The Institute for Conflict Research, in collaboration with the CS Lewis Festival and East Side Arts, has held a panel discussion and culinary workshop entitled ‘New to the Parish’, as part of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council’s PEACE IV ‘Growing Understanding’ Programme.
This programme is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and is included in Antrim and Newtownabbey’s PEACE IV Local Action Plan and delivered by the Institute for Conflict Research (ICR).
The CS Lewis Festival, ‘Of these and other Worlds’, provided a backdrop to the conversation which centred on migration and asylum. The discussion commenced with a presentation from Irish Times journalist and author, Sorcha Pollak, who introduced her new book and ongoing series, New to the Parish, which highlights the challenges and opportunities of immigrants in Ireland and explores ways to create more inclusive communities.
Accompanying Sorcha was Azeez Yusuff (with Sari, a community sports programme in Dublin) who provided his family’s story of migrating to Ireland from Nigeria and his pathway towards integration into Irish society. Hasna Elsiyofi, provided insight into the challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers locally. She was joined by the Flowers of Belfast, a local Sudanese women’s group, who provided a culinary workshop which brought participants together to enjoy traditional Sudanese food.
The ‘Growing Understanding’ Programme supports 24 participants across the Council area, and is engaging them in workshops exploring issues of identity, culture, migration and Hate Crime. Participants visit places of historical and cultural significance, such as Hillsborough Castle and SS Nomadic, where they are exposed to traditional dance, music, food and faith of minority communities throughout Ireland.
The project includes an upcoming visit to Krakow, Poland, where participants will have an opportunity to consider a city dealing with the legacy of its past.
The project will culminate with participants drafting an action plan to address hate crime in their local areas.