Josh Schultz talks about CAP’s “Brilliant Resilience” Project in Fermanagh

How did the Brilliant Resilience project come about?

The Brilliant Resilience project came about, initially, through an invitation from Ruth Montgomery of the Rural Housing Association for Community Arts Partnership to visit with six community organisations based in Fermanagh in January 2020.

We met at the Community Centre in Newtownbutler. One of the groups present was a group of (mostly) women crochet and knit crafters, The Sunshine Club. The women suggested that they were keen to continue their needlework as they practiced a range of fine skills, were looking for opportunities to meet up weekly and wanted to be able to offer materials to participants at a low to no cost basis.

At that original meeting there was a discussion regarding producing a calendar for the group. This was part of a fundraising campaign to raise money for a night out at Christmas time for the 85 group members..

That discussion gave us the Crochet element of the project, and because the group needed original photography for their calendar we added a photographic element as well.

Ruth Montgomery suggested the Doorstop Portrait element of the project and it felt right that if you were to capture the landscape and the people through photography, you should record the stories they have to tell as well.

So it was through those initial discussions, and further discussions with groups in Tyrone, the three creative elements, and one practical discussion element, of the project came about.

As we have jjust outlined, for anyone who is keen to take part the creative elements are

  • Storytelling and creative writing
  • Crochet and textile crafts
  • Photography – Portrait and Landscape

What do you hope the outcomes will be?

The practical discussion element is over what do we do with the work that we have generated and how can we leverage its value as a community asset and create a return on investment with monies coming into the community organisations and charities it supports. So, this programme aims to create the following community assets

A Calendar
Exhibition material
A Coffee Table book

The discussion at the consultation turned to previous successful efforts to support activity through a local sale to their own community.

As a community arts organisation our aim is to support local organisations to achieve their goals through the arts. We were able to raise funds with the Community Foundation of Northern Ireland to work with residents throughout the county.

I would love to give further details on the exactly when sessions are happening but what I can say is keep an eye on the Brilliant Resilience page on the CAP website for further details.

On that page we will include a whole calendar of workshop sessions for people to become involved with in Fermanagh:

Outdoor sessions at designated landmarks in the County to participate in photographic walks in small groups, led by a seasoned professional photographer. (Times and location TBC)

Storytelling sessions will occur over zoom, telephone and in-person (Times and location TBC).

We have In-person crochet sessions booked at the following locations (times TBC)

    • Wark Hall, Belleek
    • West End Community Centre, Enniskillen
    • Community Centre, Newtownbutler
    • Currently available now are crochet kits able to be delivered by Fermanagh Community Transport

Which artists are involved in the project and what is their role?

The facilitating artists involved in the Brilliant Resilience project include Anne McCann and Teresa Kane who are located in the Fermanagh area as well as local photographers commissioned through Belfast Exposed.

Anne has great experience in leading craft and crochet makers through at your own pace sessions, with tea and buns available. Anne will lead the crochet classes and Teresa Kane will lead the storytelling classes

Our hope is that we can work with 85 people who as artists take ownership of this fantastic opportunity.  The participants engage in a variety of ways including zoom, in-person and socially distanced as well as by telephone.  We hope the participants to feel supported to work creatively in the interest and ways that we have been doing so far.

Why Fermanagh and older people?

Practically speaking the project all came about in such a Northern Irish way: a conversation over a cup of tea. 

By invitation we were able to meet with community groups; older people were served by those organisations represented in discussions. There was a great interest to work with younger people and we’re very open to how this can develop in a subsequent project. This project is specifically geared toward over 60’s generation of residents, their carers or family members..

Personally speaking, it’s a beautiful county with great stories to tell.  

artist forms link
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.