Communities of Culture is a Hunt Museum programme exploring the different unique cultural experiences and heritages of each of Limerick’s regeneration areas – Southill, Ballinacurra Weston, Moyross and St. Mary’s Park.

Through a series of targeted community and museum based projects, Communities of Culture aims to support seven groups from these areas in expressing their unique stories and contributions to the cultural landscape of Limerick. The groups are from a variety of communities to ensure a wide range of perspectives and voices including young people, women, men, older people and people with disabilities.

The Hunt Museum in partnership with Limerick Regeneration Agency and the regeneration areas in Limerick City are working together as to create a Communities of Culture project. This project has two components, the first being the creation of loan boxes by the community groups from last year’s project and the second phase of the project, being the creation of a new group who worked on a project entitled ‘In Fairness’.

Community groups from both Limerick Southside and Northside are creating two unique loan boxes with artefacts relating to the local history, heritage and lore in their areas. The groups are from a variety of communities to ensure a wide range of perspectives and voices including young people, women, men, older people and people with disabilities. The groups include The Go4IT Youth Group in Moyross, The Midwest School for Hearing Impaired Children, Moyross Threads, Southill Men’s Shed, Southill Women’s Group, St. Mary’s Over 55s Women’s Group, St. Mary’s Parish Men’s Shed and The West End Youth Centre 7-10’s Group.

These boxes contain objects than can be handled, media works and printed material such as photographs, texts etc. Artist Siobhan Clancy facilitated the project and co-produced a number of elements. Fab Lab in the city centre has been very supportive of the project facilitating design sessions and assisting in the production of a Viking game designed by The West End Youth Centre 7 – 10’s Group as well as other contents.

They serve as resources for the people in Limerick City, enabling them to discover the history and culture of their area through object. The contents of each box is accompanied by lesson plans and activities, which have been developed in partnership with Mary Immaculate College, and are designed to support learning through story, reminiscence, play and creativity.

The museum is very excited to be partnered with people from local communities to create resources that bring the concept of the museum beyond the restrictions of the building. The loan boxes will be held in Watch House Cross and Roxboro Library. This project will culminate in a special launch event at the museum at 6-7.30pm on the 15th of June where the loan boxes are to be showcased alongside an exhibition of the project process. Possible16.JPG

These will be available to groups to take out on loan from June 2016 onwards. It is hoped that this project will help reduce stereotypes, encourage people to learn about their local area and build on the research started by these groups.

The second phase of the project was the creation of a new group to work on a project entitled ‘In Fairness’. This involved community groups of all different ages and situations from Ballinacurra-Weston, Moyross, Southill and St Mary’s Park as well as the wider public having discussions about the meaning of fairness to them personally and what they think could be done to make their local communities, and the wider world more fair.

The result of these discussions was a month long program of activities hosted by The Hunt Museum, each one attempting to effect some kind of change or initiate discussion that could lead to action. For the full program and more information about the project visit: http://thehunteducation.wixsite.com/infairness

In 2014, seven projects facilitated by the Hunt Museum’s Communities of Culture Project took place across regeneration areas in Limerick, involving eight community groups in the four regeneration areas. The museum and groups from Ballinacurra-Weston, Southill and St Mary’s Park came together to explore and celebrate the unique heritage and culture of each area. The exhibition was a first step in offering a glimpse into the experiences, memories and stories collected from both the groups involved as well as the general public.

These projects concluded in a full-scale community led exhibition here at the museum, which opened November 6th. Entitled Tell me a Story, Limerick, the exhibition was the high point of this year-long, city-wide event. On display as part of the exhibition were films, brochures, booklets and transportable pop-up exhibitions which represented each of the areas involved. We at the museum thoroughly enjoyed working in partnership with local people.These pop-up exhibitions are now being used as community resources by schools and other groups. If you would like to book one of these for your centre, please email access@huntmuseum.com or call 061 312833.

Due to the positive impact made and response received we plan on taking part in another Communities of Culture in the coming year.

‘The variety and number of these projects is a credit to all involved and the Hunt Museum in particular” said Councillor John Gilligan (Independent: City North) when launching the Island Heritage Trail at St Mary’s Men’s Shed.

‘To have the community involved at grass roots level is what such a project is about…It is wonderful that Limerick Regeneration has been supportive of such a project and indeed all the others involved’.

By clicking the links below, you can see some of the wonderful work created by these community groups;

Looking Back, Southill Remembered

Looking Back was created by the members of Southill Women’s Group and Southill Men’s Shed. Over the course of a number of months, the group came together to share their stories and family research. It is a collection of photographs chosen by the group to sample the rich history of the people of Southill.

Friendship and Legacies

A wonderful booklet documenting the lives and experiences of the St Mary’s Over 55s Women’s Group. Throughout this booklet, these women share meaningful stories, memories and photographs.