03 Dec 2021

Youthreach in Gort an Choirce explore the theme of identity in photography exhibition

Youthreach in Gort an Choirce explore the theme of identity in photography exhibition

The Gort an Choirce Youthreach Centre was successfully chosen to participate in the Creative Schools Program and as part of that programme have undertaken a course in photography themed identity. 

Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme to enable the creative potential of every child. It is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

The students have been working with Donegal-based artists Martha Mc Cullough and Rebecca Strain and developing a body of work celebrating the theme of Identity.

Creative associate, Leanne Mc Laughlin, said: “The relationship between learners and staff at the Gort an Choirce Youthreach is unique and inspiring. The staff facilitate real life learning and adapt challenging learning environment complimentary to their learners needs. They have embraced the creative journey and in collaboration with the students have successfully enhanced creative learning throughout the centre”.

Learners expressed an interest in gaining a greater understanding of photography at an early stage in the programme and centre staff were determined and supportive guiding learners throughout the entire journey. Learner Rory Mc Fadden said:” The workshops gave me an opportunity to learn about photography. We also worked with Leanne to find out about different types of creativity we can explore it in Youthreach.”

Students have been looking at how identities are created; those we build for ourselves and those determined for us by others. Using just their smartphones and simple props they have been exploring how to present different personas. The creative process involved looking at contemporary photographic artists like Cindy Sherman and Gillian Wearing and discussing how to make effective emotive images. The artworks produced have been manipulated using cyanotype (sun printing) and photomontage to produce the playful work you see in this exhibition.

Artist Martha Mc Cullough said: “We were really impressed by the students and the way they embraced the subject of identity, each of them tackling it in their own particular style. The staff at Gort an Choirce Youthreach create a very supportive, nurturing space for the students and this made our job a visiting artists so easy.”

The work produced is poignant and allows the viewer the opportunity to witness an insight into the lives of these young adult. Gort an Choirce Youthreach Coordinator, Caitriona Cullen, said: “Creative School’s is an incredible programme that nurtured the creativity of all our students. The images produced were amazing."

The work will be exhibited at Artlink Fort Dunree.The show opens from 12 on Thursday, November 18.

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