One thing that the pandemic has done is speed up the take-up of online arts activities. Some art forms are better than others at translating into the digital world.

We look forward, therefore, to what the three organisations that won the British Council NI’s call-out for digital collaboration funding will do. The Black Box, Outburst Queer Arts and Bounce Culture 1999 all won the bid so we expect lots of digital innovation to help keep us connected to the outside world.

In this case in particular with our friends in Kenya.

An Chultúrlann has an interesting free series of Zoom workshops on creative writing and drawing to complement their current exhibition. The first one is on Saturday 23 January. I’ve always loved drawing, the meditation of it, but I’m not convinced that it translates well into an online exhibition. I love to see the connection with the artist's hand.

The hand marks rubbing on paper or other surface to help connect you with millions of artists that have gone before and with continue after us all. But I love the fact that Zoom has become popular to reach people in their own homes. There are no mobility issues, just technological ones. You could even do it via a smartphone.

Turas has published a lovely animation (above) about Gail, a Protestant woman's first steps to  an Irish language class. Gail is now in her second year at Queen's University studying Archaeology and Irish.

Have you ever wondered what fine art printmaking is all about? Belfast Print workshop   are releasing a series of videos around printmaking, I enjoyed Dr Josephine McCormick’s video on getting a whole printmaking studio in a suitcase, describing it as a Pandora ’s box of printmaking. But be careful if you start: it becomes obsessive. You have been warned.

Belfast Exposed  continues its Tristan Poyser exhibition,  ‘An Englishman’s search for the Border‘ This is an evocative title at any time but most particularly now.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art, IMMA Dublin has uploaded a lot of great digital content in particular the interview and explanation of the Paula Rego exhibition. 'Obedience and Defiance'.

They have an armchair azure programme for people with dementia and their family members that looks really good, I was involved with the live and learn team at the Ulster Museum developing a dementia programme there which won an award.

However, it was never mainstreamed and being able to do such a programme remotely would have been perfect for my dad when he had limited mobility, as I’m sure it would be for many people now who are at home with a family member with the condition.

The programme looks at pieces of art from their collection and via zoom and interacts with people in their homes. 

The Northern Ireland Mental Health Festival has a call out for poems based on loneliness which will to be selected and published for their festival in May.

Thank you to anyone who contacted me regarding the Right to Create exhibition this week. We are continuing the campaign at Pssquared and on Wednesday 1pm we have Riann Coulter from the FE McWilliam Gallery Banbridge and Paula Larkin who worked in the KCat art centre Kilkenny in conversation. Email us to receive a Zoom link if you are  interested .
It would be nice to see a few more single artist destination gallery’s pop up around the place as they act as a hub of activity and attract people to go to places they would not normally be in. Indeed, the only reason I’m ever in Banbridge is to go to this FE McWilliam Gallery. 

The 4 Corners Festival starts on 31 January and this year the theme is 'Breathe'. Something we all appreciate we can still do.

While there are still limits on our activities and our circles of interaction are smaller, sometimes it’s good to appreciate we are still alive. It includes a morning and Night prayer, the night prayer in particular on Facebook has become popular, flowing out into the world from St John's Parish on the Falls. The festival includes a discussion with John Paul Lederach, Emeritus Professor of Peace building of University of Notre Dame.

Our video above features a talk on Art in place of Conflict by John Paul Lederach.