Across the Lines

The ‘Across the Lines’ peace-building programme receives further support for a new ‘Beyond Borders’ phase.

The Glens Centre is delighted to announce new programme funding for the development of ‘Across the Lines’ cross community and cross border peace-building programme from the International Fund for Ireland, received under IFI’s Peace Impact Programme.

To date, the IFI support has enabled The Glens Centre to develop a peace-building programming bringing people from different community backgrounds along the border region together. The new programme will build on the cross-border linkages already made between Manorhamilton and Enniskillen young people and the Men’s development work, across four Men’s Sheds across Leitirm and Fermanagh, amonsgt others. The new programme will continue its engagement of young people and other groupings including bringing women and those involved in ‘heritage’ and ‘cultural work’ together, both sides of the border.

The  Glens Centre’s Director commenting on how the previous programme delivered through community arts mediums stated “ the Across the Lines programme has outreached in the local area, creating unique ways to bring different people toegther. It has also added to the unique programming at The Glens Centre with some memorable showcase pieces such as The Choral Spectacular at Glenfarne, an engaging “Cultural Imaginations” discussion programme at various cultural venues along the border, “Talking Sheds’ film (which lead to Covid Conversations’ (a second film developed by NLMG/David Spence) Covid, and  an excellent performance by young people of the “Border Games” which thankfully ran at The Glens Centre 5 days before March 2020 lockdown. The programme has also successful managed to creatively connect people along and across the border, digitally, through lockdown . The Director continued “this was initially through two Open Mics events with Open Mic Manor and The Thing Itself  and more recently through two facilitated programmes, the first being a  pilot women’s peer education programme about women’s experiences of the border and border crossings resulting in the “Women’s Stories” pamphlet and a creative writing programme resulting in an online visual storytelling event The Border Between Us”, still available for viewing on The Glens centre YouTube channel”

The Glens Centre’s emphasises that the majority of programmes to date have largely been facilitated by locally based creative facilitators engaging with peace-building themes and cross border work, with an emphasis on developing skills and collaboration between creative facilitators in the area; although from time to time guest facilitators and speakers have been invited in. A cross community and cross border steering group advises and supports programme delivery. 

The objectives of the new Across the Lines – Beyond Borders programme include: 

  • deepening and widening cross-border youth empowerment and engagement work (through drama /arts),
  • supporting the development of women’s voices across and along the border and across community and cultural traditions(working with North Leitrim Women’s Centre and other voluntary women’s groups), 
  • deepening understanding around ‘cultural identity and belonging’ and creating new cultural conversations along the border, 
  • supporting ‘inclusive place-making’ and storytelling by bringing together individuals engaged in heritage/ history  and placemaking work along and across this border region, 
  • developing new south to north cultural connections and linkages (between arts orgs), and
  • supporting locally based creative facilitators to work on a cross border basis.  

The programme’s  Coordinator Ruth Gonsalves Moore stated: “recognising the unique positioning of The Glens Centre as a community based and border based arts and resource centre, there is an opportunity to pro-actively contribute to developing inclusive and empowered communities”. The positive engagement  across a suite of activities and projects, has enabled us to develop a further programme. 

The new ‘Beyond Borders’ 2 year programme commences with a 6 week ‘Our Shared and Contested History’ Talks programme, starting on May 11th. This ‘Talks’ based programme will look at key events of 100 years old ago including the Revolution and events leading to partition and the establishment of Northern Ireland, the Irish Civil War, Craig -Collin Pacts and Boundary Commission, with three inputs from Dr Éamon Phoenix. Dr Cormac Moore will talk about the ramifications for civic life and Dr Johnston McMaster will lead reflections on ‘inclusive remembering’ and ask ‘what of the future?”. The programme is an opportunity to learn together about a critical period in the political history of this island and avail of opportunity to consider diverse perspectives. The programme is open to individuals invovled in locally based heritage and history groups between Enniskillen and Manorhamilton which are being invited to take part.

A programme of activities and projects will be developed and be rolled out in six programme areas, over the next two years, with the view to deepening connections and linkages between people and groups along the north Leitrim and south west Fermanagh border area, across community backgrounds and traditions. 

The Glens Centre expresses its appreciation for the support of IFI for its peace building programme. 

Further Information: Ruth Gonsalves Moore – Across the Lines – Programme Manager – The Glens Centre.   E:                    M: 0871669951

Across the Lines

The Across the Lines programme at The Glens Centre hosts two cross-border creative projects ‘about the border’ online this week.

The Border Between Us visual storytelling event involving the streaming of eleven micro- films on Tuesday 23rdFebruary can be viewed on The Glens Centre YouTube channel  @ 7pm and we reveal a new Women’s Living History Pamphlet collaboratively created by  members of the Coiníní Women’s Group (Manorhamilton).

Twenty people from Leitrim and Fermanagh took part in these two twelve-week long lockdown projects through autumn/winter 2020/2021.

The Creativity Upskilling programme facilitated by Monica Corish and Rachel Webb, engaged people from different community backgrounds across the border, south and north in learning new creative skills, with a specific focus on the bringing together of words and images using every-day phone technology tools. The programme also created an opportunity for participants to engage with the theme ‘borders’, listening and sharing as part of a group throuhg words and image.  Speaking about working with a group of people from different community and cultural backgrounds, the writer and tutor Monica Corish said “It‘s been important to hear a range of different voices and to hear the variety of experiences of the Irish border, and how those experiences were shaped by history and geography, family and culture; as well as seeing the different ways participants engaged with ‘borders’ as a wider theme”. Whilst the two projects are distinct, emerging ‘themes’ mirror and echo one another. 

The second project, was undertaken as a creative ‘living history’ project and was undertaken by a group of women who come from “all around the world” and are now connected to the town of Manorhamilton. This work follows on from theri previous enquiry into the meaning and impact of the Irish Constitution and its accomodation of women today.   The group decided to look at the related issue of ‘the irish border’ with facilitators enabling a reflective and creative space for enquiry and story-telling. Participants shared, gathered their own stoires and reflections about the border, and engaged their imaginations around the future. Tutor Sonia Norris writing in the introduction to the pamphlet states “as we started out in our conversations there was a lack of acknowledgement around the impact of the Northern Irish border’, however ‘through the project recognition of the influence a geographical and politicised border has had on us as individual women grew’. For some women the sharing of stories of the border-past has been “cathartic” and for others the project provided an outlet to current on present day cricumstances of covid 19 prohibited border crossings and their impacts on daily family life.  

Feedback gathered from participants describe “looking forward to ‘a weekly time-out’,  the weekly get together online as being “the highlight of their week’ and “a real life-saver especially though lockdown”, and for all the opportunity to consider and reflect upon ‘the border’ was timely.

In making the shift to deliver community engagement programmes online, Ruth Gonsalves Moore, Coordinator of the Across the Linesprogramme, expressed her appreciation to the efforts of four tutors Monica Corish, Rachel Webb, Sonia Norris and Treasa Nealon who put in additional time creating engaging content addressing both peace-building goals and creative development needs.

At various stages through the projects participants hatched plans to meet on the Blacklion/Belcoo bridge to read each other’s work out loud! Plans that are on hold until when restrictions lift.  

The Glens Centre thanks the International Fund for Ireland for its ongoing support through CV19 and hopes these projects will further inform future cross community and cross border engagement.  


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