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Learning Resource Launch

Education Minister launches new cross-community resource

John O’Dowd, Minister for Education, formally launched Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin’s new learning resource today, which explores the cross-community engagement that took place during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2013.

The resource, called ‘Fleadh {Con}Fusion’, was produced as part of the centre’s on-going community engagement project, Droichead, which actively promotes the awareness of cultural identity between communities. The aim of the project is to encourage community engagement and to use shared cultural heritage as a vehicle for collaboration rather than an area of contention.

Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin was the lead partner in delivering Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2013, one of the biggest music and traditional arts festival in Europe. Community involvement during the planning of the event was unprecedented, with Droichead providing a programme of activities that facilitated, enabled and encouraged the involvement of the Protestant Unionist Loyalist community in the Fleadh.

The main engagement was with the Londonderry Bands Forum, and this was the first engagement of its kind between Loyalist marching bands and traditional Irish musicians.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Education, John O’Dowd, said: “Educating children and young people to develop self-respect and respect for others is one of the most valuable lessons we can offer them. This resource is yet another opportunity to develop that understanding and I was struck by the powerful use of music in helping to build bridges between communities. It is very encouraging to see a cross community project like this get such support and just serves to highlight the benefits that can come from working together. I would like to congratulate all of those involved in producing what I am sure will prove a very powerful and persuasive learning tool.”

The ongoing success of this engagement has been reflected in the continued participation of the Londonderry Bands Forum in the Pan Celtic Festival, Fleadh Cheoil 2014 and 2015 in Sligo, as well as various other cultural events, which is outlined in a newly produced film as part of the resource.

Lisa Anderson, Cultural Inclusion Co-ordinator at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin said: ‘The documentary film and educational resource provide us with the opportunity to share the learning from this engagement and exemplify how culture can be used to bring communities together. It is so important that we document this type of learning for future generations.”

The learning resource is aimed at Key Stage 3 for delivery in schools and communities with groups of up to 30 learners.

The resource can be viewed on Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin’s official website: www.culturlann-doire.ie.