The Glens Centre’s peace-building programme ‘Across the Lines’ receives further support

New phase of cross border and cross community engagement work

Leitrim Observer reporter


Leitrim Observer reporter


The Glens Centre’s peace-building programme ‘Across the Lines’ receives further support

Young people from Manorhamilton Youth Theatre and Enniskillen Royal Grammar School

The Glens Centre is delighted to announce new programme funding for the development of ‘Across the Lines’ cross community and cross border peace-building programme from the International Fund for Ireland under its Peace Impact Programme.
To date, the IFI support has enabled The Glens Centre to develop new programming bringing people from different community backgrounds along the border region together.

The new programme will build on the cross border linkages already made through youth drama work between Manorhamilton and Enniskillen young people and Men’s development work, across four Men’s Sheds across Leitirm and Fermanagh.
This new phase will enable a deepening of the level of engagement and mutual understanding and a widening out to new participants. The new programme will continue its engagement of young people as well as other groupings including bringing women and those involved in ‘heritage’ and ‘cultural work’ together, both sides of the border.

The Glens Centre’s Director commenting on how the previous programme delivered through community arts mediums stated “ the Across the Lines programme has outreached in the local area, creating unique ways to bring different people toegther. It has also added to the unique programming at The Glens Centre with some memorable showcase pieces such as The Choral Spectacular at Glenfarne, an engaging “Cultural Imaginations” discussion programme at various cultural venues along the border, “Talking Sheds’ film (which lead to Covid Conversations’ (a second film developed by NLMG/David Spence) Covid, and an excellent performance by young people of the “Border Games” which thankfully ran at The Glens Centre 5 days before March 2020 lockdown.

“The programme has also successful managed to creatively connect people along and across the border, digitally, through lockdown” . The Director continued “this was initially through two Open Mics events with Open Mic Manor and The Thing Itself and more recently through two facilitated programmes, the first being a pilot women’s peer education programme about women’s experiences of the border and border crossings resulting in the “Women’s Stories” pamphlet and a creative writing programme resulting in an online visual storytelling event The Border Between Us”, still available for viewing on The Glens centre YouTube channel”.

The Glens Centre’s emphasises that the majority of programmes to date have largely been facilitated by locally based creative facilitators engaging with peace-building themes and cross border work, with an emphasis on developing skills and collaboration between creative facilitators in the area; although from time to time guest facilitators and speakers have been invited in. A cross community and cross border steering group advises and supports programme delivery.

The objectives of the new Across the Lines – Beyond Borders programme include:
- deepening the cross-border youth empowerment and engagement work (through the medium of drama and arts), which has already been initiated and widening the youth programme to include other young people in the border region;

- connecting women on a cross community and cross border basis and supporting the development of women’s voices along the border, working with North Leitrim Women’s centre and other voluntary women’s groupings in the area;

- developing understanding around issues of ‘cultural identity and belonging’ and new cultural conversations along the border and developing new south to north cultural connections through a Cultural Imaginations programme and linkages between The Glens centre, The Yeats Society and Eastside Arts in East Belfast.

- supporting ‘inclusive place-making’ and storytelling by bringing together heritage and history groups in the region;
- and developing greater south to north engagement between the Glens Centre and northern based arts organisations and supporting locally based creative facilitators to work on a cross border basis.

The programme’s Coordinator Ruth Gonsalves Moore stated: “recognising the unique positioning of The Glens Centre as a community based and border based arts and resource centre, there is an opportunity to pro-actively contribute to developing inclusive and empowered communities’.
“We look forward to rolling out a new ambitious programme which starts with a new 6 week ‘Our Shared and Contested History’ Talks programme looking at key events of 100 years old ago, including Partition and establishment of Northern Ireland, with inputs from Dr Éamon Phoenix, Dr Cormac Moore and Dr Johnston McMaster and commences online on May 11.”

The programme is open to individuals who are involved in locally based heritage and history groups between Enniskillen and Manorhamilton. Those wishing to take part are asked to email Ruth at acrossthelines@theglen prior to 5th May.
The Glens Centre expresses its appreciation for the support of IFI for its peace building programme.