A World of Stories – project aims, approach and evaluation

A World of Stories – Stories through Objects
6th September 2023
The Lady Piper of Carnlough: Miss Netta Jane Johnston
12th October 2023

A World of Stories – project aims, approach and evaluation

Project Attributes


A World of Stories


CCGBC Museum Services


13th September 2023

Project Aims

  • To explore the historical conditions which have led to modern demographics in Northern Ireland.
  • To explore the diverse drivers of modern migration to Northern Ireland with a focus on the Causeway Coast and Glens.
  • To celebrate the growing diversity of our communities beyond the traditional dichotomies of green and orange, or us and them.
  • To be cognisant that when people are othered it is much easier to imply they do not belong, to dehumanise them, and discriminate against them. The project will give a platform for migrants to share their own stories.


Project Methodology and Considerations

  • Newspaper archive research to provide historical context within the exhibition.
  • To include at least 6-12 oral histories recorded from borough residents born outside of Northern Ireland to create case studies showcasing individual stories rather than homogeneous othering.
  • Informed consent from participants at every stage (pre-interview, interview, transcript abridgement, photography, final design).
  • Interpreters where appropriate.
  • To consciously make every effort to mitigate chance of interviewee misrepresentation.
  • Time, empathy and respect during all participant engagement.
  • Trauma-informed approach – signposting for external support.
  • Engagement programme to animate exhibition.
  • Partnership with local support organisations (CMCF, BCRC) and with other projects (Global Voices, Local Choices, and Conflict textiles).


Project outputs

  • Exhibition in Coleraine Museum at Coleraine Town Hall.
  • Exhibition booklet.
  • Exhibition webpage.
  • Oral History archive.
  • Recorded talk on the history of minority and migrant communities in Northern Ireland.
  • Papers presented at Museums Association – Members Together NI (27/06/23), Irish Museums Association Conference – Influencing Museums (09/09/23), Northern Ireland Museum Council – Museum Forum (26/10/23), Museum Association Conference – The Power of Museums (07/11/23).


Project engagement

Over the course of the project, A World of Stories engaged with participants and audiences in a variety of ways.

  • Oral history interviewees: 29
  • Oral histories recorded and transcribed: 22 hours 17 minutes
  • General exhibition visitors: 1,780
  • Events: 14
  • Event participants: 420


Evaluation (72 respondents)

Age of respondents

Under 16 9%
16-25 2%
26-40 11%
41-60 27%
61 and over 51%


Country of origin of respondents

Northern Ireland 69%
England 8%
Australia 5%
France 5%
Sri Lanka 3%
Canada 2%
Indonesia 2%
Spain 2%
Ukraine 2%
USA 2%


Likert scale questions

Yes, strongly agree Yes, agree Neither agree, nor disagree No, disagree No, strongly disagree
I enjoyed my visit to the Museum 76% 24%
I learned or discovered something new while visiting the Museum? 82% 18%
Visiting the Museum has improved my understanding of local history and heritage 65% 28% 7%


Open comments from evaluation forms

  • This was a fabulous event & met so many people from so many cultures.
  • Good balance between practical exhibits and story boards.
  • Great initiative; more on this needed
  • Absolutely brilliant, great sessions well organised and very interesting
  • World of stories exhibition fabulous.
  • Well done mate!
  • It is great to see public buildings being used by the community it serves
  • Very enjoyable and informative talk on Chinese cuisine.
  • What a wonderful event. The Thai food was amazing. I will definitely visit Whoosh.
  • I would like the service to continue.
  • Very well put together exhibition. Particularly love the personal stories!
  • Very nicely organised
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the Thai experience. Thank you.
  • It was good
  • Not the first exhibition I’ve visited here, but one of the most impactful content-wise. Stories our young people should be hearing to gain more global perspectives.
  • Interesting
  • Wonderful – detailed, interesting, exciting to learn new facts about other cultures and to taste
  • Sad stories
  • Loved the global stories – great idea! Great to see different perspectives – for encouragement and challenges!
  • Very engaged interesting title + great food
  • A wonderful event. I wonder if, catalysed by this exhibition, if the event & exhibition can go on tour? And in each location, include as well local storyteller to that area?
  • Great to see focus on real stories. Do you have strong links to Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust? No mention of the organisation here. What are future activities?? A shame that I was the only one here! Would be great to meet some of the individuals!!
  • Very much enjoyed my visit
  • The Chinese culture and food talk was excellent. Thanks for organising it.
  • Very enjoyable exp
  • Thank you. It is wonderful the efforts made to promote local culture and history by Museum Services. This exhibition on the diverse ethnicities in this part of Northern Ireland is very important at improving understanding and tolerance of visitors to this part of the world and hopefully make Northern Ireland more welcoming to those starting new lives here.
  • I could feel the pain of having to leave your homeland. The loneliness and isolation. Glad to see most people were eventually accepted into the community – that is heartening.
  • This is a wonderful and very informative exhibition
  • Yum!! Was the food. + stories very interesting, showing the strength of the human condition. Collaboration, stories, community – so good. A learning experience.
  • Very pleased that you have shown this World of Stories exhibition – very important to promote understanding + empathy. I hope you do more.
  • Really kind and very important
  • The use of the “museum” to bring awareness of our new friends & neighbours is so worthwhile
  • Very well researched and presented
  • Thank you so much really enjoyed.
  • Really kind workers and very clean
  • A lot of the posters do not call it Northern Ireland. Would like to see more local events. Bring back the Coleraine info shop – was nice for local gifts for family & friends back in the USA.
  • I really enjoyed finding out about Turkish cuisine
  • Thank you as have enjoyed reading everyone’s story.


