The wait is finally over. The Derry City and Strabane Region Learning City Network is absolutely delighted to introduce the highly anticipated Lifelong Learning Festival 2022, and with up to 100 free events happening across the city and district, it looks set to be an exciting and illuminating week for all involved.
When Derry and Strabane joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in 2019, we could never have imagined the extraordinary level of support we would receive from various community groups, businesses and individuals throughout the region. We are especially grateful to Derry City and Strabane District Council, Ulster University and North West Regional College for their tireless assistance over the past few months as we developed an event that could help make learning accessible to everyone.
This is our first time hosting a large-scale event where face-to-face interactions are once again the norm.
The Covid-19 outbreak pushed the majority of events and meetings online, and while there will still be a substantial number of online events this year, it’s going to be fantastic to see so many people out and about as they contribute to their own personal growth and development.
This is our first time hosting a large-scale event where face-to-face interactions are once again the norm. The Covid-19 outbreak pushed the vast majority of events and meetings online, but it’s going to be fantastic to see so many people out and about as they contribute to their own personal growth and development.
This festival gives us an opportunity to use the gift of learning to tackle inequalities in our society.
It is inspiring that so many organisations and individuals have agreed to offer their time, skills and knowledge across various disciplines for free to everyone across the city and region.
It may sound clichéd, but the broad range of events available means there really is something for everyone.
Have you ever thought of learning a new instrument or even sharpening your musical skills?
21 Training is offering free music tuition to beginners, intermediate and advanced musicians for a variety of instruments such as guitar, bass, drums, piano, mandolin, vocals, and song writing. You can also jump into a virtual world and try out skydiving, swim with sharks, ski down the Alps – the possibilities are endless.
At Ulster University, Dr Giuliano Campo will offer a practical introduction to acting. Whether you see yourself as Hollywood’s next big thing or you’re simply intrigued by the intricacies of this art, the acting workshop is sure to provide entertainment and inspiration.
North West Regional College will also showcase their ‘Learning for Life Roadshow’. This interactive learning experience will give people the chance to experience activities and demonstrations representing the many courses available at the College, including health and social care, hair and beauty, engineering and sport to name but a few.
There are simply too many events to mention here, but some other highlights include ‘Biodiversity on your Doorstep’, ‘Science for Grown-Ups’, ‘Craft Training’s Cookery Academy’ and ‘The Lorax Storybook Trail’.
Alongside the collection of practical sessions, it is extremely encouraging to see so many events focusing on mental health, wellness and positivity. Standouts include the Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum’s ‘Young People & Mental Health’ information session; ‘Stress & Emotional Needs’ from The Wellness Coach Ireland; and ‘Living with Anxiety’ by the Ulster Supported Employment and Learning.
After a turbulent few years and with the plethora of negative news stories we see on our television screens each day, it has never been more important to ensure people know where to turn if or when they begin to struggle.
Research has demonstrated that learning improves the quality of an individual’s life by helping them overcome challenges while promoting health and wellbeing. We want the Derry and Strabane Lifelong Learning Festival to provide the citizens of this region with free learning opportunities that can support good mental health and wellbeing, and of course we want to bring the fun back into learning.
We urge all who take part in this year’s festival to have fun, and hopefully you can be inspired to continue your journey of learning and discovery.
For a full list of events, please visit https://learningcityds.com/events/lifelonglearningfestival2022/
Garreth Harvey, is Chairperson, Derry City & Strabane Learning City.