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Yvonne Weir, left, and Courtney Cooke after swapping uniforms. The Nerve Centre

"Across the divide in Northern Ireland

A Catholic and a Protestant girl swap school uniforms in a fine short film produced as part of a project to teach children about the Troubles.

No actor could act – and no writer could script – the charming but poignant scene when two 17-year-olds from either side of divided County Derry in Northern Ireland switch school uniforms and behold themselves, and each other, in a mirror.

The gesture is simple and effervescent, but utterly subversive. Courtney Cooke is from Lisneal college, in the loyalist Waterside, on the Protestant east bank of the river Foyle; Yvonne Weir attends Catholic St Cecilia’s college across the river in Creggan, fortress estate of republican Bogside, once the IRA-controlled ‘Free Derry’…”

Guestbook Project’s “In Peace Apart” featured in The Guardian on December 14, 2014

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Breaking barriers: Derry schoolgirls, Courtney Cook & Yvonne Weir. Irish Independent

"Walking in each other's shoes to heal the past...

A Protestant and Catholic schoolgirl from Derry swap uniforms and take a walk through their city together to make a short film. In another place, the act wouldn’t be remarkable but in Northern Ireland, where emblems, colours, flags and uniforms are potent symbols of difference, it is utterly subversive.

Courtney Cooke (17), from Lisneal College in the city’s mainly Protestant Waterside, and Yvonne Weir (18), from St Cecilia’s College in the Catholic Bogside, have grown up on opposite sides of the River Foyle. When they meet each other, they act like they’ve known one another forever, chatting a mile a minute and laughing often. But the likelihood is Courtney and Yvonne would never have had a chance to meet, let alone become friends, had it not been for a film project to teach young people about the Troubles…”

The Guestbook Project’s “In Peace Apart” featured in the Irish Independent April 1, 2015

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Courtney Cooke from Lisneal College (right) and Yvonne Weir from St Cecilia’s College. Belfast Telegraph

"Schoolgirls swap uniforms for a day in bid to explore our divided society

A Catholic girl and a Protestant girl from Northern Ireland have swapped school uniforms in an effort to explore our divided society for a poignant new documentary.

The short film, In Peace Apart – Teaching Divided Histories, is part of a project run by the Nerve Centre in Londonderry, whose future work is under threat by Stormont arts budget cuts.

It features Courtney Cooke from Lisneal College, which is located in the mainly Protestant, Waterside area of the city, and Yvonne Weir from St Cecilia’s College, which is located in the mainly Catholic, Bogside area…”

The Guestbook Project’s “In Peace Apart” featured in the Belfast Telegraph December 15, 2015

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