In conversation with Lelia Doolan

Lelia Doolan has been described as the godmother of independent film in Ireland. She began her career in RTE in the 1960’s with her ground-breaking work with the TV drama “The Roirdans” and the current affairs programme, “Seven Days”, a precursor to “Prime Time”.  After her exit from RTE she went onto become artistic director with the Abbey Theatre before moving to Belfast to study at Queen’s University.

Her five years in Belfast were followed by work with an anti-poverty agency in the west of Ireland and with homeless women in Dublin. She also began teaching broadcast studies first at Rathmines College in Dublin and later, when she moved to the west of Ireland, at NUI Galway.

Doolan relocated to Galway in the early 80’s and thus began a love affair and affinity with the city that has endured for nearly forty years.  She was there in 1993 when Michael D. Higgins, then minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (and now President), asked her to establish the Irish Film Board. She was also one of the founders of the Galway Film Fleadh, still one of Ireland’s most successful independent film festivals. Indeed the thriving film and arts culture of the city owes much to Lelia Doolan’s vision and tireless campaigning.

The Picture Palace is her latest cultural endeavor for Galway.  Lelia took time out from her hectic schedule to chat with us over a coffee about creativity in education. You can watch her interview here:

“Everybody is born creative”, look at children, look at small children; they are incredible, inventive, creative, ebullient, full of fun.”

She also believes that creativity and play are inextricably linked and refers Johan Huizinga and his book  Humo Ludens: A study of the play element in culture , “human beings are people who love to play” she states.

For Lelia Education is about: “opening people up to the possibilities of life, you have to enable kids to be creative. I learned about poetry through learning the  Lady of Shallot off by heart and then performing it in classroom for an astonished teacher”.

For Lelia creativity and education is all about: “enabling kids to take chances”. Creativity is risk taking, pushing the situation as far as you can and see what happens, take chances, risk taking, that’s what creativity is to me”.

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