Gaisce – The President’s Award held a creative exhibition to celebrate the first year of its LikeMinded project on Thursday 23rd January in The Science Gallery in Trinity College, Dublin. The exhibition incorporated the creative work and performances of young people who took part in LikeMinded, a bespoke personal development programme for LGBTI+ young people and their allies aged 14-17. LikeMinded was conceived following the publication of the LGBTI + Ireland Report 2016*, which states that 70% of school goers have identified that school is not a safe space for LGBT people. TheBeLonG ToSchool Climate Survey 2019 echoes those findings**. LikeMinded provided a safe environment for young people to collectively discuss and explore issues surrounding their sexual and gender identity while working towards their Gaisce Award. The project was made possible through the generous support of Norma Smurfit and Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI).
The LikeMinded group, which has been meeting since March 2019, was supported by a Creative Facilitator, Shireen Shortt, St Andrews Resource Centre and a group of dedicated mentors. Participants decided to use the mediums of art, embroidery, spoken word, mixed media and dance to highlight many of the issues experienced by LGBTI+ young people. Some of the pieces on display were created as a direct result of a homophobic episode experienced by a number of the groups’ participants. Collectively the group was allowed the space to process and work through this event.
Speaking about the exhibition, CEO of Gaisce Yvonne McKenna said, “Gaisce is delighted to see the creativity and talent of our LikeMinded participants come to fruition, and to present them with their well-deserved Gaisce Awards. While LikeMinded started off as a group of strangers, it quickly became a source of support, solidarity and strength. The bond between the young people has been extraordinary to witness as is verified by many of the family, friends and supporters gathered at the Science Gallery.”
She continued, “We’d especially like to thank our generous funders Norma Smurfit and Social Innovation Fund Ireland. A huge thank you also to those who provided a safe space for our young people to meet including The Ombudsman for Children, TCD, National Gallery, The Ark and the Science Gallery.”