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IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, is hosting an international research conference to mark a century since the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922 and the beginning of the island’s partition. The theme of this conference is self-determination and it will focus on the role of art and artists in shaping both of the island’s jurisdictions in the international context and aftermath of the First World War. It is also situating this work within a global context of emerging nation states and independence movements in this period. The conference seeks to examine the artistic responses to these events over time and across a range of territories, to generate new thinking and understanding about the cultural manifestations in response to these events, and to consider their significance in a contemporary context.

Drawing on Arthur Griffith’s call in 1919 to ‘mobilise the poets’ to help make Ireland’s case for independence on the international stage, this conference will reassess the role of art and artists in exploring the international movement towards self-determination, situating their work within a global context of redrawn imperial power, emerging nation states and independence movements post World War I.

The conference will take place online and in person and will comprise presentations from a number of invited speakers including Adom Getachew, political theorist Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago; Róisín Kennedy, Lecturer/Assistant Professor, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, UCD; Fearghal McGarry, Professor, School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queens University, Belfast; Jessica Zychowicz, Director of Fulbright Ukraine and IIE: International Institute of Education Kyiv; Hussein Omar, Lecturer in Modern Global History, University College Dublin; Lisa Godson, Lecturer and Historian of Design and Material Culture, National College of Art and Design; and artist Jasmina Cibic, along with presentations drawn from a call for papers exploring themes such as ‘Political Imaginations’; ‘Official Culture’; ‘Visual Culture and the Establishment’; ‘Comparative Imaginations of Self-Determination’; and ‘Life, Art and Politics’.

Registration is essential for both in-person and online events.

This conference is part of a three-year initiative culminating in a major exhibition in 2023, This event is supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012-2023.


Programme Details

This international research conference will take place in-person at the Light House Cinema and online. Registration is essential for both in-person and online events. See below for details. There may be some minor changes to the programme schedule.

‘Complementary refreshments of tea/coffee and lunch provided for all delegates.

For enquiries email [email protected]

Wednesday, 9 November
Light House Cinema

5.00pm - 9.00pm (GMT)

Day 1 Wednesday 9 November
Location Light House Cinema
5.00pm (GMT) Registration
5.20pm (GMT) Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA Welcome and Introduction
5.30-6.30pm (GMT) Keynote
Fearghal McGarry
A Vision of Ireland: the revolutionary generation and the struggle for self-determination
Chair: Stephen O’Neill
6.30pm – 7.30pm (GMT) Keynote
Adom Getachew
The Universal Race: Self-Determination and Pan-Africanism in the Garveyite Movement
7.30pm-8.30pm (GMT) Reception

Thursday, 10 November
Light House Cinema

9.00am - 6.15pm (GMT)

Day 2 Thursday, 10 November
Location Light House Cinema
9.00am – 9.30am (GMT) Registration
9.30am – 9.40 (GMT) Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA Welcome and Introduction
9.40am – 10.40am (GMT) Keynote
Jessica Zychowicz
From The Woman Question to The Ukraine Question: A View of Revolution and War in the Twenty-First Century
Chair: Nathan O’Donnell
10.40am – 11.00am (GMT) Break
11.00am – 12.00noon (GMT) Panel 1
Political Imaginations
Chair: Stephen O’Neill
Dónal Hassett
Diverse Paths to Freedom: Imagining Emancipation in the Algeria of the 1930s
Erin Hughes
Art and Atra: Assyrian Depictions of Homeland and Nationhood Through Art and Ethno-Symbolism
Andris Brinkmanis
Proletarian Theatre as a Site for Education. Radical pedagogies of Asja Lācis and Walter Benjamin
12.00 – 12.10pm (GMT) Q&A
12.10pm – 12.40pm (GMT) IMMA IRC Enterprise Postdoctoral Research Fellow
John Wilkins
Self-determination; How We Theorise Ourselves
12.40pm – 1.10pm (GMT) IMMA IRC Enterprise Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Stephen O’Neill
‘within a given territory’: constructing ‘Ulster’ in the interwar years
1.10pm – 2.00pm (GMT) Lunch break
2.00pm – 3.00pm (GMT) Hussein Omar
Where’s the self in self-determination?
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS
3.00pm – 4.00pm (GMT) Panel 2
Official Culture
Chair: Lisa Moran
Billy Shorthall
Read all about it; art in politics in Civic Publications
Leah Hilliard
Kathleen McKenna and the Irish Bulletin
Clíodhna Ní Anluain
Pillar Talk
4.00pm – 4.10pm (GMT) Q&A
4.10pm – 4.30pm (GMT) Break
4.30pm – 5.30pm (GMT) Panel 3
Visual Culture and the Establishment
Chair: Nathan O’Donnell
Gwen Farrelly
Marginalization through Inclusion at MoMA: Exhibitions of art from beyond Western Europe and the United States at the museum, 1929-1952
Timothy Ellis-Dale
Discourses of visibility and self-determination in the Irish Free State
Fiona Gannon
The “Brain of Europe”: an underdeveloped knowledge economy
5.30pm – 6.00pm (GMT) Q&A and closing remarks

Friday, 11 November
Light House Cinema

9.30am - 6.30pm (GMT)

Day 3 Friday 11 November
Location Light House Cinema
9.30am (GMT) Registration
10.00am – 11.00am (GMT) Keynote
Róisín Kennedy
‘Anything may happen and everything is possible’ Visual art and the new state.
Chair: Christina Kennedy
11.00am – 11.15am (GMT) Break
11.15am – 12.15am (GMT) Panel 4
Comparative Imaginations of Self-determination
Gabriela Lojewska and Philip McEvansoneya
Polish art in Dublin, in peace and war
Eavan Aiken
Fellow Prisoners: An Odyssey with Margaretta Darcy
PLEASE NOTE THIS PRESENTATION IS CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS
Marcel Biato, Ambassador
Brazil and Ireland in 1922: Culture and Identity in comparative context
12.15noon – 12.30pm (GMT) Q&A
12.30pm – 1.00pm (GMT) Lisa Godson
Where all art is unknown’: self-determination and usable pasts, 1922 and 2022
1.00pm – 2.00pm (GMT) Lunch break
2.00pm – 3.00pm (GMT) Keynote
Jasmina Cibic
Scenographic Backdrops and other Nation-Building Props
Chair: Lisa Godson
3.00pm – 4.20pm (GMT) Panel 5
Life, Art, and Politics
Chair: Róisín Kennedy
Logan Sisley
John Lavery’s Self-Determination in the Picturing of Modern Irish History
Hannah Smyth
“Rise and Repeal” Feminist Heritage and Abortion Politics in Ireland
PLEASE NOTE THIS PRESENTATION IS CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS
Stephen Pogany
Competing Narratives of Self-Determination in Transylvania after World War One: The Life and Art of János Thorma
Varvara Keidan Shavrova
Lithuanian artistic and cultural struggle for self-determination as a symbol made relevant by Putin’s war in Ukraine
4.20pm – 4.30pm (GMT) Q&A
4.30pm – 5.30pm (GMT) Plenary and conclusion
Annie Fletcher, Omar Hussein, Meriç Öner, Lisa Godson, Paul O’Neill, Christina Kennedy, Seán Kissane, Johanne Mullan
5.30pm – 6.30pm (GMT) Reception

Saturday, 12 November
Irish Museum of Modern Art

Irish Museum of Modern Art 10.30am - 5.00pm (GMT)

This programme will conclude with a number of events taking place on site at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

No booking is required for these events but places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

IMMA Grounds and Gallery Visit
10.30am – 11.45am
Stephen Taylor will bring visitors on a walk and talk tour of the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham followed by a visit to the exhibition Protest and Conflict.
Meet in IMMA Courtyard

Mobilise the Poets
12.00noon – 1.30pm
IMMA Lecture Room
Spoken word session with poets Stephen Sexton, Ciara Ní É and Nithy Kasa.

