Maeve Butler writes about Void Gallery’s Education Programme – Part 2 – “Where are we now?”

part one of this interview is here

While we continue to live with Covid-19, we will utilise a blended approach to the learning programme, both online and onsite.

We are excited to move to a new home on 10 Waterloo Place. When developing the new space, it was important for us to house the education area at the front of the building, making it more accessible to audiences, and we look forward to welcoming people to utilize it when safe to do so. In the coming months the learning programme will continue online and there are a number of new initiatives that we will implement.

Filter flowers workshop, online programme, Sinead Crumlish facilitator

With Kippe Productions we will begin The Curiosity Club, a series of online workshops for children who are neuro diverse and we are looking forward to holding our second Art Bootcamp for children in the summer. Once the gallery can reopen safely, we are looking forward to initiating our new programme The Creative Station which will take place on select Saturdays during the exhibition. It will allow children and their guardians to book a one hour session in our education space which will be filled with creative activities that you can self direct through. 

We have initiated a youth programme – working in collaboration with artist Zoe McSparron. Members will have the opportunity to gain practical experience in how a gallery is run and engage in artistic skill and process-based workshops, innovative research, and experimentation. Taking place bi-montly since late February 2021, via Zoom, the participants have a preview of the new gallery space at Waterloo Place.

Printmaking workshop – online programme – Karen Cassidy facilitator

In the absence of onsite workshops, we have sent them art packs and are looking forward to starting workshops over Zoom in photography and film to coincide with Before the Cypress Broke and Elizabeth Price. Void is now an Arts Award Centre. This allows us to award a Silver Certificate, which is a recognised art qualification by the CCEA NI, to the youth programme participants in recognition of taking part in the youth programme and growing their arts and leadership talents through it.

We are keen to continue artist-led collaborations and will do this through Void Offsites; we will launch Alan Phelan’s sculpture The RGB Hyacinth Sculpture in the coming months and have begun David Beattie’s project Slowtime. Beattie’s project addresses place, the environment, and our relationship to time through the rhythm of the tides. He places community participation at the heart of the project; inviting the local community to consider the ebb and flow of the river, encouraging participants to rethink their relationship with the river and their natural environment, prompting introspection and an examination of personal and collective histories. We are inviting the communities located near the River Foyle to participate by using their smartphones to record sounds down by the river and then forward them to a dedicated email address (slowtimevoid@gmail.com).

Slowtime, David Beattie, Void Offsites, photo courtesy of David Beattie

To accompany Slowtime, a series of talks and lectures will take place on Zoom in the near future, opening up to walking workshops once public health allows. We are looking forward to installing our first exhibition in the new space Before the Cypress Broke and will celebrate by holding a Zoom talk between Mary Cremin and the Directors of Beirut Art Residency, our exhibition partners. 

With Void Engage we continue to strive to be wide ranging, seeking to engage with as many members of our community as possible, encouraging them to participate in activities and special projects onsite, through outreach and digital learning initiatives and actively seeking out potential new partnership opportunities. If you would like to get involved in any of the activities that are outlined above please contact Maeve Butler on engage@derryvoid.com.

Poly Pocket mono printing, online programme, Zoe McSparron facilitator

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.