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Derry City & Strabane

New Exhibition Explores Life on the Border

Theresa Stewart

A new exhibition titled Borderlands will open at the Alley Theatre on Monday 26th July exploring a realistic, refreshing and relatable insight into life on the border in modern times.

It will feature 22 participants from all walks of life who are living on the border between the Derry City and Strabane District Council area and County Donegal. Through interviews with each of the participants, the exhibition highlights how crossing the border daily impacts our lives financially, socially and culturally, whilst also referring to its historical significance and foundation.

The interviews, recorded by Holywell Trust, will be archived for posterity at a significant moment in time, on the centenary of the creation of the border and during the uncharted territory that has followed Brexit.

Ronan Mc Connell, from Council’s Museum and Heritage Service, said the exhibition is a fantastic chance to see the border from many different viewpoints and experiences, both past and present.

“This is a great opportunity to capture the voices of those who have experienced the border in a variety of forms, from the early customs posts to the checkpoints during the Troubles to the invisible border following the Good Friday Agreement,” he said. “It has been 100 years since the creation of the border and this exhibition will provide a fair platform for people to voice their opinions and increase understanding amongst each other.

David Young

“By archiving these experiences now, future generations will have the chance to reflect on how life around the border has evolved, and how it may continue to evolve.”

As part of his interview for the Borderlands exhibition, David Young, one of the participants, said: “My father’s own shop was bombed five or six times. It was a fairly easy target as the road down the front of it came from the border and the road at the back went to a different part of the border.

“My father sort of developed a siege mentality. We would never have thought of crossing the border in those days. When I was a teenager, you would never have dreamt about going anywhere across the border.”

Meanwhile, another participant, Theresa Stewart, said: “I think it will make relationships more strained definitely if there was a physical structure put back in place, then you’ve got another generation of young people and children growing up who are going to have to be subjected to the same as what I was subjected, say 30 odd years ago, which can have a negative impact on them and when they’re growing up.”

The exhibition runs in the Alley Theatre from the July 26th until August 16th.

The thoughts, opinions and local linguistic expressions in this exhibition belong to the participants who live in the local area and who travel across the border regularly.

The exhibition was funded by The Executive Office’s Together Building A United Community (T:BUC) Strategy, through the District Council’s Good Relations Fund.

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Derry City & Strabane

4C UR Future Holds Successful LIVE Careers Event For Students In Derry And Strabane

The 4C UR Future LIVE event was held in Foyle Arena on Friday, June 24.

The industry-led social enterprise, 4C UR Future, aims to empower young people to make well-informed decisions about their education and future career pathways, with the LIVE event welcoming pupils from Holy Cross College, Oakgrove Integrated College, St Brigid’s College, St Joseph’s Boys’ School, and Thornhill College.

Founded by engineer and business leader, Rose Mary Stalker, 4C UR Future works with over 80 local employers to create an exciting, action-packed day that enables students to identify their strengths and interests, relative to those that are in demand by different sectors.

“4C UR Future LIVE was designed from the very beginning to be at-scale and inclusive, with all sectors represented and as many businesses as possible taking part, so that as many Year 9s as possible get the chance to participate and to shine.

“We’re encouraging young people, before they make their GCSE choices, to look at the vast range of companies working in Northern Ireland today, look at the wide range of sectors, and by playing games explore their own strengths and attributes.”

Councillor Sandra Duffy, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, was among those who visited the event and had an opportunity to find out about some of the employability opportunities that exist.

The 4C UR Future LIVE events are a departure from typical employment and careers seminars and instead embrace a more interactive, hands-on approach. Pupils have the opportunity to participate in an exciting range of skills games and work-based activities, each of which is co-designed with and facilitated by local employers. 

Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, Stephen Kelly, also stressed the importance of giving young people the opportunity to explore the world of work, learn more about their skills, and engage with employers.

“I am really inspired if I’m honest, this has been a really powerful experience for me as somebody who represents our manufacturing community.

“To see children deeply engaged in the activities that they are asked to participate in, none of them are wandering about, none of them are running off to try and amuse themselves, they’re all really stuck into the tasks that are there in front of them.”

Apart from giving pupils a chance to engage, 4C UR Future is helping to bridge the disconnect between schools and the world of work, by ensuring that teachers, as well as pupils, understand that the employers who have signed up to take part are there to support, assist, and build a powerful relationship for the future. 

Mr Kelly explained: “Manufacturers, as well as everybody in business, are really struggling to get the people they need to meet the orders that they’ve managed to secure. If we’re going to have a chance to reach the kind of economic ambition that we have, then we need great people coming to our businesses at all levels.