Paul O’Neill will read excerpts from ‘Another Time, and the Mourning of Lost Appearances,’ investigating death, mourning, grief and the role played by documentary photography in mid-twentieth century decolonization processes. The essay forms part of the extensive book-length study of Maryam Jafri’s Independence Days, (Walther Königs, Cologne, 2021) featuring archival photos culled from archives of the first Independence Day ceremonies of various Asian, Middle Eastern, and African nations. Independence Days is an investigation of the role played by photography in mid-twentieth-century decolonization processes.

Alastair MacLennan and Sandra Johnston
1.00pm – 4.00pm
AvertAvow
Performance
IMMA Garden Galleries
3 hours duration

Alastair MacLennan and Sandra Johnston have been developing collaborative actions together since 2009. These duets occur only occasionally and are characterized by openness and a shared desire to keep each situation direct and without contrivance. The collaboration is a method for both to reappraise their working processes whilst producing singular situations of connectivity and experimentation. The energy (inward/outward) experienced in the (space/place), simultaneously, being what informs their actions.

For IMMA they will perform simultaneously, responding to the scale of the historic architecture and working through alternating actions, echoing, and coinciding in relation to one another and tracing residues (real and intuited), of how the building was originally inhabited. This intimate exploration of the site will also underpin a quiet process of reflection on ideas of historical union, partition, and independence, as factors of state workings that can also be applicable to interpersonal relationships.


To Book a Ticket

To book a ticket for online or in-person

Please note that one ticket covers the entire conference and you do not need to book for separate days.

You can attend both online and in-person over the course of the conference but you will need to book a separate ticket for both online and in-person

To book online click here (one ticket covers the full conference)

To book in-person click here (one ticket covers the full conference)


Conference Programme

Conference Programme

To download a copy of the conference programme click here


Venue Directions & Accessibility

Directions
This conference will take place in-person at the Light House Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin 7. This venue is accessible by car, on foot, by rail, bus or bike. Discover how to travel to the Light House Cinema here.

For information and directions on how to travel to IMMA click here.

Accessibility
For information on accessibility at the Light House Cinema click here.

For information on accessibility at the IMMA click here.


Speakers

Eavan Aiken

Fellow Prisoners: An Odyssey with Margaretta Darcy

The power of art in imagining new territories is unquestionably potent in [post] colonial places. From the Celtic Revival to Afro Futurism oppressed people find ways to carry forth traditions and speculate on alternative ways of world making. This research project is examining the role of art in the public domain rather than in galleries. From street theatre as protest to highlighting the harassment of an Arabic street musician by French police to the cultural democracy of a London Fun Palace. The personal is political.

This research uses primary and secondary source materials which are then abstracted and infused with affect through the method of speculative fabulation, sonic affects and the production of space. The primary source material consists of sound recordings made on a bus journey from Dublin to Bilbao. This material will be edited and performed as a live soundtrack as an element in a performative lecture. Taking the form of an Odyssey with a politically engaged artist, Margaretta Darcy, on Eurolines from Galway to Bilbao and meeting various characters along the way, the lecture will use the sounds and music of the transport systems, conversations on the streets of London, Paris and Bilbao as well as protests in London and Bilbao. The performance will include techniques of improvisation that have been practiced through Deep Listening techniques by members of the Ground0 collective over the past year in The Guesthouse Project. Maud Aiken spent two years as a political prisoner in Armagh Gaol in the 1920s. In the 1980s Margaretta Darcy spent three months with the political prisoners in the same gaol. In 2019 we travelled together to the Basque Country and met Ziortza Fernandez who spent five years as a political prisoner. The Basque Anti-Fa had translated Darcy’s book about her time in Armagh Gaol, ‘Tell Them Everything’ into Spanish as there is a strong interest in the movement from armed political struggle to non-violent activism. Darcy informed me that she was inspired by my grandfather Frank Aiken’s position on Irish neutrality and his work on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. New evidence has also recently come to light that my grandmother Maud Aiken was also active in the War of Independence. She never spoke of this to her children. As a professional musician Maud was involved in both classical and traditional Irish music promotion. My research is focussed on the role of the arts in mobilising public and political opinion in relation to self-determination.

Eavan Aiken is an artist working in sound and film. Her work is concerned with acts of resistance and deeply motivated by the act of using the camera as a tool of witness. These observations become distilled – abstracted to gesture and frequency in order to produce affect over narrative meaning. Her constellation of ancestors and their international outlook is a driving force in looking out into the world from the edge of Europe. She aims to explore the desire for emancipation of the women in her bloodline to create work that opens up questions of freedom, memory and intergenerational political desire. Eavan is an artist in residency in The Guesthouse Project, Cork and a member of its Ground0 collective. She is a member of LUX Critical Forum and The New Centre for Research and Practise. She is supported by the Arts Council with a Professional Development Award and an Agility Award.


