Primary school pupils from Harpurs Hill and St Malachy’s came together today to unveil the 2 new outdoor wall murals they have been working on over the last few weeks, as part of a shared education initiative, delivered as part of the community outreach engagement work of The Courthouse Shared Space Creative Hub project.
Celebration events took place in each school, with photographic exhibitions of some of the shots they took as part of the project and an opportunity to see one another’s murals.
Over several sessions children learned all about photography, including composition, exposure and editing, with digital cameras, Macs and polaroid scanners provided, courtesy of Belfast Exposed, to take, edit and print their photos.
On Wednesday 7 June both schools came together at the Peter Thompson Hall in Castlerock to take part in a workshop, led by local artist Michelle McGarvey, who also discussed her involvement in a street art project in Coleraine town centre, providing examples to inspire the children’s creativity for their own murals.
The day also saw pupils pair up in teams to take motion and still images in outdoor settings, guided by Belfast Exposed. Pupils were able to use the surrounding facilities to get a multitude of shots, including the play area, muga pitch and Castlerock beach. Games and team activities were also delivered during the day to encourage bonding.
Speaking about the children’s involvement, Harpur’s Hill Principal, David Radcliffe, said: “It was great to see the pupils from both schools working so closely together on the project. They were a credit to both schools, and it was obvious they really enjoyed learning the skills to create the murals. The murals will be a reminder of ‘Friendship and Kindness’ and what can be achieved when schools work closely together.”
Reflecting on St Malachy’s participation in the project, Principal Siobhan Burns quoted: “Participation in this project has been a wonderful opportunity for the pupils from both schools. Collaboratively, they considered what it means to be a good friend and how simple acts of kindness can positively impact on us all. The new murals reflect these themes, and we are proud to be displaying such terrific work in our schools. Through continued collaboration with their friends from Harpurs Hill PS, our pupils have honed their technical and creative skills and developed a deeper sense of empathy and appreciation for one another.
“We are delighted with our new murals which represent the power of friendship and understanding. We are extremely grateful to the Bushmills Courthouse Project for the opportunity to participate and provide our pupils with this great learning experience.”
Commenting on the project, CEO of Enterprise Causeway (lead partner for the Courthouse project) stated: “What a testament these 2 murals are to the children’s creativity, to their collaboration with one another, and to their incredible potential. Developing skills and relationships is very much at the heart of the Courthouse’s outreach engagement programme and it’s wonderful to see what the children’s passion and friendship has created. As pupils, teachers, parents and visitors pass by these walls everyday, they will be reminded of the possibilities when we learn, grow and create together.
“We would also like to say a special thanks to both schools for singing up to the project and to all of the talented creatives involved in its delivery.”
The new murals will be installed before the new school terms starts.
The €7.8m Courthouse Shared Space Creative Hub project will see the restoration of the derelict Courthouse building (located in the middle of the village), as well as the creation of a new, three-floor extension to its rear, transforming the building into a creative hub for the entire community to use. It is anticipated that the new facility will open in the spring of 2024.
This new shared space has been funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding has been provided by the Department for Communities, Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development, Ireland.
The community engagement programme is running in parallel with the renovation and construction works and is creating opportunities for shared learning experiences to explore and understand cultures, traditions and backgrounds.
For updates on The Courthouse Shared Space Creative Hub project visit: https://www.enterprisecauseway.co.uk/the-courthouse/ or follow on Facebook @thecourthousepeaceiv