A New Chapter in International Links

Participants in the weekend symposium

Participants in the weekend symposium

The Centre for Contemporary Printmaking was the setting for an international symposium exploring social engagement through art. Representatives from Finland’s Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku and Dundalk’s Creative Spark joined Seacourt facilitators to share their experience and learn book –making skills from American artists Patty Lee and Gretchen Schermerhorn. The event, supported by North Down Borough Council before its merger, provided an opportunity for Seacourt to lay the foundations for new partnerships within Europe and maintain its international links to the US.

Seacourt’s Creative Director Robert Peters said, “At a time when funding is becoming increasingly restricted it is essential that arts organisation become socially relevant and seek broader engagement. This symposium allowed us to discuss these challenges with other cultural workers facing similar issues in other parts of Europe. We will be partnering with these organisations alongside others from Spain and Estonia to seek European funding for a programme of exchange that will support our aim to make printmaking accessible to all sections of society. Seacourt already has active links to with Vienna, New Zealand and the US. We were particularly pleased to welcome back Patty Lee and Gretchen Schermerhorn from Pyramid Atlantic in Washington DC to provide a two day workshop in leather embossing and bookmaking. These new skills placed our facilitators and partner organisation administrators in the same position as many of our community participants - complete ignorance of a technique. It reminded us all how important it is to make efforts to provide as secure and relaxed an environment as possible for those we wish to engage with.”

Esa Honkimaki, Director of Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku said, “The workshop in Seacourt gave us loads of new ideas. Printmaking can be use in many ways for audience development. I would like to thank Seacourt for inviting us to participate. You can see that behind all the practical activities there is real professional experience.  That's why it was fun as well!”

Seacourt’s Autumn programme of printmaking classes is now open for booking. To find out more telephone 028 9146 0595 or visit the website www.seacourt-ni.org.uk