“We would encourage not just the manufacturers that are already here but other manufacturers across Northern Ireland to sit alongside 4C UR Future, to get engaged with this project, and to really begin to inspire that next generation of workers and young people to come through into their businesses.”

The aim of the LIVE events is to provide a young person-centred approach to careers advice, reach pupils at the right age, and raise their awareness to help them navigate the complex careers landscape.

That is the message 4C UR Future Managing Director, Rachel Doherty, is keen to get across.

“Through 4C UR Future LIVE events and our first-generation CAREERS PORTAL, which is launching in September, we aim to inform young people of the wide range of opportunities available to them, help them navigate the complex careers landscape, and inspire them to achieve their ambitions and become the best version of themselves.”

On how these events are different from traditional careers fairs, Rachel said: “It’s the energy. It’s the buzz. There’s live music, it’s fast paced, the pupils are engaged and playing games. They’re finding out what they’re good at, there’s a little healthy competition, and they’re supporting each other.” 

With the impact of the pandemic still making itself known in an already highly competitive job market, it has never been as important for students to have opportunities to develop skills that are highly sought after in the workplace. 

Providing pupils with an exciting and informative day out, the event held in Foyle Arena welcomed five schools from the district, with almost 550 Year 9 pupils in attendance.

Local Technology teacher, Padraig Rebar from St Joseph’s Boys’ School said they have decided to get involved with the event to give pupils an idea about what their future careers could look like. 

“We brought our Year 9 pupils to engage them before they move to Year 10 and they get to choose their subjects. They can move forward with what they’ve learnt here today and get an idea about the direction that they want to take,” he said, adding: “They get a good understanding and possibly an idea where their strengths lie. When they come here they get a practical idea, as to what they could be doing when they finish school.”

4C UR Future ran a calendar of LIVE events, with one event in each Council area across Northern Ireland as an at-scale pilot during the month of June. The full schedule can be found on the Events page of 4C UR Future’s website. 

To find out more, or if you’d like to get involved, visit www.4curfuture.com or email info@4curfuture.com

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Derry City & Strabane

Return of St Patrick’s Parade Plans Welcomed by Councillors

Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee approved plans for the return of the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade, after a two year break due to the pandemic.

The proposals for the on street celebration, which will go ahead subject to Covid guidance, were brought before the committee at the Guildhall, and were warmly welcomed by members.

Council’s Head of Culture, Aeidin McCarter, told members it was the next stage in the phasing in of public events and that measures will be in place to ensure the safe delivery of the programme. It follows the successful delivery of the City’s annual Halloween celebrations, which were redesigned this year with a major focus on public safety.

The Committee heard that Council’s Festival and Events team would now progress plans in partnership with the North West Carnival Initiative as part of their Service Level Agreement with Council. The parade event will involve 500 participants from throughout the city’s neighbourhood areas, with an open call and targeted engagement programmes aimed at supporting local communities.

The Parade will happen in tandem with a major outdoor event already confirmed for the City taking place over a week in mid-March. About Us, which is created by 59 Productions Collective as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, will be a large-scale public event that takes audiences on a journey through 13.8 billion years of history from the Big Bang to the present day. The live show will transform the area in and around the city centre into a vast canvas featuring bespoke animations, cutting-edge projection mapping live shows and multimedia installations with animation, poetry, original music and live performance. More information can be found by visiting www.aboutus.earth

Welcoming the plans, Chair of the Business and Culture Committee, Councillor Conor Heaney, said it would be a major boost for local businesses. “If we look back at 2019, St Patrick’s was the first major event to be postponed due to the pandemic and I think people then began to realise the seriousness of the situation. The tragic events as they were unfolding around the world had reached our shores, and local businesses and Council responded swiftly to protect the public, with the postponement of the Spring Carnival and the closure of local venues. Looking back no one could have imagined that we would still be impacted by Covid19 as we near the end of 2021.

“Those same businesses will be delighted to see the return of our annual events programme, and to see two major events running in tandem throughout the week of St Patrick’s is an additional bonus and very positive news for the local economy. I am confident following the successful delivery of our Halloween celebrations last weekend that safety will be prioritised and that this event can be delivered safely and responsibly in an outdoor setting. I look more to hearing more about the programme as the details are finalised in the coming weeks and months.”

The Committee were reassured that About Us would complement the Spring Carnival events, and would not affect the main parade route through the City Centre. Members approved the allocation of £106,000 for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, £30,000 of which will go towards festivities in Strabane.

Later in the meeting the Committee also approved the wider Festival and Events programme for 2022, which features several milestone events, including the Illuminating the Walled City project in February, the innovative Our Place in Space trail in April designed by Oliver Jeffers as part of UNBOXED, the City of Derry Jazz Festival in May, Summer Jamm in June and the Foyle Maritime Festival in July.

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