Comments & Testimonials

What the people say...

Don't take our word for it, here is feedback comments from participants, artists and partner organsiations on the WOMAD Outreach Programme.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone involved in organising the WOMAD event at the Skainos Centre in Belfast last Thursday.

It was a wonderful event and I was both delighted and surprised at all the children's dancing abilities. I thought the event was very well run and there was great excitement leading up to the event.

The organisers created a great atmosphere and got the audience involved (I think most of us wanted to get up and join in). I love that my children are exposed to other cultures and traditions. I think events like this are great for their confidence and self-belief. Please pass on my congratulations and appreciation to all the teachers involved and to the team from WOMAD.Eleanor Denny - Mother of participant
All your team did such a great job with the children. Aisha and her pals really looked forward to their Ugandan dance practices. We were given a count down every week to practise day. And when she received the form for parental consent - it had to be signed immediately. Not one of those that hangs around the bottom of the bag for months on end.

It is so lovely to see my children so engaged and excited about school. And it is particularly lovely that they are so comfortable with different nationalities. This event ticked all the boxes on so many levels for me and is exactly what I want from education for my children. It was so obvious that a lot of hard work and preparation went into it from your both team and the school. Once again many thanks. I hope my other children are fortunate enough to be involved in such events in the future.Mother of participant
Thank you all so much for a fantastic day. What a great success. Thank u all so much and a big thank You to Ripton. The pupils really enjoyed working with him and he has made a lasting impression on them all.Teacher - Fort Hill Primary School
The event was wonderful on so many different levels. It was truly heart-warming and heart-opening to connect with so many interesting people from all over the globe and share time, knowledge and skill with kids from different schools.

I loved watching the kids approach my stand with shy curiosity and then, five minutes later, roping their friends in and explaining how and what an Australian Aboriginal dot painting is! This WOMAD event not only brought many artists and performers together, it brought the kids together; it united them through the common desire to learn and participate in various cultural art forms from around the world.Billie Covington - Aboriginal Arts Facilitator
It was an amazing event and I'm getting similar feedback from community organisations who attended during the day. I can't congratulate you enough in delivering what was, perhaps, the truest and biggest multi-cultural event I've seen in 13 years working in Inner East Belfast.

From the flags outside Skainos to the final concert on Friday it was truly outstanding. I recognised local residents and community leaders in the audience on Friday night. Who would have thought that we could get such a culturally diverse range of people out on a Friday night on the Lower Newtownards Road.

I think you have created a great foundation on which we can all build and hope you will give serious consideration to taking part in next years festival. I, personally, would love to see WOMAD back in east Belfast and I think many of my colleagues across the voluntary and community sector would agree.

Brilliant and well done all.Sean Brannigan - East Belfast Partnership
Congratulations on a hugely successful WOMAD event last week, it was a pleasure to work with you. It has been a part of the Skainos vision from the very beginning to nurture shared space in one of the contested parts of our city and we saw the arts as very much a part of that nurturing.

In my 13 years of engagement with Skainos I could hardly have foreseen a fuller realisation of that ambition than last Friday. The noise, the colour, the talent and the sheer diversity of the event was a wonder to see. Thanks for taking it to East Belfast and to Skainos. I hope we can work together again soon.Glenn Jordan - Skainos Centre
Just wanted to thank you so much for letting me become part of the WOMAD event on Friday. I felt profoundly privileged to be there. Beyond Skin seems like a really incredible organisation. The evening concert was incredible - and on behalf of the folks that came from Globe Café - a massive thank you.

It really was a significant evening for me - to be surrounded by folks from such far flung places, dancing together - in East Belfast of all places. My two African friends were in their element! We look forward to hearing about the next event.Jenny Smithson - Global Cafe
For me, one of the most touching moments came when Ripton was presented with a t-shirt signed by the kids from Fairhill P.S. He had only spent 3 hours working with them but it was clear that he had made a big impression and they wanted to show their appreciation.

Overall I thought it was a fantastic event, bringing different schools together and giving young people an opportunity to perform in front of their peers. They were supportive of each other and showed what could be achieved in a short space of time. A very positive event.Davy Bates - Facilitator
I thought it was great, got the impression that the kids really enjoyed it. The teachers and classroom assistant I spoke with said the same thing.Marcus Blockson - Volunteer with Beyond Skin
For me it was such a great day. I'm so glad and proud that I was part of it. Thank you for inviting.

I had tears in my eyes after every performance.Jan Unrin - Musician
An incredible experience for the kids, the parents and the WOMAD Belfast staff. Seeing the confidence that the kids gained from performing to their peers and parents, and the development of an appreciation for other cultures, made this an amazing event to be a part of.

