Following a visit by the Taoiseach to New-Bridge Integrated College last year, Mrs Anderson was keen to pursue cross border links in order to share practice and develop new relationships with schools in the South.
An idea for an Art Project was developed and an application for funding was submitted to department for Foreign affairs reconciliation fund and subsequently approved.
The journey to develop new cross border links began with the project ‘Our Identity’ with the first staff meeting in St Louis Dundalk and involved Eamon Rafter from Glencree and Sean Pettis from Corrymeela.
The project led by Mrs Dawn Clarke, New-Bridge Art Department and involving 18 students and staff from each of the schools has been extremely successful over the year. It explored the theme of ‘Our Identity’ and provided an opportunity for the students to explore different identities within a variety of cultural backgrounds. Throughout the year, the students engaged in mini art projects based on the theme of ‘peace’ and ‘celebrating identities’ to create a design for a permanent sculptural art piece for each school. Innovative workshops took place in Corrymeela Peace and Reconciliation Centre, Glencree and in each of the three schools.
The final showcase took place in Dundalk Museum on Monday, November 18 when the students met up again and the art work was revealed to their parents and invited guests.
Mrs Clarke, New-Bridge Integrated College and Project Co-ordinator said: “Art and creativity play a key role in helping young people build bridges between their own experiences and that of other’s. The journey afforded us the chance to recognise we are all individuals who, despite our differences, have been united in our common objective to live and be educated harmoniously. We are living through a time where many people are leaving their native homes and moving to live in different countries throughout our world. People are having to or indeed choosing to relocate and many indeed are coming to the island of Ireland. This project has been an example of how we as a group have worked together to celebrate this diversity and recognize our differences and learn from each other. And what an enjoyable
and memorable experience it has been!”
Mrs Anderson, Principal added: “As Principals, we pay tribute to the work of the three Art departments and other staff from each school who have given up their time to plan and deliver aspects of the project. This project was a wonderful opportunity for the Art departments from the three schools to establish new links, share practices and build capacity and this project created an opportunity for our young people to learn from each other, to build new friendships, establish new skills and to learn about each other’s traditions and cultures. It is from learning about each other’s identities that we break down barriers, develop understanding and tolerance for other people’s viewpoints.
“A spin off from the project was also provided when and senior students from each school were invited to Glencree to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla along with President Michael Higgins and his wife Sabina. The project displays, photographs, art work, symbols and the evaluations very much tells a story and this showcase has been an important day for us all and a highly symbolic one and an excellent example in promoting north/south relations.”