Over 50 local school children were taken on a tour of Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy before the centre officially opens later this year.
The tour, which took place as part of Mid Ulster District Council’s education programme, was delivered by PLACE (Planning Landscape Architecture Community Environment), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the making of great places across Northern Ireland, and formed part of the Know Your Place: Bellaghy Project.
Know Your Place: Bellagy is a way of exploring local history through the town's built fabric, using sketching, design, and digital media to capture children's sense of place and their connection to home. It aims to improve the children’s understanding of Bellaghy’s built heritage, introducing them to concepts of architecture through walks and hands-on workshops, and linking these to the life, upbringing and poetry of Seamus Heaney.
The project involved working with Key Stage 2 pupils from St John Bosco and Bellaghy Primary Schools over a period of three weeks.
On week one, PLACE led the children on a sketching walk of the town, picking out the patterns and subtle details of the town's built landscape. In the second week, the group learned how to think like an architect, exploring the way architects imagine their buildings, the decisions they make, and the people they build for.
The final week will saw the group out and about the town, recording audio and visual footage that captures the experience of the town through their eyes.
The final output from this innovative project will be a short film about Bellaghy’s built heritage and will feature the work of the children from the two participating schools.
The hard-hat tour of Seamus Heaney HomePlace took place during Week 2 of the project. Primary 6 pupils from St. Mary’s Primary School joined the children from the two participating schools on the tour.
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan said: “I am pleased to see local school children getting this opportunity to take a tour of Seamus Heaney HomePlace. The tour will give them a preview of the fantastic new centre and a better idea of what they can expect when it officially opens later this year.”
Michael Corr, Creative Director, PLACE added, "PLACE is thrilled to be working with St John Bosco and Bellaghy Primary Schools on this project. The new Seamus Heaney HomePlace makes a significant addition to the cultural offering of Northern Ireland.
“We're delighted to be involved at this early stage, and to be working with the children of Bellaghy to cultivate and capture their own relationships to the new building and to their home town."
For more information visit www.seamusheaneyhome.com and follow us on twitter @shhomeplace