The aim of the Summer School is to explore political and cultural issues through literature and the arts, and to encourage residents of Northern Ireland to think critically about the world around them.
Through lectures, discussions and debate, the Summer School raises issues of relevance to the divided society in Northern Ireland, providing a platform for audiences to engage with speakers from different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view.
The Society encourages the use of the arts as a means to explore sensitive issues, and offers opportunities for engagement with high-profile, high-quality artists and writers; our creative writing classes develop the confidence of individuals and help aid their contributions within their own communities.
Community Bursary Scheme
The bursary scheme is a key element of the Summer School that increases access and is a core element of the Summer School. The bursary scheme creates opportunities for those who would not otherwise be able to attend the Summer School to participate in discussions and debates around building a stronger shred community in post-conflict NI.
The main beneficiaries of all bursaries are people of socio-economic disadvantage from throughout Northern Ireland. Applicants often would not otherwise be in a position to attend due to variety of reasons including financial hardship, socio-economic background, perceived societal obstacles etc.
The bursary scheme provides residential accommodation for participants to engage in a six-day opportunity for learning and sharing in a creative environment. Places are allocated following advertisement and awarded to those who demonstrate how they will use the experience of the event to benefit their local community as well as personal development. Preference is given to those who have not previously secured a bursary. This criteria tends to benefit a more diverse economically deprived demographic, e.g. this has seen an increase in a younger age profile of attendees in recent years.
All residential bursary recipients take part in a creative writing workshop, with seven workshops available to choose from. The workshops cover a wide range of genres and writing styles, including short stories, poetry, crime, children’s fiction and playwriting.
The Society successfully made available more non-residential bursaries, to give flexible options for those whose lifestyles do not allow them to reside from home for five nights (e.g. carers, those with dependents, etc).
Summer School at a Glance
The official opening of The John Hewitt International Summer School.Find out more »
Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, QC, FRSA, is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights. A highly regarded barrister and human rights and civil liberties campaigner, she has also been a TV presenter, an author and founded the Helena Kennedy Foundation which provides bursaries to help the most disadvantaged in society move into Higher Education.Find out more »
Bernard MacLaverty was born in Belfast (14.9.42) and lived there until 1975 when he moved to Scotland with his wife, Madeline, and four children. He has been a Medical Laboratory Technician, a mature student, a teacher of English and occasionally a Writer-in-Residence (Universities of Aberdeen, Augsburg, Liverpool John Moore’s and Iowa State). After living for a time in Edinburgh and the Isle of Islay he now lives in Glasgow. He is a member of Aosdana in Ireland. He has published…Find out more »
With Seamus Mallon, Steve Aiken, Steven Agnew, Naomi Long, & Peter Osborne. Seamus Mallon was the first deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2001. He was also the Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) from 1979 to 2001. Steve Aiken was elected to the Assembly in 2016 to represent South Antrim for the Ulster Unionist Party. He is Party spokesperson on the Economy. Steven Agnew is the leader of the Green Party in…Find out more »
A celebration of reconciliation on the island of Ireland over the last 100 years and the approaching 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. First presented by Poetry Ireland / Éigse Éireann in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in April 2016 as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, 'In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: Rising to Reconciliation' was then staged in Belfast to open the Belfast International Arts Festival, in October 2016.…Find out more »
In this talk Sean Hewitt will explore the politics of landscape in Hewitt’s poetry. Seán Hewitt read English at Girton College, Cambridge, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool. In 2014, he was awarded Arts Council England funding for a series of poems, and in 2015 was selected as one of The Poetry Trust's Aldeburgh Eight. He won a Northern Writers' Award in 2016.Find out more »
Katie Donovan worked for The Irish Times for 13 years as a journalist in the Features Department. She has published five books of poetry, all with Bloodaxe Books. Her most recent, Off-Duty appeared in September 2016. In 2017 she was named as the recipient of the 21st Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. She has read her work on RTÉ Radio 1 and on BBC. Denise Riley lives in London and is a critically acclaimed writer of both philosophy and poetry.…Find out more »
From The New York Times bestselling author of The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne’s highly anticipated new novel is The Heart’s Invisible Furies, a sweeping, heartfelt saga about the course of one man’s life, beginning and ending in post-war Ireland. John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults, five for young readers and a collection of short stories. Perhaps best known for his 2006 multi-award-winning book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John’s other novels, notably…Find out more »
With Katy Radford, Paula McFetridge, Marguerite Nugent & Oliver Sears The Institute for Conflict Research is a local charity working internationally on research, training and community development programmes addressing the impact and legacy of conflict, identity and social exclusion. Using the arts as a primary methodology, their programmes support participants as they build resilience, recovery and reconciliation. Paula has been Artistic Director of Belfast-based Kabosh Theatre Company since August 2006. She was the recipient of the Belfast Ambassador Award 2014…Find out more »
The Open University creative writing facilitators and poets Maureen Boyle, Siobhán Campbell and Nessa O'Mahony read from recent and forthcoming poetry collections. Maureen Boyle is a writer and teacher. Her work has appeared in a range of magazines. She has just been awarded the inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Bursary and her first collection is due in the autumn, Incunabula (Arlen House Press). Maureen teaches Creative Writing with the Open University and English in St Dominic's Grammar School for…Find out more »