Linen Lab is a creative engagement programme for young people offered by the FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio.

We are bringing artists, designers and young people together to take a fresh look at linen and to test out some exciting creative techniques.

Linen Lab is part of the ‘Connected’ project - a large-scale creative initiative co-funded between Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland - aiming to build new creative partnerships between cultural venues, artists and local audiences.

The Challenge

There are 8 creative professionals working on the Linen Lab project. Their challenge is to work collaboratively with young people aged 10-19 through a nine-month programme of classroom and gallery-based creative sessions, as they develop new work for an exhibition in the FE McWilliam Gallery.

Thirteen local schools signed up to get involved in the programme – primary, secondary and third level.
The challenge for the 450 students involved is to explore a variety of creative processes with linen - print, dye, paint, stitch, fold, form, knit, knot, draw, digitise, write, construct, deconstruct, laser cut – with the support of the artist or artists assigned to their school.

In the final session, each class visits the gallery or a local linen industry site. At the end of the project, the Linen Lab exhibition will present the results of these exciting creative collaborations.

Want to get involved?

If you are aged 14-18 and you would like to work with some of our Linen Lab team, then sign up for one of our ‘Lab Nights’ workshops at the FE McWilliam gallery. Only £2 to register and offering a host of exciting creative experiences. We recommend booking early to avoid disappointment!

Project Milestones

  • JUL - AUG 2018
    Artist recruitment: We selected a fantastic team of highly skilled and talented creative professionals with a clear vision for the project and a passion for high quality community engagement.
  • SEPT – OCT 2018
    Project development: Project lead, curator and creative team develop the content of the project.
  • NOV 2018
    School recruitment: Schools in the borough are invited to apply to participate in Linen Lab. 4 primary schools, 8 secondary schools and 1 college were selected to take part.
  • DEC 2018
    Meet the teachers: We matched each of the artists with at least two schools and went out to meet all of the teachers involved to discuss the project in detail.
  • JAN – JUN 2019
    Schools programme: An extensive programme of school and gallery-based workshops, engaging almost 450 Primary 7, GCSE, A-Level and third level students.
  • APR 2019
    We launch ‘Lab Nights’ – the first in a series of experimental textiles workshops for young people aged 14-18 at the gallery. The workshops will continue on the 1st Thursday evening of each month for the duration of the project.
  • JUL – SEP 2019
    Studio time: The creative team focus on developing and producing a new body of work in response to their engagement with the young people involved in the project.
    The work of the creative team is presented to the public in an exhibition at the FE McWilliam Gallery alongside documentation of the engagement programme. A programme of textile-focused workshops and events will run for the duration of the exhibition.