On the Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914-1916 closing seminar reflects on approaches to the Outbreak of the First World War, the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising.24 February 2017
A closing Seminar was held on 16 February for the On the Brink: The Politics of Conflict 1914- 1916 project, a three year heritage project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund through a Heritage Grant of £178,800. The Seminar was entitled Share the Learning and took place atDrumalis Retreat and Conference Centre, Larne.
Over forty attendees came from local government, museum and heritage, community sectors with project Volunteers, and local residents. The topics that were discussed were:How can we best deliver heritage projects dealing with contested histories? And the role of the Volunteer on heritage projects.
The On the Brink project has been made up of a partnership of Mid- Antrim Museums Service with Causeway Museum Service. It has sought to encourage participation and new perspectives through heritage across the three partner Council areas of Antrim & Newtownabbey, Causeway Coast & Glens and Mid & East Antrim. It has worked with local communities, engaging with complex issues of identity and legacy linked to war and revolution through a local, national and international lens.
An exciting and central part of the On the Brink project has been the significant volunteer strand. Both museum services recruited, trained and supported 16 local volunteers to research, develop and deliver tours of local sites of commemoration in their local areas. Through theproject seven of the Volunteers completed an OCCNI Level 2 Award in Tour-guiding. Volunteer’s highlights from the project included a cross- border residential trip to Dublin to visit sites of remembrance and to further foster a project partnership with Kilmainham Gaol. At the Share the Learning Seminar several Volunteers delivered talks outlining their involvement in the project and the project’s external Evaluator outlined his findings.
The Volunteers received special recognition when Mayor Audrey Wales OBE, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, presented the Volunteers with their OCCNI Level 2 Awards in tour-guiding, which they have acquired through the project.
The funders, Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) recognised the significance of the Volunteer strand of the On the Brink project when they selected it as one of only ten case studies of HLF Funded First World War projects, and the only one from Northern Ireland, to be highlighted on their website in order to inspire others to apply for similar HLF funding.