Engaging Young People of the Greater Dunmurry Community Association
On Thursday 8th of February, the first of four Living Legacies workshop sessions was held in Dunmurry Community Centre. The Greater Dunmurry Community Association group had requested a bespoke research package to be delivered to a group of 20 young people, prior to their planned battlefield tour of Belgium (March 2018). The workshop aimed to facilitate the generation of diverse stories through discussion and collaboration, helping young people to build upon a shared understanding of the legacies of the First World War.
Living Legacies’ Dr Heather Montgomery discussed practical methods that could be used to explore and research individual soldiers involved in the Battle of Messines 1917. The young people and their group leaders were shown how to form focused research questions, selecting relevant sources related to their upcoming tour.
The group identified names of several men from the Greater Dunmurry area engaged in the Battle of Messines, and wanted to find out as much as possible about the lives of these men, in advance of their field trip. While in Belgium they also hope to visit the graves of some of the men they have identified and as such needed advice on the most appropriate methods to locate the grave sites, such as using the Commonwealth War Graves website.
Billy Thompson (Chairperson) and the Greater Dunmurry Community Association (Community Engagement Network) have been working with cross-community groups to reduce interface violence, while developing inter-communal relations and community-building capacities within the greater Dunmurry area. The project culminates in March 2018 with a battlefield tour of Belgium – with the caveat that all of the group engage with six-month research process prior to the field trip. The young people have now all completed their OCN in Irish History as part of this project.
In preparation for the battlefield tour, the group also requested background historical information on the movements of the 16th (Irish) Division and the 36th (Ulster) Division during the Battle of Messines 1917.
Dr Tom Thorpe, presented a great visual picture of the battle which provided both context and reality to the movements of both Irish Divisions in 1917. Attendees gained some concept of the scale of the battle which will be built upon during their trip.
The evening also was also marked by celebrating the work of Billy Thompson and the team at Greater Dunmurry Community Association with a presentation from some of the young people, thanking them all for the work they had undertaken within the community. (Apparently it’s not easy to surprise Billy, but they definitely did on this occasion!)
"Last nights session went extremely well and we had approximately 20 participants. Heather and Tom were excellent and kept the group focused and interested" Billy Thompson, Chairperson