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Help Shape the Story of Northern Ireland Women’s History


The internationally renowned Linen Hall Library is seeking participants for a new programme of engagement to complement its major extraORDINARYwomen: Supporting Communities (1965 – today) project. Funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Ireland) and The Foyle Foundation, a series of participatory workshops, talks and exhibitions will kick off on 26th August with ‘Changing the Story’, an online creative writing course.

Leading local author Jan Carson will guide participants in ‘Changing the Story’ to create their own unique writing style in response to some of Northern Ireland’s most outstanding local literary talents such as playwright Christina Reid, novelist Joan Lingard, and writer and broadcaster Polly Devlin. The workshop is free and will run from 26th August to 16th September.

Following ‘Changing the Story’ there will be a series of talks, workshops and exhibitions scheduled through 2020 and 2021. These are designed to encourage discussion, creative expression and offer an opportunity to record personal and collective experiences as part of the story of women in Northern Ireland from 1965 to the present. Participants will work with leading artists, archivists, curators and prominent Northern Irish women, and enjoy a rare opportunity to explore Linen Hall Library’s collections including the political, literary, theatre, Traveller and LGBTQ+ archives.

Triona White Hamilton, extraORDINARYwomen Project Manager, says: “Our project focuses on women collaborating and working together, supporting and raising each other up. We’ll be facilitating an inspiring and empowering community driven engagement programme of creativity and skills development. Exploring the often untold stories of women’s experiences and contributions to Northern Irish society, we will work with a diverse range of women to curate insightful exhibitions, publications and oral histories.”

To sign up for ‘Changing the Story’ as an individual or group, or to be informed of forthcoming activities please email extraORDINARYwomen Education and Outreach Officer Ciaran McQuillan c.mcquillan@linenhall.com. 

For more information about extraORDINARYwomen: Supporting Communities (1965 – today) go to: https://linenhall.com/about-us/extraordinarywomen/



Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Amongst her works are the novel Malcolm Orange Disappears (Liberties Press, 2014), short story collection Children’s Children (Liberties Press, 2016), and micro-fiction collection Postcard Stories (Emma Press, 2017). She is currently working on Postcard Stories 2 due to be published in July 2021. Her novel The Fire Starters (Doubleday, 2019) won the EU Prize for Literature Ireland 2019. In 2018 she was selected by the Irish Writers Centre as the first-ever Translink/Irish Rail Roaming Writer-in-Residence.

extraORDINARYwomen: Supporting Communities (1965 – today)
extraORDINARYwomen is a ground-breaking collections-based community driven heritage project of engagement, creativity and skills development. The project will digitally preserve and make accessible unique materials in the Linen Hall archives about women, and collect new stories relating to issues affecting women of all generations in Northern Ireland. For more information about this project go to: https://linenhall.com/about-us/extraordinarywomen/

extraORDINARYwomen funders:

Department for Trade and Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund (Ireland):
The Department for Trade and Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund (Ireland) promotes and protects abroad the values, interests and economic well-being of Ireland and its people. This is conducted under the political direction of Ministers, through staff in Ireland and through the embassy network abroad. https://www.dfa.ie/reconciliation

The Foyle Foundation:
The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant-making trust that distributes grants to UK charities. http://www.foylefoundation.org.uk/

The National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland:
The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/in-your-area/northern-ireland

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