Exploring the diverse cultures of the North East

01 July 2009

Press Release

Exploring the diverse cultures of the North East

A consortium comprising the Mid-Antrim Museums Service, the Causeway Museums Service, Beyond Skin, Imeall Trá Teo and Corrymeela Community has been awarded the tender to deliver Programme 7a: Public/Private Cultural Diversity Awareness, Respect and Enriching Programme, on behalf of the North East PEACE III Partnership.

The overall objective of the Peace III Programme is to reinforce progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promote reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region.  The North East Peace III Action Plan outlines how the Council areas of Coleraine, Ballymoney, Moyle, Ballymena, Larne and Limavady aim to address reconciliation and how they intend to contribute to a lasting peace in the cluster area. 

Programme 7a is aimed at increasing engagement among and between communities.  It's main objective is to promote respect, inclusion and cultural diversity whilst at the same time enhancing respect and improved understanding of differences among the communities of the North East.

This project is financed by the European Unions European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the North East PEACE III Partnership.

The programme, entitled Cultural Connections, will provide local groups opportunities to explore a diverse range of local cultures and will run until December 2010.  

Our rich cultural heritage is the combination of contact between peoples of differing origins and traditions, which has been the case in Ulster for millennia. Celts, Vikings, Normans, Scots and English represent waves of invasion which have intermingled and fused, each leaving their marks on settlement patterns, rural customs and traditions, place names and language. Given its proximity to Scotland, this is particularly obvious in the North East - a region where overlapping cultural influences have created a rich fusion of cultural heritage. Cultural Connections will support the exploration and expression of different cultures in the NE cluster area.

The programme aims to

  • Increase awareness and understanding among the NE community of the different communities, faiths and heritage that exist in the NE area (including the boroughs of Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Limavady, and Moyle)
  • Deliver a cultural diversity awareness and enriching programme which would include, among other elements, approximately 20 local community based promotional initiatives. These programmes will be aimed at promoting a greater understanding of the participant's own and other cultures.

This presents an exciting opportunity for up to 20 organisations to get involved with an innovative programme to showcase the diverse cultural heritage of the North East. This exciting programme will look at a range of traditions and aspects of history and culture reflecting the area's established and new communities.

These initiatives will involve events, programmes, courses and exhibitions that will be delivered in local areas and through large-scale collective events. It will also involve new, innovative and exciting forms of media and technology including internet radio broadcasts linking the programme with communities locally and globally. Cultural Connections also involves cross-border programmes as well as opportunties to develop links with other groups in the NE area. The Cultural Connections programme will be delivered by the Consortium with the support of a Working Group comprised of representatives from the participating groups and organisations.

If this sounds interesting, then get involved!

Groups from Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Limavady and Moyle areas are encouraged to register their interest in participating in Cultural Connections by requesting or downloading an Expression of Interest form. Information sessions, where everyone is invited to learn more about the opportunities to participate in Cultural Connections and meet members of the Cultural Connections team, are scheduled for:

Wednesday, July 1
7.30pm - 9pm
Corrymeela Community, 5 Drumaroan Rd, Ballycastle, BT54 6QU

Thursday, July 2
7.30pm - 9pm
The Braid, 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena, BT43 5EJ

Tuesday, August 4
7.30pm - 9pm
GADDA, 85 Main Street, Garvagh, BT51 5AB

Wednesday, August 5
7.30pm - 9pm
Londonderry Arms Hotel, Carnlough, BT44 0EU

The sessions will be identical, so there is no need to attend more than one session. If you wish to attend an information session, RSVP to either Dominique Bouchard or Maria Cagney (contact information below).

Expression of Interest forms will be available at these information sessions, and there will also be an enjoyable performance provided by Beyond Skin. Attendance at one of these information sessions is recommended, but is in no way compulsory for groups wishing to participate.

Expression of Interest Forms can be requested from either Dominique Bouchard (Mid-Antrim Museums Service) or Maria Cagney (Causeway Museums Service).

Contact information:

Dominique Bouchard, Mid-Antrim Museums Service 
Tel: 028 2565 7161

Maria Cagney, Causeway Museums Service
Tel: 028 7034 7034

Notes on consortium:

Mid-Antrim Museums Service is a regional museum service including the local council areas of Ballymena and Larne. Past initiatives include Making History, a community focused programme funded by the Peace II Extension Programme. 

Causeway Museums Service is a regional museum service comprising the local council areas Coleraine, Limavady, Ballymoney and Moyle.

Beyond Skin is an organisation using the arts to address sectarianism and  racism. The majority of Beyond Skin programs are developed and delivered through The Motion Project, Northern Ireland's largest multicultural music collective and Homely Planet internet radio.

 Imeall Trá Teo is an organisation which helps to facilitate a range of cross-border linkages, programmes and networks which will promote reconciliation and advance the economic, social and cultural regeneration of North Antrim and the Donegal Gaeltacht.

 Corrymeela Community, founded in 1965, has always been and continues to promote reconciliation and peace-building through the healing of social, religious and political divisions in Northern Ireland. They achieve this by promoting interaction between and building positive relationships among all kinds and conditions of people.

Close Learn More