Entwined Futures is a cross-border schools programme aimed at strengthening relationships and co-operation across the island as young people from both sides of the border explore themes of identity, citizenship, and sovereignty through the lens of the past with a view to both improving understanding of how the present has been shaped by historic events but also looking beyond divisions to recognise common ties and how people can overcome differences to work together for common goals.
Through participation, young people gain a:
- Greater understanding of the complexity of Irish history, with greater recognition of commonality and shared experiences;
- Greater understanding of how the past continues to influence current attitudes, opinions and behaviours;
- Greater capacity for working with others from diverse backgrounds.
160 young people from a range of backgrounds engage in and benefit from a series of interactive workshops, field trips and residential, on a set theme, working towards the above outcomes that will develop their skills and capabilities in the context of the overall aim of the programme.
The young people work in mixed groups towards a common goal. Information, learning and thoughts are documented through 8 final arts based pieces, produced in partnership with Nerve Centre. These have included live drama performances, radio broadcasts, poster campaigns and short films.
The project develops each year but follows a core model using drama and creative media in order to engage the students with the historical material and facilitate their confidence in mixing and forming relationships with new people. We are pleased that the programme now works with schools both North and South of the border and look forward to developing these relationships over the next few years.
In particular we are keen to provide hands on and consistent support to each mixed group through training drama facilitators in good relations facilitation, so that they may be equipped to give to the students one-to-one interactions and support in a reconciliation context.
Topics have included the signing of the Ulster Covenant; Labour Relations and the Dublin Lockout; The First World War and the effect of the short and long term impacts of the war on Irish politics and society, North and South; the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme.
Some of our projects have explored the broader social, economic and political history of the period 1912-1922 adding depth and breadth to the project. These themes have included the Home Front; the notion of Identity, the role of Women and the Belfast Shipyard.
As the decade of centenaries moves into the climatic years which led to partition and a time that would redefine the island of Ireland, the focus of Entwined Histories projects from 2020-2022 will centre on the major events during the Ward of Independence, including the impact of the impact of the Government of Ireland Act, the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the resulting Civil War. Students will explore the impact of partition in Ireland, including the creation of Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State and address how the border created as a result of partition continues to affect their lives in the present day.
Entwined Histories Resource
While the Entwined Histories project model does restrict the number of participants with whom Co-operation Ireland can work directly, we have produced ‘A Practical Guide to Exploring the Decade of Centenaries’, a resource that provides background on the decade, the rationale for running and project with a youth or community group, practical ideas and signposting to other resources.
For more online resources to help tackle the issues raised by the centenaries, head to the creative centenaries website.