Butterflies for Bealtaine

Who We Are

Amelia Caulfield, Sinead Cullen and Margaret Organ Creativity & Change accredited course participants.

What We Did

‘Butterflies for Bealtaine’ was an online action created by participants on the Creativity & Change course, 2020. The project was developed as a creative response to lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic. It invited people to consider how a cocoon becomes a butterfly, creating art that expressed their hopes for the future of the world as we emerge from isolation and sharing it online using the hashtag #butterfliesforbealtaine.

How We Did It

In Irish Celtic tradition, Bealtaine (May) signifies the beginning of summer and is a time of celebration and blessings. During the Covid pandemic, however, many people experienced isolation, sadness and despair due to the current global situation.

Amidst the challenges, we saw amazing changes and incredible acts of kindness; things that once seemed impossible have become possible, which has given us a basis to hope for resilient, interconnected communities going forward into the future.

For the month of May, the group invited the public to creatively respond to the theme of The Butterfly. Using the butterfly theme, they asked people to share a change they wished for on a personal, community or global level. People from across Ireland and beyond took part, creating their own mini-actions in their communities

We invited all ages to creatively respond to the theme of The Butterfly and to share a change they wish for on a personal, community or global level. In Ireland as in many parts of the world we have been in a quarantine situation because of the global pandemic. This environment informed our project.We asked:

  • What positive changes that have happened in the last few weeks, inspire you to imagine more connected communities for all of us?
  • How do you hope the future will be in our interconnected world after isolation?

We hoped that people would celebrate creativity and connection in our communities, inviting investigation that inspires hope for the future of our communities. We asked participants to consider things that inspired hope (head), to create something inspired by the ideas they considered (hand) and to connect with their hearts; with the feeling of what it would be to live in more connected communities (heart).

The principles and ethical considerations that were important to us included: Accessibility, inclusivity and ease of use across all ages and demographics.

The creative responses could be online and/or physical pieces of work that exist in the community. This is predominantly an online action and we felt it really important to make this project accessible for people who do not use social media or have on-line access. We wanted the possibility of creating physical pieces of art in the community

Butterflies for Bealtaine


Keep it simple. Keep it accessible. Keep it inclusive.

Consider allowing the action to run within a definite time frame.

Connect with a particular time of the year and its significance for the traditions and cultures of your country but not exclusive to it. Connect with other organisation in your communities with a remit for creativity e.g. arts offices, festivals, library services, intergenerational organisations, national arts organisations.

Don’t be too precious or anticipate outcomes, let the action happen organically. Leave space for inspiration, growth… possibilities. Don’t be too prescriptive, be open to any unexpected responses.

Did We Succeed?

During the month of May we saw:

  • Beautiful creative responses to the theme.
  • Engagement with the questions that we posed.
  • Intergenerational activity: older people delighting in the invitation to be creative and young
  • children embracing the creative idea of the butterfly.
  • Videos showing others how to create butterflies (including fun tutorials on how to make your own).
  • Positive feedback.
  • People thinking outside the box because of the current limiting situation and limited access to materials.

The principles used in this awareness-raising activity could be taken into future actions by:

  • Considering and including people who do not have online access.
  • Bringing awareness to other people’s situations and creating empathy for others.
  • Including input from communities through a consultation and engagement process.
  • Remembering that an inclusive community action can be very simple and engaging.

“We created Butterflies for Bealtaine as a way to foster creative community connection across generations during quarantine. We wanted to address themes such as loneliness, isolation, the importance of human connection and creativity for well-being. We aimed to inspire participants to connect to themselves, to their family or cocooning relatives, to their communities and to the wider world.” – Amelia Caulfield


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