In 1986, the Arts Council wrote to 20 Irish artists asking them to contribute to an exhibition on the theme of school. The artists were asked to respond to the theme from their own memories of schooling, or from their general attitudes to school. The artists’ responses formed the basis for the first Schools Show, which opened in Co. Monaghan in 1986.

The Schools Show was followed by seven other touring exhibitions: Heroes (1987), Heads (1988), A Special Place (1989), Tokens (1990/93), Inside Out (1994), Altered States (1995) and A room of one’s own (1999), all of which shared the same general objective to introduce the work of contemporary Irish artists to young people.