Northern Ireland Mural Artist begins Creative Residency at the Tri-Colleges

As students, faculty, and staff return from Fall Break, they will be joined by a visiting mural artist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. David ‘Dee’ Craig will take up a Mellon Creative Residency for one month during the fall semester 2013.

David Dee Craig Exhibit

Mr. Craig’s visit follows a visit to Swarthmore College by the Bogside Artists in 2008 and will feature a photo exhibit in McCabe library, public talks, a range of class visits, an indoor installation, a large outdoor mural installation, and a partnership with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

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INDOOR COLLAGE INSTALLATION
Wednesday, October 23
Swarthmore College

The first event of the residency will involve Mr. Craig working with Paul Downie, local mural artist and Director of the Community Arts Center in Wallingford. Mr. Craig and Mr. Downie will install a collage mural in the Sociology and Anthropology wing of the second floor of Kohlberg Hall on October 23.

NORTHERN IRELAND MURAL EXHIBIT IN McCABE LIBRARY
Thursday, October 24, 4:15 p.m.
McCabe Library Atrium, Swarthmore College

On Thursday, October 24, we will open a photo exhibit of Mr. Craig’s mural art in Northern Ireland in the atrium of McCabe Library. Visitors will be able to view Mr. Craig’s work in Northern Ireland and learn more about the relationship of mural arts with conflict, memory, identity, and peacebuilding in the region.

Prof. Lee Smithey will conduct a public interview with the artist at 4:15 in the McCabe Library atrium. This event is open to the public, and a reception will follow.

You can also learn more about mural arts in Northern Ireland by visiting http://bit.ly/troubledwalls and listening to a recent radio documentary on the subject from BBC Radio 4.

BBC murals radio

MURAL ON CAMPUS
October 28 – November 7
Swarthmore College

Mr. Craig will paint a large mural on canvases that will be mounted on a prepared surface on the southeast end of the Science Center. The artist will paint in a tent that is being erected near the wall, and in the spirit of public art, students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to engage with him as they pass the tent while he is painting. Several students have applied for spots to work with the artist on the creation of the mural.

Mr. Craig brings his skills and experience to our campus from the oldest continuous mural arts tradition in the world while also exploring the techniques and style of the mural arts scene in Philadelphia. Students, staff, and faculty met on three occasions during the fall semester to offer input into the content of the mural. We appreciate the collaborative process that Mr. Craig has encouraged, we look forward to seeing how he will interpret our community visually, and we hope the residency provides an opportunity for mural making in a new context.

David "Dee" Craig postcard

ANOTHER PUBLIC CONVERSATION WITH THE ARTIST
Monday, November 11, 4:15 p.m.
Carpenter Library, Room B21, Bryn Mawr College

“Murals and conflict transformation: A conversation with artist Dee Craig”

For anyone who missed the opportunity to hear the first public interview with Mr. Craig at Swarthmore, we will have the opportunity of another public conversation with him on Monday, November 11 at 4:15 p.m. in Carpenter Library, Room B21 at Bryn Mawr College.

This event is sponsored by the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict.

See directions to Bryn Mawr College and a campus map.

MURAL LAUNCH
Tuesday, November 12, 12:00 p.m.
Swarthmore College

Please join us at the southeast corner of the Science Center on Tuesday, November 12 at noon for a mid-day “launch” of the  new mural on Swarthmore’s campus.

TRI-COLLEGE CLASS VISITS
Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College

Throughout the month-long residency, Dee Craig will visit with nine classes across the Tri-Colleges.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

dee_craig_smMr. Craig hails from East Belfast, but he has painted murals across Northern Ireland. His work represents the ongoing transformation of conflict in Northern Ireland, which remains significantly divided and continues to struggle with its contentious and often violent past while pursuing a sustainable and peaceful future. Prof. Smithey’s application to the Creative Residencies Program noted that “the making of murals is shifting the symbolic landscape to incorporate new narratives within communities, re-articulating collective identities, and beginning to minimize the martial symbols that figured so prominently during 30 years of political conflict in Northern Ireland. Murals offer opportunities for regeneration in excluded or marginalized communities and sites for re-framing memory and identity.”

Mr. Craig represented Northern Ireland at the 41st Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. in 2007, where he painted a 30ft high mural on the National Mall depicting Belfast’s industrial history. His work has been commissioned by the Ulster Museum and numerous community organizations across Northern Ireland. In 2008, he was named among the ‘Top 40 under 40′ by the Belfast Media Group as one of “The next wave of Northern Ireland’s leaders…the post ceasefire generation, which, having inherited the peace process, now want to forge a prosperity process.”

