Gerri Moriarty

Writing and Publications

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 Some Recent Work
 
Gerri has contributed many pieces of writing within her field of expertise.
 
‘Fishing for the Future’: Nurturing and Developing Leadership Skills for the Future
 
 ‘Fishing for the Future’ was commissioned by Curious Minds (formerly part of Creative Partnerships and now a charity and social enterprise delivering high quality programmes alongside partners concerned with education and learning). In pursuing its aim of bringing creative workers such as artists, architects and scientists into schools to work with teachers to inspire young people and help them learn, Creative Partnerships provided a supportive context for many teachers to develop their leadership skills.

In this report, Gerri explores how and why this happened, drawing on a series of interviews with a sample of the teachers involved in Creative Partnerships/Curious Minds programmes in Lancashire and Merseyside and considers what lessons their experiences offer for future initiatives of this kind.
It can be downloaded from http://www.curiousminds.org.uk

‘Gerri has been wonderful to work with. Her broad knowledge of education and the arts, coupled with her warm and enthusiastic communication skills, means that she has produced pieces of work that get to the heart of what we do and its impact.’ Alice Birdwood, Director of Programmes, Curious Minds.

 



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Teatri dhe Nacionalizimo: Theatre and Nationalism
 

Gerri’s essay, ‘ Quiet Voices, Small Stories, Other Paths’/ Zëra të quetë, rrëfime të vogla, mënrya të tjera’  was published as one of the texts from an ‘In Place of War’ conference, held at the National Theatre of Kosovo in Pristina in 2010, in English and Albanian (translated by Qerim Ondozi). It considers the extent to which a play made with older people who had experienced the conflict in Northern Ireland addressed issues of nationalism. Gerri writes:


‘I learned to be wary of easy assumptions. To give an example, because of the nature of the British Empire, for some of the older people I worked with, the greatest impact on their lives had come not from their experiences of the conflict in Northern Ireland, but from their experience of other conflicts. Jimmy, a character based on a former sailor who had joined the Merchant Navy, talks of being in India at the time of Partition:


    JIMMY: I remember being at a railway station near Bombay – it was heaving. Thousands of people sitting in the dirt, mothers and children getting down to go to the toilet in the pit. Nobody ever sees these things. But I’ve seen them. Waiting to be taken to a new land. No idea where they were going. No idea what was in front of them. Can you imagine? The faces of those people – they’ve haunted me all my life.’
Jimmy’s story is about India, but of course it has resonance with Northern Ireland, where families were burned out of their houses and forced to leave their areas.’


 

Gerri has written a study in current practice in arts by, with and for older people in Northern Ireland entitled ‘ The View from the Hill’; assistance with research for the study was provided by Donna Morrow

(download 'The View from the Hill' from www.caf.ie/content/AFOPN.pdf )

In 2004, 16.1 % of the population of Northern Ireland were of pensionable age. Current projections suggest that this will rise to 24.8%, almost a quarter of the total population over a 40 year period.

There is no switch that suddenly engages in the human brain at the age of 60 or 65, cutting off its power of creativity or its ability to enjoy learn and benefit from the arts. Older people continue to work as creative artists as they age, sometimes individually, sometimes in collaboration with others.

Older people are audience members for and participants in a wide range of arts event and activities and many arts organisations, professional and voluntary would not be able to function without the active involvement of older volunteers. Older people are arts students (learning informally through workshops or more formally in arts education classes) and are arts teachers passing on their skills and expertise to younger generations.’

The report has been used extensively to lobby politicians, decision-makers in the age and cultural sectors and arts organisations to improve creative opportunities for older people pointing to health benefits as well as equity issues. 

The Wedding Play (1999), which Gerri co-directed – is discussed in Art and Upheaval: Artists on the World’s Frontlines by William Cleveland, published by New Village Press (2008)

The Bench is one of the projects included in ‘Creative Transformations: conversations on determination, risk, failure and unquantifiable success’  by Ruth Morrow, Doris Rohr and Kirstin Mey , published by the University of Ulster (2008)

Some excerpts:

Community Arts and the Quality Issue and

Theatre and Empowerment.

 

‘The search for quality in community arts, I would suggest, begins not at the moment of consumption by an external audience, but during the journey of creation and exploration in workshop by participants. The initial stages of this have three distinct elements. First, the participant is engaged in a process that concerns learning and technique, coming to terms with the discipline and demands of the art form – framing a photograph, remembering a movement sequence, mastering a craft skill.

 

Secondly, the participant is engaged in an individual authorial process, giving voice, developing confidence, finding expression for his/her own ideas, identity, feelings, observations.

 

Thirdly, he/she is engaged in group processes, such as discussing, reflecting, negotiating with others, developing a collective creative approach. This implies that evidence of excellence is to be found first in the degree of learning and second in the degree of authorship

(individual authorship and co-authorship) that is taking place within the workshop’

Read more in An Outburst of Frankness, Community Arts in Ireland – a reader, 2004,tasc at New Island ISBN 1-094301-64-9

 

‘(In 1999) I undertook an epic journey as a contributor to The Wedding Community Play Project in Belfast. This was a metaphoric and literal journey undertaken by 150 community participants (ranging in age from ten to sixty-five), a number of professional arts workers, an audience of 700 and a very much wider audience who read about the project in their newspapers, saw extracts on television programmes and at conferences and heard about it from their friends.

 

Its production style ensured that no two people travelled exactly the same theatrical journey; its confrontational genesis ensured that no two versions of its history completely agree.

 

So this is my version of that journey: flawed, partisan, partial.  Other voices will weave in and out of the story, but I am the narrator and I have selected, judged, shaped, and edited these other voices to meet my purposes. I am a player in the narrative, not a detached observer.’    

 

Read more in

Theatre and Empowerment: Community Drama on the World Stage, edited by Richard Boon and Jane Plastow, 2004, Cambridge University, ISBN 0521817293

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