Marcel Biato

Brazil and Ireland in 1922: Culture and Identity in comparative context

This paper offers a comparative analysis of the role played by artists in forging national identity in a time of economic and political upheaval. It will contrast the underlying drivers and long-term impact of seminal cultural events held in 1922 in Ireland and Brazil to commemorate de-colonization and self-determination: the Irish Exhibition in Paris, which evoked the strength of Irish culture and creativity in response to political stagnation; and the Semana de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, which questioned the achievements of Brazil´s independence movement a century earlier (1822). In fact, the emergent national consciousness in both countries first intersected in the Irish utopian myth of Hy-Brazil.(1) By highlighting both the convergences and departures between the two events, this paper aims to throw light on the pioneering role of artists in expressing and channelling societal struggles in periods of crisis. In both countries, they not only gave voice to a sense of frustration, disorientation and even despair, but offered new mediums and concepts to sound a clarion call in defence of national identity, purpose, and pride. The Paris Exhibition sought to rebrand Ireland by juxtaposing and fusing old and new forces. Éamon de Valera believed independence allowed Ireland to display its ‘magnificent culture, the grand things the nation could give to the world’. This included a romanticized idealization of the west of Ireland and the ‘Irish peasant’, as portrayed among others by Lavery and Orpen. At the same time, the fear that Ireland was losing its identity in the face of English cultural appropriation spilled over into a clamour for political modernization and social renewal by cosmopolitan artists, such as Estella Solomons, and leftist radicals, such as Harry Kernoff and Sean Keating. A similar reconceptualization of temporality occurs in Brazil, with indigenismo identifying in the country´s original inhabitants the template for a ‘New Eden’. Together with rapid urbanization, mass European immigration, and the emancipation of slaves (1888) this meant seeing Brazil as a unique amalgam rather than a second-hand transplant of European civilization. This modernist sensibility is also present in the work of innovative artists like Anita Malfatti, who employed avant-garde techniques absorbed from the Old World to evoke the multi-ethnic country in the making. Similarly, Gregori Warchavchnik´s model Brazilian house used advanced European building methods and a novel interplay of geometrical planes and volumes which would inspire Brazil´s futuristic capital (1960). In 1922, Irish artists helped a newly independent Ireland project a sense of national potential, while their Brazilian counterparts were questioning the achievements of a century of independence. The creative tension between these contrasting sensibilities is playing itself out in Ireland today, given Brazilians´ contribution to Ireland´s contemporary transformation into a open, multicultural society. The paper will be accompanied by illustrations of some of the work of the artists mentioned. Going back to the A claim has been made, mainly by poets, of an Irish-Brazil connection rooted in the very word ‘Brazil’.

His Excellency Marcel Biato has been Ambassador to Ireland since December 2020. Ambassador Biato joined the Brazilian Foreign Service in 1980 and served in London from 1987—90 and in Berlin from 1990—1994. He acted as a legal advisor at the United Nations from 1999—2003. In the Foreign Ministry, he has covered Latin American and military issues, with an emphasis on regional integration and peace processes. From 2003 – 2010 he was assistant to President of Brazil’s chief foreign policy advisor, covering both global and regional affairs. From 2010 – 2013 he was Ambassador to Bolivia, focusing on anti-narcotics cooperation, energy integration and border security issues. From 2016 – 2020 he was Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna. Since December 2020 he has been Ambassador to Ireland. Ambassador Biato holds a master’s degree in political Sociology from the London School of Economics (1988—89), and has published articles on Latin American politics, Brazilian foreign policy, global governance, the International Criminal Court and the Law of the Sea.


Andris Brinkmanis

Proletarian Theater as a Site for Education. Radical pedagogies of Asja Lacis and Walter Benjamin 

Theatre director and pedagogue Asja L cis, born in Riga, Latvia, educated in St. Petersburg and Moscow, was active since the early 20th century, and with her interdisciplinary approach to theatre and education she has influenced and collaborated with many relevant figures, such as Walter Benjamin, Bertold Brecht, Erwin Piscator, Berharnd Reich and Sergei Tretyakov among many others. Her account on early experience of her experimental pedagogical work with homeless children and war orphans in Orel, later acquired a form as the ‘Program for a Proletarian Children’s Theatre’ written by Walter Benjamin. Summarizing the key principles of L cis work, the short text also became a utopian manifesto for a pedagogy that strived to create a different and plural ‘subject’, distancing itself from the traditional type of childhood education diffused in the capitalist west. The ideas of both, rediscovered in the late 1960s still influenced and fascinated younger generations involved with community theatre, animazione teatrale and keen of f inding empowering alternative education strategies, able to lead towards a creation of a different society. This presentation will depart from the experience of Asja L cis in order to reflect on how early childhood education, cinema, as well as toys so much admired and collected by Walter Benjamin may become means in order to deconstruct histories, ideologies and assigned roles that we too often give for granted and imagine eventual alternatives.

Andris Brinkmanis is an art critic and curator, born in Riga and based in Milan. He is a Senior lecturer and Course Leader of BA in Painting and Visual Arts at NABA in Milan and Guest Associate Professor at the Art Academy of Latvia in Riga. He is one of the coinitiators of the Critical Studies Department, CSD collective in Milan and of an ongoing online project ‘Education and (Anti)Institutions’ created in close collaboration with The Museum of Care and David Graeber Foundation (2021—22). ‘Infancy and History’ (OCAT, Beijing 2019); ‘Signals from Another World. Asja L cis and Children’s Theatre’ (AVTO, Istanbul 2019), ‘Asja L cis. Engineer of the Avant-Garde’ (Latvian National Library, 2019), ‘2nd Yinchuan Biennale. Starting from the desert Ecologies on the Edge’ with Marco Scotini, Zasha Colah, Paolo Caffoni and Lu Xinghua (Yinchuan, China, 2018); ‘Mei Lan Fang and The Soviet Theatre’ (Research project for ‘The Szechwan Tale. Theatre and History’ at the First Anren Biennale in Anren, China and Milan in 2018); ‘Signals from another world. Asja L cis Archives’ (Documenta 14, Kassel 2017); and ‘Disobedience Archive (The Park)’ with Marco Scotini (SALT, Istanbul, 2014). A book curated and edited by Andris Brinkmanis ‘Asja L cis. L’agitatrice rossa. Teatro, femminismo, arte e rivoluzione’ has been printed by Meltemi publishing house in September 2021. Brinkmanis collaborates with various magazines and publications such as Corriere della Sera, Alfabeta 2, Flash Art International, Monument to Transformation, SOUTH as a State of Mind, Arterritory and Studija. His research is centered on alternative education and the relationship between education and visual culture.


Jasmina Cibic

Scenographic Backdrops and other Nation-Building Props 

Jasmina Cibic will expand on the research behind her film works which speak of historical case studies of use and abuse of culture for ideological and political interest during moments of national and supranational identity crises. Sharing primary documents and AV materials, she will connect historical case-studies of attempts of transnationalism and the role of art and architecture within them. From the failed League of Nations to the Non-Aligned Movement and the demise of the federative Yugoslav state, Cibic will connect the similarities and differences in the instrumentalization of culture applied within the complex matrix of self-determination performed as a new political category.

Jasmina Cibic (b. Ljubljana 1979) is a London based artist who works in film, performance, and installation. She represented Slovenia at the 55th Venice Biennial with her project ‘For Our Economy and Culture’. Her recent exhibitions include solo shows at: Museum der Moderne Salzburg, macLyon, Museum Sztuki Łódz´, Museum of Contemporary Art Ljubljana, CCA Glasgow, Phi Foundation Montreal, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Gateshead, Ludwig Museum Budapest, Kunstmuseen Krefeld along with group exhibitions at MAXXI Rome, Steirischer Herbst ‘19, MOMA NY, Marta Herford and Guangdong Museum of Art China. Cibic’s f ilms have been screened at London Film Festival, Whitechapel Gallery, CCA Montreal, Pula Film Festival, HKW Berlin, Louvre, Les Rencontres Internationales Paris, Aesthetica, Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, Dokfest Kassel and Copenhagen International Documentary Festival. Cibic was the winner of the MAC International Ulster Bank and Charlottenborg Fonden awards (2016), the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image Award (2020) and the Film London Jarman Award (2021). Cibic explores the intertwinements of state power, culture, and gender constructs. She examines the mechanisms of soft power – the instrumentalization of culture by political forces – during moments of historical social and ideological crises. Through archival research, Cibic seeks out artworks, architecture, and music in which political interests and the rhetoric of national power are expressed. She translates her research into films and immersive theatrical compositions that include photographs, performances, and installations.


