NEWS

Successful 'On The Brink 1914-16' talk and workshop session at The Braid

20 February 2014

In recent weeks, an interim programme for On the Brink 1914-16: Politics of Conflict has been delivered in venues in Larne, Ballymena and Coleraine.  Mid-Antrim Museum Service with Causeway Museum Service delivered this programme using feedback obtained from twenty five local community groups residing across the eight participating local authorities of Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Larne, Limavady, Moyle and Newtownabbey. The core programme for the On the Brink 1914-16 project will commence in April with anticipated funding from Heritage Lottery Fund.

Drawing on community feedback, the Interim programme was aimed at building contextual knowledge of this 1914-16 period in the community as well as offering research skill development opportunities. On February 6th in Drumalis, Larne, speakers including Dr. Fearghal McGarry and Philip Orr gave talks on inclusive remembrance of this period. Dr. Chris Manson’s gave an illustrated talk on the post-war contexts in which War Memorials were planned, erected and unveiled across the island of Ireland. Exploration of the latter is an important focus for the core On the Brink 1914-16 project because it aims to deliver a  Volunteer Tour Guide Initiative known as ‘Remembering 1914-16’ which will reveal local histories of WWI using sites such as War Memorials. Event speakers at Drumalis then participated in a panel discussion chaired by Johnston McMaster, former Director of the Education for Reconciliation programme at the Irish School of Ecumenics.

On February 12th and 13th, Professor Richard Grayson, Senior Lecturer at Goldsmith, London delivered sessions at both Mid-Antrim Museum at The Braid, Ballymena and Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart. These were practical sessions which introduced participants to a five step WWI military history research methodology which Grayson has also shared with the Community Relations Council. To demonstrate these steps, Grayson drew case studies from his book Belfast Boys How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World as well as from his own family’s service in WWI.

On the back of Grayson’s sessions, six workshops funded by the Community Relations Council will now be rolled out enabling participants to implement this five step research methodology. These sessions will provide guidance and hands on experience in using research sources including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, local newspapers and on-line War Diaries. "Peter Osborne, Chair of the Community Relations Council, recently commented in regard to the On the Brink 1914-16 project stating:

“Many people from all backgrounds had ancestors who fought in the First World War, some of whom unfortunately never made it back home.  The Community Relations Council is delighted that people will be able to explore the meaning of the First World War in their own areas.  By understanding further how the War affected their families and their areas we hope it might help people think about what future they want for themselves and their children to make sure conflict like this or more locally does not happen again."

These CRC funded WWI research skills workshops are limited to 10 places and will run on the following dates from 7pm to 9pm:

Cullybackey Community Development House, March 3th

Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole (Newtownabbey) March 5th,

Willowbank Business Park, Larne March 13th

For further information on securing a workshop place, please contact Mid-Antrim Museum Service on maria.cagney@ballymena.gov.uk

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