The Workshops: National Museums Northern Ireland


Watch a short video about the National Memory – Local Stories workshops at National Museums Northern Ireland (2:40)

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film transcript:


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The Participants from New Lodge Arts, Belfast

The workshop participants at National Museums Northern Ireland were from New Lodge Arts.  New Lodge Arts provides innovative, educational arts-based activities that stretch across the community and political divide in North Belfast. With a strong community focus and a passion for supporting the needs of young people within the area, the organisation provides creative opportunities and challenges that unlock young people's potential to grow and succeed.  The National Memory - Local Stories project offered a unique opportunity to participate in a creative process that allowed the participants to explore the impact of the First World War on local people. 

The project stimulated a strong interest in the First World War among the group and there are plans to continue the learning with a research visit to the battlefields, memorials and museums in France and Belgium.

The eleven young people from New Lodge Arts in North Belfast who took part in the workshops were aged 13 – 16 years.

The Workshops at the Museum

The main collection resource for the workshops at National Museums Northern Ireland was a diary from Private George Hackney who came from Belfast. The diary contained accounts of his experiences and life on the western front together with a sizeable set of black and white personal photographs. The workshops also featured a set of Irish First World War recruitment posters.

The location for the workshops was split so that participants could work in their own community and also make use of resources at the museum.   Participants interacted with curators at the Ulster Museum and a local historian at New Lodge Arts.

Locality was a particularly important aspect of this group and the work that they produced.  The themes of communication, hope, fear, identity, friendship, and community were developed and explored in relation to the participants’ own lives and the experiences of the First World War that they learnt about.  Each participant produced their own individual work, which was also part of a collective ‘jigsaw’ image that was inspired by a First World War jigsaw found in the Museum’s collection.

Media 19