Claudia Donati (Project Manager, Modern Languages and Arabic Culture Programme) and representatives from the British Council London, Methodist College and Interlingua NI visited Belfast Royal Academy to view the community relations, diversity and equality work which has been achieved through the Arabic Language and Culture Programme. The Arabic programme was funded for a second year by the British Council and the Qatar Foundation and has at its goal the empowerment of today’s students with the necessary language, business and cultural skills to engage fully in the future with enterprise in countries such as; Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and UAE. They were extremely impressed at the level of work and commitment shown by our pupils. Two hundred and eight Form II pupils were engaged in this project connecting the Arabic Language through Art and Design. Their tasks included gathering research on the Arabic Culture, Art and Architecture. They created ceramic tiles using porcelain clay and oxides, and applied Arabic lettering from their language lessons into their designs. The pupils attended the Ulster Museum to experience ceramic workshops and explored the Art of the Middle East and aspects of its history. The final outcomes are four wall panels combining the ceramic tiles, repeat pattern, Photoshop and Arabic Calligraphy designs, illustrating knowledge and understanding about the Arabic Culture, Art and Architecture.
During our visits to the Ulster Museum, Lynda Hassin (nee Brown) BA (Hons) in Contemporary Applied Arts, a Ceramic and Jewellery Designer from Moygashel, Co.Tyrone, supported pupils at the ceramic workshop with the clay processes. Ashgan Essa, the Arabic language teacher provided the teaching of the Arabic Alphabet, Arabic calligraphy writing, reading and speaking.
The Modern Language and Art departments at Belfast Royal Academy welcome and encourage the opportunity to share our Arabic Culture programme with other schools. Catherine O’Hagan (HOD) and Orla Gallagher from St. Columb’s College, Derry, Art and Design Department viewed the exhibition and programme of study.
On Saturday 18th June the Annual Art Exhibition Charity morning showcased the project. We hope the success of the project will provide us with a third year of funding.