Over 100 students from 5 schools across the Foyle Learning Community (FLC) and Strabane came together at Ulster University’s Derry~Londonderry campus yesterday [Tuesday 14 November] to take part in an interactive workshop exploring the use of journalism and creative writing in advocating for peace, reconciliation and mutual understanding.
Part of Ulster’s wider Belfast Good Friday Agreement 25th anniversary programme of events, the Finding Your Voice, Lyra McKee Literacy workshop invited participants to consider Lyra’s legacy to channel their own thoughts and creative means of expression.
Professor Malachy Ó’Néill, Director of Regional Engagement, Ulster University said: “Lyra McKee is a hugely inspirational figure in Northern Ireland – a celebrated young journalist, campaigner and talented creative writer. Since our inaugural workshop in 2021, we have welcomed over 300 students in her memory and ‘Finding Your Voice’ is very much at the heart of our Belfast Good Friday Agreement programme of events through which we will continue Lyra’s Legacy to inform and inspire young creative minds of the future.”
During the session, the AS level English, History and Politics students were given expert guidance on the creative writing process by Ulster University's Research Director in English Language and Literature, Dr Frank Ferguson and were guided in the ways and importance of journalism by Leona O’Neill, Lecturer in Journalism, Ulster University.
Participants also had the opportunity to explore aspects of creative writing and reporting, including approaches to setting, characterisation, visualisation and what makes an effective opening paragraph.
Students who enjoyed the afternoon at Ulster University shared their thoughts on what they learnt as part of the Lyra Literacy Legacy workshop;
George Taylor, St Joseph’s said: “It was great to experience a lecture environment and gave me new insights and a different way of approaching my writing.”
Hannah Hyndman, Lisneal: “I found it really useful for my English exam coming up, we learned about language devices and how to construct a paragraph and what is the most important piece of the story.”
Grace Gallagher, St Mary’s said: “I found it really fun & enjoyable, I found myself learning different skills from the lectures involved. Dr Frank Ferguson was very informative & enthusiastic. I’ve been on campus before for Open day for paramedic science and studying at Ulster is one of my top choices.”
Ulster University will support the future publication of student articles including short stories, poetry or news articles on a variety of platforms.
Further Events at Ulster University
Ulster University's Belfast Campus will host a conflict textiles workshop on November 23 in collaboration with the Colombian Embassy in the UK, the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, and Conflict Textiles.
The workshop, led by Breege Doherty and Eva Gonzalez, will involve story sharing about conflict, displacement, healing, and responses, as well as an exploration of the Women Weavers of Mampuján's Museo de Arte y Memoria journey.
During the workshop participants will create arpillera dolls which traditionally served to document and denounce oppression in a country where all normal channels of free expression were closed. To the women, making arpilleras was a way to share their sorrows and concerns. The creations will be presented to the Colombian Ambassador at Ulster University.