Tonagh Ladies Group (TLG) created a book based on their interaction with Easter 1916 history.
The project was rights-based, it evolved as it went. TLG sought answers to questions that were important to them, “Why do we know more about the men than the women? Who were the 1916 women? What was their motivation? What happened to them after the rising? Did they leave a legacy?”
Lisburn Museum invested time and resources in this project that would inevitably change how it engaged with adult learners. TLG took a decisive role but the approach adhered to professional museum standards using a proven format of site visits, expert talks and creative and narrative methods.
This was a partnership project of equal power-relations. The project outcome is a book with individual chapters, reflecting unique experiences of engaging with the history from the point of view of being women citizens. TLG’s Twenty-first Century Proclamation for the Nation is an integral part of the book, this document reflects the realities of life for one group of women living in modern Northern Ireland.
The museum took a risk by facilitating rather than leading the project. The participants took risks in terms of learning new creative skills, relating personally to 1916 history and creating individual chapters in a book which share their individual (often emotional) learning journeys.
What worked well and what, if anything, didn't?
This project had sustainable outcomes for Lisburn Museum and TLG. The project was intended as a cross-community engagement but evolved into single identity one. It is a model that will be used for other groups and other subject areas in 2018.
The museum continues to provide professional advice and support and a safe and encouraging environment to work, projects with TLG continue to evolve.
The project increased the museum’s relevance to this group through strengthened partnerships with what was once a non-user group. This project was critical thinking in action, knowledge of the period was increased for staff and TLG.