Cultural inclusion & community engagement
WHAT IS DROICHEAD?
Droichead is a cross-community project which promotes inclusivity and cultural diversity through a programme of language and arts activities aimed at engaging and uniting communities.
It promotes awareness of cultural identity between the Irish-speaking community and those perceived to be non-traditional learners of Irish, particularly those from broadly Unionists communities.
Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin was the lead partner in delivering Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2013, the largest celebration of Irish traditional music in the world. During its development and throughout the event, strong links were forged with organisations from the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist communities within the city. Most notably, the Londonderry Bands Forum worked closely with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin during the Fleadh to ensure participation from loyalist marching bands in what became a cornerstone event of the City of Culture year.
The legacy of this groundbreaking partnership in 2013 was an ongoing collaboration with the Londonderry Bands Forum and other broadly Unionist community groups, which led to strong cross-community participation in the International Pan Celtic Festival 2014 & 2015 and Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2014 in Sligo.
The success of this aspect of the project is documented in a feature film and educational resource for schools which can be accessed here.
Since then, this engagement has continued to grow with a number of joint projects and events. In 2017 Droichead secured funding from SEUPB and PEACE to formalize this relationship employing 2 new members of staff to work on the CultureFuse project which is a continuation of the engagement work that began in 2013. Details of this project and the current activities can be found here.
Through Droichead we offer a range of resources that provide an introduction to the Irish language and look at the lessons learnt as relationships between these cultural groups have been normalized. Through CultureFuse we offer outreach Irish Language classes especially for members of the broadly Unionist community, as well as regular cultural events and activities.
Future projects will include a programme of events and activities around the history and heritage of the former Presbyterian Church next door to Cultúrlann on Great James Street. Also known as the Scots Church and now as tSeaneaglais it is currently undergoing restoration to bring it back into use as a landmark Arts and Cultural Centre, details of the ongoing progress can be found here.
Droichead continues to foster on-going engagement, create new partnerships and work collaboratively between historically divided communities exploring all aspects of identity and shared cultural heritage e.g. language, music and heritage.
This continued Cross Community engagement contributes to the sharing of skills, learning and experience for the building of a shared future inclusive of all communities.