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Women's role in shaping Northern Ireland celebrated at CultureFuse exhibition

By Peter Hutcheon, Local Democracy Reporter

A new project which celebrates women who helped shape Northern Ireland society is to open in Londonderry.

CultureFuse is funded by the Special EU Programmes Body under Derry City and Strabane District Council’s PEACE IV Programme and is a cross-cultural strategic initiative, led by An Gaelaras and the North West Cultural Partnership, which delivers an extensive programme of activities encouraging sustained cross traditional engagement.

The 'Common Threads' project which began in February brought together a diverse group of women representative of different cultures within and outside of the city.

Working collaboratively through the sharing of experiences, stories and creative techniques each participant created a piece of work which tells the story of the last 100 years through the women, places, music and literature which has helped define them.

"The aim of the project was to identify the stories of women who have shaped who we are as individuals and the society that we live in, a celebration of the important role women have played in our cultural identity over the last century, a role which is sometimes forgotten," explained cultural liaison officer, Laverne O’Donnell.

The six-month project took place across three venues, including Culturlann Ui Chanain, New Gate Art and Culture Centre, and the Sollus Centre in Bready; the stories from which in turn helped to inspire and shape the final exhibition.

"Common Threads was a wonderful and fun artistic journey of textile arts and heritage," said textile artist Caroline Devenny. 

"I was lucky to work with women of different ages from diverse cultures and backgrounds who came together to investigate and explore local women’s roles throughout the century, creating colourful, expressive tapestries all different, all unique.

"From paper to fabric we printed, dyed, painted and stitched, we shared this journey together and I hope we can share many more."

'Common Threads' will be exhibited at the Culturlann Ui Chanain from June 29 – July 20 at the New Gate Arts and Culture Centre from July 24 – August 17, and at the Sollus Centre from August 21 until September 14.

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