Telling the Other Story, Narratives without Borders

Youth from Limerick and Birmingham explore the Irish and English Story. This project was featured in the UK Guardian.


Telling The Other Story was a Narrative 4 and University of Birmingham project that brought thirty diverse youth together to experience the social impact of literature and storytelling.

Fifteen youth from three schools in Birmingham (Earls High School, Joseph Chamberlain College and Holyhead School) travelled to Narrative 4 in Limerick for a three-day cultural programme. In Limerick, they met with fifteen youth from the city (Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh) and together worked with renowned British and Irish authors, visited museums and acquired new creative writing skills; as well as taking part in a Story Exchange with each other. An article on the project appeared in the Guardian on the 8th December 2018.

Authors Ruth Gilligan, Donal Ryan, David Savill, Paula Mcgrath and musician Kathleen Turner generously gave up their time to work with the young people on the project. 

Projected Supported by Arts Council England, University of Birmingham and the Ireland Funds. 

“We live in a time where understanding and empathy are more important than ever, especially among young people. Amidst all the talk of Brexit and the Border, there’s a real question mark over how England and Ireland actually understand each other today. We have organised this project to provide a vibrant, safe and creative environment where telling each other’s stories will hopefully provide the foundations for better understanding, build relationships and change attitudes towards people from ‘other’ cultures” 

Dr. Ruth Gilligan. University of Birmingham

Participant Feedback

“Home is where the soul is. I left part of my soul in Limerick with my story, part of me lives there and will continue living there. I brought back stories with me, we all brought back stories with us and there is a home for them here”

“Going to school, it’s easy to lose faith in your contemporaries and just think, ‘We have nothing linking us’, because some people aren’t very nice. There is so much division between teenagers, between the different social groups. It was so nice to be in a room with people who didn’t care about all that, who were going to tell their story anyway.”

“It created an understanding for other people and made me feel like I’m not alone. I am everyone else.”

“I have had the most wonderful time this weekend. I have made some amazing friends and the Story Exchange has helped me deal with my thoughts/feelings as well as others”.

“It has profoundly affected my view on humanity and made me realise we are more alike than different.”