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Peacemakers celebrated as Peace Heroines Exhibition is launched at Museum at The Mill

The Peace Heroines exhibition which discovers the pivotal role of women in the Northern Ireland peace process, was officially launched on Tuesday 9 January at the Museum at The Mill, Mossley Mill.

The Herstory Education Trust first introduced this new education programme at the Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont on 21 September 2022 - the International Day of Peace. The exhibition will be open to the public Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm until 26 January 2024.

In the build up to the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2023, the Herstory Education Trust partnered with the National Museums NI and Department of Foreign Affairs to create the Peace Heroines education programme, featuring a touring exhibition with stunning new portraits of the peace heroines by the artist FRIZ, and youth workshops exploring power.

Since the 19th century, women in Northern Ireland have been building bridges by setting aside religious and political affiliations to work together to assert their civil rights and challenge laws that restricted their freedoms; issues regarding women’s education, married women’s property rights and voting rights. From local to national, this cooperative characteristic of women’s movements continued into the 20th century with suffragism, trade unionism and eventually, the peace movement.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper commented, “The launch of the Peace Heroines exhibition marks a powerful tribute to the pivotal role of women in the Northern Ireland peace process. These extraordinary women, facing daily threats and overcoming adversity, have left an enduring legacy of courage, unity, and resilience for us all to admire and learn from."

The project was sparked by a timely conversation at the United Nations back in 2019. Herstory CEO and project curator Melanie Lynch explains: “When I met with Ireland's Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Nason-Byrne she explained to me that the role of women in the Northern Ireland Peace Process is a key United Nations case study. I reached out to our school contacts and they confirmed that this essential story is not taught on the official school curriculum in Northern Ireland or the Republic. Our new Peace Heroines project aims to change that and introduce students and the public to these legendary activists and inspire the next generation of peace builders. It’s time to write herstory into history.”

As part of the exhibition, we will also be offering a Peace-building through Creative Writing Workshop on:

  • Monday 22 January 2024: 7-9pm
  • Thursday 25 January 2024: 7-9pm

Spaces will be limited to 20 people per workshop, both hosted in Mossley Mill. For more information or to register for a workshop, E. goodrelations@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk

For more details on the Peace Heroines Exhibition, visit antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/peace-heroines-exhibition

Peace Heroines Exhibition Launch