ABOUT THE RESIDENCY

The residency is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation:

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Tri-College Creative Residencies Program encourages Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore faculty from across the three divisions-natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities-to design and implement arts residencies in conjunction with their curricular and scholarly agendas. The program takes as its primary goal the broad integration of the arts through small liberal arts college curricula, seeking particularly to stimulate the creation and enhancement of courses and broader curricular missions by supporting extended, multi-dimensional arts residencies that combine pedagogy, public presentation, and informal exchange among artists, faculty, students, the wider campus, and area communities. 

Though Mr. Craig has a burgeoning fine art career, with exhibitions in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and California, Mr. Craig’s residency will focus on his community and mural art and will provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to explore the role that public art can play in framing public issues and collective identities, including in conflict situations.

The residency was inspired by a research project based out of Swarthmore College and Hofstra University. Swarthmore Professor Lee Smithey and his colleague, Prof. Gregory Maney (Hofstra University), have been studying the changing mural arts scene in Northern Ireland. The Mural Mapping Project uses geographic information systems (GIS) technology and statistical and qualitative methods of inquiry to analyze murals and other ethnic and political displays in West Belfast and the Greater Shankill Road area, such as memorial gardens, monuments, sculptures, and other forms of public art.

PCS 125 year logo

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Made possible by The Mellon Creative Residencies Program; Peace and Conflict Studies Program, Swarthmore College; Swarthmore College Libraries; The President’s Office, Swarthmore College; The Northern Ireland Semester, Swarthmore College; Sociology and Anthropology Department, Swarthmore College; Community Arts Center; The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program; The Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, Bryn Mawr College

Mairead Corrigan Maguire

Mairead MaguireMairead Corrigan Maguire, co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, was interviewed on the radio show, Smiley and West this week. She commented on this year’s awarding of the peace prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Peace People movement that she co-founded in Northern Ireland, Dr. King, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Palestine and Israel and the role that Christianity plays in her peace work. Fast forward to 20 minutes and 10 seconds in the program.

Ms. Maguire spoke at Swarthmore College in 2004. You can read more about her on the Peace and Conflict Studies blog. She continues to travel around the world to show solidarity and draw attention to people struggling for peace.

 

Educational Policy and Language Rights for the Irish Deaf Community

We want to welcome our new colleague visiting from Trinity College Dublin, Dr. Lorraine Leeson, Cornell Visiting Distinguished Professor in Linguistics!

We also want to invite you to an upcoming lecture she will be offering at Swarthmore College:

“Going Against the Current: Educational Policy and Language Rights for the Irish Deaf Community”

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lecture: 4:30-5:30, Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College

Faculty Reception: 5:45-7:00, Wister Center, Swarthmore Collegee

Prof. Lorraine Leeson

Cornell Visiting Distinguished Professor Lorraine Leeson

According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are an estimated 72 million deaf people in our world today, but only 17% access education. Of these, some 3% have access to bilingual education: that is, an education where the local signed language is a language of the curriculum. This talk considers the impact that lack of access to an education in a signed language has had for members of one particular Deaf community – the Irish Deaf community. (Unintended) outcomes of Irish educational policy have included the evolution of gendered and generational variants of Irish Sign Language, and for many, functional illiteracy in English, limited access to higher education, underemployment, poor access to public services and relative poverty. These are not natural outcomes of being Deaf, but rather outcomes emerging from a societal response that sees “deafness” as a deficit, as “problem”, as a medical condition requiring mitigation or cure. Against this rather bleak backdrop we consider how the Irish Deaf community attempts to swim against the tide of policy that impacts negatively on their linguistic position and we ask what the future may hold for Irish Sign Language users.

 

Theatre of Witness at the Derry Playhouse

Photo Credit: Arts Council Northern Ireland

Photo Credit: Arts Council Northern Ireland

Several students who have participated in the Northern Ireland Semester program have worked with former Swarthmore professor, Teya Sepinuck, in Theatre of Witness programs at the Playhouse in Derry.

In her book,Theatre of Witness: Finding the Medicine in Stories of Suffering, Transformation and Peace, Sepinuck writes about the method used in these productions that draw on the experiences of people deeply impacted by violence and suffering. The participants develop their stories and become the cast.

Listen to this excellent RTE radio documentary presented by Barbara Walshe about the Theatre of Witness project in Northern Ireland.

 

The passing of a poet: Seamus Heaney, 1939-2013

We join with so many others around the world today in grieving the loss of 1995 Nobel Poet Laureate and 1994 Swarthmore honorary degree recipient, Seamus Heaney. He was aged 74.

In some of his work, Heaney expressed the deep grief generated by violent conflict in Northern Ireland and nurtured the possibility of hard-won peace. Here are lines from the chorus at the end of “The Cure at Troy,” Heaney’s translation of “The Philoctetes,” by Sophocles.

Seamus HeaneyHuman beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted and endured.

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker’s father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracle
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.

See a photo tribute to Heaney at the Irish Times.

