Tuesday, May 30, 2023


A DISPLAY of textile panels has been created by women from communities across County Down, inspired by their homes, their families, their work and their interests. The project, which is called ‘Our Stories’, is a celebration of their lives and their histories. It was organised by the Glebe House Adult Programme and funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The display was launched last Wednesday (3 May) at a special celebration event at Glebe House. The project sought to bring women from different communities together and teach them how to create textile panels which highlighted their locale, colloquialisms or personal experiences.

The cross-community project happened in cooperation with groups from Strangford, Downpatrick, Ballykinlar Forever Young, Hilltown Cosy Club and also East End Ladies, which is based in Ards. The women, who come from different backgrounds and have different lives, were able to use the shared space of Glebe House to work together to create this piece of work. Over the past number of months the project was facilitated by Top Floor Arts from Saintfield, who supported the women to build their skills in designing and creating tapestry work.

They used these new skills to create designs of the memories of their past and where they have come from, weaving this diversity together to make a single tapestry. Each panel is different, individually developed using an equal shape to make up the whole work. The work was supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland using funding from the National Lottery. The display will be brought around local community centres in the area. It will also be on display at the Down Arts Centre in Downpatrick. Joanna Johnston, Visual Arts Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “This fantastic project is a wonderful example of how the arts can bring people together, to learn from one another, develop new skills and share their creative thoughts and ideas.

“Thanks to National Lottery players and money raised for good causes, the Arts Council’s Small Grants programme is providing valuable opportunities for people in communities across Northern Ireland to engage with the arts and experience the many benefits projects like this can bring into our lives.” Glebe House Director Andrew McCracken said: “We appreciate the work which the participants have put into ‘Our Stories’. “Glebe House in Kilclief is a place of sharing and fun. ‘Our Stories’ has been a beautiful creation which will offer future visitors to Glebe House an insight into the diverse, interdependent lives the women have lived. “Anyone else wanting to take part in similar programmes ahead is welcome to come and take part in our creative, wellbeing and good relations programmes which happen throughout the year.” Glebe House is a shared space which has been owned by the charity the Harmony Community Trust since 1975. “It is a residential centre within a 16- acre wildlife area close to the shores of Strangford Lough. From there they deliver environmental, community relations, social inclusion and respite programmes on a year-round basis.

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