Céad mile fáilte romhaibh (pronounced: kay-ahd mee-leh foil-chyeh row-iv) is an old Irish saying meaning one hundred thousand welcomes before you. This is the kind of warm reception we experienced during our first international meeting in November 2018 hosted by our partners at the Culture Department of the Municipality of Oostende in Belgium. Officially kicking off our Memory of Water project, artists and partners met for three days to discuss the development of activities over the next two years. For the artists, it was also the first opportunity to meet each other in person and to get to know each other’s practice.

From the first day, there was lively discussion and sharing of ideas, with all participants contributing their motivations and perspectives. We discussed the responsibilities and expectations for the project as well as planned results and evaluation methods. The meeting included site visits to cultural events and places where we encountered different examples of best practice in community engagement. Through this blog, we look forward to sharing with you our experiences and learning – but first, thank you for taking this journey with us and céad mile fáilte romhaibh!

– Mary Conlon (Ireland)