We could all learn so much from the positive attitude shown by the children at the event, in terms of self-confidence and acceptance of other cultures and ideas.Sean McCann - Assistant coordinator for WOMAD Belfast
For me personally, this day and event was and is a true definition of success and progress in many ways. It was great to see the children rise to the challenges that were brought to them to put on such displays in the arts, music and dances.

The main thing that also stood for me is that not many children are great on the academic side of things but they came through and stood out during their performances. From my years and experiences working with children on the autistic spectrum, I knew I had a few working with towards the Skainos event and all participated and performed brilliantly remembering all their duties to their performances and fellow class/schoolmate. They were true team players.

The Skainos event created a safe space for the children and this also contributed to their comfort to perform and relate to the happenings of the day. I could also see the smiles and joy of the teachers, parents, facilitators and just all who were involved.

This goes to show that children emulate what they see and if us adults create that space for them to be comfortable and creative, that is exactly who they'll be from our being towards them.

Despite the event was for the children, the great thing is that automatically, the adults become part of the whole process. Take for example, the elderly group who just stopped by the event, took part in the arts and craft then sang for us all at the end of the event.

These are the things that we cherish and are completely priceless plus it shows that when everything is operated on true harmony, there'll be endless amount of positivity attached to it.

This is what the WOMAD Belfast Outreach Programme has created and will continue to create onwards and it's great to have like-minded people to be involved to strengthen to whole movements some more.

The WOMAD Belfast project is showing and doing the true definition of educating (which means to bring out the best) by using the arts and it's not just the children only that benefits from this but adults alike.

As a tutor/facilitator/teacher, I'm extremely proud to be a part of this movement and in the process, I too will forever be humble to be a student as I learn from the children and the whole process too.

May this project continue to flourish and educate the planet on a whole.Ripton Lindsay - WOMAD UK
Fantastic atmosphere and a lot of positive energy - it's like the easiest way I can describe this event. But the most important thing and this project is that after several workshops in schools children can meet us, the artists in a different place in a different reality. This is a very important element of integration and exchange between cultures. By this the children and adults spend a lot of quality time with us; we can build a deeper relationship with the hope for a better future for all of us.

First to mention are the workshops at Kilcooley Primary, Bangor and Fort hill Primary, Lisburn. We were honoured of the way teachers, principals, and especially children reacted! We were accepted as first class world artists, but at the same time with very friendly and warm welcome. Everybody was listening to our story and all the information we delivered about our native country. Not only that - the classes made their own research about Bulgaria on internet - they have learned about the Bulgarian flag, nature, had the Bulgarian map printed and a lot of stuff like that, And they were so excited to share all they have learned with us. Then, we taught them a song in Bulgarian and Irish language. Our hearts melted when we saw them outside on the play-ground singing and dancing in front of their school mates all these, rehearsing and learning "Boriano, Borianke".

Guys, we never ever thought we will hear a Bulgarian language song sang by Irish pupils in Northern Ireland!!! It was stunning! And when we came back next week all of them were running to us, testifying how much they liked it! That was a life time experience!

Then we had these two showcases - Lisburn Isle Arts Centre and Skainos Quarter! They were brilliant! To see all the children and teacher to enjoy so much our "Ruchenitza" ;) :) Oh, that was amazing - all the full of happy, enjoying themselves people stage, smiling and dancing!

One of the most touching moments for us was, when children stayed at the Bulgarian craft tables, asking about our country and sharing how much they like the Bulgarian "Martenitza"'s. Probably one of the best examples would be a teacher, who liked her Bulgarian hairband so much, that she made one for her friend also and didn't want to take her own off her head even after the day finished - she just left with a Bulgarian flower on her head! We also had a group of elderly ladies, who decided to name the Bulgarian craft dollies after us - they gave the dollies out names and said they will remember us and will pray for us, especially on Christmas!

...even now tears are coming down on my face!

So, all we need to say, guys, is "big thank you" for organising all this and for giving us the opportunity to experience all these great momentsVessie and Nikolay - Musicians
Fantastic Event! Left feeling positive about living, as a minority in East Belfast. Thank-you.Evaluation comment from participant
Absolutely awe inspiring experience.Evaluation comment from participant
Artists poured their hearts out - amazing experience.Evaluation comment from participant
More events like this please.Evaluation comment from participant
Beyond Skin is not an entertainment company, we are peace builders & change makers using world arts as a tool to create positive change, and in light of recent very serious issues in East Belfast this is where we needed to be for this showcase event and we thank East Belfast Arts Festival for hosting this.

This is WOMAD! It has been successful over 31 years throughout the world and as the local partner for WOMAD; we (Beyond Skin) are committed to unleashing its full potential in Northern Ireland.Darren Ferguson - Manager Beyond Skin
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