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Art in Action: UCC Fáilte Refugees & Glucksman Unveil Powerful New Exhibition

The fruits of a project 12 months in the making between The Glucksman gallery and the UCC Fáilte Refugees Society were unveiled on Thursday, 18th February as part of UCC Refugee Week. ‘Art in Action’ presents the creativity of young asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants in Cork through an exhibition of drawings on the windows of the Boole Library. When restrictions allow, the artworks will also be on display to the public within the Glucksman itself. 

‘Art in Action’ was a 12-month creative project built on a collaboration between UCC Fáilte Refugees Society and the Glucksman working with children who are residing in Drishane Castle Direct Provision Accommodation Centre in Millstreet. The project sought to enable the children to have positive creative experiences, to learn art making skills and creative approaches that would allow them to better understand, and to share their experiences of the past 12 months. The selection of drawings on display as part of the outdoor exhibition for UCC Refugee Week offer an insight into the children’s lives, sharing imaginative stories or cherished memories with families and friends, whilst also presenting the challenges of 2020 and offering glimpses into the children’s hopes for the future. Presented on the windows of the Boole Library to enable safe viewing of the artworks for students, staff, and visitors to campus; the exhibition will be in place till March 12th.

The exhibition will be officially launched on Wednesday, 24th February at 5pm, when UCC Fáilte Refugees Society and the Glucksman will host a webinar that will look at how art can provide a means of creative expression and agency for young people residing in Direct Provision. Speakers will include Irish based rapper and spoken word artist Raphael Olympio, as well as UCC’s own Dr Eileen Hogan. Registration is free and open to all, with more details available on the Glucksman website’s Events section. 

Despite numerous roadblocks encountered over the three stringent lockdown periods in 2020, the project adapted and overcame many of the challenges faced by a collaborative project of this nature. It’s a testament to the work of both the UCC Fáilte Refugees Society Committee and Tadhg Crowley, Senior Curator of Education & Community at the Glucksman that the intended results of the projects were met despite such constraints. Taking pride of place on the panes of UCC’s historic Boole Library, the quality of the artwork from children of such a young age will not only brighten up the campus but highlight how creative activities are crucial to young people dealing with troubled living situations and how exhibitions of this nature can provide a significant platform to share their experiences in the public realm