Timothy Ellis-Dale

Discourses of visibility and self-determination in the Irish Free State

This paper explores the significance of visibility in the political culture of the Irish Free State between 1922—39. It argues that visibility played a deeply significant role in the political culture of the Irish Free State, at a time when visual culture played an increasingly important role in political life internationally. Most importantly, the language of visibility played a crucial role in debates and discourses over political legitimacy, and thus in advancing the cause of the Free State’s self-determination. Political actors who were perceived as being ‘visible’ were deemed respectable, and therefore, legitimate; whereas those who were perceived as ‘invisible,’ ‘dark’ or ‘shadowy’ were deemed to be disreputable, and therefore illegitimate.   This paper examines this process through three case studies. First, in the aftermath the Irish Civil War, supporters of the Anglo-Irish Treaty constructed their republican opponents as sinister and invisible figures. Desmond FitzGerald (Dáil Debates, 1 March, 1934) remarked that while the Blueshirts could be seen wearing a uniform which made them recognisable in the day-light, the only type of uniform that the members of the IRA ‘indulge in is the mask in order to conceal the images of the men … [as] they have always wanted to avoid the light of day.’ In response, de Valera’s government used invisibility as a means of delegitimising and weakening the office of Governor-General, and thus advancing the cause of Irish self-determination. In 1932 De Valera appointed Domhnall Ua Buachalla to the post and demanded that he not perform any visible public duties, effectively confining him to a modest suburban residence. The Strabane Chronicle (23 June 1934) remarked that ‘the Governor-General was marooned in Monkstown, and the most important feature of his duty was that he was to remain invisible.’ Lastly, visibility was seen as a vital part of the state’s Catholic identity. This may be seen in the political discourse surrounding the 1932 Eucharistic Congress. During the proceedings, publications such as the Columban magazine (July 1932) referred to Dublin ‘as a light shining within the darkness.’ By examining visibility, this paper explores the deepest anxieties of the political culture of the Irish Free State, around legitimacy, respectability, morality, and indeed, the question of Irish freedom itself.

Dr Timothy Ellis-Dale’s research focuses on both visual culture and masculinity in early independent Ireland. He graduated with a BA in History from the University of Oxford in 2014, followed by an MA in History from Queen’s University Belfast in 2016. He completed his PhD at Teesside University in 2020, while working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. He has presented his research at several conferences in Britain, Ireland and Spain, as well as co-organising the ‘New Directions in Irish History Conference’ held at Teesside in February 2019. He has also had his work published in Éire-Ireland. He was appointed to the position of Lecturer in the summer of 2020 and attained a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2021. In March 2022, he was awarded £9,950 through the British Academy’s Small Grants scheme for a research project entitled ‘Neuter-ality? Masculinity, politics and neutrality in Emergency Ireland, 1939—1945.


Gwen Farrelly

Marginalization through Inclusion at MoMA: Exhibitions of art from beyond Western Europe and the United States at the museum, 1929—1952

For this presentation, I focus on exhibitions of art from outside Western Europe and North America at MoMA, New York between 1929 and 1952, a period that coincides with the United States shaping its national identity. During this time, the linkages between the US government and the leadership of MoMA are well-documented, as such this paper grows out of arguments that situate MoMA as a key tool of soft diplomacy for the US as it mobilised its international identity, often to the detriment of emerging nation states across the world.  My study begins with MoMA’s opening in 1929 and ends in the early 1950s when Nelson Rockefeller and René d’Harnoncourt launched the International Program (IP), which institutionalized the museum’s engagements beyond Western Europe and the U.S. During this period, MoMA curators organized thirty exhibitions of art from outside these areas, which encompassed a wide range of artistic styles and periods and represented a broad international scope. These exhibitions attest to the highly diverse expertise and interests of a group of MoMA staff and partners, many of whom spanned simultaneous official diplomatic and curatorial roles and had deep knowledge of the regions of focus: Jere Abbott, Holger Cahill, James Johnson Sweeney, Lincoln Kirstein, Monroe Wheeler, and Dorothy Miller, as well as Barr and d’Harnoncourt, among others within and outside the museum staff.  Through a close reading of the relevant exhibition installations, catalogues, and publicity materials, I claim that MoMA curators crafted specific exhibition typologies to frame art from outside Western Europe and the United States as always other than, and peripheral to, the museum’s Western canon of modernism. These exhibition typologies are: 1. exhibiting pre-Modern artefacts to at once validate a still new European modernism and exoticize art of those places; 2. employing nationalism and regionalism as frames for modernism outside Western Europe and the U.S., and 3. exhibiting work for ‘politico-artistic reasons’ and towards ‘good will’ among nations. In this presentation, I argue that these exhibitions epitomize the private interests and national concerns that are active across each of the thirty exhibitions of art beyond the geographies of Western Europe and the U.S. at MoMA during this period. I will show how MoMA curators’ culturally biased attitudes established a model for the marginalization of modern art outside of Western Europe and the U.S, in a way that echoed the efforts of the US in staging a vision of itself as a nation state globally.

Gwen Farrelly is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is also an independent researcher and a consultant for Global Strategic Development in arts organisations. Ms. Farrelly served as Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)’s inaugural Executive Director for Global Affairs and was the Assistant Director of the International Program department at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, where she oversaw global research initiatives and projects. Ms. Farrelly holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art and a BA in the History of Art and Architecture from Trinity College, Dublin. She teaches and lectures on global art history and has chaired, co-chaired, and participated in global art history panels, workshops, conferences, and think tanks. In 2020, Ms. Farrelly co-edited the publication Global Art Histories: Contexts, Methods and Approaches (2020: Wiley Blackwell).


Fiona Gannon

The ‘Brain of Europe’: an underdeveloped knowledge economy

Working from Dorothy Walker’s collection at the National Irish Visual Art Library (NIVAL), and from Caroline Tisdall’s feasibility document for the European Economic Community in particular, this paper explores how Joseph Beuys’s Free International University (FIU) might have developed as proposed for its Dublin context. Drawing from Tisdall’s report, Dorothy Walker’s correspondences in her collection at NIVAL, a conversation with consultant Denis Bergin, and the blackboard drawings exhibited at the Dublin City Hugh Lane Gallery this past year which Beuys used during his talk at the gallery in 1974, I attempt to think the kind of economy the FIU might have developed, situating this speculated framework in terms of our current knowledge economy to find points of tension as well as difference.

