Creativity in the Chester Beatty Library

Museums and Makers Inspiring Each Other

What happens when a Maker comes into contact with a museum? A lot of creative ideas and initiatives occur as reflected in this short film capturing our two-day workshop in October; Museums and Makers Inspiring Each Other: Re-Imagining the Museum Experience for Makers, 1-2 October 2016.

We were joined by a dynamic, enthusiastic group of Makers from the local community as well as researchers, members of the cultural sector as well as independent arts practitioners. Collectively we looked at the Chester Beatty Library collections to spark ideas and explore how museums can provide inspiration for creativity. This was facilitated by Don Undeen, BoomHiFive, Georgetown University Maker Hub and Jenny Siung, Head of Education, Chester Beatty Library. On the second day Make Create Innovate, a local Maker organisation, facilitated a workshop exploring how museum objects can inspire the potential for workshops, products and collaborative creative processes.

Both Kate Delaney and Siobhan Clancy of Make Create Innovate travelled to Cap Sciences, Bordeaux the following week to take up their two-week Maker in Residence and as a result, will facilitate workshops in the Chester Beatty Library based on their time in France.

This workshop is part of the Creative Museum project, a three year EU funded training project (Erasmus + 2014-2017) exploring how museum staff can up-skill in creativity, innovation, creative collaborations with local Maker communities and embed these ideas in their public programmes for audiences.

Learning for All – Our Public Programme

If you are interested in finding out more about the Library’s collections why not check our What’s On page?


Hong Ling: A Retrospective exhibition 

We have events including our Silk Worm Club children aged 6-11 years, Chester Beatty’s Creative Lab for Teens, art workshops for adults, guided tours, intercultural language tours in Japanese, Mandarin and Irish, lunch time talks, films, music and pick-up colouring activities.








Enchanting Autumn

Hong Ling, 2014 © Hong Ling. Courtesy Soka Art

A Peak of Reds, Hong Ling, 2014
© Hong Ling. Courtesy Soka Art

Our programme for September-December 2016 is full of activities and events that may whet your appetite. Dip your toe in our series of music events including Thai Music and Dance or Classical Indian Music this October.

You can also catch our temporary exhibition Hong Ling: A Retrospective 21 October 2016 – 29 January 2017 and other-related events. For those of you who wish to explore Chinese-inspired art we have workshops for children, teens and adults. Artist Lorraine Lawlor will focus on Western oil painting and Chinese landscape painting. Calligrapher Li Jia will join us in November for a public demonstration and workshop.

For more details and other-related events including lunchtime talks, tours and films see What’s On

The Creative Museum project Brighton September 2016

The Creative Museum project team convened in Brighton for a partner meeting and workshop Building a Creative Museum Together. Attendees were introduced to both local and project partner case studies of creative collaboration as well as a series of quick-fire workshops for participants to experience different aspects of how to develop a creative museum. These included workshops with Kevin Bacon, Brighton Museum, Jenny Siung, Chester Beatty Library, Marilyne Basilic & Juliette Giraud, Museomix, Sejul Malde, Culture 24, Deborah Hustic, Radiona Makerspace, and facilitated by Don Undeen of Georgetown University and Jo Anne Sunderland Bowe of Heritec UK.  The event was part of Brighton Digital Festival.

Maker-in-Residence 2016

Workshop in action

Creative Museum project 2016. Photo: Jenny Siung


Creative Museum project. Photo: Jenny Siung


Creative Museum project 2016. Photo: Jenny Siung

Look out for our forthcoming maker-in-residence as part of the Creative Museum project initiative. A number of makers are traversing the skies to work in partner museums including the Finnish Museums Association, Trondheim Museums (Norway), Cap Sciences (Bordeaux), Derby Silk Mill (UK) and of course Chester Beatty Library (5-12 December 2016).

A Whole Lot of Creativity

July was an incredible creative month for our Silk Worm and Teens Clubs. Silk Worms (aged 6-11 years) produced an array of Persian-inspired works – from ceramic tile making to collages and miniature paintings – and each took home a miniature garden, made with the help of artist Susanna Padja.

Our teens (aged 12-14 & 15-17 years) immersed themselves in the traditions of Persian arts and crafts with Iranian artist Roxana Manouchehri and completed their week with a visit to the Dublin Maker and Festival of Curiosity, where they tried and tested an array of scientific, arts, crafts, engineering explorations on offer. This was followed by a visit to Urban Escape exhibition in Temple Bar Galleries.




Calligrapher Mustafa Ja’far demonstrated his exquisite calligraphy technique for our general public and in a workshop for adults.

