Newry, Mourne and Down District Council DEA’s recently rolled out a successful four week Creative Arts Photography Programme with over 42 participants across the district.
The programme was facilitated by renowned local photographers Raphael Mason and Philip Kelly and funded by T:BUC Good Relations Programme which aims to improve community relations and works to continue the journey towards a more united and shared society.
The main aim of this programme was to explore the theme ‘Our Shared Community’ through the medium of photography. Each week the participants met up at various locations across the district, with individuals from their local area sharing historical narratives about where they live. They also discussed how their local area has evolved and changed over the years and then captured a series of digital photographs that resonated with them personally whilst learning new skills.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “Not only does this programme develop lifelong skills in capturing images, it builds confidence and helps in the forming and development of lifelong relations where people who have participated can meet up after the programme, this can help reduce isolation and encourages learning together in the heart of the community.”
On completion of the programme each participant received a printed and mounted image of their favourite image that they had captured. Feedback from the participants has been very positive with many highlighting that the initiative provided a positive opportunity to meet other people from different cultures or religious backgrounds in safe shared places. On the final session, all the participants were taken on a guided tour of Belfast to explore the historical importance of the Belfast Peace Walls and the International Wall Murals in West Belfast.