Moving On Up, a five day educational and theme-based arts programme for young people, ran for six years, from 2006 until 2011.
It came about in January 2006 when Common Ground was asked by the Fatima Homework Club in Rialto to work with a group of young people who were attending their service. It was designed for young people who were making the transition from sixth class in primary school to first year in secondary school and for people who were at risk of leaving school early.
A working group, comprising three of the homework clubs in the area and the Canal Communities Regional Youth Service, was established by Common Ground and the Fatima Homework Club. It explored the themes and issues that the homework clubs felt the Moving on Up arts programme could address.
Through visual art and drama, the programme sought to enable participants to explore and examine themes and issues of relevance and concern to them prior to beginning their journey into the second level educational system.
The participants worked with professional actors and visual artists to cover the following themes:
- Hopes and Fears: Participants explored the hopes and fears they might experience moving from primary school to secondary school.
- Exploding Myths: Those on the programme explored the misconceptions young people have about secondary school – this supports a smoother transition process from primary school.
- Creating Empathy: A child’s feeling of isolation can result in them believing that they are the only ones who might experience loneliness or fear in relation to the new experiences that lie ahead. To address this, the programme let children explore the context of secondary school from a broad range of perspectives including teachers, fellow students and parents.
- Roles and Responsibilities: The consequences of actions and what is expected of a child in secondary were also covered.
The actors and visual artists involved in the programme were:
- Gabrielle Breathnach
- Julie Merriman
- Bryan Burroughs
- Keith Singleton
The venues Moving On Up has taken place in are:
- 2011 – St. Michaels Youth Project and Our Lady of the Wayside in Bluebell
- 2010 – St. Michaels Youth Project
- 2009 – St. Michaels Youth Project
- 2008 – St. Michaels Youth Project, Dolphin House Homework Club and Fatima Homework Club
- 2007 – Dolphin House Homework Club and Fatima Homework Club
- 2006 – Fatima Homework Club