Mark O'Brien Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun on how art can shape place and belonging.


“so all those things are what, for me, builds communities - places where people can gather.

And that’s why I think the arts has a huge role to play, not as art forms, but offering spaces for people to gather.”

Mark O’Brien

For this episode of This is Where We Live Helen went back to chat with Mark O'Brien, Director and CEO of Axis Arts Centre, in the heart of Ballymun about how the arts and creativity can help shape place, community and belonging.

The Dublin suburb of Ballymun has a rich story to tell us about creating community and how we plan new urban villages, particularly when we put public housing at the heart of them. Over ten years ago the famous tower blocks of Ballymun, a social housing project from the 1960s, came tumbling down as part of a massive regeneration scheme for the area. Across 2008 producer Helen Shaw recorded in Ballymun for the Athena Media radio documentary 'Tower Songs' a project where the children and young people of Ballymun told their story of how their place was changing through music and song.
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Our thanks also to support from Happy Scribe
and the Dublin Housing Observatory at Dublin City Council

Tower Songs: The Athena Media radio documentary won Gold at PPI Radio Awards 2009
Athena-media – Tower-songs

Music credit: Ballymun Lullaby scored by composer Daragh O'Toole with the children and young people of Ballymun Music Project. 
Watch this short video to get an idea of what the Ballymun 7 Towers looked like:
The Story of Ballymun and the 7 Towers: (credit: Dublin City Libraries)

John Howard