What’s on for September – December 2016

Our programme of events for the coming months will include an exciting loan exhibition Hong Ling: A Retrospective  (21 October 2016 – 29 January 2017) – for this and more events see What’s On

Rhapsody in Blue and Gold

Summer is here and we have a fun series of workshops and events for children, teens and adults as part of our exhibition Lapis and Gold: The Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an 15 April – 28 August 2016. This beautiful manuscript comes from southwestern Iran and dates from c. 1550.

Kids and Teens July-August

Our events include our annual Silk Worm Summer Club 11-15 July (hurry up as places are limited!) and Chester Beatty’s Creative Lab for Teens 18-22 July with Iranian artist Roxana Manouchehri. Roxana will explore Iranian artistic traditions from pigment-making to page design, calligraphy and more.  We will finish the week off with our annual trip to Dublin Maker & Festival of Curiosity.

Adults July-August

Adults can join our curator of Lapis and Gold: The Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an exhibition Dr Elaine Wright for talks about the manuscript on the 14 July and 13 August @ 1.10pm (free) or why not check out the Stylised Botanical Art workshop with Ida Mitrani on the 26 June (booking essential). Further events include Arabic calligraphy demonstration with Mustfa Ja’far on 16 July (free), an Arabic calligraphy workshop on the 17 July (booking essential), and Eslimi motifs workshop on the 21 August (booking essential).

CBL Is 1558, f.442b, detail, lower heading

We have lots of other events lined up including an afternoon of traditional Turkish music in July in addition to free public tours and film screenings. See What’s On for more details.

Farewell to our Fulbright Intern

We bid farewell to Fulbright intern Amanda Wagstaff who worked with the Education team from September 2015 – June 2016. We wish her every success for the future.



Creative Museum in Helsinki 1-3 June 2016

The Creative Museum Project team convened in Helsinki for a partner meeting and conference Creative Museum – A Gamified Conference for Makers, Museums and Independent Minds. Attendees were introduced to both local and European case studies of creative collaboration as well as a series of workshops for participants to experience different aspects of making and creativity. These included workshops with Museomix; Magic Carpet of Technology Tales with Museum of Technology; Music Robotics with Methackit; Noisepencil with Art & Craft School Robotti; Mechanical Exquisite Corpse with Mansteri; the synergy of art and mathematics in Islamic Art with Heritec and Chester Beatty Library

Summertime Fun

We have a wonderful programme of events for all age-groups lined up this summer in celebration of Lapis and Gold: The Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an 15 April – 28 August 2016.


Music Performance with Issa Murad: Oud Solo, Sunday 8 May 2pm

Issa Murad_concert 08 05 2016

Issa Murad is a Palestinian composer and oud player, who currently lives in France, and his music reflects his Arab-Levantine heritage as well as his interest in jazz, Balkan, and Indian traditional music. His performance will feature compositions and improvisations of these multicultural influences. Free, no booking required.

Is 1558_f 2a details of shamsa

Silk Worm Summer Club 11-15 July 2016

Why not join us for a week of creative workshops inspired by Persian art. These include botanical impressions in clay; ceramic tile painting; make your own Persian palace; Persian miniature painting and mini garden. Free, booking essential. Suitable for ages 6-11 years. Book here

Chester Beatty’s Creative Lab for Teens 18-22 July 2016

Join Roxana Manoucheri and discover some traditional Persian art techniques. Over the course of the week, participants will have an opportunity to create original manuscript designs inspired by Lapis and Gold: The Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an. Free, booking essential. Suitable for ages 12-14 & 15-17 years. Book here

Art Workshops for Adults

We have a series of workshops including two events to celebrate the Bealtaine Festival for older people in May.  Ida Mitrani will introduce stylised botanical drawing 26 June followed by a public art demonstration in Arabic calligraphy with Mustafa Ja’far on the 16 July and a 1-day workshop on the 17 July. Booking is essential. Book here

Arabic Calligraphy Demo_©M.Ja'far

Other events

We have lots of other events lined up including Persian and Irish music 19 June; an afternoon of traditional Turkish music in July as well as free lunchtime talks, tours and film screenings. See  What’s On for more details.


Springtime Treats

We have a wonderful line-up of events in the Chester Beatty Library this spring for adults, teens, children and visitors. Artist Hiroko Imada is a regular visitor and held a series of workshops including Japanese woodblock printmaking and traditional gift wrapping on the the first weekend of April 2016.


Anna Kadzik and Bree Cullen introduced our Silk Worm Club kids to Japanese puppets while our teens learn about the traditional Japanese ceremony, its history and complex aesthetics and rituals.

