Visit to Room 13 from St Mary’s Derry

Meghan Doherty, a studio manager from Room 13 St Mary’s, Derry, reports on her team’s fact finding mission to Room 13 in Caol, Scotland:

On Thursday, September 26th, our group of ten, (accompanied by Mrs. Quinn and Mr. Hoeritzauer) from St. Mary’s Room 13, travelled to Fort William, Scotland, home to the original Room 13. After planning for numerous weeks, the excitement between us was immeasurable! Tickets booked, bags packed, passports in hand; we were ready to go.  Following a quick trip to the City of Derry airport, a short plane ride and a bus journey, we had arrived. The scenery travelling to our destination alone was captivating. From the sculpted mountains to the lush greenery, there were sights that caused gaping mouths, at every corner. We arrived at the Bank Street Lodge, our home for the night.

After changing out of our ‘travel clothes’, we headed for dinner. When our stomachs had settled, we decided to go to the amusements. Filled to the brim, with incredible rides, impressive bouncy castles and mouth-watering food stalls, there was action at every turn. We made our way to the bowling alley, followed by a slightly competitive game of bowls. Everyone had so much fun in one night alone, that we could not wait for the next day to begin, so we ‘hit the hay’.

We awoke, had breakfast and were buzzing to see Room 13. We went firstly to see the community studio in Caol Youth Centre, which most definitely looked the part. They showcased amazing work, by Artist-in-Residence, Sarah Hughes, and by the local residents. This included a spectacular photography exhibition, picturing the local residents; it showed the diversity in the area and the differences in personalities. We can all say that the work blew us away!

Our first session, guided by Sarah, was exploring the different way to paint; using brushes, bottles, spoons, knives, and even our bodies, and the outcome was extraordinary! We had lunch on the sea-front, which had a picture-perfect view, followed by a trip to the park and the beach.

Now it was what we had been waiting for, to see Room 13 in Caol Primary School. It was mind – boggling that primary aged children could make such wonderful work and at such a high standard! They even had their own souvenirs! The management team talked to us about the day-to-day running, fundraising ideas and their own artwork, they give us excellent advice and concepts which we could never have thought of. All of the members were simply awe-inspiring!

Following this, we had a second session, which focused on how we could show emotions through different shapes and colours in modelling clay. It gave us a better understanding of artwork and different ways to express ourselves in our artwork. Our final session was using symbols to talk to each other. It was interesting to see how you could make conservation without saying anything at all, and how Sarah was able to tell our personalities and friendships. At the end of the day, we were sad to go, but glad at the knowledge we took home.

Our final night in Scotland was in a beautiful hotel. Sitting on extremely comfy beds, we were able to discuss the day, and take away significant understanding. We were deeply saddened at the end of our trip; we never wanted it to end! We came home with memories that will never be forgotten.

Meghan Doherty, Room 13 St Mary’s Derry

Room 13 St Mary's Derry Visit to Scotland Sept 2013

Room 13 St Mary's Derry Visit to Scotland Sept 2013


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