Loyalist-Muslim collaboration launches CRW

Almost 200 events to take place next week across Northern Ireland

A collaboration of Loyalist and Muslim musicians today helped launch the programme for this year’s Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week at Crumlin Road Goal.

Almost 200 events will take place next week (28th September to 4th October) across Northern Ireland under the theme ‘One Place – Many People’, including a Traveller Women’s Choir performing at Belfast City Hospital foyer – the first of its kind in Northern Ireland

This morning’s launch event, which took place on International Peace Day, gave a flavour of the activities that will take place during Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week.

Guests enjoyed a performance by ‘Music Unite – An Unexpected Journey’, involving musicians from a Loyalist Flute Band and musicians from the Muslim community.

Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week is intended to celebrate diversity, highlight best practice and consider what it means to share one place as many different people.

Event organisers include local councils, public bodies, schools and community and voluntary organisations.  Challenging issues of cultural awareness, inclusion, identity and diversity and dealing with the past are addressed through music, drama, film, and sport.

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council, said, “There is one message that we hope everyone will get from the Week: Nothing about the future can be taken for granted. The job of learning to live peacefully is not yet done and if we want this place to be positive and inclusive, we all have to play a part in making it so at village, town, city and regional levels.”

She added, “It is very encouraging to see the variety of events taking place this year involving people of all ages and backgrounds. There are performances, sporting events, discussions, workshops and launches of new books and resources.  Public bodies, sports clubs, schools, churches, charities Libraries and community groups are all taking part and with a shared goal of making this a place of understanding, hospitality and welcome for strangers as well as for friends.”

A full listing of events taking place in each of the 11 council areas is available on the CRC website www.nicrc.org.uk

Schools and colleges are exploring the diverse cultures in their school and local community. Dominican College in Belfast are holding an international food week and cultural diversity workshop to celebrate the many cultures in the school.

A multicultural festival is being held by Fane Street Primary Belfast where 64% of pupils are from countries outside Northern Ireland.

Libraries NI are organising a series of Belonging Workshops in which people can discuss diversity and identity in Northern Ireland and how they can interact with people from a diverse background.

Artist Colin Davidson will give a talk on Silent Testimony, his exhibition at the Ulster Museum which explores suffering and loss through the Troubles.

Faith based groups supporting the Week include the LINC Project with Jennymount Church and Community Network, Irish School of Ecumenics, All Nations Ministries, St. Anne’s Cathedral Choir Project, The Churches Trust, Omagh Churches Forum and Uganda Association NI.

Leading Ladies, an event organised by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, will see the launch of Toward Understanding and Healing’s  book ‘To Tell You the Truth’ by Eamonn Baker which highlights the experiences of local women throughout the Troubles.

Banbridge Good Relations Forum is hosting a talk by Linda Irvine on the strong heritage of the Irish Language within the Protestant community.

Showing Your True Colours is the theme of a discussion organised by Ballymoney Community Resource Centre on how we can collectively challenge prejudice and hate and celebrate identity without causing offence to others.

Derry and Strabane District mark the Week with over 40 events including Sticks in the City an  innovative sporting event to introduce young people to sports they may not have had an opportunity to play before. The sporting mix includes hockey, cricket, camogie and hurling.

Cultural events include introductions to local traditions of the Filipino Community, Philippines ‘Pearl of the Orient’, a  Polish Photo Exhibition showcasing the talents of Polish migrants living and working in the community, a Sanskriti Exhibition exploring Indian culture in Northern Ireland. Young people feature strongly in events : Lenamore Youth Club are running cultural  workshops on  ‘Our Shared Experiences’ , North West Regional College and Youth Action NI are organising interactive workshop on inclusion, identity and diversity and Londonderry YMCA are having an Open Discussion Night comparing the challenges facing young people in the third world to their own circumstances.

The Irish School of Ecumenics (TCD) are holding a conference in the Manor House Hotel Enniskillen exploring how we remember the two crucial events of 1916, the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme which will focus less on history and more on how we use memory.

Kilmakee Community Centre in Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough are hosting a Diversity Day designed to help children break down barriers and prejudices and using the medium of art to educate the audience.

Carrickfergus Town Hall is the venue for a youth film night followed by a discussion on improving relationship within and between communities.

‘Improving Home School Communication’ is the theme of an event at Primate Dixon Primary School, Coalisland organised by The Traveller Education Support Service. They will be launching a creative compilation of ideas and strategies to promote home school communication and parental engagement with a particular focus on communicating with Traveller families.

‘Forgive for the Sake of the Future?’ Is the question posed by Dr Duncan Morrow in a talk at Downshire Civic Centre , Downpatrick on September 29 in which he will explore unresolved trauma and its legacy for future generations.

National Museums Northern Ireland are offering schools community relations sessions which explore identity, prejudice, sectarianism and religion. The workshops ‘Living Together: Building Community’ take place at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum.



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