A festival celebrating inclusion and diversity within local communities began in creative style on International Day of Peace, with the Peace by Piece celebration event at Corr’s Corner Hotel.
Six sewing groups from the three boroughs of Carrickfergus, Antrim and Newtownabbey were inspired by the ‘Stitching and Unstitching the Troubles’ exhibition to make peace quilts appropriate for their areas.
The ladies were guided on their journey by Rosemaire McGrath who was co-ordinating the programme on behalf of the Respect programme.
The Respect programme is an initiative of Antrim Borough Council and is funded by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace III).
Rosemarie has previously co-ordinated similar projects in Derry/Londonderry, Glenullin, and Ballymoney.
Councillor Noreen McClelland, vice-chair of the CAN Peace III Partnership, welcomed guests to the event, which was attended by people from across the CAN area.
Speaking at the event, Cllr McClelland commented: “Today is international day of peace - across the world groups and organisations, large and small, are doing their bit in support of peace.
“Each carefully stitched piece of material here today is part of a much larger tapestry of peace building work across the globe.
“Peace starts with the small things. It starts with conversations. Either with people we haven’t spoken to before or about things we haven’t talked about before.
“Just as each small stitch added together can create a beautiful quilt, each small new conversation added together can create a lasting peace.”
Speakers at the event included Anne Carr, who talked about her life experience of peace building locally and across the world.
Each of the carefully and beautifully crafted quilts was created not just through a process of stitching, but also of thought and discussion.
Breege Doherty, Assistant Curator of the ‘Stitching and Unstitching the Troubles’ exhibition shared the origins of story quilts with the audience and explained how they were used in other countries to highlight conflict and human rights abuses.
“Each local quilt tells its own story with carefully selected symbols and colours to represent the groups’ communities and the efforts within those communities to build peace and reach out to others.”
The CAN Peace III partnership will be displaying the quilts at a number of events and venues through the three boroughs between now and the end of December.
For information about dates and venues log on to www.canpeace3.org or telephone 028 9446 3113 ext 1322.