Thread of life workshop in Strabane

Towards Understanding and Healing (TUH) will be holding two days of workshops in Strabane where they will use storytelling and the creative arts to work with people left scarred by the Troubles.

Maureen Hetherington, chairperson of TUH explained: “We have been organising community storytelling and dialogue events since the year 2000.

“We began with a residential in Lusty Beg that brought together both people from all across Northern Ireland including Strabane who saw themselves as victims-survivors of the Troubles as well as ex-combatants and former British soldiers.

“We put energy into creating an atmosphere where everybody might feel safe, where everybody could be heard as they told their own story of how things were for them during that period 1968-2000.

“Many of these stories were deeply moving as participants shared their grief, their anger, their loss and also looked at how they got through, how they survived horrific times.

“That residential led to many other residentials , programmes and events one of which is coming up for two days in Strabane.

“We are not therapists or counsellors though we have taken great care to signpost people to appropriate services (eg trauma counselling) when they have declared that need. We are inviting participants to bring with them objects which are special to them and which enable them to tell something of their story and we have organised a beads workshop as the main part of these two days.

“Participants thread their life story through beads and then at a pace that suits them share whatever they may wish to share and of course keep to themselves whatever they wish to keep private . ”

Good Relations Officers Elaine Watson and Amanda Biega of Strabane District Council have supported the programming of these two days, which is being co-facilitatedby Eamon Baker. Eamon said: “There are many people who still need time and space to deal with the past and to deal with whatever it is they carry emotionally as a result of the conflict here.

“We know too that while the conflict may have put a terrible shadow on peoples’ lives throughout the Council District, people have been really resilient and positive and there will be opportunities for that positive energy to come through within this special two day event .

“Maybe participants in threading their life story will remember happier times too with their families, nights out, music, dance-halls, sporting events, weddings, births etc.

“We hope the two days will provide a balance and promote the well- being of those who get involved.” The workshops will take place on November 30th and December 7 in the library from 10am -4pm each day.

Please contact Maureen Hetherington at the Junction, phone: 71361942 or email: mhetherington@thejunction-ni.org or eamonnbaker@thejunction-ni.org

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis