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28 Jun 2022

Webinar on the future of Longford’s peatlands communities

Webinar on the future of Longford’s peatlands communities

A group on a Workers' Villages Cloontuskert biodiversity walk, led by Global Action Plan. Photo by architect Evelyn D'Arcy

Beauty, inclusiveness and sustainability are the main themes of a new European Commission festival that is hosting a discussion on the future of Ireland’s peatlands communities organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation and taking place on Friday, June 10.

The discussion is connected to the Irish Architecture Foundation’s Workers’ Villages climate action project, which works with communities in the Midlands living with the impact of Ireland’s transition from industrial peat harvesting, namely in Cloontuskert, Co Roscommon, Lanesboro, Co Longford and Kilcormac, Co Offaly. 

Longford Quality Beef Group enters new contract with Kepak

The Longford Quality Beef Group has been in existence for over twenty years and it is made up predominantly of farmers from county Longford and some from neighbouring county Westmeath.

Workers’ Villages is a community-led creative project, supported by Creative Ireland’s Creative Climate Action Fund, that builds awareness around climate change and empowers citizens to make meaningful behavioural changes.

The panel for the “Communities in Transition: Reimagining Place, Communities and Climate Action” discussion will include members of Ireland’s peatlands communities. They will be sharing their journey so far of transition away from industrial peat harvesting, their concerns about how the built architecture and industrial heritage around its legacy is protected, and their aspirations for the future.

They will be joined by members of the Zollverein Foundation, which operates a former coal mine and coking plant in Essen, Germany that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001 and the biggest tourist attraction in the Ruhr area, attracting 1.5 million visitors a year. They will highlight how they transformed the site into a cultural destination that offers museums, concerts and events, while retaining the original industrial architecture.

Commenting on the event, Nathalie Weadick, Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation, said, “As a New European Bauhaus partner organisation, the Irish Architecture Foundation is excited to host this online panel at the innovative Festival of the New European Bauhaus. The festival is all about exploring bold and imaginative projects that place sustainability, culture, heritage and aesthetics at their heart, as a way of reimagining a new future for Europe.

“Our panel provides space to consider how Ireland’s peatlands communities in transition, including those we’re working with on the Workers’ Villages project, can benefit and even thrive. By living with and in the built architecture of this important phase of Ireland’s industrial heritage, peatlands communities have become guardians of its legacy and are concerned about how that is protected. We want to make sure their voices are heard.

“We are delighted to be welcoming the Zollverein Foundation into the discussion and look forward to learning from their experience of transforming a major industrial complex into ‘the most beautiful coalmine in the world’ that is now a World Heritage Site and major visitor attraction.”

The “Communities in Transition – Reimagining Place, Communities and Climate Action” is the Irish Architecture Foundation’s first Reimagine Session of 2022. The online event will be facilitated by Hans Zomer, CEO of the environment organisation Global Action Plan, a partner on the Reimagine programme. The event is part of the line-up of the inaugural hybrid Festival of the New European Bauhaus, a European Commission initiative.

The webinar is taking place on Friday, June 10 from 3 - 4.30pm, and is free to attend, with pre-registration essential at https://reimagineplace.ie/news/communities-in-transition  

Reimagine is funded by the Arts Council, the Department of Rural and Community Development, and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. Reimagine was made possible through seed funding by the Creative Ireland Programme’s National Creativity Fund.

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