The exciting cultural initiative, led in Northern Ireland by Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust and Ulster University, combines traditional storytelling with modern technologies to help promote creative practitioners working in remote areas. The project has been funded by the EU Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme 2014-2020 under the European Regional Development Fund. It is led by Robert Gordon University in Orkney and spans countries including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Finland.
Over the last 12 months, Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust has worked closely with six creatives located in the Causeway Coast & Glens and Mid & East Antrim areas to bring their stories to life through the creation of a final showpiece. The launch event showcased the works of textile artist Angela Turkington (Leopard and Lily), music artists Claire McCartney and Beccy Henderson (VOKXEN), woodturner Gerard Gray (Taisie Turning), artist Michelle McGarvey, ceramicist Sasha McVey, and storyteller and singer-songwriter Colin Urwin. Showpieces included the Selkie Cloak, Girona wood sculpture and ‘The Witches of Islandmagee’ song.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Ivor Wallace, who attended the event said: “We are very proud of our Borough’s position as an iconic cultural hub within Northern Ireland. Our diverse coastal and rural landscape has influenced hundreds of local creatives and epitomises our cultural and natural heritage. Council was delighted to have the opportunity to host this event to help showcase and engage with local creative talent, and was pleased to do so in partnership wit Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust and Scottish creatives.”
In addition to the launch event, a weekend of free workshops took place at Flowerfield Arts Centre, led by the Northword creatives from here and two of their Scottish counterparts, jeweller Rowena Henderson (Reel and Hammer) and kilt maker Andrea Chappell (Acme Atelier). The public had the opportunity to explore the area’s rich cultural heritage by trying their hand at ceramics, kilt making, beadwork, eco- dyeing, and song writing, creating their own interpretation of a local story.
Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust Chairman, Graham Seymour, said: “We are thankful for the opportunity to host this weekend of events to showcase the Northword project, with support from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Flowerfield Arts Centre. This event showcases not only the wealth of arts, craft, and talented creatives we have in the Causeway Coast and Glens area but also, how projects like Northword support local makers and rural businesses. It is vital we work in partnership with stakeholders, the local community, and local businesses to bring local talent to the forefront. This will enhance the offering for those that live, work, and visit our outstanding landscapes.”
For more information on the Northword project in Northern Ireland visit www.northwordni.org or follow @northwordstorytagging on Facebook and Instagram.