Our Museums

CultureLab Launch

Niamh Baker and Niall Kerr at Ulster Museum
Ulster Museum
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The Ulster Museum is to host an exciting, new exhibition which looks at cultural stereotypes and poses questions around issues of culture and identity, past and present.

CultureLab, which takes a playfully provocative approach, includes the famous 'Differences' blackboard from the hit TV series Derry Girls, which goes on public display for the first time. The blackboard will sit alongside a new interactive installation, inspired by the iconic prop, that will test visitors' preconceptions and challenge traditional stereotypes.

The exhibition is part of Making the Future, a cross border cultural heritage programme from National Museums NI, Nerve Centre, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and Linen Hall Library, funded through the PEACE IV programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Making the Future sees a comprehensive programme of cultural engagement, creativity and skills development.

Objects from National Museums NI collections on display intend to offer a glimpse into how identities have been, and continue to be, shaped in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Key highlights include a Gaelic League bannerette from Hannahstown; Sir Edward Carson’s court uniform as Solicitor General Great Britain and Ireland; a 'We should all be Feminists' T-Shirt by Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri; an Our Planet Our Rights poster from the Fridays for Future climate strike demonstrations and a map of Gaelic East Belfast from Turas.

Visitors will also interact with the stories of real people across Northern Ireland and border counties, collected from participants of Making the Future engagement programmes and brought to life through animations by BAFTA nominated artist John McCloskey. 

Kathryn Thomson, CEO of National Museums NI, says the overall purpose of the exhibition is to invite people to take a good, hard look at the cultural stereotypes that we all know surround us in Northern Ireland.

“The CultureLab exhibition has been designed to explore the cultural state-of-play in Northern Ireland, challenge stereotypes and ask new questions.  It has been fantastic for National Museums NI to be a part of the Making the Future project which is helping to empower people to explore the past and create a powerful vision for future change.”

She added:

“Our museums and collections offer a shared space and real stimulus to widen community discussion and participation and encourage respect for different traditions whilst celebrating our cultural diversity.”

David Lewis, Making the Future Project Lead, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with National Museums NI to deliver this exciting CultureLab exhibition and to offer a space for people to experiment with issues of culture and identity in Northern Ireland in such a unique space. 

“CultureLab is a part of the Making the Future programme which engages people from across the region to take part in innovative programmes that encourage them to make their voices heard, tell stories relevant to their lives and project ideas for a shared future.”