BAAT day at the Seamus Heaney home center


B.A.A.T Day Seamus Heaney Home Center

B.A.A.T NI’s annual gathering and CPD event will take place in Homeplace, ‘A home for inspiration, echoing the life, literature and legacy’ of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Described as ‘An award-winning hub of creativity, a site like no other. The center regularly plays home to the world’s leading poets, authors, musicians, actors, and artists, contributing to its innovative environment’. Seamus Heaney HomePlace is located in the village of Bellaghy where Seamus was born and raised within the area and choose Bellaghy as his final resting place.

The center is open to everyone and accessible to everyone. It has great photography elements to it and tells the life of Seamus through his life using his poems. It would be a fantastic place to do art therapy sessions with groups as there is so much to work with.  

Everything is interactive and aimed at all age groups which I find to be a huge aid to all.

The art area is full of exciting things to catch your imagination books to read artwork to look at art materials to use beans bags to curl up in a storytelling area.

So when I was walking around listening to our little telephones I was wondering how you could do a therapy group where would you start what would you hone in on there where so many photos from the past that are reminders our country’s past that would mean many things to many people there were images that are still related to today’s world and poems that would in some way take us back to a memory of our own, the photo of the kingfisher reminds me of paddling.


From Death of a Naturalist, published 1966.


“But best of all was the warm thick slobber

Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water

In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring

I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied

Specks to range on window-sills at home,

On shelves at school, and wait and watch until

The fattening dots burst into nimble-

Swimming tadpoles.”



The photo of frog and frogspawn took me back to my childhood of searching and catching frogs rescuing the spawn that had no water watching it grow every year doing it again.

Late August, given heavy rain and sun

For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.

At first, just one, a glossy purple clot

Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.

You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet

Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it

Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger

Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots

Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.

Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills

We trekked and picked until the cans were full,

Until the tinkling bottom had been covered

With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned

Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered

With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.

But when the bath was filled we found a fur,

A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.

The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush

The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.

I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair

That all the lovely candles smelt of rot.

Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.


This reminds me of Granny sending all the grandkids out to pick the blackcurrants filling our jars over and over again, then sitting at night taking the stems off removing the bad ones trying not to squish them all getting them ready to make jam having to stir the pot from the middle out and then back again over and over again until it was ready. But in the end, we got homemade scone bread with homemade blackcurrant jam which was a great thing to have on cold winter days.

Seeing how easily I could relate to the poems I wonder if this is an avenue that I could look into to do an art therapy session.

These ideas where future backed up when after our tour we had a workshop with Oonagh Campbell. The following workshop was developed and delivered by Oonagh Campbell 23rd March 2019 @ Seamus Heaney home center to Baat group members

‘Seeing Things’ ~ An Inquiry Into Seeing.

Aim of the workshop

As Art Therapists to notice and expand our seeing capacities to support our therapeutic encounters and interventions.


A practice workshop offering an opportunity to:

  1. Experience ‘primary’ seeing and perceiving?
  2. Notice the contribution this primary seeing makes to creating therapeutic ‘Wow’ moments for those we are honored to sit alongside.

Our means of inquiry will be an adventure through the primary colors. The process will be supported with some bodywork as well as art journaling.

Oonagh opened her workshop by reading parts of a poem by Seamus Heaney to open the floor  “We marked the pitch: four jackets for four goalposts, That was all. The corners and the squares Were there like longitude and latitude” opened it as a safe space where all the things we wanted could stay and all the things we didn’t need could leave an open field.

This was an interesting way to open the group but it did create a feeling on containment I had never thought of that before the room was the container of a container we where talking about is this creating a space within a space no in the room but without ourselves.

Oonagh told us of our task but 1st got our body’s moving to wash away what we didn’t need to give ourselves the permission we needed to complete what we were being asked to visualize

We stood up used movement to wash our bodies anchor our bodies for what we are going to do ground ourselves and open ourselves to what we need and don’t need at this moment. To end Oonagh asked us to do an exercise that would connect our right and left the brain

  • Put thumb out in front of you
  • Keep your head fixed in the same position do not move it
  • Move thumb in a figure of 8
  • Follow with your eyes
  • Make it bigger and bigger

This makes you cross from left to right brain

We were asked to go and get paper and the primary colors

  • Only using the color blue fill the page what do you experience what do you feel sit with the image of blue you have created.
  • Then we were asked to write about the questions we where asked


Coming out of the blue to me today is?

I wrote movement, back and forth dark then light darker you need to go flowing in and out blending washing………

When I look at my blue I feel?

Pulled longing pulling reaching out stretching where is my direction tides streams waves

Then if you only had a postage stamp what would you write on it to represent blue?

I wrote wind and ocean

We all then came together to give our view of blue.

So what does blue symbolize

Blue evokes feelings of calmness and spirituality as well as security and trust. Seeing the color blue causes the body to create chemicals that are calming. Because blue is favored by so many people, it is often viewed as a non-threatening color that can seem conservative and traditional.

Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly. Blue is often seen as a sign of stability and reliability.he color of peace, calm, and serenity. Blue is the shade of the sky, crystal clear seas, and other elements of nature that trigger a sense of tranquility.

BLUE. Intellectual.

Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.

Blue is the color of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently, it is serene and mentally calming. It is the color of clear communication.

