Northern Ireland’s Youth Activism Takes Centre Stage at Linen Hall Exhibition

The Linen Hall is hosting a new project titled Changemakers: Student and Youth Activism in Northern Ireland, shedding light on the pivotal role of student activism in the region’s history and its resonance in contemporary times. Supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund, the initiative aims to delve into the legacy of student activism and its relevance in addressing societal challenges.

Throughout history, students and young people in Northern Ireland have been at the forefront of various movements advocating for peace, justice, equality, and environmental issues. The project, consisting of an exhibition, a launch event, and a symposium, seeks to ignite dialogue and introspection on the enduring spirit of activism.

The exhibition, running from May 7 to June 28 at the Vertical Gallery, features collaborative efforts between The Linen Hall and local student and youth groups. By incorporating artefacts from The Linen Hall’s archives and materials generated by these groups, the exhibition offers a retrospective on significant campaigns and movements.

Acknowledging the contributions of artists Stéphanie Heckman, James Ashe, Lesley Cherry, and Nichola Irvine, The Linen Hall expresses gratitude to organisations such as Belfast YMCA, Secondary Students’ Union of Northern Ireland (SSUNI), Diverse Youth NI, Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union, and students from the Textile Art, Design and Fashion Department (University of Ulster) for their involvement in shaping the project.

Dr Melissa Baird, Project Coordinator, said: “Changemakers: Student Activism in Northern Ireland has been an exciting opportunity for The Linen Hall to engage with students and young people. Through our workshops we’ve gained so much insight into the challenges facing young people today, from poor mental health and poverty to sexism and racism, among many others.”

Julie Andrews, Director of The Linen Hall, added: “We are delighted to present ‘Changemakers: Student and Youth Activism in Northern Ireland’ a project that explores the rich history of student activism. At The Linen Hall, we are proud to highlight the remarkable stories of past and present changemakers who have shaped Northern Ireland’s narrative.”

The project includes a launch event on May 7 at 6pm and a symposium on May 17 at 9.30 am, both held at the Performance Area. Admission to all events is free.

For more information, visit The Linen Hall’s website

  • Exhibition: 7 May – 28 June | Vertical Gallery | Free (Find out more)
  • Launch Event: 7 May, 6 pm | Performance Area | Free (Find out more)
  • Symposium: 17 May, 9.30 am | Performance Area | Free (Find out more)
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