Uncovering Belfast’s History 2008
Prisoners’ Exercise Circle in the former Crumlin Road Gaol provided a gloomy and evocative setting
for two recent performances of ‘My Dear Mary’, a dramatised account of the 1907 Belfast Dock Strike. Several
of the key events of the strike took place in the streets surrounding the Gaol, and the audience sees them through the eyes
of two women trade union activists of the time, Mary McCarthy and Mary Galway. The letters they write each other
are fictional but the turbulent history they describe is not. Jim Larkin’s call to the women at Gallagher’s
cigarette factory to join a union and fight for better wages and conditions, the brief unity agreed between Protestant and
Catholic workers, the reading of the Riot Act and subsequent bayonet charge on the Falls Road build up a vivid picture of
a city under siege.
|Crumlin Rd, DSDNI (Department of Social Development)
Old Age and Youth: Breaking the Stereotypes
The Bench’, the play Gerri wrote with older people over the age of 70, is now being performed in
a completely different context. Gerri is working with Northern Ireland’s Opportunity Youth and the cast of her play
‘The Bench’, to deliver an intergenerational project for young people, encouraging them to explore stereotyped
views of old age.
‘The initial reaction of the young people to the characters in the play is that they are
‘a bit boring ‘, ‘quaint’, ‘pensioners who can’t be annoyed’. After having seen
the play, however, the young people describe their elders differently. ‘Good fun, interesting
stories’, ‘ can’t keep still for a minute’, ‘ approachable’.
The young people will work with Gerri and some members
of the cast of the Bench to make a short film as part of the project.
|Performing 'the Bench'. Photo Gerri Moriarty
From 2008-2010, Gerri worked to support LARC (Liverpool
Arts Regeneration Consortium) with its evaluation development programme in North Liverpool. This aims to provide robust
evidence of the social impact of cultural projects that address regeneration issues and to build long-term evaluation capacity
in the area.
Her hope is
that this project, supported through LARC’s overall Liverpool Thrive Programme will help to highlight the considerable
strengths of cultural organisations, who are able to experiment to with innovative and imaginative approaches which are
often later adapted by other sectors. They can and do act as the research and development wing of social and cultural change.
The programme should also help them reflect more deeply on their work, articulate their achievements more clearly
and define new challenges for the decade ahead.
Supporting Strategic Development through Evaluation
Art Locates Me (ALM) is a digital arts project
working with young people across Cumbria, as part of Connexions Cumbria. Gerri worked with visual
artist Simon McKeown on an evaluation of the first phase of this exciting initiative, with
the aim of identifying its impact on youth workers, youth leaders and artists and helping
ALM decide how best to develop the organisation in the long term.
Gerri says ‘It is great to work with an innovative organisation that really
understands how to get the most out of an external evaluation.’
Sara Domville Maguire - Creative
Director, Art Locates Me says:
Moriarty’s evaluation report has provided invaluable insights into both the strengths and weaknesses
of Art Locates Me, enabling myself and the steering group to develop an effective and
informed strategy for the future of the project. The breadth and depth of the report
reflects Gerri's knowledge and experience of the community arts sector and her commitment
to promoting good practice within the arts."
Strategic Work in the Criminal Justice System
Gerri has been working with Cheshire Dance and TiPP (The Theatre
in Prison and Probation Centre) on a proposal for ' The Bridge', a major strategic arts programme with the Offender
With the advice of
senior members of the North West Offender Management Service and Pathways Boards and guidance
from Government Office North West and Arts Council England North West, the team have
produced a detailed paper which will be used as the basis of a feasibility study, funding applications
and an operational plan.
The paper illustrates the
important contribution the performing arts make to the personal and social growth and
physical and mental well-being of individual offenders and groups of offenders and hence to the effective management
of offenders, but argues that there is an urgent need to make the work of arts organisations
more effective, sustainable and replicable throughout the criminal justice system.
Adam Holloway, Business Director of Cheshire Dance says ' ‘I have worked with Gerri on 2 projects now, setting her near
impossible tasks each time. Not only has she risen to the challenge on both occasions but did
so far beyond my expectations in terms of her breadth and depth of inquiry. She brings with her a
phenomenal ability to cut through the even the most raging of debates, homing in on the
pivotal issues and then seamlessly offering up clear pathways for thinking to move forward.
her at work, she does this with a great sensitivity to all stakeholders and a lightness
of touch that ensures individuals’ retain their sense of ownership. I have learnt a great deal
from working with her and hope to continue well into the future. In the meantime, here at Cheshire
Dance, we have set up our own, albeit informal Gerri Moriarty appreciation society.’