Published 26.03.2015
by Kids’ Own

Phase One of the 100-Year History Project: supporting children as researchers

The 100-year history project is a creative commemoration project funded by The Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund. The project engages children and teachers from 12 schools in Ireland and Northern Ireland with the Decade of Commemorations, through research and creative activity alongside a professional artist and writer. The 100-year history project is led by Kids’ Own in partnership with Kilkenny Education Centre (representing the Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland) and the Belfast Education & Library Board.

The project is phased to encompass child-led research, exploring the wider political events of the decade 1912-22 through the lens of local and family histories. The second phase, pending further funding from The Department of Foreign Affairs, will involve a deepening of the research, and the creation of a body of artwork and writing that will be drawn together into a children’s history book for dissemination to schools and libraries north and south.

100 year history project100 year history project

100 year history project











  • Develop a cross-border network between 12 schools north and south, and provide opportunities for dialogue and sharing of ideas and approaches through the project;
  • Challenge received myths and perceptions around historical events from 1912-22, and break the culture of silence surrounding these events;
  • Develop a unique commemorative book publication to provide a legacy that promotes children’s inclusion in commemorations, and the power of the child’s voice to challenge the perceptions of adults;
  • Develop a strong interagency cross-border partnership between Kids’ Own, the Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland, and Belfast Education & Library Board, as a solid framework within which to support work with children & young people in educational settings;
  • Support a way of working that involves children as action researchers within their own communities and that recognises the transformative value of the arts for breaking down cultural barriers;
  • Bring together over 300 children and adults from Ireland and Northern Ireland for a high-profile launch of the 100-year history book publication.


Phase I: workshops with artist Ann Donnelly & writer Mary Branley
Jan-March 2015

100 year history project


The first phase of the project involved a series of workshops, which took place at each of the 12 participating schools. As the first contact between the artist, the writer and the children, the session was about making connections, building trust and brainstorming the period 1912-22, and getting ideas for areas that could be researched in more depth by the children and teachers, before the next sessions in Phase II.



100 year history project


Among the areas of interest that emerged were: World War 1, the 1913 Lockout, the 1916 uprising and the War of Indpendence, the Beggars Bush barracks, international perspectives of the World War – from Latvian and Polish children with family stories, and the Suffragettes, as well as many investigations into social histories running alongside, e.g. the Linen Industry; transport developments; local trade and industry in each area.



Reflections from the artists on the workshops:

I saw the girls from St Brigid’s in Haddington Road filling several metres of wax paper with their questions that they wanted to find the answers for about the 1913 Lockout. Their questions were wide-ranging and often very intelligent and the whole class was hungry for the answers.’ – Artist Ann Donnelly

I was delighted on seeing a comment made by an inspector on March 31st 1915 to the extent that the school was in “exemplary order” in perfect handwriting. It was as if the veils of time lifted. The names of the children were in Irish after 1921.’ – Writer Mary Branley

We all looked at a medal from 1916 that a child had brought in, and within a very short time the children had cross-referenced the information from the medal on their ipads and discovered that it wasn’t from 1916 but from the war of independence.‘ – Artist Ann Donnelly