NUI Galway will celebrate Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day by hosting the ‘Travellers in Education: Building a Sense of Belonging’ event on Wednesday, 26 February.
Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day marks the anniversary of Travellers gaining ethnic status, while celebrating Travellers culture and heritage including music, craft traditions and language.
The event will showcase the rich cultural heritage of Irish Travellers through the Traveller Living Exhibition which is open to the public from 10am – 2.30pm outside Áras na Mac Léinn.
The exhibition, a vibrant recreation of Traveller life in the 1950s includes a fully restored barrel-top wagon, a traditional tent, a flat cart, a working tinsmith, a storyteller, and a campfire. Irish traditional music and Sean-nós dancing will also feature.
Parallel to the showcase, the Access Centre will facilitate workshops to highlight pathways into university, specifically medicine and law, while outlining the multiple supports available to potential students.
Imelda Byrne, Head of NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said the Access Centre is delighted to collaborate with our student societies, the Office of the Vice-President for Equality and Diversity, and Traveller Organisations across our region in organising this unique event. The first of its kind in any third-level institution in the country the event is core to the University’s strategy, particularly the values of openness and respectfulness delivered through the School of Sanctuary programme. We are proud and excited to host this event.”
At 1pm in the Bailey Allen Hall (NUI Galway ), there will be panel discussions focusing on the student experience and Travellers in education with: Hannagh McGinley, PhD Student in Education; Owen Ward, Access Centre; Martin Ward, WestTrav; Senator Alice Mary Higgins, Dean of Students Michelle Millar, and others. The panels will also hear from current students and graduates from NUI Galway amongst other higher education institutions about their experience in higher education.
NUI Galway’s Owen Ward, Schools of Sanctuary Coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “This event highlights the openness of NUI Galway and participating schools where equality, diversity and inclusion is embedded within all its actions. This creates the opportunity for all students, including Irish Travellers, to commence building their sense of belonging at NUI Galway, while building bridges between all communities.”
The event is organised by the NUI Galway’s Access Centre, Mincéirs Whiden Society and in collaboration with local schools participating in the NUI Galway Schools of Sanctuary programme. The participating schools are St. Marys College, Our Lady’s College, Scoil Bhríde Shantalla and Scoil Chroí Íosa.
NUI Galway’s Schools of Sanctuary programme aims to empower students to cultivate their sense of belonging within education while enhancing their knowledge of pathways into Higher Education. The programme is an important element of the NUI Galway University of Sanctuary initiative and the University’s Strategic Plan.