FuturePastPresent – Drogheda

Drogheda – Child Youth Dialogues

The Museum of Childhood Ireland, Upstate Theatre Project, Jessica Farrell-LEGO Artist, Nathan Wheeler- Model Maker, with the Heritage Council, are delighted to present our Youth and Child Voice collaborative project FuturePastPresent in Drogheda, for Heritage Week, August 2023.

To launch the project the museum of Childhood Ireland delivered online youth and children’s workshops, focused on the meaningful participation of children in the initiative.

The workshops involved an evaluation, an introduction, a short presentation by Jamie McNamara, followed by a Q&A, and a gathering of all the ideas the children have on why and how they would like to participate, and where we might be able to help facilitate that engagement. 

Information on the Heritage Council’s CTCHC Programme, the Putting Town Centres First podcast, information on SDGs were sent to the school following the online workshops. The workshops via Zoom took approximately 2 hours. 

All children who took part were invited with their siblings/parents/guardians to the Lego workshop the museum has organised for FuturePastPresent with Lego artist Jessica Farrell on Saturday 19th August in Drogheda for Heritage Week. See link below.

They were also informed about Nathan Wheeler’s fantastic Model Making Workshops which are part of the FuturePastPresent programme. See link below.


“To take children seriously is to value them for who they are right now rather adults-in-the-making.”

Alfie Kohn

About FuturePastPresent

It is a project dedicated to working with young people and children that aims to democratise their contribution to the vital discussions we face around our built environments. This strand of the project focuses on Drogheda town centre, and the reasons why conversations on the town have perhaps become so contentious. How do we address the various issues? How do these issues impact the younger generation? What is the younger generation’s view on conservation? Reuse? Restoration? What do they want for their future town centre? Are towns good for Climate? What are SDGs? …

Through a series of workshops FuturePastPresent explores questions and solutions with the people who will inherit the town-the children. It gives them the opportunity to stake their claim. It begins with the children of Drogheda, the next generation of problem solvers exploring the many questions, and facilitated by the Museum of Childhood Ireland who have extensive experience in participatory workshops.

The circularity of the project and the layering of possibilities are incredibly interesting. Youth participation as part and parcel of overall community participation is a key element in the Heritage Council’s CTCHC Programme, and it underpins all work at the Museum of Childhood Ireland. It places children and youth as active participants with a voice at the core of this collaborative initiative. It places them front and centre, ensuring they are Seen and Heard. 

With FuturePastPresent, as a collaborative model of best practice for heritage-led regeneration, this proposal aims to place children/youth as central agents in the overall discussion in the  Drogheda FuturePastPresent Project and in participation beyond the project.

Children and youth took part in a workshop on buildings, town centres, environment, climate and heritage  as part of the FuturePastPresent collaborative project.

As well as  taking part in the workshop, we did evaluation, and the sought the children’s views on a range of subjects before we began. This helped us to understand how best to facilitate all in engaging with this project for their community. 

Upcoming Events from this project include:

Join Ireland’s leading professional LEGO® Brick Artist, Jessica Farrell and the Museum of Childhood Ireland for a hands on and creative workshop.

The workshop is a fun and interactive way for families to express their wishes and views on the built heritage of Drogheda town centre.

Using an interactive, hands-on, microscale model of an area in Drogheda town centre, built entirely from LEGO bricks, with the purpose of enabling local families, young people and all, to make representation of their imagination, hopes & desires on the town’s Built Heritage.

The model functions as a colourful, 3D map, beside which the “wish lists” and other input are added. During this day-long, public event , families are invited to participate by building small scenes and ‘icons’ out of LEGO bricks to represent their commentary.

The aim of this project is to give a voice to people of the town through collaboration on visions for the town’s future while initiating inter-generational conversations through the language of LEGO bricks.

All materials are provided.

Suitable for ages 8+

Tickets are per family/ group and are free of charge.

Supported by the Heritage Council under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2023


We invite you to design visions for the town centre through a model making workshop.

The workshop will give access to a range of materials for use in model making. As well as demonstrations on different techniques, and hand on tutoring from the artist on how to assemble your building and bring it to life!

The workshop will be facilitated by Nathan Wheeler, artist and model maker who creates stunning miniature models of urban landscapes.

He uses a variety of materials, such as wood, clay, resin, laser cutting, and metal, to craft realistic and detailed dioramas that capture the essence of his subjects.

He is particularly interested and connected to Drogheda and has created a series of models that look at the numerous Derelict Buildings in the town.

All materials supplied.

The workshop is suitable for anyone aged 15+, and no previous experience or skills are needed.


Join us for our “Perpectives” event, part of our FuturePastPresent project.

The event will include guest speakers talking about the built heritage of Drogheda through the prism of their unique experience and expertise.

Speakers will include:

Architect Grainne Shaffrey will review and share her findings on the Drogheda Town Centre Urban Design Framework, originally devised by Grainne for Louth County Council in 2014.

Alison Harvey of the Heritage Council will share her experience of town regeneration through heritage-led processes.

Majella McAllister, from the Museum of Childhood Ireland will share her experience of working on Child and Youth Voice amplification in Regeneration and Heritage, in Drogheda and across Ireland.

Artist and Model Maker, Nathan Wheeler will also speak to his involvement in the national campaign against the blight of dereliction in towns and villages across the country.

We also welcome your perspective, your hopes, your ideas, your views on Drogheda’s built heritage and future.

This project is funded by the Heritage Council


Online Workshop 

The online workshop began with a welcome address and introductions to Majella McAllister, Jamie McNamara, and Kayla D’Amato, explaining who we were and why we were workshopping with the students, that we valued their opinion IF they wished to express an opinion.

It included a participation discussion to ensure everyone knew the format and various ways to participate, and invited alternatives, followed by the evaluation.

Introduction to the Museum of Childhood Ireland 

The online Presentation from Jamie McNamara for the children focused on meaningful participation in building regeneration, and conservation in Drogheda .

The discussion following posed the question of conservation and how it has such a vital part to play in the regeneration and uplift of our local towns, and the role that children have in this to be leaders in their community.

“I have found that curiosity coupled with a tenacity to ask questions is key to change. These qualities are not the preserve of the professionals like myself, far from it, towns are for all their inhabitants and users and therefore, I feel it is vital that these users utilise their voices to instigate positive change.”

Jamie McNamara discussed a range of buildings, barriers, possible solutions, what can be done and the real challenges and considerations along the way. All of this was wrapped in a positive solution focused, ‘why not?’ tone. 

The delivery of the workshop throughout was fully cognisant of the age group of the audience which made it a fun and interesting workshop for the children.

The FuturePastPresent – Drogheda Child/Youth Voices team were:

Majella McAllister – Museum of Childhood Ireland

Kayla D’Amato- Museum of Childhood Ireland

With Jamie McNamara – SPAB

The Heritage Week 2023 event team from the MoCI working on FuturePastPresent:

Sonia Sartor, Yagmur Burhan, Basil Lim