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Making Neighbourhoods National

Co Author:
Lorraine Comer

We’re thrilled to be partnering with the National Museum of Ireland again this year as we move into our second wave of The National Neighbourhood. Lorraine Comer (Head of Education, NMI) shares her thoughts on the relationship that has evolved between the NMI, local community and Dublin’s Culture Connects. We were delighted to hear Lorraine speak about the experience at our launch night on October 23rd in City Hall. Here’s what she had to say:

At the core of the partnership between the National Museum and Dublin’s Culture Connects is a common objective to make meaningful connections between the Museum and the local communities that we all serve.

The Museum values this partnership:

Because we share values that are important to us both: respect for diversity; Social inclusion and equality of access;

Because we can build on relationships we already have with local communities and extend the Museum’s reach into new communities;

Because we can share our expertise and resources with Dublin City Council to enable more people to engage with the Museum’s collections and the expertise surrounding them, and to have some fun doing it.

While the National Museum has a national remit, engaging with local communities is important to us. We want those living and working close to the National Museum to see us as their local museum. And Dublin’s Culture Connects is helping us to do that.

Lorraine Comer (National Museum of Ireland), Launch of The National Neighbourhood, 23 October 2017. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Lorraine Comer (National Museum of Ireland), Launch of The National Neighbourhood, 23 October 2017. Photo: Marc O’Sullivan

Our involvement with Press Play at Collins Barracks last year brought us into contact with a creative and dynamic group of artists, young people, teachers, students, parents, grandparents and others in Ballymun, Cabra, Finglas and Whitehall. Pop up museums were created; monologues were written; anthems composed; an Irish Hakka performed and Culture Clubs were formed.

For the Museum, the Culture Clubs in particular demonstrate the real value of the partnership between Dublin’s Culture Connects and the National Museum. The concept is simple: people are given tours of the exhibitions and are invited for tea and chats afterwards. The tea and chats are inspiring: participants can delve deeper into the meaning of objects they’d seen on display; they can interpret and reinterpret these meanings; they can bring their own knowledge and expertise of the collections to these conversations with Museum curators and educators. Everyone is learning from the experience.

At the most recent ‘behind the scenes tour’ of the Conservation Studios, one of our Conservators said that ‘the Culture Club group was one of the best we ever had on tour.’  And feedback from participants is telling us, very clearly, that they want more of what Culture Club is offering.

As one of the cultural institutions involved in Dublin’s Culture Connects, the National Museum wants to continue working together with Dublin City Council to make connections with and extend our reach into more communities in Dublin.

In collaboration with the National Museum of Ireland and Dublin City Council, The National Neighbourhood in Dublin North West will have a particular focus on the treasures of the area, in terms of its people, history and environment. The starting point is always the locals themselves, their stories and special interests, garnered from conversations in the community. The project has already begun in Cabra and the Deaf Village with participants from age 5 to 75. Visual Arts and music are the first artforms to feature. With the centenary year of women’s suffrage coming up in 2018, women in history will be one of the themes of the project.

About The National Neighbourhood: We want every neighbourhood to know and “own” their city’s cultural resources so we build cultural projects in community settings. We connect artists, groups and villages with libraries, museums and creative places to deepen their understanding of each other and themselves.




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