Virtual the way forward for Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival

Launching the event at Limerick City and County Council, Merchants Quay were, Dr. Sarah Brady, UL, Helen Fitzgerald, PAUL Partnership, Eimear Brophy, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr. Michael Collins and Anne Rizzo, Limerick City and County Council. Picture: Alan Place

The Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary and, for the first time this year, the festival is being delivered online.

The theme for 2020 is ‘Celebrating and Building Learning Communities’ and the festival is running from Monday 28 September to Sunday 4 October 2020.

A visible testament to the multiple forms of learning that are happening in every part of the Limerick region, the festival is organised by the multi-agency group Learning Limerick. It believes that learning is not just for young people; nor does it only happen in schools, colleges and universities. It happens everywhere, every day for everyone – in homes, communities, workplaces and in all leisure and social settings.

With over 80 free events in this year’s programme, there is certainly something for everyone to choose from; with a diversity of activities that includes dance, art, health and science, business and developing career options. There will be performances, taster sessions, virtual tours, displays, lectures, panel discussions, demonstrations and interactive workshops. These online interactive (and some pre-recorded sessions) will be presented via a variety of online platforms including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, YouTube, Facebook and many more.

Learning Limerick is also holding a ‘Learning in a Changing Business World’ webinar that is taking place on Tuesday 29th September at 10am. Held in collaboration with the Mid-West Regional Skills Forum, speakers from a number of different business sectors in the Limerick Region will discuss how they have responded to the challenges posed by Covid-19. This session provides an exciting opportunity to hear from diverse sectors and to explore commonalities in learning for all.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Collins said: “Huge congratulations must go to the organisers who had initially to defer the festival from its usual April event to a much changed one in September with events online.”

“The Theme of this year’s festival couldn’t be more appropriate as we recognise and celebrate communities and the importance of learning for people.”

The festival also celebrates Limerick as a UNESCO Learning City-Region. The Irish Network of UNESCO Learning Cities (Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Belfast and Derry-Strabane) is hosting a collaborative Irish Learning Cities Day on 30 September during the Limerick Festival week. Operating the festival as a virtual one this year offers the added opportunity of attendees from Limerick’s partner Learning Cities all around the world logging on to join the multiple programme events online!

 Eimear Brophy, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board and Chair of the Learning Limerick steering group, said: “We are delighted to be again showcasing Limerick as a superb UNESCO Learning Region for both educational and business development. This year, we are connecting through various digital formats with learners right across our region and from our partner UNESCO Learning Cities globally. We are really enthusiastic about the new opportunities for sharing learning that this new format offers. We look forward to welcoming our existing learners and many of our new partners and communities of learners to our varied programme of events. There truly is something to appeal to everyone.”

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