Comments from Visitors’ Book

  • Very well done, so interesting!
  • Pleased to be here.
  • Beautiful stories!!
  • A world of story.
  • Wonderful – to see so many friends in the exhibition! Congrats!
  • Interesting and thought provoking – what a melting pot our area has
  • Beautiful stories! Thank you very much!
  • Most interesting, very educational and so embracing.
  • Amazing exhibition, thank you so much.
  • Well done lovely stories.
  • Excellent. Very well presented.
  • So amazing to see and hear everyone’s stories! So inspiring.
  • I enjoyed so much the lovely people’s stories! Thank you for amazing time. From Japan! (Japan)
  • So amazing. Everything great. Thank you very much for your effort. We love you all.
  • That is great effort. Thank you so much for all. (Portstewart)
  • Very educational and uplifting. (Ballykelly)
  • It was amazing to see everyone’s stories.
  • Thankful for the insightful exhibit.
  • Very interesting exhibition – and quite moving. (Kilrea)
  • Thought-provoking exhibition. Thank you. (Oxfordshire, England)
  • Very distressing to read about Sabrina without any resolution! Hopefully the creators helped a clearly depressed woman.
  • Good on Museum department.
  • Well done and very interesting. From Australia (Coburg Melbourne)
  • Very interesting place, well worth a visit.
  • Incredible archives.
  • Very interesting.
  • Loved the stories. A very interesting project that could go on and on. Well done!
  • Excellent exhibition!!
  • I love this building. Thank you.
  • Very interesting.
  • Fascinating, loved it, the stories are great!
  • Very interesting.
  • Lovely building. Very interesting.
  • Excellent. Some remarkable stories sad! (Coleraine)
  • As a Welshman settled on the North Coast, I found the exhibition very moving. Wonderful stories, many to celebrate, all to think about. (Ballycastle)
  • A wonderful project. So valuable to have this information and the stories brought together.
  • Interesting and educational.
  • Very interesting.
  • Fascinating. (Toronto)
  • Very interesting! (Toronto, Canada)
  • Very inspiring exhibition!
  • Very interesting exhibition good balance between the practical pieces and story boards.
  • Good!!
  • Good. But some who settled in the town are missing.
  • Interesting.
  • Lovely.
  • Very moving stories. Thank you from Down Under. (Lake Macquarie, Australia, NSW)
  • So friendly and interesting. (UK)
  • Great stories.
  • Great exhibition, wonderful stories and perspectives. Linda did some great work on this! (Newtownabbey)
  • Great stories event. good very moving too
  • Lovely to see arpilleras up close. Great to know so many migrants have settled happily in N.I. (Portstewart)
  • A really enjoyable experience! Why is there no one from Spain?
  • Very interesting and multi-layered exhibition.
  • Great exhibition. Well done! (Kesh, Co. Fermanagh)
  • j’ai adore p’idee de cette exposition. Chacun som histoire. [I loved the idea of this exhibition. Everyone is a story] (France)
  • Most enjoyable. Our story is also firmly based in the area.
  • Great exhibition! (Ballycastle)
  • A welcomed approach to welcoming and embracing. (Ballymoney)
  • Great exhibition!!! (Coleraine)
  • Super! (Coleraine)
  • Very good. Really enjoyed it. (Ballyclare)
  • Excellent exhibition. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you. (Castlerock)
  • It is amazing very moving. (Holywood Co. Down)
  • Wonderful exhibition! (Berlin)
  • Very good exhibition. Very interesting stories. (Berlin)
  • Excellent stories and also great as know most of the people in the stories. Amazing and so interesting. People’s stories and lives. Even see myself in a photo! Thank you for the opportunity to read and enjoy. (Coleraine)
  • Brilliant exhibition. Very interesting and well laid out. (Glenavy, Co. Antrim)
  • It was a pleasure to meet many of those who took part in telling their stories for this project. Well done to all concerned.
  • Great to see the Town Hall used. An interesting story. (Portstewart)
  • This is great! Enjoyed viewing and reading all the wonderful stories. (Brampton, Ontario, Canada)
  • Really interesting!
  • I found this experience life changing. Inspired me to emigrate.
  • Beauty.
  • Very great exhibition. Positive and challenging. (Lisburn)
  • Fantastic. So interesting. What a great community to arrive and live in. (Lisburn)
  • Fabulous. (Coleraine)
  • I also have a story to tell. I emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, in 1958 with my parents and two brothers (from Coleraine). Maybe someone could contact me. (Portstewart)
  • We moved to Coleraine in 2019. We are Italians and we are very grateful to have found such a welcoming town!
  • Encouraging stories of people from different backgrounds. Wonderful experience! (Woodslands, Singapore)
  • Really interesting. Encourages young students! (Newtownstewart County Tyrone)
  • Thoroughly enjoyable evening! Thank Turan, I learnt a lot! (Portstewart)
  • Truva Demo. Very interesting and well delivered. (Portstewart)
  • Truva talk. Interesting, extended my knowledge, pleasant exhibition. (Portstewart)
  • Very interesting. Very well researched and presented display, the food presentation and sampling was also excellent. (Mullaway Australia)
  • Educational. (Noosa Australia)
  • Really interesting exhibit. I love Northern Ireland (Wollongong Australia)
  • Interesting – people coming from far away to this region, their stories (Coleraine)
  • Lovely wee place hai! (Portstewart/Belfast/Latvia)
  • Great exhibition – for better understanding and empathy. Please do more. (Coleraine/Cheshire)
  • Really enjoyed the stories and the diverse amount of people telling them. (Glenavy, Co. Antrim)
  • Thank you, the stories and history are both life affirming that people find a good life here, but also shameful stories of racism. (Adelaide, Australia)
  • Wonderful exhibition of life stories. Thank you. (Co. Tyrone)
  • How culturally rich the exhibition is – and such personal, powerful narratives. Mabrook!! (Luxor, Egypt)
  • Really interesting. (Coleraine)
  • Wonderful, enriching event.
  • Keep up the good work, Nic! Thanks.
  • A World of Stories. What a treat! It’s so encouraging to see the vibrant life of oral story-telling in Northern Ireland. You make my heart sing. (Tropical Nth Queensland Australia)
  • A World of Stories. Thank you for a lovely time. The stories were so interesting and tellers tried their best to express them. Thanks for an informative exhibition. (Portstewart)
  • “El arte a los ojos del hombre es alimento para el alma [Art to human eye is food for the soul] (Chile)”


