Consortium of heritage organisations - Museums Association

Consortium of heritage organisations

Linenopolis was a pop-up visitor experience that celebrated Belfast’s linen heritage. The Linen Hall Library worked in partnership with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the photographic gallery Belfast Exposed and Ormeau Business Park on the innovative project. Engagement was carried out across Belfast with intergenerational and older people’s community groups.

Participants shared memories of a working day, family life, famous shops and hardships in the linen industry. Workshops saw participants come together to research maps, street directories, school records and mill archives. These workshops gave participants an opportunity to tell their stories and feel valued through reminiscence sessions and oral history.

Belfast Exposed developed a series of workshops that improved participants’ knowledge of photography. The concept of the workshops brought intergenerational participants together to document the linen buildings of Belfast’s Linen Quarter and surrounding areas. Prospective tour guides were self-selected from community groups and trained with Ormeau Business Park.

These workshops gave participants an opportunity to tell their stories and feel valued

Each guide was given the opportunity to carry out research, develop presentation skills and successfully lead guided tours. Guides ranged in age and the project was an opportunity to gain confidence and be part of a social group. A travelling exhibition celebrated the lives of the project’s participants and gave voice to their experiences. The project successfully connected the public to, and shared the legacy of, linen in Belfast.