 of the First Fortnight Centre for Creative Therapies in Dublin.

First Fortnight write:

Every year, looking forward to our next festival means looking back at the work that we’ve done in years gone by. This year brings more cause for reflection than others as a massive part of First Fortnight is no longer at the table.

Earlier this year, our co-founder J.P Swaine decided the time had come for him to say farewell to the charity.

JP has been the driving force of the organisation for more than a decade – sparking ideas, encouraging others, leading by example and always ensuring the charity stayed true to its goal to challenge mental health stigma.

First Fortnight began at JP’s kitchen table and through it all we have been privileged to share space, physical and mental, with someone whose extraordinary efforts have inspired not only those of us who had the opportunity to work with him, but every single person who has ever been influenced by the work of First Fortnight.

With the New Year and FF2020 on the horizon, we hope you’ll join us at the launch of First Fortnight 2020 on November 27th (full details to follow) to show our appreciation and gratitude to JP as we continue the work that he started all those years ago.

JP, there will always be a place for you at the kitchen table!

Thank you!

In fairness.

First Fortnight (Facebook)

JP Swaine

Is the creative industry driving you spare?

Via First Fortnight (mental health in the creative arts charity):

First Fortnight hope to launch a 24/7 dedicated Wellbeing Support Service in 2020, which will include free mental healthcare for people working in the Creative Sector in Ireland through an initial two year pilot programme.

Prior to launching the proposed service we’re conducting initial research in order to provide the highest quality care for the community.

If you work in the Creative Sector, be it as a musician, visual artist, stage manager, agent, poet, writer, dancer etc…we would be grateful if you could take a moment to click on the quick link below for a 3 minute survey comprising of nine quick questions.

The deadline for responses is  June 10. Your information could be crucial to demonstrating the need for this service to key funders….

Mental Health Survey For Artists

Pic: Allstock


Tomorrow night.

At The Sound House at 28, Eden Quay, Dublin 1, at 7.30pm.

As part of the First Fortnight festival, Culture Vultures – a pop culture, salon event co-curated by Andrea Keogh and its presenter Tony Clayton-Lea – will host I Have A Tribe, actor Liam Cunningham, Calvin James (Syrias Vibes) and Kerrie O’ Brien.

Sez they:

Patrick O’Laoghaire, aka I Have A Tribe, spent most of last year travelling Europe performing songs from his debut album, Beneath A Yellow Moon.

Last year, Kerrie O’Brien she was shortlisted for the Penny Dreadful Novella Prize, and is currently working on her debut novel. In October of last year, her debut collection of poetry, Illuminate, was published by Salmon Poetry. Kerrie is also the editor of Looking At The Stars, a limited edition anthology of Irish writing that aims to raise €15,000 for the Dublin Simon Community.

The current conflict in Syria is recognised globally as a human rights issue, and in an exclusive Culture Vultures event for First Fortnight, we bring together two Irish people who have first-hand experience of a country in chaos and people in turmoil: DJ Calvin James, of Scoop Foundation and actor Liam Cunningham – in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea.

Culture Vultures (First Fortnight)

Previously: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

24.11.17 - Dublin: First Fortnight 2017 mental health arts festival programme launch. Pictured are artist Emma Sheridan; First Fortnight co-founder David Keegan; and Minister of State for Mental Health & Older People Helen McEntee in artist Emma Sheridan's studio. First Fortnight 2017 runs from January 1 to 14 aimed at challenging mental health stigma. Photo: Kieran Frost

Emma Sheridan, Helen McEntee, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, and First Fortnight co-founder David Keegan (Above)

First Fortnight has just unveiled its festival programme for 2017.

It’s going 8 years, in fairness.

Paul Kimmage, Eleanor Tiernan, and Ivor Browne will all make contributions while Le Galaxie yokes, Otherkin and Girl Band will help supply the tunes.


First Fortnight


Mark Willis writes:

“We’re launching this awesome album on Thursday in Whelan’s [Camden Street, Dublin] in aid of First Fortnight. It’s called There is a Light and it features TWENTY Irish artists – including Ambience Affair, O Emperor and The Casanova Wave. The aim is simple: to raise awareness of mental health issues and raise funds for mental health charity First Fortnight. Indeed, all proceeds from the album (€10) & tickets (€10) are going to First Fortnight. The artists have given their music to the project for free. The launch gig features performances by Ambience Affair, Biggles Flys Again, Hidden Highways, Owensie & Dylan Tighe. Tickets are only €10 – for 5 acts (and all for a good cause). All the details are here: Thank you.

‘There Is A Light’ the album can be purchased here .


Youth group SpunOut.ie are running a photography and film-making workshop TOMORROW for 20 young people around Dublin, as part of the mental health arts festival, First Fortnight.

After the workshop, the group will hit the streets, take ‘selfies’ and make a music video focusing on positive mental health messages.

And here’s where YOU come in.

SpunOut’s John Buckley writes:

“As part of this we want people be spread some positive messages about mental health by sharing a selfie, but with a message about positive mental health. So what helps them get through tough times or just keep happy.

What you can do…

1. Think of a positive message about mental health.
2. Jot it down on a piece of paper
3. Take your phone
4. Point camera at your face
5. Lift up the positive mental health message
6. Pull ‘duck face’.
7. Take photo
8. Upload to Instragram, Facebook, Twitter with the hashtags #FFfest14 #SpunOutSelfie

More details here

Thanks John


The official launch of First Fortnight, mental health arts festival at the top of Grafton Street, Dublin today..

Contemporary artist and Lady Gaga collaborator Stuart Semple launched First Fortnight, Ireland’s mental health arts festival by unleashing his Happy Clouds – smiley faced, helium-based clouds that floated over Dublin city centre. Previously seen in London, Sydney and Milan. Stuart Semple was joined by artists from First Fortnight, as well as representatives from the festival’s partners See Change, Mental Health Reform and SpunOut.ie, Ireland’s youth website.

Pictures: Conor McCabe


First Fortnight Festival starts TODAY at various locations around Dublin and runs for the next…fortnight.

Organised by Dave Keegan and JP Swaine (Top right, with actor Pat Kinevane), First Fortnight is a festival which aims to “challenge the stigma of mental illness through the arts”.

Standing before street art by ‘Friz’ in Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin, this morning were from left: Michael Pope from Le Galaxie, Ellie and Louise Macnamara (Heathers), Pat Kinevane and ‘Box of Frogs‘ cast members: Mary McEvoy, Dil Wickremasinghe and John Moynes, Broadsheet’s damn hipster ‘ricksmith.

First Fortnight

(Pics by Conor McCabe)