‘The Whirlwind and The Path’, Tallaght Library
‘The Whirlwind and The Path’ learner photovoice exhibition is running in Tallaght Library until the second week of October 2023. Do call in and see it!
We were thrilled so many friends and supporters joined us for the launch of the exhibition, which comprises 15 of our adult learners’ photos and narratives capturing their experience of adult community education.
Many thanks to Senator Lynn Ruane for her encouraging words launching the exhibition. It was good to hear her reminisce about her time at An Cosán, which set her on the road of Lifelong Longing, and her positive words about the exhibition.
‘Powerful’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘insightful’ are just three of the words used by attendees to describe ‘The Whirlwind and The Path’.
It was also great to hear four of the exhibition participants who shared their experience of taking part in the photovoice project and how completing our Personal and Professional Development Certificate has benefitted them personally and professionally.
Amy Hanley, whose description of her time in adult community education as “an absolute whirlwind of emotions and experiences” inspired the title of the exhibition (and An Cosán means ‘the path’), said: “The course has really given me so much self-awareness and has improved my communication skills, which is really helpful with my role at work and in general. The brilliant supports provided by An Cosán in a fantastic learning environment is what makes the difference.”
Through the exhibition, you will discover the motivations of adult learners, the challenges they experience, the role of supports, as well as the impact of their participation. Among the issues raised are racism, substance use, bereavement, migration, domestic violence, learning difficulties, bullying, homelessness, and mental health.
An Cosán CEO Heydi Foster said: ” This is a collection of powerful testimonies about being open to, and embracing, change. Through the photos and narratives, the learners’ courage, resilience, tenacity, curiosity, and hunger to learn shine through.
“The exhibition shows how a diverse group of adult learners have navigated very real changes and challenges,” Heydi continued. “We hope it will encourage adults facing similar challenges to consider returning to learning.
“All contributors are third-level learners drawn from our Certificate in Personal and Professional Development programme, which is designed to enable adult learners to navigate a changing world of work and lifelong learning,” she continued. “Certificate participants represent those priority groups most under-represented in traditional university settings.
“I would like to acknowledge our colleagues in South East Technological University SETU) for their strong commitment to collaboration with An Cosán and to the shared values that underpin our lifelong learning initiatives. Together, we are building new pathways between communities and university education.
“I would also like to thank the Higher Education Authority for the support An Cosán and SETU have received under its Higher Education System Innovation and Transformation Call 2018.”
‘The Whirlwind and The Path’ was conceived and delivered by An Cosán’s Higher Education Lead, Thomas Murray, and Community Education Tutors Yasmin Kutub and Rebekah Brennan.
You won’t want to miss this exhibition if you have an interest in the power of education to change the lives of adults, families and communities.
Background to the project
An Cosán recently partnered with South East Technological University on the Higher Education Pathway for Non-Traditional Learners Project to create a new, flexible, and digitally inclusive third-level award, responsive to the needs of marginalised adult learners and to the future world of work and lifelong learning. Over two years, 50 adult learners engaged in the resulting Certificate in Personal and Professional Development (NFQ Level 6). As part of this Certificate programme, learners were invited to participate in a photovoice research project.
Photovoice is a creative, participatory research method that combines photographic images and text to present individual perspectives. In this project adult learners from communities across Ireland used photos and narratives to offer us their unique accounts about their lifelong learning pathways, the challenges they experience, as well as the influences in learners’ lives that have helped them along the way. The Whirlwind and The Path exhibition is the outcome of this photovoice research process involving researcher-educators from An Cosán and adult learners.
The Higher Education Pathway for Non-Traditional Learners Project is supported by the Higher Education Authority under its Higher Education System Innovation and Transformation Call 2018.