Fiona Gannon is a writer, researcher and artist living and working in Dublin. She has worked in both education as well as public engagement contexts and is currently working with Jennie Guy on future development of the art and education project Art School. She was assistant editor for the book Curriculum: Contemporary Art Goes to School published by Intellect in 2020 and has contributed reviews to Art Monthly, Paper Visual Arts and Critical Bastards.


Adom Getachew

The Universal Race: Self-Determination and Pan-Africanism in the Garveyite Movement

Named for Marcus Garvey, ‘Garveyism’ is still recognized as the largest Black mass movement. This talk begins from the view that Garveyism occupied a distinctive position in the history of Pan-Africanism where older attachments to imperial forms and practices co-mingled with new forms of anti-colonial nationalism. In this context, self-determination was not yet associated with national independence. Instead, Garveyites advanced a conception of self-determination as a form of ‘soulcraft’ an inward individual and collective project of reevaluating and revaluing blackness/ Africaness.This was at the core of the Garveyite organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The improvement of the UNIA named the selftransformation and self-emancipation produced through political education.

Adom Getachew is Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She is a political theorist with research interests in the history of political thought, theories of race and empire, and postcolonial political theory. Her work focuses on the intellectual and political histories of Africa and the Caribbean. Her first book, Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self Determination, reconstructs an account of self-determination offered in the political thought of Black Atlantic anticolonial nationalists during the height of decolonization in the twentieth century. Adom holds a joint PhD in Political Science and African American Studies from Yale University. She is on the faculty board of the Pozen Center for Human Rights, a fellow at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, and a faculty affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.


Lisa Godson

‘Where all art is unknown’: self-determination and usable pasts, 1922 and 2022

This paper draws on ideas of usefulness and time in relation to discourses of self-determination. It questions the concept of a ‘usable past’ which is most typically cited by historians to describe how foundational moments have been represented to justify present-day aspirations and to provide a meta-narrative for nation states. However, that deeply instrumentalist and presentist understanding often ignores other, less cohesive ways that the past exerts agency.

Starting with the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the paper explores the tensions between internal and external concepts of self-determination by tracing different uses of the past through distinctive attitudes to visual and material cultures that were valued for being ‘at hand’, ‘vernacular’ and dehistoricised and culture which sat within a more teleological temporality of national time and was valued for bearing the traces of more ‘evental’ history. It seeks to understand how different versions of usefulness were expressed according to different temporalities and manifest through certain iterations of statecraft, firstly through projects that specifically grappled with a ‘usable’ past to sustain claims of self-determination and secondly through more distributed materialities that carried more banal and ultimately more powerful and insidious ideas of use and time.

The ideas of use and time are further explored through contemporary practices that grapple with historic and present-day injustices, in particular Colab81-7’s work on sites of conscience and Eimear Walsh’s Land Cruiser.

Dr Lisa Godson is a cultural historian, writer and curator with a specialism in material culture, architecture and design. She is director of the MA in Design History and Material Culture at the National College of Art and Design, a unique postgraduate programme in partnership with the National Museum of Ireland. Her books include Modern Religious Architecture in Germany, Ireland, and Beyond (with Kathleen James Chakraborty); Uniform: Clothing and Discipline in the Modern World (with Jane Tynan); Making 1916: Visual and Material Culture of the Easter Rising (with Joanna Brück). Forthcoming publications include the monograph How the Crowd Felt: Space, Memory and Ritual in the Irish Free State, ‘Materiality, Architecture and Catholicism’ in Religion and Irish Literature (Cambridge University Press) and essays for monographs on the architects Ryan Kennihan and Tom de Paor. Other publications include ‘Charting the material culture of the Devotional Revolution’ in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (116C) and essays for various RIA publications including Ireland 1922 and History of Art and Architecture of Ireland.


Dónal Hassett

Diverse Paths to Freedom: Imagining Emancipation in the Algeria of the 1930s 

In July 1930, the administration in France’s prized North African colony of Algeria staged a series of elaborate commemorative events to celebrate the Centenary (yes another Centenary!) of the French invasion. While this show of colonial triumphalism met with wild enthusiasm among much of the colony’s European settler population, it also served to rally a new generation of Algerians to mobilise in contestation of the unjust colonial order. This paper considers the range of often opposing visions of emancipation Algerian activists, cultural and political, articulated in this period and traces their subsequent evolution into the late colonial period and the era of decolonisation. In doing so, it seeks to offer a broader reflection on the diversity of the modes of contestation of colonialism, their respective limitations, their evolution in the face of colonial repression, and their legacies for the post-colonial nation-state. While prominent Algerian political leaders in the 1930s were united in their critique of the colonial status quo, they disagreed quite profoundly about how to change it and what should replace it. For the liberal assimilationists, the emancipation of Algerians could best be achieved by securing a form of full, if differentiated, citizenship within the imperial polity. For their rivals in the Islamic reform movement, the ardent defence of an Arabo-Islamic identity, sometimes compatible with, sometimes in open conflict with French rule, was the priority. Finally, for the nascent nationalist movement, initially confined to the migrant population in France, emancipation could only come through the revolutionary action of a united Algerian people. The debates that underlined the commonalities and highlighted the contrasts between these different visions offer fascinating insights into the multiple ways colonized peoples sought to resist colonial rule, the political, cultural, economic and ideological forces that shaped their expressions of resistances, and the many obstacles the coercive colonial state put in their way.  The somewhat surprising outcome of these political debates, which ultimately saw many of the key figures and organisations join together in the ranks of the Front de Libération Nationale in the 1950s, speaks to the radicalising impact of colonial violence and the diverse and dialectical genealogies of the movements that arose to oppose it in Algeria, and I would suggest, across the colonial world.

Dr Dónal Hassett is a colonial historian of the French Empire with a special interest in North Africa. A Lecturer in the French Department at University College Cork, he is also the Science Communication Officer for the PIMo COST Action. His first book, Mobilising Memory: The Great War and the Language of Politics in Colonial Algeria, 1918—1939 appeared with Oxford University Press in 2019. He has published widely on the topics of veterancy in the colonial world, the commemoration of Empire, anti-colonialism in the interwar world, and historical connections between Algeria and Ireland. He is currently working on a project on a failed settlement scheme for Irish peasants in Eastern Algeria in the late 19th century.


Leah Hilliard

Kathleen McKenna and the Irish Bulletin

‘KATHLEEN’ is a project by artist Leah Hilliard that celebrates the remarkable story of activist and journalist Kathleen Napoli McKenna (1897—1988), witness and contributor to one of the most significant times in Ireland’s history. Kathleen worked on the production of the Irish Bulletin (1919—1921), which was published by the Propaganda Department of the first Dáil and functioned as a weapon, such was its ability to circulate vital war information. During the War of Independence, the London treaty negotiations, and the Civil War, Kathleen had confidential and volatile information at her fingertips. Such was the level of secrecy around the production, that the production location moved around Dublin’s inner city more than a dozen times in the 20 months it existed. Hilliard was struck by how Kathleen had been taught to transgress through education and family environment so that when her own affiliations aligned with those of the nascent Irish Free State, she used her work to become a disruptor to the status quo. Hilliard’s project ‘KATHLEEN’ is a digital print of a bespoke textile work, with a QR code which links to a video spoken word video piece. This project was funded with an award as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012—2023. ‘KATHLEEN’ will be presented on every Luas line (Dublin tram system) crisscrossing the city between the 6—20 November 2022.

