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03 November, 2021: Little Houses

Minister of State Malcolm Noonan launches Little Houses, an exhibition driven by a collaboration between the National Museum of Ireland & Stoneybatter Youth Services

The exhibition provides a platform for young people to explore their experiences during the pandemic through art

For immediate release: 3rd November 2021: Minister of State Malcolm Noonan today launched Little Houses, an exhibition of artworks created by young people through a collaborative partnership between the Stoneybatter Youth Service and the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History. The project is part of the wider, ongoing relationship between the Museum and the local community in nearby Stoneybatter.
This exhibition provides a platform and a space in the Museum for young people from the community close to Collins Barracks. The artworks that they created during Lockdown are a visual record of their experiences of the pandemic and its impact on the community, and wider society.
At the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, Helen Beaumont, the Museum’s Education and Outreach Officer contacted the Stonybatter Youth Services to explore ways in which the National Museum might work with local young people to document this extraordinary time.
The idea for ‘Little Houses’ came from Johanna Visser, one of the youth workers, who had been inspired by Dutch organisation Stoereloer’s ‘Miniatuurhuis’ in the Netherlands.
The Youth Service invited young people to create artworks depicting spaces or places that were meaningful to them during this extraordinary time, and provided each young person with a bag of art materials and a wooden board, crafted by members of the Mendicity Institution’s Workshop, whose service users have experienced homelessness.
Artist Maria McKinney, engaged as guest curator for the exhibition, worked with a group of the young people on the exhibition concept, arranging the artworks together, taking inspiration from housing typical to Stoneybatter such as small cottages, terraced two-up, two-down housing, apartment blocks and flats. By mixing the spaces together in this way, the young participants have become “neighbours” of other young people they might not have met before.
The Irish Architecture Foundation collaborated with the project partners in an investigation, with the young people, of the themes reflected in the ‘Little Houses’ exhibition, including questions about what “home” means to us.
The National Museum has been actively collecting objects to reflect the pandemic, and this exhibition will add to this collection of responses to the pandemic. The artworks explore the theme of “home” and the spaces where young people lived  during lockdown and resonate with exhibitions and artefacts in the Museum’s collections.
The exhibition features a short film made by local film maker Luke McManus which gives voice to some of the young artists’ thoughts and ideas behind their artworks. Photographer Andy Sheridan, another local resident documented each artwork for the exhibition’s online version, which goes live on 3rd November (include website address:
Minister Catherine Martin, said “Little Houses is a fascinating collaboration between the National Museum of Ireland and the Stoneybatter Youth Service and I’m delighted my Department has supported this important initiative. It is vital that our young people have the opportunity to discover and be given a voice within our national cultural institutions, and it is moving to see their artworks, and their own unique experiences of lockdown, reflected in the museum exhibition. 
Lynn Scarff, Director of the National Museum of Ireland, said “This exhibition demonstrates how the Museum’s collections are not just objects of the past but very much a part of our lived experience. Young people in Ireland have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is important that we provide a space for them to reflect and tell us about their personal experience. I’d like to congratulate all the young people who participated and the mentors who assisted on the journey – it’s a privilege to have their work in the Museum. We’re encouraging our visitors to come to the Museum to see the wonderful craftsmanship of the local young people, listen to their stories, and share their own experiences.”
Helen Beaumont, Education and Outreach Officer at the National Museum of Ireland, said “It’s been a privilege to work with Stoneybatter Youth Service and local young people in our community on this project. Each and every artwork reflects or expresses something about this strange, challenging and hopefully unique time. The range of themes explored is rich and varied, from very moving stories of loss and loneliness to the hilarious and joyful. The exhibition is an important record of the pandemic for the Museum, and I’m sure the artworks will resonate with and engage our Museum visitors.”
Johanna Visser, Youth Worker, Stoneybatter Youth Service, said “The beauty of the Little Houses project is that there is no right or wrong. This project is highlighting the positive things in young people's lives during the Covid pandemic. The young people are using art to express themselves by creating their own room. It's about their dreams, what makes them happy or sad, or what did they miss the most during lockdown. All the rooms are so different and at the same time they do have certain things in common. It was so interesting for me as a youth worker to see what they made as everyone more less received the same art materials. So much creativity and talented young people we have here in Stoneybatter.”
Ends //
Images from the exhibition are available here  (ADD COLLATERAL)
For video content of the exhibition click here
Photography will be issued from today’s launch by Julien Behal Photography 087 9782542  Julien
Requests for further information/ interviews: Q4 Public Relations

About the National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is the nation’s premier cultural institution and home to the greatest collections of Irish heritage, culture and history. Admission is free.
The National Museum of Ireland has 4 public sites, and a Collections Repository: 
  • National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology (Kildare Street, Dublin)
  • National Museum of Ireland – Natural History (Merrion Street, Dublin)
  • National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History (Collins Barracks, Dublin)
  • National Museum of Ireland – Country Life (Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo)
  • Collections Resource Centre (Swords(Not open to the public)
Instagram:  @nationalmuseumofireland
About the Stoneybatter Youth Service
Stoneybatter Youth Service (SYS) is a Partnership Project of the City of Dublin Youth Service (CDYSB), a sub-committee of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB). It provides out-of-school supports to young people aged 10–24 years in the Stoneybatter community of Dublin 7, prioritising young people deemed most at risk. It aims to provide a service that responds to young people’s needs, enabling them, through their voluntary participation, to realise their full potential within their community.
For further information on SYS, contact  

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