News & Events

Updated News 3rd Septemer 2018
Campbell College WW1 Poetry Slam: Eastside Arts Festival July 2018

2018-08-30 # Men Behind the Glass Poetry Slam

This August, a number of A Level students from secondary schools across Belfast participated in a unique series of creative writing workshops led by Living Legacies Project Officer, Michelle Young which culminated in a presentation of original work at the Eastside Arts Festival.

The Poetry Slam event, which was held at Campbell College on Friday 3rd August, saw students read and perform a selection of their own poems, written in response to the stories of pupils from the College who lost their lives during WW1. The event was staged as part of the College’s Men Behind the Glass initiative – a major restoration and education heritage project which is supported by HLF funding and involves a cross section of schools and communities throughout East Belfast.

The A Level students, from Lagan College, Strathearn School and Campbell College, came together on Monday 30th July to learn about the history of Campbell College and the stories of the men whose images line the walls of the College’s Central Hall. Throughout the week, in a series of creative workshops, they were guided through the writing of poetic responses to the lives of these men as classmates at Campbell College and as comrades in the Great War. The students’ work referenced the heritage of WW1 in the school and reflected some of the individual stories of men such as former Head Boy, Reginald Whiteside who was shot down by the Red Baron at the age of 20. At the end of the week, the students were prepared for the presentation of their work in an intense vocal and performance technique workshop before performing their poetry in front of an appreciative audience in what was a moving and inspiring evening.

The video above shows some students performing at the Eastside Arts Festival Poetry Slam.


Leah Fleming from Strathearn School said, ' I wasn’t sure what to expect but I enjoyed it so much and learnt a lot from it.'

Molly Longstaff from Strathearn School said, 'Thank you very much again for an amazing week which I thoroughly enjoyed'

Ross Taylor from Campbell College said, 'Thank you so much for this unique experience, I really enjoyed last week and the activities you put together for us really helped me to get into the mindset for writing those poems. I couldn’t have imagined at the start that I would be able to write and perform three poems, especially in less than a week’s time! '

For more information click here.

Updated News 5th February 2018 

Men behind the glass pic1 The Time Traveller workshops toured a number of primary schools and introduced over 500 children to some of the 127 pupils from Campbell College who were lost in WW1. The project used performance and creative techniques to explore how drama can allow young people to interact with the real life and personal stories of those young men, many of whom lived in their own localities over 100 years ago.

The workshop was centred on the life of one of the men, Robert McConnell whose school life at Campbell and war journey was documented through a number of letters he sent home. His story was told through a performance by local actors, Chris Grant who played the role of Robert and Mary McGurk who took on the role of Campbell College teacher Miss Margaret Bole. Robert. Pupils then engaged in a series of creative writing and drama tasks based on letters and postcards sent home from the front before presenting the story of their soldier in a short performance.Men behind the glass pic3

The workshops proved to be hugely successful with pupils learning about the stories behind the men behind the glass, their lives at Campbell College and their service in the war. Teachers commented on how engaged their pupils were in the workshop and how the use of drama enhanced their learning experience, giving them an excellent insight into the sacrifice made by the young men from Campbell College.‌

Mark McKee, Campbell College’s Primary School Liaison Teacher, who came along to one of the workshops said, “The concept was excellent, with such a range of stimuli and learning opportunities. It was clear that the children enjoyed the range of activities greatly – they were engaged and willing throughout. Well done – such a positive experience for all concerned.”

Campbell College website
The Men behind The Glass Website