Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Looking back for new beginnings

Advance notice of important conference and festival.
Looking back for new beginnings:

A Community Celebration and Renewal.

(Friday 27 and Saturday 28 July 2012, Liberty Hall.

Thirty years ago, activists from the North Inner City organised a month-long Looking-On Festival to showcase the problems facing this community in a creative and stimulating way. To commemorate this event, we are holding a conference in Liberty Hall over two days as set out in the programme below. The chief aim is to look at the changes in the city and community in the intervening period. We are very fortunate to have distinguished and experienced speakers attending such as Professor Ivor Brown, Art O’Briain, Loughlin Kealy, historians Francis Devine, Padraig Yeates and Mary Muldowney and other speakers who were involved in the original Looking-On Festival. It promises to be a creative mix and a harbinger of hope in these gloomy days. You are invited to attend and to take part in this inquiry and renewal for the community movement. Please circulate this to all your contacts. If you are only going to one summer school this year, this is it!

Friday 7.30- 9.00
Reading of the play The Kips, The Digs, The Village.
Directed by Peter Sheridan and Maggie Byrne.

This was originally performed as part of the Looking-On Festival in 1982. The actors were all from the city and some went on to become professionals. It explores the Inner City of the post- World War 1 period and the emergence of the Irish Free State as a Catholic state. 

In the Bar after the show there will be a showcase of local bands.

Saturday Morning
11-1.00. In the Connolly Room, Liberty Hall
This session will give perspectives on labour, class, community and women in the struggles for improvement in the city since 1913.

Francis Devine, Padraig Yeates, Mary Muldowney
Saturday 2.15-2.45

In the main auditorium
Paper reflecting the changes in the city in the past thirty years. These would include housing, jobs, drugs ethnicity, facilities, education and the community sector itself.
Theme is “Changed city, same challenges” delivered by Patricia McCarthy and Mick Rafferty on behalf of the festival collective.

Buzz groups and responses from the audience.
3.30-5.30 (or beyond if necessary)
This session explores human development as the core aim of community development and explores where the personal, the creative and the social merge. In the aftermath of the State’s demolishing of the community development gains of the past thirty years and the destruction of   the civic society organisations that evolved in that time, what can we learn from the past and what are the pointers to the future?

Overviews and reflections by Professor Ivor Brown, Loughlin Kealy, Art O’Briain.

Questions and comments from the audience.

Songs of struggle, craic and tragedy, in the bar.  Like the Irish at the Euro despite all our defeats the city can sing! Ceoltoiri Chluain Tarbh  ,guest musicians and singers,and guest appearance from James Larkin!

Throughout the two days in the Connolly room there will be a   photo exhibition and digital slide show of the city, past and present, by Terry Fagan and Mick.Rafferty.

No registration or booking fee. Donations accepted. Many thanks to Liberty Hall for use of the premises.


Peter Sheridan is an acclaimed theatre and film director. He is also a distinguished playwright and has written a number of best-selling memoirs of growing up in Dublin’s docklands.  He was co-founder of the community based City Workshop theater group in the eighties

Maggie Byrne is a well know community theatre director who has worked with prisoners and recovering addicts. She engages in theatre and performance as both a personal aid to healing and community empowerment. She was a key member of the City Workshop group  

Loughlin Kealy is former Professor of Architecture at University College, Dublin. He carried out extensive work in the North Inner City during the 1990s, including a survey of the built environment, a study of the urban morphology of the area prior to regeneration, and an inventory of the Dockland’s archaeological heritage prior to development.

Ivor Browne is former Professor of Psychiatry at University College, Dublin, and former Chief Psychiatrist for the Eastern Health Board. He has long-standing involvement in mental health issues in the city centre and in Ballyfermot. He was one of the founders of the Irish Foundation for Human Development. His book, Music and Madness, published in 2010, was a best-seller.

Art O’Briain is a theatre, TV and film director who was involved with community arts projects from the 1970s on. He has recently been engaged with programmes dealing with inspirational individuals, like photograper Fergus Bourke, artist Joe Boske, and Danish disability campaigner Evaid Grog.

Padraig Yeates is an author and trade union activist. He is author of Lockout, the definitive history of the 1913 Lockout. His most recent publication is A City in Wartime: Dublin 1914-1918. He is Head of the Steering Committee for the commemoration of 1913.

Francis Devine is a labour historian and was a tutor in SIPTU’s Education and Training Department. He is a former editor of Saothar, the journal of the Irish Labour History Society, of which he is a past President. He is author of Organising History: A Centenary of Siptu, 1909-2009.

Mary Muldowney is a historian. She is author of The Second World War and Irish Women. An Oral History. She is a pioneer of oral history and one of the founders of the Oral History Network of Ireland.

Patricia McCarthy is a sociologist and community activist. She has carried out action-research with Travellers, the homeless and inner city communities. She is currently involved through Partners in Catalyst in voluntary cross-community work in Northern Ireland as well as work with asylum seekers.

Mick Rafferty has being active in community politics and development since 1972. In that time he has been director of The NCCCAP and the Inner city Renewal Group, worked with the Combat poverty agency, was a Dublin city councilor and now is with Partners in Catalyst on a voluntary basis.

Festival Committee members;
Catriona Crowe, Seanie Lamb, Terry Fagan, Peter Sheridan, Maggie Byrne, Liz Burns, Ger O’Leary, Patricia McCarthy, Mick Rafferty.