With an ambition to become an international festival by 2023 the Waterways Story making Festival (WSMF) was launched in 2017 with the objective of giving people the opportunity to express creatively their artistic and cultural heritage related to waterways – rivers, canals, shorelines, harbours and maritime environments – anywhere. WSMF is rooted in Ireland and has begun engagement internationally with Irish Diaspora organisations. We aim to reflect the great diversity of waterways as an inspiration in all aspects of our work with – artists, audiences, volunteers, staff, participants, board members, and partner companies and organisations. We invite and welcome input on how we can do this more effectively from the many thousands of individuals and communities with whom we work in ever more exciting ways. We aim to embody the values implicit in our name:

  • We will seek to reflect the extraordinary social and economic impact and diversity of waterways at every level of our organisation and programme;
  • We will work with artists, communities, organisations, clubs, individuals, governments, producers and creative partners cultivating the opportunity for rich cultural expression;
  • Through our Festival we will create a space for ambitious cultural exchange, and the imagining of new international possibilities.

Over the last 3 years WSMF has invited, via its competition format, a wide range of work from very detailed appliqué panels depicting the things which are important to waterways communities to aerial photographs of the River Bann and stories about frogs from children. WSMF works closely with venues, other cultural organisations and a wide range of collaborators, whose financial and creative input helps to make many elements of the Festival possible. We send our competition entries in February annually on a touring exhibition which is seen widely in communities. We publish an anthology of all the collected writings and give it out freely to participants.

This year we will launch the Festival exclusively on line to support our creative community through these challenging times. We have added to our competition themes;

  • Creative writing
  • Craftworks – model making, ceramics, drawing and painting
  •  Video diaries and short film – this to give people the widest possible expression of their creative talents and to express themselves during these challenging times.

Full terms and conditions, online.

Our Festival theme for 2020 is ‘Then & Now’.

Why not join us?

Interim Chief Executive, August 2020

Waterways Story making Festival (WSMF) Website