Music Town Sunday 10 April 3.15pm

Why not join us for a one-off event as part of Music Town on Sunday 10 April @ 3.15pm with Sean Nós composer, Lorcán Mac Mathúna,  who takes inspirations from the texts and artefacts of the Chester Beatty Library’s Eastern collections, and reveal narratives and stories of the ancient Irish cycles of Colmcille, An Táin, and the Battle of Contarf. This event has been organised with the generous support of MusicTown. Free, no booking required. *Please note this event will be filmed.

Lapis and Gold: the Story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an exhibition  15 April – 28 August 2016

This beautiful exhibition of the Library’s manuscript will open to the public on the 14 April 2016.   There will be a number of events to mark the exhibition throughout the spring-summer.

Greek Film Festival

Or our annual Dublin Greek Film Festival on the 21 April and watch a screening of A Family Affair?


For more details of our programme see What’s On on our website.

Festivities in February



It has been a busy month filled with a number of festivities celebrating the Chinese New Year , Chester Beatty’s Annual Lecture and symposium as part of the Ireland 2016 programme.

Over 100 people attended our Chinese tea demonstration and ceremony supported by the Asia Market. This annual celebration saw visitors enjoy an art demonstration of traditional Chinese painting techniques with Dutch-Chinese artist Hoi-Shan Mak, a fun-filled workshop for children Monkey Business and screening of Karate Kid as well as other events.

The Library invited James Cuno, President and CEO, J.Paul Getty Trust to open its discussion addressing museums and national identity. Cuno’s talk Memory, Nostalgia, Meaning: Identity Politics and Cultural Heritage will be uploaded on You Tube shortly. The Library’s symposium The Role of National Museums in (Re)Negotiating National Identity will also be made available in due course. See our website for more details.

The Library Education Team co-presented a workshop based on Ways of Seeing II and Sacred Texts in Mary Immaculate College Limerick as part of a 1-day seminar on inter-belief in Ireland funded by the Anna Lindh Foundation. Post-graduate teachers and the National Council of Curriculum Assessment worked with Jo-Anne Sunderland-Bowe and Jenny Siung exploring both the Chester Beatty Library and British Library collections of sacred texts.


The Role of National Museums in (Re) Negotiating National Identity Friday 12 February 2016

Chester Beatty Symposium, Friday 12 February 9am-4.30pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Chester Beatty Library

Book Here

See symposium brochure Here

The once homogenous national culture of Ireland in the 20th century now co-exists as one strand of a multicultural fabric. This multiculturalism now opens new debates about culture and identity. One hundred years on from the Easter Rising, do national museums in Ireland truly reflect Irish identity in 2016? The symposium will reflect on the origins of our museums and the narratives they promote; ask whether they are relevant to Irish citizens today; and suggest, what might improve in the future.

Speakers: Peter Aronnson (Linnaeus University, Sweden); Alan Chong (Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore); Patrick Cooke (School of Art History, UCD); Fionnuala Croke (Chester Beatty Library) and Elizabeth Crooke (University of Ulster); with contributions from Alan Kirwan (House of European History, Brussels), Jenny Siung (Chester Beatty Library), Raghnall O’Floinn (National Museum of Ireland) and Sheila Watson (University of Leicester).

The Role of National Museums in (Re)Negotiating National Identity 12 February 2016

The Chester Beatty Library has programmed a number of events to celebrate Ireland 2016 including:

A one-day symposium: The Role of National Museums in (Re)Negotiating National Identity, Friday 12 February 2016, 9.30am-4.30pm, venue: CBL Lecture Theatre. 

Download full seminar brochure HERE

To book a place please click HERE

Museums play an important role in defining the identity of a nation. At any time in a nation’s history, someone decides what is, and what is not, part of our ‘national culture’. National museums are perceived as authoritative spaces with the potential to select what objects to collect and display. Moreover, by using these objects to tell stories, they can influence the ideas and values that contribute to our sense of national culture and identity.
With contributions from a range of speakers from Ireland and abroad, the papers will move from international examples to reflect on how Irish museums respond to complex issues around nationalism and multiculturalism; and how they negotiate
national identity.

Speakers: Peter Aronsson (Linnaeus University, Sweden); Alan Chong (Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore); Patrick Cooke (School of Art History, UCD); Fionnuala Croke (Chester Beatty Library); and Elizabeth Crooke (University of Ulster); with contributions from Alan Kirwan (House of European History, Brussels), Jenny Siung (Chester Beatty Library) and Sheila Watson (University of Leicester).

Other Events
Other events include two lunch time talks exploring the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Taisho-Era Japan in 1916 this March and April.  Check our What’s On for more details