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
Ruth Taillon (panel chair) is Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies & author of When History Was Made: the Women of 1916, which identified 200 women who took part in the Easter Rising. Ruth was a founder of the Mary Ann McCracken Historical Society & is currently a member of the Irish Government’s Oversight Group for the National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security. Ruth is joined by Catriona Crowe (see Wednesday morning talk) & Susan McKay,…Find out more »
Waypoint: vessels by Jack Doherty The exhibition runs from Thursday 27th July to Saturday 17th September 2016 in the MarketPlace Gallery. The navigational term Waypoint is the title for a solo exhibition of soda-fired porcelain vessels by Jack Doherty. Marking a sense of place and a personal journey the concept for his new series of work connects people and communities. “My family were fishermen, sailors and boat-builders on the North Antrim coast. I was to follow my own path into a…Find out more »
Written & performed by Sam McCready & directed by Joan McCready. Musician: Kyle Riley. Percy French is brought to life in Sam McCready’s witty & lively one-man show, which celebrates the music & life of one of Ireland’s best loved entertainers. McCready is joined by singer/guitarist Kyle Riley who brings a fresh interpretation to the songs. The show premiered in 2015 to sell out audiences in Northern Ireland.Find out more »
A One-man Show Written & Directed by Mikel Murfi Pope John Paul I is not long dead, autumn is closing in, & Pat Farnon has business to do in town. Set in Ireland in October 1978, we follow Pat as he walks to town & back again. Winner of the Stewart Parker/BBC Northern Ireland Radio Drama Award, this funny, tender & beautifully observed piece has toured the USA & Ireland, including a sell-out run at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.Find out more »
Gerald Dawe examines Hewitt 's poetic views of 20th Century Irish history in the context of cultural developments, post Good Friday Agreement. Gerald is Professor of English, Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and has eight collections with Gallery, including his Selected Poems. Earth Voices Whispering: Irish poetry of war, 1914-1945 appeared in 2008. Of War and War's Alarms: Reflections on Modern Irish Writing (2015) includes a chapter on John Hewi based upon his lecture at a previous Hewi Summer School.Find out more »
Rita Ann Higgins has published ten poetry collections, most recently Tongulish (2016). Her many accolades include a Peadar O’Donnell Award & Arts Council bursaries. She is a member of Aosdána. Grace Wells' debut, When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things, won the 2011 Eithne Strong Award for Best First Collection. Fur was published in 2015. Also a children's author, she mentors writers for a number of Irish County Councils, & Poetry Ireland.Find out more »
Donal Ryan's first two critically acclaimed novels, The Spinning Heart & The Thing About December, were lavishly garlanded. ‘A Slanting of the Sun’, won the writing.ie Short Story of the Year & is the title of his recent short story collection. His third novel, All We Shall Know, is forthcoming in September 2016. He is Writing Fellowship at the University of Limerick.Find out more »
Always a highlight of the week, our annual showcase provides an opportunity for some of those attending the Summer School’s creative writing workshops to read their work for you.Find out more »
Chris Agee is editor of Irish Pages and has published three poetry collections, including Next to Nothing (Salt: 2009), nominated for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. In his talk, Chris distils 37 years as an immigrant in Belfast, focussing on the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement and drawing on pan-European parallels. He reflects on the dynamics that continue to “trouble” Belfast and speculates that the now-multicultural Belfast may be the most momentous of all the…Find out more »
Paul Durcan was born in Dublin in 1944 & is one of Ireland's most prominent & cherished poets. He has more than twenty poetry collections, including The Berlin Wall Café (Poetry Book Society Choice), & Daddy, Daddy (Whitbread Award for Poetry). He was Ireland Professor of Poetry 2004-2007, is a member of Aosdána, & in 2014 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Irish Book Award. Sponsored by Poetry IrelandFind out more »