A SPECIAL exhibition highlighting the pressures experienced by young people growing up in a digital society has been launched this week in the Garden of Reflection by the Deputy Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Cara Hunter.
‘Behind the Mask’ is part of the Peace IV Changing Forms Programme, and involved a series of workshops offering young people a creative platform to explore who they are.
They then came up with some unique designs by producing moulds of their own hands and faces that represented each individual identity.
Led by the NW Carnival Initiative, these workshops were supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
A special supporting workshop delivered as part of the programme by NEXUS NI, titled ‘Media, Influencers and You’ also helped young people explore how they can develop confidence and self-esteem despite the additional stresses of living in a demanding digital world.
Launching the exhibition, Cllr Hunter said it shone a spotlight on some of the issues faced by young people today.
“We are all aware that young people are facing additional pressures with constant exposure to social media in all its forms, and the faster pace of life in a modern world.
“The Behind the Mask concept allows them to step away from that world and to consider how it’s affecting their lives and the identity they wish to project.
“The Changing Forms programme aims to build confidence in local young people and provides a forum for them to discuss the challenges in a supportive and sympathetic environment.”
A number of creative workshops will follow on from the Behind the Mask exhibition, all aimed at building self-esteem and celebrating identity.
These include dance workshops, a Community of Light workshop linked with the city’s Awakening the Walls Halloween event, and a Creative Umbrella workshop in connection with the Playtrail.
PEACE IV project co-ordinator with Council, Emma Quinn, said the workshops offered a forum for discussion: “Young people feel a lot of pressure to fit in and sometimes lack the confidence to assert themselves as they would like.
“These workshops provide a range of activities to encourage participants to be more aware of the feelings of others in terms of showing respect and sensitivity around values, cultures, beliefs, and traditions.
“The workshops will culminate in a special Celebratory Conference that will see all the young people come together to hear from key speakers on their experiences of how today’s digital society has impacted their lives.”
The Behind the Mask Exhibition will remain on display in the Garden of Reflection in the Holywell Trust, Bishop Street from 14 October to 24 October.