Additional comments received via email.

  • Congratulations again on the successful programme of “a world of Stories”, I really enjoyed it and it has made a real difference for our community. [BC]
  • I have quite a few people said to me about how much they enjoyed the exhibition. It has done a great job in rising awareness of the diversity culture we have in the area … Thanks again for running this great programme and getting me involved, I have thoroughly enjoyed it too. [BC]
  • Just wanted to thank you and congratulate you for your very interesting and successful exhibition. Your project was a new perspective, very dynamic approach involving part of the local community, inviting visitors to know more about those who are sharing their community. It was not only a window on the world like museums are, but also in the life and soul of participants. Very well done Nic, we are very proud of you! [CMcIW]
  • The book gives a wonderful insight into the lives of those who have come to live in our area. Thanks for the part that you have played in making this happen. I know that it has helped Mohammad to feel part of our community. [DMcM]
  • I just wanted to thank you for the World of Stories exhibition at the Town Hall. It was so interesting and gave such insight into the reality of the stories of those who have come to our country, both in the past and more recently. It was also just so well done! [LMcG]
  • I visited the museum, everything amazed me and everything was wonderful there. The picture of my son’s children there made me feel like I was flying with joy. There are no words to express my gratitude and appreciation to you!! [ME]
  • The exhibition made me wonder if I could have spoken in more depth with the people there. We all have a lot in common, things we perhaps will never share fully in public. [PS]
  • It’s unfortunate that events like this don’t reach a wider demographic and open their eyes to the wider world. [SF]
  • I’m writing to congratulate you all on the exhibition ‘A World of Stories’ whose launch I attended on Monday evening. This is a timely and important exhibition! It was a pleasure to liaise with Nick in the early stages of this project. I was impressed with his professionalism, insights and commitment. [YB]
  • A World of Stories is brilliant! What a fantastic resource. I’d love to circulate these stories to our own staff team. [AA]


Click here to find out more about the exhibition


The project was made possible with the support of The Executive Office’s District Councils Good Relations Programme.