14 April 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Nano Nagle Place have launched ‘Diversity Academy’. Diversity Academy, funded by Cork City Arts Office, brings together participants from The Lantern Community Project and Cork Migrant Centre to work with artist Ann Metchelink in an embroidery project inspired by Nano Nagle and the museum’s rich textile collections.
The vision of the Diversity Academy was to develop a space where diverse users of our site could come together in creativity to express aspects of their cultures and address issues that are important to them. Diversity Academy was an artist led, community craftivism project where participants created a collaborative artwork. This pilot project, supported by Cork City Council Arts Office, built upon the incredible community cohesion and capacity building activities already undertaken by Cork Migrant Centre, The Lantern Community Project, and Nano Nagle Place. Diversity Academy for the first time brings participants of these organizations together in creativity and solidarity.
The aims of the project were to use as inspiration the example of Nano Nagle who empowered people through making; to take museum collections out of the archive, particularly our beautiful early 19th century embroidery samplers, to act as starting points for crafting/creative activities; to teach new skills so that there is a shared venture in the participants learning something new together, along with harnessing artistic expression, with the aim of encouraging new social bonds.
A key aim was to allow participants a platform to steer the course of this creative/craftivism venture, which was led by artist Ann Metchelink. Along the way, other artworks were created! Creativity and Change artists Helen O’Keeffe and Claire Coughlan created a ‘graphic harvest’ of the craftivist sessions, giving visual expression to what has been a special and at times emotional experience for everyone.