Leah Hilliard is an artist whose practice is rooted in performance — from spoken word to digital image. She is the co-ordinator, lead researcher and writer for the MFA, Art in the Digital World at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Her work has been shown at the Liverpool Biennale and the Dublin Fringe Festival, and she has represented Ireland at art and performance events, both nationally and internationally. Leah continues to be active as artist, curator, researcher and public art consultant. She also found time to manage the stage production of The Alternative Miss Ireland charity event and worked for a number of years on the Festival of World Cultures. Leah was the Artistic Programme coordinator and curator of Arthouse Multimedia Centre for the Arts, creating events such as SEED, Aspidistra and FREEZE (Winter Projection Festival). An experienced event manager, Leah always carries a power drill in her handbag, just in case.


Erin Hughes

Art and Atra: Assyrian Depictions of Homeland and Nationhood Through Art and Ethno-Symbolism

Self-determination is a long-denied dream of Assyrian nationalists. Such nationalism first emerged in the far reaches of the waning Ottoman Empire, fueled by violent pogroms perpetrated by unfriendly neighbours; awakened national pride following discoveries of ancient Assyrian archeological sites; and alleged promises of sovereignty and statehood from WWI Allied Powers.  WWI instead brought tragedy as the Ottomans carried out genocide that ultimately killed an estimated 250,000 Assyrians. Although much of the Assyrian leadership did not survive, several Assyrian delegations went to the Paris Peace Conference to advocate for statehood or some measure of autonomy; their hopes were instead twice dashed in the postwar treaties. Already divided between Persia and the Ottoman Empire, present-day state borders (Iraq, Syria, Turkey) were soon solidified across indigenous Assyrian homelands, further dividing the nation from itself. Campaigns for autonomy endured for years under the post-war British and French mandates, and later before the League of Nations and United Nations, to no avail. The ensuing decades of persecution, marginalization, and bad governance in their homeland states pushed Assyrian populations further into diaspora.  The most active cultural production within the increasingly-dispersed nation during this period was largely literary: memoirs, nationalist writings, and print magazines aiming to connect the diaspora with poems and stories. Indeed, diaspora played a significant role in enabling cultural activity and providing space and freedom away from repressive regimes, atop the perhaps essential role of distance and sense of loss that permeates diasporic nostalgia. On a smaller scale, Assyrian organizations – cultural clubs, professional associations, and the like – encouraged further exploration of national imagining, weaving together symbols of the ancient Empire with modernity and effacing institutional logos, architecture, décor, and magazines. Several national flags co-existed until a universalized design was adopted in 1971, whose image now adjoins symbols of antiquity in art and visual culture.  This presentation will thus explore Assyrian art and cultural production that emerged in response to the failure of the self-determination project, and the role of national ethno-symbolism in both art and the banal. As it is largely the generations after the genocide that have embodied such nationalist imagery – and have been shaped by the absence of an Assyrian state – focus will include 20th century and contemporary artists Hannibal Alkhas, Rima Lahdo, Paul Batou, Thabit Mikhail, and Esther Elia. Their work will be situated in this historical context and alongside earlier nationalist writings.

Erin Hughes is an Assistant Professor in Political Science and History at California State University Stanislaus, where she manages the Sarguis Modern Assyrian Heritage Project. She holds a PhD in Sociology and an MSc with distinction in Nationalism Studies from the University of Edinburgh.  Her work specializes in nationalism, conflict, diaspora, and modern Assyrian studies.


Nithy Kasa

Nithy Kasa is an Ireland based poet of Congolese origin. Her debut collection of poetry, Palm Wine Tapper and The Boy at Jericho, was published by Doire Press in 2022. She has read for Poetry Ireland, Concern, the National University of Ireland Galway, the Royal Irish Academy, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, University College Dublin, Cork World Book Festival, Bray Literary Festival, and Electric Picnic among others. She was the recipient of the Poetry Ireland Commission 2020, with the support of an Arts Council of Ireland Commissions Award, and was shortlisted for The Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award 2021. Nithy divides her time between Ireland and the Congo.


Róisín Kennedy

‘Anything may happen and everything is possible’: Visual art and the new state 

The process of commemorating one hundred years of independence in the Irish state and the formation of Northern Ireland has facilitated a fundamental questioning of the nature of Irish society and the achievements of these new political regimes. It has also prompted a rethinking of the role of visual art in the pre and post-independence period. Irish art, like that of other emerging states and revolutionary regimes, envisaged new beginnings and responded to political realities in diverse ways. Recent re-assessments of the institutional and political imperatives that affected its reception have deepened our understanding of its official role. What other roles did art play in the new Irish states? How might we reconsider the strategies and approaches used in this work to comprehend and to question the new political reality of independence? Who were the intended viewers and how did they respond to this work? More crucially how can we make this art meaningful to today? How might it be relevant to our experience now?

Dr Róisín Kennedy is Lecturer in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy at UCD. She is former Yeats Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland (2006—08) and of the State Collection at Dublin Castle (1998—99). Her research focuses on the critical reception and display of modern art in Ireland, on the position of women as artists and subjects in modernist art, and on the role of censorship and ideology in the production and patronage of modern art. She is co-editor and contributor to Harry Clarke and Artistic Visions of the New Irish State, (Irish Academic Press, 2018), Censoring Art. Silencing the Artwork (I.B. Tauris, 2018) and co-editor (with Fintan Cullen) of Sources in Irish Art 2. A Reader, (Cork University Press, 2021). Her monograph, Art and the Nation State. The Reception of Modern Art in Ireland was published by Liverpool University Press in 2021.


Gabriela Lojewska and Philip McEvansoneya

Polish art in Dublin, in peace and war   

The new Polish state, the Second Republic, founded in 1918, marked its arrival on the international stage as an independent nation through cultural diplomacy. Modern art and modern versions of traditional forms, which had been central to earlier state-building efforts, were deployed mainly through Towarzystwo Szerzenia Sztuki Polskiej Ws´ród Obcych (TOSSPO), the Society for the Dissemination of Polish Art Abroad. TOSSPO pursued ‘propaganda of Polishness by art in foreign exhibitions’ as it was put by Mieczysław Treter, its director.   The reach of TOSSPO was more or less global, but the Exhibition of Polish Art that took place in Dublin 1937, one of the peripatetic shows that it selected and oversaw, is one of a group of exhibitions of Polish art in Ireland in the 1930s and 40s that have escaped attention. This event will be central to our paper which will also refer to two other events: the showing of prints by Stefan Mrozewski at the Victor Waddington Galleries a little more than a year earlier, and the participation in 1944 of the Polish government in exile, through the agency of the Polish representative in Ireland, Wacław Tadeusz Dobrzyn´ski, in a highly successful exhibition of modern art.  We are interested in art as a vehicle for cultural diplomacy, to show Polish national achievements and aspirations in both the powerful and newly emerged states of inter-war and wartime Europe. Although Ireland had no close links with Poland, and no diplomatic presence there, and so could not reciprocate, through his cultural enterprise Dobrzyn´ski built links where otherwise none may have existed. Our paper, which draws on Polish archival sources, will review these three events and interpret them in relation to the Irish diplomatic outlook against the backdrop of the movement from peace to war.

