About us

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals ( NAPD) is the professional association for second level school leaders in Ireland.  The Association represents the views of second level school leaders in Ireland to the Department of Education and Skills and shows leadership in the formulation of educational policy

The Arts and Culture Committee

Supported by Director Paul Crone, the NAPD President and Executive, a number of educational  subcommittees exist within NAPD.  The Arts Culture and Heritage Committee was set up in 1999 to promote arts-in-education in schools.  Currently chaired by Kay O Brien the committee is composed of serving and retired Principals and Deputy Principals.

The Arts and Culture and Heritage Committee membership  2023-24 is:

Dermot Carney, Anthony Condron, Mick Daly, Brendan Flynn, Mary Hanley, Trish Hayden, Kathy Jones, Frances Neary, Kay O Brien, Paddy O Conor, Associate member: Derek West.


What is Creative Engagement?

It is an arts-in-education programme. This entails an artist or artists coming into the school to work with the students. A creative engagement happens when a local artist or  arts  group comes into the school and imparts their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to the students. This partnership has mutual benefits to both artist and school. The Creative Engagement programme encompasses the arts in its broadest manifestation, from the visual arts to music, from theatre to dance and all the arts in between.

The Creative Engagement programme strives to encourage creativity, initiative and expression in our students and to complement curricular learning in the arts, heritage and culture. NAPD envisions an education system energised through the arts and where creativity is a core activity in the post primary curriculum. The NAPD Arts Culture and Heritage committee celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year 2019.  The Arts Culture and Heritage committee has been  administering the Creative Engagement programme in schools since 2005.

What is the aim of Creative Engagement?

The aim of the Creative Engagement programme is to encourage students’ creativity, initiative and expression. The student is seen to be at the centre of the creative process and the programme strives to complement curricular learning in the arts, culture and heritage. One aspect of the Creative Engagement process has been the establishment of working partnerships.  To this end Creative Engagement has established working partnerships with Poetry Ireland, The Heritage Council, Young Social Innovators, The National Museum, The National Gallery, IMMA and Local Authority Arts Officers among others.

How is Creative Engagement funded?

Partnership on a local level is matched by partnership at government level. Funding for the Creative Engagement scheme is secured from the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht and also from the Heritage Council. In the past fourteen years  since its inception, there have been over 1000 Creative Engagement projects funded by NAPD.  Predating the Creative Schools programme, it is the longest running broad based second level arts-in-education programme in Ireland.

The support from Ministers of both Departments and also from the Heritage Council has been maintained to the present time.

Support from school leaders and Creative Youth.

The encouragement of school leaders, teachers and artists are acknowledged as the vital ingredients for the success of Creative Engagement in the classroom. Their commitment allows the space for students to explore, to problem solve and to create. As part of Creative Ireland, Creative Engagement works under the umbrella of  the Creative Youth Pillar alongside other programmes including Creative Schools. The all-of-government Creative Ireland Programme 2023-2027, in which the Creative Youth strand is embedded works to ensure all children and young people can realise their full creative potential. This includes the delivery of a number of programmes within schools with the conviction that knowledge and creativity should be equal partners in the formation of our children and young people.  Creative Engagement works within the Creative Youth Plan 2023-2027.

Empowerment to innovate.

One of the messages of the OECD (2010) Innovation Strategy is to empower people to innovate.  A key argument for  arts in education is its contribution to innovation societies.  The introduction of artists into schools in a non curricular context such as Creative Engagement allows students to freely explore the arts and to innovate. This in turn impacts on their skills, ambition, commitment, motivation, confidence and ultimately their creativity.  The design process involved in Creative Engagement has been a vehicle through which the student’s voice has been empowered over the past eighteen years.

Aims and Objectives.

NAPD strives to gain recognition of creativity through the centrality of the arts-in-education both within the formal curriculum and as a co-curricular activity.

NAPD supports the work of the Department of Education and Skills Arts-in-Education Charter. (DOWNLOAD THE ARTS IN EDUCATION CHARTER)

NAPD aims to continue to ensure its representation on all bodies charged with the development of the arts-in-education including support for the arts-in –education umbrella body Encountering the Arts Ireland (ETAI)

The Creative Engagement Exhibition for 2023 will be held in the National Indoor Sports Arena Dublin November 29  2023.


Dermot Carney, Chief Arts Officer NAPD at 0862779924 / dermotcarneynapd.ie


Dermot Carney –  Chief Arts Officer


(+353) 086 2779924