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 which created opportunities for our pupils to establish new relationships and learn more about other young people. An idea for an Art Project was developed an application for funding was submitted to department for Foreign affairs reconciliation fund and subsequently approved. Our journey to develop new cross border links north and south began and The project ‘Our Identity’ got off the ground with our first staff meeting in St Louis Dundalk which also involved Eamon Rafter from Glencree and Sean Pettis from Corrymeela, who were instrumental in shaping our project.
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 course of the year. This creative project explored the theme of ‘Our Identity’ and provided a wonderful opportunity for the students involved to explore further, different identities within a variety of cultural backgrounds. What all our schools have in common is that we promote inclusion every day in our schools and are open to learn about other traditions and cultures.
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, Co Antrim, Glencree, Co. Wicklow and in each of the three schools. The final showcase took place in Dundalk Museum on Monday 18 November when the students met up again and the art work was revealed to their parents and invited guests.
Mrs Anderson, Principal commented “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”