Six creative practitioners from the Causeway Coast & Glens and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council areas have been successful in their recent application to the “Northword Creative Practitioners Call”. Each will receive funding to develop a new showcase piece inspired by a local story. Northword is a transnational project part-funded through the Northern Periphery and Arctic Area Programme. Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust and Ulster University are the lead facilitators of the project in N. Ireland.
The Northword project aims to use the power of storytelling to support creative industries in remote areas and enhance the online presence of small businesses. It also seeks to draw on and support long traditions of storytelling in northern locales and encourage communities to rediscover and celebrate local tales. Northword is co-funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme of the European Union and draws on the experience and expertise of a range of international partners in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Sweden, and Finland.
Over 300 artists, musicians, craftspeople, and other creatives were invited to avail of this exciting opportunity and “bring to life” one the local stories gathered during Storytelling workshops led by renowned Storyteller Liz Weir in November and December 2020. The stories collated celebrate the history, archaeology, traditions, folklore and landscape of the Causeway Coast and Glens area. Applicants were asked to submit a video pitch detailing which story they had chosen and how their showcase piece will help to bring it to life. There were a range of submissions that included ideas for songs, music, art, books, textiles, ceramics, and sculptures based on local heritage.
Speaking of the achievement Gerard Gray of Taisie Turning commented: “It is a huge honour to represent the creative industry in Northern Ireland in the Northword project. On behalf of myself and my co-participants; Sasha McVey of Sasha McVey Ceramics, Michelle McGarvey, Colin Urwin, Angela Turkington of Leopard & Lily and Claire McCartney of Vokxen I would like to thank Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust for this opportunity to develop our skills and showcase our crafts on an international platform.”
The six successful creatives now have six months to develop and produce their showcase piece. Both the stories and the resulting products will be promoted on a bespoke website and Apple and Android apps that will be developed as part of the project. This will include details about each creative business, helping to promote them to an international audience. The website will also host a hub for any creative practitioner to use to improve their digital marketing skills. The development process will be captured on a documentary film and a series of ‘Bringing Stories to Life’ events will publicise the project internationally.
Tiérna Mullan, CCGHT project officer said “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital platforms in supporting the arts and crafts industry, and the Northword project will further harness this potential. The diversity and quality of the applications we received demonstrate the wealth of creative talent there is in the Causeway Coast and Glens area and we’re really looking forward to seeing the showpieces that are produced.”