Photo attribution: By Sean O’Connor, cropped by Sabahrat (File:Seamus Heaney.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASeamus_Heaney_(cropped).jpg

Transforming Ethnopolitical Conflict course aligns with visiting mural artist residency

Drop-add has begun, and spots are available in Professor Lee Smithey’s course, Transforming Intractable Conflict (SOCI 025B).  This course is registered in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology but can also be counted toward a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies.

How can long-term deadly conflicts between groups with opposing ethnic identities change in ways that diminish violence and open up opportunities for more constructive forms of conflict in democratic and civil society? This course operates from an assumption that one must often dig deeply into the psychological and cultural dynamics that underpin division in ethno-political conflicts. Northern Ireland will serve as the primary case study for this kind of deep exploration.

"No More" mural, Northern Ireland

The course will include a unique opportunity in Fall 2013 as funding has been secured from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to bring a mural artist, David “Dee” Craig, from Belfast for a month-long residency beginning after Fall Break in October. Our class will have the opportunity to explore with the artist the role of mural making in conflict, division, peacebuilding, and community relations in Northern Ireland. We hope we will also be able to participate in the painting of a mural on campus! For photos of some of the artist’s work, visit http://bit.ly/14iiDUH

The course description for SOAN 025B reads:

This course will address the sociology of peace processes and intractable identity conflicts in deeply divided societies. Northern Ireland will serve as the primary case study, and the course outline will include the history of the conflict, the peace process, and grassroots conflict transformation initiatives. Special attention will be given to the cultural underpinnings of division, such as sectarianism and collective identity, and their expression through symbols, language, and collective actions, such as parades and commemorations.
Eligible for PEAC credit.

1 credit.
Smithey.

This course can serve as a pre-requisite for students wishing to study in Northern Ireland as part of the college’s Northern Ireland Semester program. See http://northernireland.swarthmore.edu

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the instructor, Lee Smithey at lsmithe1@swarthmore.edu

Duncan Morrow on 35 Years of Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland

Lessons for Peacebuilders: Northern Ireland and 35 Years of Community Relations Work
Dr. Duncan Morrow
The University of Ulster 

Dr. Duncan Morrow

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
4:15 – 5:30 p.m.
Science Center 183
Swarthmore College (Maps and directions) (Download a flyer)

Dr. Duncan Morrow served for a decade as the Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and is one of the most knowledgeable people in Northern Ireland when it comes to ethnopolitical conflict, peacebuilding, and community relations.

Northern Ireland is in a state of transition; large-scale organized political violence has all but ended, yet it remains a deeply divided society that, by many measures, is becoming increasingly segregated. On March 20, Dr. Morrow will speak at the college and assess almost 35 years of peacebuilding work during “the Troubles” and since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998.

Morrow is a co-author of The Equity, Diversity and Interdependence Framework  that has been highly influential in shaping community relations work in Northern Ireland.

He has recently returned to his post as a Lecturer in the Department of Criminology, Politics, and Social Policy at the University of Ulster, where he also serves as the university’s Director of Community Engagement.

This event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Northern Ireland Semester, Peace and Conflict Studies, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, the Rotary Club of Swarthmore, the Provost’s Office, and Sociology and Anthropology

Duncan Morrow spoke on the subject of creating a shared future at the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Observatory project’s Community Convention.

Reflections on Returning to Northern Ireland and Corrymeela

It has been over four years since I went on the Northern Ireland Semester, and I still find myself thinking about Northern Ireland a great deal.  As part of my time abroad, I had the chance together with my classmate Cecelia Osowski to meet with Derick Wilson, a professor at the University of Ulster and the Assistant Director of the UNESCO Centre in Northern Ireland.  As it turns out, Derick also worked with a Presbyterian priest named Ray Davey to help establish the Corrymeela Community in the 1960s.  One windy afternoon, Derick drove Cecelia and me out to Corrymeela to see the center and to sit down with the director and chat about the work that goes on at Corrymeela.  I don't remember much from that first visit, but I do recall the almost tangible feeling of welcome that I experienced when I first walked in the doors.  The place had an atmosphere of comfort that made me feel immediately at home.

Within a week of my visit, I had made up my mind to return to Corrymeela to volunteer at some point, so that I could take part in the peace building work that they did around Belfast and for all visitors to the center.  I returned to Swarthmore, finished my degree, graduated, and began to look forward to my next great adventure.  It wasn't until I stood outside the doors of Corrymeela, on a September afternoon in 2010, that I doubted whether I had made the right decision to leave my friends and family and come to Northern Ireland.  I apprehensively walked into the main building, and I immediately felt the same warm, welcoming atmosphere that had struck me when I had visited with Derick and Cecelia.  I was home.

