Nerve Belfast hosted a free full-day series of events on Tuesday 21 February 2023 to officially launch their new training facility within W5 LIFE with a symposium on film education.
The centre-piece of the symposium was the public launch of the Shortcut website and learning programme which makes freely available 20 European short films exploring sensitive and challenging social issues which are impacting negatively on the physical and mental health of young people. The Shortcut website and film education programme was developed with funding from the EU’s Erasmus programme and the symposium attracted over 100 representatives from post primary education, the youth/community sector, mental health/social services and organisations working with young people at risk across Northern Ireland. The symposium unveiled a toolkit of film education materials which have been written to provide a host of creative possibilities for the exploration of and creative responses to societal and personal themes and topics such as mental health, poverty, racism, migration, addiction, social media, grief, the justice system and human rights.
Highlights of the Shortcut symposium included screenings of a selection of hard-hitting short films and Q&As with their subjects and filmmakers including local director Ross McClean and London based Film/TV Director Cornelius Walker who’s story is told in the Oscar-nominated Black Sheep ; a drama workshop with Bruiser Theatre Company; a screening of Stay Alive followed by a Q&A session with local screenwriter and playwright Clare Dwyer Hogg and film’s director Juliet Riddell; and a poetry workshop facilitated by staff from MSc Art Psychotherapy, Ulster University.
Sarah Lawrence, Education Manager of Nerve Belfast Creative Learning Centre, said “For over 30 years Nerve Centre has championed film as a key creative tool of empowerment for children and young people. We have seen how film can truly change lives. The 20 short films available on our Shortcut website that we have selected with our European partners in Poland and Bulgaria, are compassionate, vital works that put the real struggles of young people onscreen, both the humour and the heartbreak. They can offer hope and inspiration to a generation of young people struggling to find a voice.”
This was the first large-scale event hosted at Nerve Belfast’s new home in W5 LIFE at the Odyssey Complex. Opened in November 2022, The Odyssey Trust officially launched this new 20,000 sq. ft facility to address the skills requirements of Northern Ireland’s increasingly digitalised economy. Nerve Belfast will share this space with collaborative activities from W5 LIFE’s founding partners Microsoft, Almac and Belfast Harbour.
The Shortcut programme is supported by the Department of Communities through NI Screen. European partners include CEO, Poland, JSNS/OWIS – One World In Schools, Czech Republic, Os Filhos de Lumière, Portugal, and Arte Urbana Collectif, Bulgaria.
Learn more and sign up to access the Educational materials available at Shortcut's website.