In Eoghan Ryan’s two workshops students were invited to consider the relationship between flags and representation; with a particular focus on personal beliefs, the everyday and the contemporary moment. Involved, in-depth and challenging discussion was combined with collaborative flag-making (and destruction) to allow students to deconstruct possible meanings of flags and to think out and express what was important to them.
In their first creative collaboration students made a number of flags referencing things such as current news items, things of significance to them, symbols that represented them and what they had for breakfast. The flags contained a myriad of expressions, from the mundane to the idealistic. These were discussed, as was the overarching political position expressed on the flags.
Following this, Eoghan invited the students to explore the symbolism of flag destruction by cutting up their flags. They discussed how this felt and how this act would compare to cutting up an official flag. Finally, they collectively created a unique flag that contained symbols created by each of the students. The big abstract ideals of national flags were juxtaposed with the flags created by the group - as things that resonated with meanings distinctive of a given group of people in a given time and place.
Throughout the workshops the students rose to the challenge of enquiring into the relevance of this aspect of material culture to their lives, responding with keen debate and joyful self-expression.