Mullingar National School wins national disability awareness competition with creative multi-media installation

'Someone Like Me is just like Someone Like You'

Mullingar National School wins national art competition with creative multi-media installation

Winners of ‘Someone Like Me’ competition announced by Minister of State with special responsibility for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath T.D

5th December 2018: A group of 5th and 6th class pupils from The Downs National School in Mullingar, County Westmeath were today announced as the overall winners of the ‘Someone Like Me’ art competition supported by the National Disability Authority. The primary schools initiative aims to promote disability awareness, nurture understanding and highlight the similarities that exist within people of all abilities.

The winning entry, selected from a shortlist of 45 entries, is a multi-media animation showing a girl with a disability enjoying everyday life. The pupils from The Downs National School, overseen by their teacher, Catherine Staunton, created the animated movie consisting of approximately 600 individual frames. For each frame, they created scenes, characters, furniture and props from paper, card, plasticine, paint, colours, wire and mesh which they then filmed and pieced together.

Announcing the winning entry, Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath T.D. said “The ‘Someone Like Me’ competition is all about promoting inclusion and positive attitudes towards everyone and it allows children to creatively express these topics through art and craft.  The winning school demonstrated an amazing understanding of the theme of the competition. The level of work and detail involved in the creation of the animated movie highlights their dedication and commitment to the project and they are deserved winners here today.

I would also like to commend all of the county winners who were narrowed down from more than 2,400 submissions received from schools representing every county in Ireland. The exhibition of your work here today showcases the artistic talents of our primary school pupils and demonstrates a great understanding of the importance of inclusivity and celebrating people of all abilities.”

Helen Guinan, National Disability Authority Chairperson added that:  “The National Disability Authority (NDA) is very happy to be supporting Someone Like Me. The quality and breadth of the winning entries reflects the interest and creativity of the pupils involved. Creating positive attitudes at primary school level is very important.  The NDA has commissioned four national surveys on public attitudes to disability, since 2001. The evidence from each survey suggests that the earlier that positive attitudes towards disability and mental health are introduced the greater the opportunities are to promote inclusive education and to improve outcomes for persons with disabilities as they grow older.”

The judging panel for the competition included Caomhán Mac Con Iomaire, Education Administrator at the National Gallery of Ireland,  Mark Maguire, Assistant Curator for Engagement & Learning at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and Ellen Keane, three-time Paralympian as well as the European Paraswimming Champion 2018.


Notes to editor:

‘Someone Like Me’ and the National Disability Authority

The ‘Someone Like Me’ national primary school art competition is supported by the National Disability Authority (NDA), the independent statutory body that provides information and advice to the Government on policy and practice relevant to the lives of persons with disabilities. According to the NDA, more than 600,000 people in Ireland have a disability, and children under 15 make up 53,000 of that figure.
The competition, which offers a range of prizes up to the value of €750, was open to all primary school pupils from junior infants to sixth class and 2,400  entries were received from individual pupils, class groups and whole schools right across Ireland.  Entries ranged from posters and collages to large sculptural installations and multi-media pieces.

The judging panel comprised of:

·      Caomhán Mac Con Iomaire

Caomhán is currently Education Administrator at the National Gallery of Ireland. His role includes leading the development of new programmes for individuals and groups with additional needs. He is a graduate of NCAD with a BDes and MA in Design, and a diploma in foundation Art from the University of Ulster. 

·      Mark Maguire

Mark Maguire is Assistant Curator for Engagement & Learning at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), coordinating programmes and projects for children, families, and schools. Previously, Mark was Chairman of the Board of Tallaght Community Arts. He holds a BA in Fine Art from NCAD and an Advanced Certificate in Management in the Arts, from the University of Ulster. 

·      Ellen Keane

Ellen Keane is a three-time Paralympian as well as the European Paraswimming Champion 2018. Ellen is an advocate for positive body image and she aims to use her performance as a platform to normalise the stigma surrounding disabilities. Ellen is currently working towards her long-term target of the Paralympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.