Wednesday 16 October 2019

Erasmus+ and us: 'We are tapping into the voices of rural youth'

Michael McDermott at the Unwrapping Words mural in Moville, Co Donegal
Michael McDermott at the Unwrapping Words mural in Moville, Co Donegal
A picture taken during the trip to Finland for the Walking Against The Wind project.

Untapped talents in writing and art have been discovered in one of two recent Erasmus+ projects run by the Moville and District Family Resource Centre (MFRC) on the Inishowen Peninsula.

'Unwrapping Words' explored the works of writers such as Joyce Cary, Frank McGuinness, Brian Friel and others who have connections with Inishowen through their books, family, themes, sense of place or geographical reference in their work.

Two groups of young people, one from Inishowen, and another from across the border in Derry, were invited to reinterpret and contextualise the works, with multimedia technology employed to encourage participation and creativity.

The result is an eye-catching mural in Moville, the recording of a contemporary rap CD, inspired by the writings, and a short film and DVD of the project.

According to Moville FRC's community development officer, Michael McDermott, participants recognised the benefits, both in terms of learning more about their literary heritage and the skills they acquired in the use of technology. He says as well as uncovering talent, they saw the value of teamwork and cooperation.

Separately, the Moville centre has been engaged in Walking Against the Wind, a project to enable and empower 14-25 year-olds, from East Inishowen to explore contributory factors to personal growth within a rurally isolated environment and to support their development and to help them to find their voice in society.

MFRC partnered with a group in Finland and the project involved exchange visits, including a five-day trip to Donegal by the Finnish participants.

It led to a research document, based on the experiences of the young people, which has been adopted as a model of good practice by the HSE's mental health reform group and will be used in Moville FRC's three-year plan, currently in preparation.

Michael says the results were presented in "the hope and expectation that those in positions of power will recognise the value of the voice of youth in renewing and reviving communities at a time when rural Ireland, which has so much to offer, is feeling the effects of many years of neglect."

Irish Independent

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