If you take a walk along the yellow woodland trail at Mount Stewart you will notice some new wooden signage created thanks to the work of the Ards Rural Youth Forum.
Using the theme behind the Woman and Power: Faces of Change exhibition, the group of seven teenagers worked with Nerve Belfast Creative Learning Centre to explore what it means to have a voice, identity, and power.
Over the course of six weeks, a group of emerging community leaders from the Ards Peninsula took part in a fabrication project at Mount Stewart, exploring the themes of identity and symbolism. To begin the project, the young people received a tour of Mount Stewart and then debated about what power meant to them, which they developed into a laser cut “power” word cloud (using Adobe Illustrator). After finding out that some of the portraits around the house contained animal symbolism, members of the group were inspired to create their own power animals by using Photoshop Mix and Photoshop Fix. They blended a photo of themselves with a photo of their power animal and distorted their faces to match the characteristics of their animal. Their final pieces were printed, laminated, and ready to be framed. So, using SketchBook, Illustrator and the laser cutter, the young people designed, engraved, and cut their frames.
The group’s brilliant work was appreciated by the public when it was showcased at Mount Stewart as part of the Faces of Change: Votes for Women Touring Exhibition! To complete the project, the participants designed their very own emblems which signified elements of their identities. They used various apps and software to do this including Assembly, SketchBook, and Illustrator, bringing together all the skills they had gained on the course. Using the laser cutter, they made their emblems into badges that they could wear proudly.
They also designed and laser engraved the words onto large discs of a tree trunk to be used along the trail. Starting at the Shepherds Hut and turning left onto the woodland trail, you’ll find these thought-provoking installations along the way.
‘It has been lovely working with Ards Rural Youth Forum and Nerve Belfast on this project. Engaging young people with the work that we do and helping them find ‘their place in our places’ is very important to us. They have added something new to Mount Stewart which will surprise and delight our visitors as theyTammi Peek, Volunteering, Learning and Community Involvement Officer at Mount Stewart
walkouton the demesne.’
Launching the trail in spring, the Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council, Councillor Richard Smart said to the group: ‘You have left a legacy here which not only gives you great pride but which will add something unique to the experience of visitors here.’