There’s an energy that comes from a place filled with media and the arts and young people that I never tire of. The Nerve Centre is one of the official “creative learning centers” supported by Northern Ireland Screen. After meeting with Bernard McCloskey at NI Screen, he suggested Martina and I visit this creative learning center to see a few of their projects and people up close. I’m so glad we did! Between the recording studio spaces, the Fab Lab (a 2D & 3D digital fabrication workshop), the “Divided Histories” project exploring conflict education through media, film screenings and numerous other media education and media-making programs, this place is a model for what a local media arts organization can accomplish. One of the special aspects is its ability to look both inward– to serve the local community– and outward– to serve the global community. Projects serve the local community first; but then the knowledge and projects are shared with global collaborators. Example? This past year they brought the “Divided Histories” project to Beirut and Calcutta.
This was my first visit to Derry and the Nerve Centre seems to reflect a growing pride in creating a positive image for the town. There’s no denying it’s volatile history (Bloody Sunday took place here), but I found the town beautiful and the people welcoming. It’s the only completely “walled city” in Ireland (and one of the few in the world). It was even named the 2013 UK City of Culture and a top 2013 “city to visit” by Lonely Planet. Definitely worth a visit.