Limerick educators and artists promote positive cultural integration

by Alan Jacques

IntegrationSeminarKilmallockFRIARS Gate Theatre in Kilmallock have brought artists and educators together to help promote positive cultural integration amongst children and young people.

The results of four years work, the ‘Integration Through the Arts’ seminar saw participants travel to Limerick last month from all over the country for a day of workshops, talks and discussion groups at the Lime Tree Theatre on best practice in Arts based Integration work.

With over 60 teachers, youth workers and youth theatre leaders signing up to take part, the day was a lively mix of presentations, practical workshops and discussion group activities that explored drama as a methodology in integration work.

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The Friars’ Gate Theatre model uses a drama methodology to encourage Irish and ethnically diverse students to express ideas through speaking, listening and movement skills, learning both curriculum objectives and civic and social competences within a structured, safe environment.

The project is funded by the European Integration Fund and the Arts Office of Limerick City and County Council and in 2014 brought the Arts to over 2,000 Limerick school children through drama workshops in schools and the International Youth Theatre.

Such was the success of the recent integration day in the city that The Friars’ Gate have now been asked to deliver workshops in schools across the country.

Project director Fiona Quinn said; “It’s wonderful to have our work recognised in this way and our sincere thanks go to the Arts office of Limerick City and County Council who have supported the initiative since its inception in 2011. This year of Culture has really proved the importance of embedding the arts into the social fabric of Limerick to enhance all our lives.”

Schools and youth organisations wishing to avail of free workshops from The Friars’ Gate Education and Outreach Department may contact the theatre on 063-98727.