Blue objects do not appear to be as close to us as red ones. Time and again in research, blue is the world’s favorite color. However, it can be perceived as cold, unemotional and unfriendly.

Color Psychology: The Color Blue

  • calmness
  • serenity
  • cold
  • uncaring
  • wisdom
  • loyalty
  • truth
  • focused
  • Unappetizing

Too much blue can create feelings of melancholy, negativity, sadness, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness. Too little blue brings about qualities of suspicion, depression, stubbornness, timidity, and unreliability.

Yellow In this moment yellow is speaking to me of shining bright glowing lighting up the path shining a light on every detail open your eyes.

I find looking at the yellow is too much I need sunglasses a sickly feeling too bright and stark penetrating my eyes push is away from it’s giving me a headache too much exploding out filling the space bouncing back and forth overwhelming bright

My postage stamp said illuminating.

We came together to give our views on yellow

What does yellow mean

YELLOW. Emotional

Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.

Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.

The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case, the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest color, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the color of confidence and optimism.

Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a color scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our “yellow streak” can surface.

Color Psychology: The Color Yellow

  • happiness
  • laughter
  • cheery
  • warmth
  • optimism
  • hunger
  • intensity
  • frustration
  • anger
  • Attention-getting

On one hand, yellow stands for freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, and joy, but on the other, it represents cowardice and deceit. A dull or dingy yellow may represent caution, sickness, and jealousy. the color yellow can be warmth, cheerfulness, increased mental activity, increased muscle energy. The color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build confidence, and stimulate the nervous system.


Spend time with your red at this moment has been?

Energetic fun exciting fiery bubbing warm expanding


When I look at my red creation I feel?

Warm energized motivated, My postage stamp says energized

Which one would I most like to be within this moment?

Blue I would like to have a bath in blue in the ocean to float in the sky be as free as the birds

Which color do you not want to be with?

Yellow I find it much overwhelming to bright.

Color Psychology: The Color Red

  • love
  • romance
  • gentle
  • warmth
  • comfort
  • energy
  • excitement
  • intensity
  • life
  • Blood

Red, the color of blood and fire, is associated with meanings of love, passion, desire, heat, longing, lust, sexuality, sensitivity, romance, joy, strength, leadership, courage, vigor, willpower, rage, anger, danger, malice, wrath, stress, action, vibrancy, radiance, and determination.

Red is assertive, daring, determined, energetic, powerful, enthusiastic, impulsive, exciting, and aggressive. Red represents physical energy, lust, passion, and desire. It symbolizes action, confidence, and courage. The color red is linked to the most primitive physical, emotional, and financial needs of survival and self-preservation.

The color red is an intense color that is packed with emotion ranging from passionate, intense love to anger and violence — representing both Cupid and the devil. It is a hot, strong, stimulating color that represents excitement and energy. Studies show that the color red can create physical effects such as elevated blood pressure, enhanced libido, increased respiratory rates, enhanced metabolism, increased enthusiasm, higher levels of energy, and increased confidence.

The color red is a highly visible color that is able to focus attention quickly and get people to make quick decisions.

Red’s association with courage and bravery makes it a color that is used often in national flags, on shields, and in achievement patches.

Too much red causes loss of temper, agitation, anger, and overbearing, demanding, and oppressive behaviors. Too little red causes lethargic, cautious, whiny, and manipulative feelings.

Oonagh went onto to talk about the simple pictures children draw of the sky sun and earth but what has that got to do with what we have just done

Blue= sky = therapist the big picture thinker the container space freedom

Yellow= sun=  client/group you can’t have the sun without earth and sky it can shine bright or be hiding

red= earth= informed intervention

Why is red earth well blue and yellow make red if we look at “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight? Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning” It is old weather saying often used at sunrise and sunset to signify the changing sky and originally known to help the shepherds prepare for the next day’s weather.

This is an amazing way to think of art therapy how each element has a role to play and if you don’t get the balance right then it will look different than the client needs. The client needs to be at the center they need to shine bright and the therapist and intervention adapt to them. But if they become too bright we the therapist will need to put sunglasses on maybe even suncream to protect ourselves this is self-care.

What are the perceptions of the landscape too much intervention blocking out the sun no intervention to much space to much sky a tiny sun how can we as therapist change this landscape to work with the client to create a balance for them to forge their own landscape?

We were then asked to do 3 more drawing thinking about what the colors mean thinking about something that we wanted to look at drawing the situation as a big picture then examine what it needed and carefully adding the intervention.

What has come into my awareness now is?

Balance to say no mix and mingle all around but remember you need some of each ask for help see each as they are but chose what you need to listen to your body and remember its ok to get it wrong as long as you learn from it.

From this awareness one thing, I commit to is?

Make a balance within myself for work placement university my self family friends and my sport make a space that can learn to have fun and play learn to let go after the session and university and placement and especially work wipe yourself down let it go there are infinite possibilities of how things can happen to learn what makes you uncomfortable and work with it to make it less it needs to be good for you and for client.

My experience of myself this afternoon has been?

Sometimes I just see the big picture and forget to look closer to see what is the most significant piece I need to slow down take time to see big picture study in and then make an informed decision into what to do taking one piece at a time. I have to give myself space and time for growth I will fail at times but I need to expect that learn from it and keep going.

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