Gabriela Lojewska is a senior sophister reading History of Art and Architecture and Spanish at Trinity College Dublin. Gabriela is currently researching a dissertation on the architecture of the ideal renaissance town of Zamos´c´ in Poland. She is the co-author of ‘’Propaganda of Polishness by art’: cultural diplomacy in Ireland in 1937’, forthcoming in History Ireland.

Philip McEvansoneya has been a lecturer in the History of Art at Trinity College Dublin since 1991. A current research project is on exhibitions of continental prints in Ireland from the 1920s to the 1950s. Recent and forthcoming publications include: ‘Estella Solomons and the Irish contribution to the Artists’ Refugee Committee’, British Art Journal; A ‘school of Irish letters’: Samuel Ferguson’s ‘fountain series’’, Irish Studies Review, 29:1 (2021), 31—50; ‘The interest in Murillo in Ireland’, in Isabelle Kent ed., Collecting Murillo in Britain and Ireland, Madrid: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2020, 251—75.


Fearghal McGarry

A Vision of Ireland: the revolutionary generation and the struggle for self-determination 

What role did cultural and artistic movements play in the development of revolutionary nationalism in the years leading up to Easter 1916? Drawing on research on radical cultural nationalists associated with the Abbey Theatre, this lecture considers what these f igures understood by self-determination. It asks why progressive interpretations of the struggle for Irish freedom that were held by many among this revolutionary generation gave way to a more conservative vision of independence in the post-revolutionary period, characterised by censorship and misogyny, and it explores how some intellectuals and artists responded to this repressive climate. Reflecting on disappointments experienced by radical revolutionaries after independence, this talk concludes by considering how both history-writing and commemoration, including artistic responses, during the Decade of Centenaries have retrieved alternate visions of a lost revolution, generating new understandings of the independence struggle of greater contemporary relevance.

Fearghal McGarry is Professor of Modern Irish History at Queen’s University Belfast. He has written widely on modern Ireland, particularly on revolutionary and postindependence Ireland. He is the author of The Abbey Rebels of 1916: A Lost Revolution (Gill & Macmillan, 2015) and The Rising. Ireland. Easter 1916 (Oxford University Press, 2016). His most recent co-edited publications are Ireland 1922: Independence, Partition and Civil War (Royal Irish Academy, 2022) and The Irish Revolution: A Global History (New York University Press, 2022). He is currently writing a book exploring anxieties about modernity in inter-war Ireland, and developing a two-part RTÉ documentary series on nation-building in independent Ireland. Fearghal has been extensively involved with commemoration during the Decade of Centenaries. He advised on the development of the GPO Witness History interpretive centre, and is a member of the expert advisory group for the National Museum of Ireland’s 20th Century History Galleries.


Clíodhna Ní Anluain

Pillar Talk 

Constructed spaces and their human engagement intrigue me: their physical and intangible qualities, their architectural and cultural contexts. So also do processes of narration and presentation, archives, and memory; and what can be imagined or made new. Beginnings of making allure. They put down markers. Production and output happen in their own present. Such material and thinking are integral to Pillar Talk. It offers the IMMA conference an imagined consideration of how time and events can converge to effect how we see ourselves.  When in 1916 Ireland declared itself a nation in a broadcast it showed awareness of the potential of broadcasting to communicate and perhaps effect change. This thinking chimes with my consideration of the role of radio and early television in the self-determining ambitions of the fledgling Irish State. The establishment of a state radio service and then a public service television and radio service loosely correlated with different moods and stages of self-realization of the new state. A pressing motivation for an Irish broadcasting service was the availability and the expected impact of BBC from Britain, Ireland’s neighbour and former master. Observed side by side, Dublin’s GPO where early Irish radio was based and the RTÉ Television Building have in common front rows of upright pillars. The earlier GPO pillars are soft granite stone while the television centre ones are poured concrete, finished with native dash stones. Each was designed as a future-driven headquarter of communication. The GPO was for a 19th century burgeoning postal service of the British Empire, only later accommodating Irish radio broadcasting in its upper corridors.  A campus approach, brand-new to Ireland, was chosen for the television enterprise, designed by Michael Scott and Associates, a company associated with the modern.  Architecturally, geographically, and symbolically, it was a move away from the Francis Johnston 19th century designed historically and culturally iconic GPO. Television was the new kid on the block. Radio was of the old guard. And the guard was changing. A greenfield site was significant for its potency as a symbol of intentionality for change, another turn in the new country towards becoming its next self. And why Leaving one for the other had such significance.  Sound and text sources for this film include texts by Douglas Hyde in 1926 on the opening of 2RN and by Éamonn de Valera on the opening in 1961 of Telefís Éireann.

Clíodhna Ní Anluain is an artist and radio producer. Years as a theatre producer and curator and publishing with New Island + The Lilliput Press influence her work. Her IADT first-class ARC MA (2021) focused on early Irish arts television: its architectural and cultural context; and what viewers saw. Related work featured in the exhibition Cohost curated by Astrid Newman at the LAB, Dublin (2021). Sarah Searson as Director of The Dock, Co Leitrim awarded her a commission and solo exhibition, Beautiful Things without [undue] Comment: 2022. She is a recipient of an Arts Council Agility Award (2021) and a Centre Culturel, Paris Bursary (2022). Recent RTÉ work relevant to this conference includes her SPOKEN STORIES Independence (2021) series when she commissioned 12 writers to consider independence in story, 100 years after Ireland’s War of Independence; and her theme-led series Altering States: 100 Years of the Arts in Independent Ireland (2016).


Ciara Ní É

Ciara Ní É is a bilingual writer, performer and activist. She was chosen as one of the Irish Examiner’s ‘100 Women Changing Ireland in 2022’. Ciara is currently Artist in Residence with the Dublin Fringe Festival, she was Writer in Residence at DCU in 2020, and she is an Irish Writers Centre ambassador. She was chosen for Poetry Ireland’s ‘Introductions’ series in 2017. She has performed in New York, London, Brussels, Sweden, and across Ireland. She is the founder of REIC, a multilingual spoken word and open mic night that features poetry, music, storytelling and rap. Her work has been published in journals including Icarus, Aneas, and Comhar, and the recent anthologies Bone and Marrow/Cnámh agus Smior, Queering the Green and Washing Windows Too. She has written poems for UNESCO City of Literature, The Linenhall Arts Centre, RTÉ TV, BBC Radio, TG4, and The Irish Writers Centre. She is a cofounder of queer arts collective AerachAiteachGaelach, set up with Eoin McEvoy. The group was chosen for the Abbey Theatre’s 5×5 series in 2020, and Mc Evoy and Ciara premiered an immersive theatre piece at The Dublin Fringe Festival 2021. Ciara’s work can be widely found online. At the moment her first short film is in pre production, the script of which won the 2022 Físín short film competition, and her first poetry collection will be published in autumn 2023.