I worked as a residential volunteer at Corrymeela for one year, living on-site with eight other Long-Term Volunteers (LTVs) and numerous other short-termers.  The work, which included facilitating groups, leading children's activities, cooking in the kitchen, operating the reception area, and LOTS of cleaning, was incredibly rewarding at some times and endlessly frustrating at other times.  Similarly, living with eight other people helps you develop tight-knit, loving relationships, while also fostering short tempers and perpetual annoyance at, say, whoever only unloaded half the dishwasher again and then mixed in dirty dishes with the clean.  But, as with most experiences, you look back with fondness on the good parts (the relationships you built), and while you don't want to relive the bad bits, you recall the annoying parts with a nostalgic fondness as well.

Recently, I returned to Corrymeela in 2012 for a one-year reunion with most of the LTVs on my team.  Again, I felt the warmth of being home when I arrived on-site, which was only heightened by the joy of seeing old friends for the first time in a year.  We laughed and played pranks on each other and reminisced about the infuriating episodes of the dishwasher, relishing our time during the week we spent together.  At the end of the week, we parted ways, promising another reunion in the near future.

I know that my story is not the same as the stories of others who went on the Northern Ireland Semester.  Other students had different experiences, different memories, different challenges.  In chatting with other students, though, I discovered that there were always memorable moments, fun stories, or quirky experiences.  I don't doubt that everyone will remember their abroad experience for years to come.  I challenge you to travel to Northern Ireland and NOT fall in love with it.  I'm not sure it can be done.  If you do happen to travel there and you don't fall in love with it, keep searching.  Search until you find that place that you love, where you feel welcome, where you can be accepted and challenged, where the relationships you build make up for all the dishwasher episodes that you will face.  Find your Corrymeela.

-Andrew VanBuren
Swarthmore Class of 2010

Derry / Londonderry first UK City of Culture in 2013!

New Year’s Eve saw the much anticipated launch of the Derry / Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 programme!!  check out the link below of the fantastic fireworks from the Peace Bridge and also the link below to the UK City of Culture 2013 website for more information – 

Derry / Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 launch on New Year’s Eve -

  

 

UK City of Culture 2013 website and programme for the year-

http://www.cityofculture2013.com  

 

We hope to see you all in 2013!

Denise

NI Semester Abroad Regional Director

The Skainos Project

We would like to congratulate our friends at the East Belfast Mission on the official opening of the award-winning Skainos Project. Skainos represents the cutting edge of social entrepreneurship that is a central component of the Northern Ireland Semester. The story below appeared on UTV on Friday, 23 November 2012.

 

Skainos shared space project praised

The Skainos Project, a shared space in east Belfast, has been described as a positive sign for Northern Ireland’s future, on its official opening day.

Friday, 23 November 2012

It is hoped the £21 million community regeneration initiative, which stands on the busy Lower Newtownards Road, will be well-used by everyone, despite being in a mostly loyalist area.

It features Ireland’s first vertical garden, a day nursery and a café, as well as an auditorium which will be used by the East Belfast Mission.

Rev Dr Gary Mason from the mission described the centre as an “urban village in the inner city”.

“There’s everything from homelessness, employment, social economy, worship centre, people living inside – there’s up to 150 people living in this almost Skainos village.

“I think it’s saying to the wider community within this island that people can share space together, they can live together, and that we do need to have new beginnings as part of all our peace process,” he added.

It’s a tangible sign that this is a dividend of the peace process for this area.

Rev Gary Mason

Twelve years in development, the Skainos Project has created close to 40 jobs since construction completed in October.

Buildings in the area were demolished to make way for the flagship development, which officially opened on Friday.

The First and deputy First Minister showed their support for the site, which they said represents inclusion and shows vision for the entire region.

Martin McGuinness said they were both pleased to be part of the Skainos Project opening.

“I think it will give encouragement and inspire people to recognise that within communities there are people who are working, not just in communities but cross community, to ensure that as we move forwards, we recognise the need to develop shared spaces that all of us can use for the benefit of society as a whole,” added he said.

It’s in harmony with where we are in the community at the present time and I want to see Northern Ireland moving forward and this represents, I think, everything that we are trying to achieve.

Peter Robinson

The scheme was funded by the Department for Social Development, the EU Peace III Programme, the International Fund for Ireland and East Belfast Mission.

“We are delighted to say that against all the current economic trends, over 90% of the commercial space in the development has already been filled”, said Skainos Director Glenn Jordan.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said the development is a boost for the people of east Belfast.

“The Skainos project will help alleviate dereliction along a major arterial route providing a significant opportunity to reinvigorate and revive the area, delivering real change in one of Belfast’s most deprived areas.”

The area also has high green credentials, with more than 50 bird, bat and insect boxes in walls and on wildflower roofs, while the use of exposed concrete, automated natural ventilation controls, biomass boiler and solar panels ensure a low carbon footprint sustainable development.