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Local People Exhibition at Ulster's Magee Campus

10 June 2013

The broad spectrum of life in the North West border counties is the focus of an entertaining yet informative social history exhibition at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus this month.

The Local People exhibition has been curated by Harriet Purkis, a PhD student in the School of Creative Arts and Technologies.

She explained the thinking behind the exhibition: “We wanted to present a snapshot of the present day lives of 40 ‘ordinary’ local people from Derry and Donegal, as well as something about their family history.”

The exhibition uses a full size ‘head to toe’ portrait photograph, a set of everyday clothes and shoes from each person, some filmed interviews and a colourful montage of written quotations and family photos to tell each individuals’ life story in their own words.Harriet said the idea was to present the 40 individual’s stories to the audience as if they were meeting them for the first time.

“The set of clothes from each person acts as a ‘ready-made’ material self-portrait and the worn shoes invite you to get a sense of the person and encourage you to ‘put yourself in their shoes’.

“Local People provides the opportunity, time and space to get to know these 40 local people and to get a sense of who they are, what’s important to them and where they come from.

“It explores the idea of what connects us all as ‘local people’ and the rich diversity of what now constitutes a ‘local person’ in the modern day Derry/Donegal cross-border area.

“It’s a great way to learn about a wide spectrum of life in Donegal and Derry over the past 50 years or more from people's first hand accounts.The 40 people featured in the exhibition are from both sides of the border include range from 18 years old head boy of St Columb’s College head boy Dean O’Driscoll to 80 years old jazz virtuoso Gay McIntyre.

Local People exhibition will be officially opened at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus next Monday, June 10 at 1 pm by the Mayor of Derry, Councillor Martin Reilly.

The exhibition, which is one of a number of events taking place at Magee as part of the City of Culture programme, will be open from 9 am – 5 pm until June 18 and from Tuesday June 25 until Saturday July 6. There is no admission charge.

Local People is funded by the Peace III Programme managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council. It has been specially commissioned by An Gaileara í Gaoth Dobhair and Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny.