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Creative Pathways to Participation

ATD Ireland are proud to launch a new creative writing project “Creative Pathways to
Participation” funded by Coalition 2030.   Click here or the picture below to download the
entire book.

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This piece of work aims to shine a light on the brave efforts made by many people struggling
with poverty and social exclusion to express themselves publicly and to face the barriers and
inequalities head on. Written by ATD Ireland Community Activists and members of Misean
Cara, Zero Waste Alliance Ireland, Matt Talbot Community Trust and Doras Bui- it explores
themes of activism, poverty, inequality, sustainability, hope, community and love.

This project is a follow up to our 2021 publication ‘Lockdown Liberties: Spoken and written
word’, a collection of poetry and writing written over the course of the pandemic lockdown.

When we released our last publication “Lockdown Liberties”- it was a reflection of our
mindset at the time. A time of isolation and the depression brought about due to the
unprecedented lockdown and period of confinement experienced by all. However, we are no
longer in a lockdown. We have surpassed it and I believe we are in a better position to take
advantage of opportunities that have presented themselves since the end of the lockdown”.


Our Creative Pathways to Participation is a collection of poetry, writing and art showcasing
the importance of creative outlets; for finding voice, self-expression, self-recognition and
sharing insights on issues of social justice, equality and inclusion.

The aim of this project is to nourish and spotlight the creative talents and knowledge of those
impacted by poverty and discrimination or those who otherwise experience marginalisation.
It hopes to give people a valuable space for reflection and an avenue to share their lived
experience, insights and perspectives on themes which are important to them.  “When you
have things written down- it gets out and you’re not bottling it all up”. Christina
It hopes to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals through the lived
experience of social exclusion, and tangibly find ways to progress the Leave No One Behind
promise embedded within the SDG’s.

In the anti-poverty sector we speak about participation as a fundamental norm. Sometimes
without recognition of how far some people are left behind. There is a paradigm shift needed
in our political structures before real, meaningful participation can happen.
Participation can come in many forms, from standing up and speaking out, expressive
art, creative writing to mention a few. Creating the conditions for meaningful
participation is essential. Taking the time needed to build genuine relationships based on
trust, peer support and creating a welcoming; non-judgmental environment are just a few
key examples. This project is about recognising the value of the ‘creative process’ as a
support in people finding their voice and self- expression, given that people who are
struggling are not often given the platform to do so.

The project participants wrote in their own time, over messenger or during our open days at
our office. Participants were also involved in the design of the film They had the time to
develop their writing through the encouragement from each other, in a way which reflects the
peer support that is evident within the group of ATD Ireland Community Activists. Asking guests

to be involved in this publication and speak on their own passions and experiences underpins these
ideas of solidarity, learning and understanding.

Accompanying the book is a film with poetry reading and explanations on the significance of the
project. We chose two key locations- Sandymount beach and Trinity College. We chose
Sandymount beach as a way to conceptualise the idea of isolation and solitude, a key theme
emerging from the poetry; and the natural environment- the protection of which is so central to the
sustainable development goals. “I associate Sandymount Strand with that James Joyce story of his
epiphany where his eyes were opened. The artists in this book didn’t need Sandymount Strand they
had a vision- they were up and running- they were activists”-
Martin. Trinity College symbolised a
transformation pathway, translates hope for people in poverty situations to deal with their current
situation, and optimism for more inclusion and representativity of people in poverty experience in
Irish society. 

“This book and collection of work is a celebration and collaboration of the spirit of the
community activists here at ATD Ireland. This body of work and the personal and collective
achievements of the authors over the last number of years, is best demonstrated through the
following pages. Through the words and art, it is an opportunity to take stock of the personal
and collective development and growth”
– Paul

“Readers of this book who peruse the raw, challenging and humorous words, coming from
real struggles with life, will discover a wisdom and a humanity that is often missing from
much of what can be pretentious and irrelevant in conventional poetry”
– Martin

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