Lifelong Learning Festival 2022

Fèile Foghlama Chorcaì

Cork Lifelong Learning Festival and Féile an Phobail Belfast Since a Co-operation Ireland programme held during the festival in 2008, Cork Lifelong Learning Festival has had a connection with Belfast. We are committed to developing stronger relations between the cities, in the context of the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement. In 2010 the partnership between the two festivals was formally announced, following initial joint events with Féile an Phobail - the Festival of the People – held in Cork and Belfast the previous year. Now 12 years later we celebrate and acknowledge the links and the friendships that have subsequently developed between the two festivals over the years. Highlights during those years since included in 2011 when President of Ireland Mary McAleese welcomed the link as she officially opened the Cork festival, in 2012 when the Lord Mayor of Belfast Niall O’Donnghaile jointly launched the festival with the Lord Mayor of Cork Terry Shannon, and in 2018 when the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival helped celebrate Féile’s 30th birthday, at the launch by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Lord Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey. Because of the strength of this partnership, exchanges and projects have happened during the years among them: mural

painting by Mahon Community Development Project’s Men’s Art Group working with Belfast mural artists including Frank Quigley; building and rowing traditional currachs when young people from nationalist and unionist areas in Belfast and Lisburn visit Meitheal Mara in Cork annually; and ‘Scribes’ events, bringing writers from different parts of Ireland together to read from their work. Relationships have built up between the individuals and organisations involved, so they continue year-round, including participation by Belfast in the Cork City Marathon and vice-versa. Bringing together even a few individuals together to work on projects can forge understanding and co-operation as people learn a little about each other and recognise things we all have in common. And during the years of Covid the connections continued with a series of Cork events featuring in the online Féile 2020. These included a number of Music Generation performances, one which featured GMC and Cork rappers with a Palestinian rapper MCAbdul, whose music video was shot in Gaza. Another event featured an audience with Cork author Cónal Creedon following the showing of his documentary film The Burning of Cork. So in 2022, after more than a decade of building connections as a shared community, this work and these connections continue to develop. All involved look forward to many more years growing together as ‘Festival Cousins.’



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