Artsekta have been involved in three separate projects focussing on the past, including The Belfast Bayeux, Sanskriti and Belfast Suitcase Stories.
The Belfast Bayeux
The Belfast Bayeux project allows participants to create a linen tapestry panel depicting the rich heritage and working life of the Belfast port and the docks between 1863 and 2013, encompassing 150 eventful and dramatic years in the city’s history. The project looks at the role of women who created textiles for export in Belfast and enables participants to revisit and develop sewing, embroidery and textile skills while meeting women from port and dockside communities and from Indian and Polish migrant communities which traded from the port and docks. The project includes study visits to Dublin and Wexford, the port and docks of Belfast, and the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum as well as history, community relations, and textiles workshops and a read-through of a play about the docks in the 1960s. The panel will then travel in the UK and Ireland as an exhibition.
Sanskriti, meaning ‘cultivating’ in the Hindi language, is a project that encourages participants to learn about the traditional crafts of the Indian continent, and explore the significant role these crafts play in the practical, spiritual and cultural lives of the Indian people. The project will explore the themes of migration, cultural diversity and artistic expression as a way of life, providing a platform through which to actively share in the diverse traditional arts and culture of India in Northern Ireland. This project particularly utilises volunteers who are first and second generation Indian community and the indigenous community of Northern Ireland.
Belfast Suitcase Stories
Belfast Suitcase Stories is a travelling artistic project and exhibition that brings together a group of the city’s younger and older citizens to explore and celebrate the great social diversity of the new, multicultural Belfast by enabling both a physical and social legacy to merge through a series of ‘suitcase stories.’ Each ‘Suitcase Story’ represents a reflection of a life shared between different cultures and places, the story of how the participants have come to bridge their own cultural and civic identities, the story of their memories of the past and their hopes for the future. The suitcases themselves represent not just physical journeys, but also the inner journeys that the participants have travelled – their experiences and perspectives of inclusion and integration into the city and its way of life.
What worked well and what, if anything, didn't?
These projects focus on a history that is often hidden or forgotten, looking at alternative histories and the impact of historical events on minority communities. These projects successfully integrate an interdisciplinary approach by bringing in visual arts, history, storytelling, and cultural work.
Contact Nisha Tandon or Niamh Flanagan at ArtsEkta on 028 90 231381 or Heather Floyd at Arts for All on 028 90752134.