Arts & Crafts Workshops aid the promotion of Cultural Integration

Castleblayney Community Enterprise recently completed a third phase of Workshop activities delivered under the ‘’Community Together’ Project, which seeks to promote diversity awareness and cross community integration.  This Project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). 

The event, which comprised of four one day workshops on the craft and skills of silk painting, pottery, lace and basket weaving, involved the participation of 15 people from cross community and ethnic minority groupings.  The workshops are delivered through a project promoted by Castleblayney Community Enterprise titled, ‘A Community Together’.  The project is unique in that it involves an effective community involvement, which has the capacity and ability to address cultural diversity by working in partnership with the Church of Ireland and the Castleblayney Cultural Network group.

Over the course of delivery of the project Castleblayney Community Enterprise will work with hundreds of young people and adults from cross community and ethnic minorities using primarily the medium of art and crafts to overcome religious cultural and ethnic differences.  Castleblayney Community Enterprise is partnered with the Blayney Cultural Network Group and Church of Ireland on this project.

Castleblayney Community Enterprise has a strong track record in working on a cross community basis and has successfully used previous PEACE funded projects to engage with members of the local community from different ethnic backgrounds.  In fact resulting from one of the first of these projects the group helped establish a cultural network group in the town and have actively supported this group over the past 9 years.

In total four art and craft workshops were held over four days in four different locations, which provided the participants an opportunity to work together in a different environment, where they would not normally come together.  The workshops were a useful approach to engagement and to raising awareness of cultural differences, while at the same time identifying art and crafts as common thread between all regardless of race or religion.

Notes to the Editor:
The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in Ireland.   It is responsible for managing two EU Structural Funds Programmes, PEACE IV and INTERREG VA which are designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society.  The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and in the case of INTERREG VA, Western Scotland.  The PEACE IV Programme has a value of €270 million and aims to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.