Schools celebrate Our Place Project Finale at the Lyric Theatre

1st June 2018
Image: Poet Frank Galligan and Poetry Ireland's Anna Bonner are pictured with students Isobella McCrudden (9) from St Theresa's P.S , Belfast and Jonathan Graham (10), Antertaine.P.S, Maghera at the closing event.

More than 150 primary and secondary school children came to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on Thursday morning (31st May 2018) for the conclusion of Poetry Irelands Writers in Schools' Our Place project.

The Our Place project offered children and young people from schools across Northern Ireland an opportunity to engage with professional artists to explore themes around positive images of place and shared spaces. Our Place was made possible through the support of the Reconciliation Fund (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds.

The finale event featured readings and performances from some of the children and young people involved in the programme, along with music and stories from renowned storyteller and songwriter Len Graham.

The programme saw poet Deirdre Cartmill  St Louise’s College, Belfast; storyteller Pat Ryan in St Teresa’s PS Belfast, and Jonesboro PS, Co Armagh; poet Denise Blake in St Mary’s PS Altinure, Co Derry; novelist Bernie McGill in a cross-community residency in both Ballycastle High School and Cross & Passion College, Ballycastle; and Frank Galligan in Drumrane PS, Co Derry, and in a cross-community residency in both St Mary’s PS, Glen, Maghera and Ampertaine PS, Maghera, Co Derry.

Feedback from  the project:

“I found out that I am very good at writing poems. I might even start writing my own poems. I always thought that poetry was boring but now I see how beautiful it is.”

“I have personally loved the experience. It has definitely had a big impact on me … I think poetry is a great way to express your feelings.”

“Their idea of shared space is somewhere they have to share with friends, family and other pupils. They have to navigate this shared space emotionally and physically. I let them run with their own idea of shared space rather than impose an idea of separation from other communities that they do not have.”

“The fact that they were writing together and sharing and hearing their work, is to my mind, a very positive thing. It breaks down barriers and shows them in a very natural way all the things that they have in common.”

“The parents talked about how much the children enjoyed it and how happy the parents were that they were picking up local lore, asking their families about it, and doing the writing.” (writer)