A project changing the lives of young people across Northern Ireland has won the prestigious Museums Association’s ‘Best Museums Change Lives Project’ award.
Reimagine Remake Replay is delivered by the Nerve Centre, National Museums NI, Northern Ireland Museums Council and Northern Ireland Screen, supported through the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s ‘Kick the Dust’ programme.
The project has engaged more than 3,000 young people in creative programmes, events and workshops in the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk Museum and local museums across Northern Ireland over the last two years.
Project highlights have included a 3-day youth festival taking over Derry’s built heritage, a late night event in Ulster Museum attracting more than 800 attendees, an escape room in Mid-Antrim Museum, virtual reality museum spaces, and a range of high quality content reimagining museum collections as 3D printed models, digital designs and films.
Joe Carlin, Reimagine Remake Replay project manager at the Nerve Centre, said: “Young people have traditionally been an under-represented group in museums. Reimagine Remake Replay makes heritage relevant and accessible to young people aged 16-25 through cutting edge creative media and the latest digital technologies.
“This award acknowledges the impact of the project in making museums inclusive and engaging spaces for young people. The project is changing how museums interact with young people and how young people perceive their place in museums.”
The ‘Best Museums Change Lives Project’ award recognises the best project in the past year across the UK that reflects one or more of the themes: Promoting Health and Wellbeing; Creating Better Places; and Inspiring Engagement, Reflection and Debate.
Reimagine Remake Replay has empowered young people to gain new digital skills, including accreditations and Digital Badges, make thousands of creative outputs, and improve their mental health and self-confidence.
Kathryn Thompson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI, said: “As a project partner, National Museums NI is delighted Reimagine Remake Replay has been recognised with this award. The commitment of the project team, museum staff, the Heritage Fund, and, most of all, our amazing community of young participants, has been remarkable.”
Sinead McCartan, Director of NI Museums Council, said: “Reimagine Remake Replay makes important connections between young people and museums. Through creative technologies, young people have discovered the diversity of collections in museums within their local areas generating a sense of wonder, learning, belonging and fun. During Lockdown, digital activities enabled young people, some socially isolated, to remain connected with others. This award acknowledges how Reimagine Remake Replay has made a positive change to the lives of many young people in Northern Ireland.”
Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund added: “Reimagine Remake Replay are truly deserving of this award. Through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick The Dust programme we supported a wide range of projects across the UK with the aim of giving young people more opportunities to connect with heritage. Reimagine Remake Replay is a project which is truly ahead of the curve, demonstrating how young people can enjoy and benefit from heritage in creative and meaningful ways. On behalf of everyone at The Fund, I’d like to congratulate them on this fantastic award.”
Local museums taking part in the project include Fermanagh County Museum, North Down Museum, Mid-Antrim Museum, Newry & Mourne Museum, Causeway Coast & Glens Museum Services, and the Tower Museum in Derry.
The Covid pandemic did not stop the talented team behind the project as they quickly adapted to restrictions and moved to an online delivery model. Recent online programmes have included creative writing, sound design, stop-motion animation and 3D modelling.
Project participant Sorcha Ní Cheallaigh, said: “I don’t know how the Reimagine Remake Replay team do it, but they run a top class programme with showcase opportunities and invaluable work experience, all the while caring about their participants.
“Within the project, I fostered a new and open path of communication regarding my mental and physical health. I could communicate my mental and physical needs as needed to those I’m working alongside and learnt valuable skills that I will be able to take into employment.”
Reimagine Remake Replay also empowers and provides young people with the tools to deliver events exploring issues personal to them. For World Mental Health Day 2020, the project supported young people to deliver a three-day online festival focused on mental health, heritage and the arts. Participants commented how the project had improved their mental health both before and during lockdown, through developing new friendships, learning new skills and feeling connected to heritage.
Project participant Rosie Oliver said: “I loved every minute of this online festival. Especially connecting with others like myself who are passionate about art, mental health and wellbeing and that sense of connection and community. It definitely felt like a space I could come into and be myself which is very much appreciated.”
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