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Video: Seacourt print exhibition challenges perceptions of illness and disability

A special exhibition challenging perceptions of those living with illness or a disability has opened at Bloomfield Shopping Centre in Bangor.

Developed by Seacourt Print Workshop, which is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 70 original prints have been created by participants in an innovative community engagement project called Interhuman.

The Interhuman exhibition marks the completion of the first year of a two-year initiative run by the Seacourt Print Workshop with funding from two of the UK’s most prestigious trusts, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Interhuman sets out to bring people from marginalised groups together through a common enjoyment of printmaking, challenging the perception of people as defined by their illness or medical condition.

The initiative builds on Seacourt’s long-held commitment to actively engage with people with a wide range of disabilities and health support needs, using printmaking as an effective social tool for creating positive, inclusive, experiences for everyone.

In addition to learning new confidence-building skills and developing new interests in life, the participants are taking part in important research into the impact of the arts on people’s wellbeing. This research involves eleven key support groups and agencies in Northern Ireland, including Action Mental Health, International Women in North Down, The Cedar Foundation, Positive Futures and Jigsaw NI.

Robert Peters, Creative Director Seacourt Print Workshop, commented: “Seacourt’s expanding engagement programme strives to make art socially relevant to the wider community.  Our experience is that the arts are particularly good at bringing people from all walks of life together in shared activity. Printmaking is uniquely accessible for everyone, irrespective of ability or experience.

“As participants develop new skills their confidence grows and their creativity blossoms conferring a real sense of personal achievement. Through our Interhuman project we hope to contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of the arts to people’s wellbeing.

Noírín McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Seacourt Print Workshop’s principal funder, said: “The Arts Council is committed, through our funding, to the principle that everyone in society has the right to enjoy the benefits of the arts. Seacourt Print Workshop’s engagement programmes, such as the Interhuman project, are tremendous demonstrations of this principle in action, opening pathways into printmaking for people from all backgrounds and abilities.

“We are delighted to support Seacourt Print Workshop as it continues deliver the best possible participatory experiences for everyone.”

The Interhuman exhibition will continue at Bloomfield shopping centre until January 6th 2017.

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