Power to the Young People: Ulster Museum exhibition celebrates young voices

Reimagine Remake Replay programme has worked with more than 4,000 young people across Northern Ireland

Reimagine Remake Replay – a project which has offered young people the opportunity to develop new perspectives on museum collections and other aspects of our past – has launched a new exhibition at the Ulster Museum. Power to the Young People, which opened this week, has been co-curated by a group of 16 to 25-year-olds from across Northern Ireland.

The group have assembled objects that represent their opinions and experiences on those issues most relevant to young people now and into the future such as LGBTQI+ Rights, Climate Justice and Arts and Wellbeing, and aims to make a statement about sustainability with a range of low impact materials and design techniques used in its design, many of which are a first for the Ulster Museum.

The exhibition makes use of creative media, interactive displays and digital technology to platform the voices of young people on these themes. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to get involved through a range of participative activities and event opportunities.

Niamh Kelly, aged 25, is a Project Coordinator and Youth Ambassador for Reimagine Remake Replay. Speaking on behalf of the exhibition youth steering panel, she said: “We have focused on these themes because we care deeply about them and we are passionate about advocating and speaking out on social issues, in creative and collaborative ways. We have explored these themes throughout the RRR project and feel that museums should be places where we can all express what is important to us, connecting our heritage to our present."

The Reimagine Remake Replay project is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick the Dust programme - which aims to connect with more than 4,000 16–25-year-olds - and is led by a consortium of partners including Nerve Centre, National Museums NI, Northern Ireland Museums Council and Northern Ireland Screen.

Mukesh Sharma, Northern Ireland Committee Chair at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund is proud to have supported the Reimagine Remake Replay project with a Kick the Dust award of just over £900,000 to connect young people with heritage and transform how heritage organisations engage with young people.  

“The name Kick the Dust came from young people’s desire to stir up heritage and that is exactly what this exemplary project has achieved. By involving young people in decision making, it has valued youth engagement with heritage empowering them to use their energy, imagination and creativity. I’m encouraged by the number of young people participating across Northern Ireland and want to congratulate the participants and organisations who have found new ways to work together that will continue in the future. Together they have achieved so much with this exhibition and throughout the project; they are heritage change makers.”  

Joe Carlin, Project Manager of Reimagine Remake Replay at the Nerve Centre said:

“Reimagine Remake Replay invites young people to transform their place in museums by using innovative digital technology and creative methods to respond to collections. Over the past four years the project has connected thousands of young people with museums across Northern Ireland and I’m so proud of what has been achieved by participants, the RRR team and our partners.

“This unique exhibition champions the project’s youth-led approach, giving young people the agency to input into all aspects of its design to create a fun, innovative and exciting experience for visitors of the Ulster Museum. It features a range of digital interactives such as virtual reality, augmented reality and projection mapping to engage with collections and encourage conversations on the social themes that are most important to them”

Power to the Young People is part of a wider initiative to mark 50 years since Ulster Museum opened to the public and speaks strongly to the museum’s commitment to champion diverse voices and empower new perspectives.

Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive at National Museums NI, said: “We’re pleased to have been able to support young people through this exhibition and provide a platform on which they can express the issues important to them. The 50th anniversary is an important reminder of the role that the Ulster Museum has played, and will continue to play, in our society and this exhibition is a wonderful representation of the importance of capturing multiple perspectives to allow our visitors to explore our histories, discuss contemporary issues and develop new ideas about our shared future.”

Admission to Power to the Young People is free. For more information visit nmni.com