The Human Touch Exhibition & Poems on a Sunday Afternoon

Down Community ArtsI am writing this on a beautiful February day – a gift that it is so bright and mild this time of year. Late last year, in similar conditions I headed to a wonderful group in Teconnaught for four Tuesday morning creative writing sessions. This was part of a Down Community Arts photography/poetry project supported by the Arts Council of NI’s Lottery Fund.

Mervyn Smith did the earlier photography sessions with this group (and some other groups in the area). We had a cross-over session where Mervyn described a photographic image as a ‘moment in time’ – and it set me to devising a set of workshops on written images. What can be conveyed in a photograph that can’t be conveyed in words, what can be conveyed in words that can’t be communicated in a visual image? Actually in the end the writing took diversions and the group created some incredible written pieces. This was just one of the groups involved in the project. The wonderful Colin Dardis was the poetry facilitator with the other groups.

Tomorrow (23 Feb, 3-5pm) sees the launch of ‘The Human Touch’ exhibition at the Glass Gallery, Newcastle Library, 141 – 143 Main Street, Newcastle, Co. Down, BT33 0AE, T: 028 4372 2710. The exhibition continues until Saturday 5th March* (check Glass Gallery opening times below). All are welcome.

Everybody is welcome to also hear the words of the Teconnaught group as they are scheduled to read at the Down Arts Centre ‘Poems on a Sunday Afternoon’ session, which is being run, on this occasion, alongside the visual aspects of the project.  This is happening on Sunday, 28 February at Down Arts Centre in Downpatrick.

As facilitator of the group and MC of the PoSA session, I am pretty excited about this as Poems on a Sunday Afternoon is a pretty special space at the best of times. It runs from 2.30-4.30pm with the featured reading happening at the beginning and followed by a shared space where all are invited to share their own word-based work or a favourite (poems, songs, stories anything with verbal content is warmly welcomed here).

A note about the Human Touch project

The Human Touch is an exhibition of poetry and photography featuring the work of older people from Ballynahinch, Downpatrick, Teconnaught and surrounding areas.  The first time poets and photographers produced their own work supported by artists Olive Broderick, Colin Dardis and Mervyn Smyth.

They explored Belfast Exposed Gallery’s archive of past images of the area and visited local places of interest to capture the fleeting moments from the world around them, documenting the changes that have occurred within their lifetimes and drawing parallels between the evolving landscape and transitions in one’s own life.  Each photograph and poem depicts a very personal voice unique to the experiences of older people in this region.

The project was funded through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Fund.

* The Glass Gallery is inside the Newcastle Library and is open:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 1:00pm – 8:00pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm**

** Please note, the Glass Gallery will close early at 1pm on Saturday 5th March


Image courtesy of Down Community Arts


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