Gaeilge

Is file, gníomhaí, agus craoltóir í Ciara Ní É. Bhí sí ar an liosta ‘100 Women Changing Ireland in 2022’ de chuid an Irish Examiner. Ise a bhunaigh an oíche mic oscailte REIC, a mbíonn filíocht ó bhéal, rap, ceol, scéalta, agus eile le cloisteáil ann. Tá a cuid filíochta léite aici i Nua-Eabhrac, i Londain, sa Bhruiséil, sa tSualainn, agus sa bhaile in Éirinn. Tá sí mar ealaíontóir cónaithe leis an Dublin Fringe Festival 2022 agus bhí sí mar Scríbhneoir Cónaithe DCU 2020. Roghnaíodh í don scéim ‘Introductions’ de chuid Poetry Ireland sa bhliain 2017, agus an bhliain dár gcionn d’eisigh sí sraith físdánta i gcomhar le hÁras Scríbhneoirí na hÉireann. Is ambasadóir anois í le hÁras Scríbhneoirí na hÉireann. Chomhbhunaitheoir an chomharghrúpa AerachAiteachGaelach í, lena leathbhádóir Eoin Mc Evoy. Roghnaíodh togra leo don tsraith Abbey 5×5 2020, agus chuir siad dráma chun stáitse mar chuid den Dublin Fringe Festival 2021. Foilsíodh saothar dá cuid agus aistí liteartha léi in irisí éagsúla, Icarus, Aneas, agus Comhar ina measc, agus sna díolamaí Bone and Marrow/Cnámh agus Smior, Queering the Green agus Washing Windows Too. I measc a cuid coimisiún áirítear RTÉ TV, BBC Radio, TG4, agus Áras Scríbhneoirí na hÉireann. Faoi láthair tá sí ag obair ar a céad ghearrscannán, a bhuaigh duais Físín 2022, agus foilseofar a céad chnuasach filíochta i bhfómhar na bliana 2023.


Meriç Öner

Meriç Öner is a researcher, editor and exhibition maker. Trained as an architect, Öner translates her focus on material culture into print and online publications, exhibitions and public programs. Her queries bring together data, archives, art works, crafts and contemporary technologies to form bases for multiple narratives and expandable timelines. Öner advocates for cultural institutions to provide resources, prompt questions and act as co-learning environments for all, an approach she practiced as director of research and programs at SALT in İstanbul and Ankara from 2017 to 2022.


Hussein A H Omar

Where’s the ‘self’ in ‘self-determination’?

Dr Hussein A H Omar is Lecturer in Modern Global History in University College Dublin. He is a cultural and intellectual historian of the Modern Middle East and comes to UCD from Oxford University where he was an AHRC Postdoctoral Fellow as part of the ‘First World War and Global Religions’ project. His current research examines the anticolonial insurrectionary movements in Egypt and Iraq between 1919—1920. It builds on his forthcoming monograph ‘The Rule of Strangers: Empire, Islam and the Invention of ‘politics’ in Egypt, 1867–1922’, which examined political ideas, as well as the very emergence of politics as an autonomous category, in Egypt between 1867 and 1922. Other areas of research interest include: how the property endowed to God (waqf) was managed by the colonial and postcolonial state; the emergence of ‘minority rights’ claims among Egyptian Christians; and Muslim sovereignty and kingship, before, after and during the Ottoman defeat in the First World War. He is also writing a book called City of the Dead which tells the story of Egypt and the Mediterranean world through the lives of the members of a single family over 500 years, from the Ottoman invasion of Egypt in 1517 to the 1960s.


Paul O'Neill

Another Time, and the Mourning of Lost Appearances

Paul O’Neill will read excerpts from ‘Another Time, and the Mourning of Lost Appearances,’ investigating death, mourning, grief and the role played by documentary photography in mid-twentieth century decolonization processes. The essay forms part of the extensive book-length study of Maryam Jafri’s Independence Days, (Walther Königs, Cologne, 2021) featuring archival photos culled from archives of the first Independence Day ceremonies of various Asian, Middle Eastern, and African nations. Independence Days is an investigation of the role played by photography in mid-twentieth-century decolonization processes.

Dr. Paul O’Neill is an Irish curator, artist, writer and educator. He is the Artistic Director of PUBLICS, a position he took up in September 2017. PUBLICS is a curatorial agency and event space with a dedicated library, and reading room in Helsinki. Between 2013-17, he was Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College, New York. He is author of the critically acclaimed book The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), (Cambridge, MASS., The MIT Press, 2012), which has been translated into many languages. His most recent coedited book is Curating After the Global: Roadmaps to the Present published with MIT Press, 2019.

Paul is widely regarded as one of the foremost research-oriented curators, and leading scholar of curatorial practice, public art and exhibition histories. Paul has held numerous curatorial and research positions over the last twenty years and he has taught on many curatorial and visual arts programs in Europe, The USA, Asia and the UK. Paul has co-curated more than sixty curatorial projects across the world.

Paul’s writing has been published in many books, catalogues, journals and magazines. Paul is editor of the curatorial anthology, Curating Subjects (2007), and co-editor of Curating and the Educational Turn  (2010), and Curating Research (2014) both with Mick Wilson, and published by de Appel and Open Editions (Amsterdam and London). Paul is author of Locating the Producers: Durational Approaches to Public Art (Amsterdam, Valiz, 2011), co-edited with Claire Doherty and author of the critically acclaimed book The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), (Cambridge, MASS., The MIT Press, 2012). Paul is responsible for the agenda-setting series of three recent curatorial anthologies, The Curatorial ConundrumHow Institutions Think, and Curating After the Global: Roadmaps to the Present, co-edited with Lucy Steeds, Mick Wilson et al, and published with the MIT Press, CCS Bard College and Luma Foundation, in 2016, 2017 and 2019 respectively.  Paul has recently completed artist’ books with Maryam Jafri and is working on books with artists Kathrin Bohm, and Dave McKenzie, as well as two new books of curatorial texts called CURED, and CURIOUS.


Stephen O'Neill

‘within a given territory’: constructing ‘Ulster’ in the interwar years

In his 1920 lecture Politics as a Vocation, the German political theorist Max Weber defined the state as ‘a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory’. This description coincided with the high watermark of state territorial formations in the aftermath of the First World War, perhaps most heavily influenced by Woodrow Wilson’s endorsement of ‘self-determination’ as a solution to the problem of Europe’s borders. In application, however, this was a tricky concept, and particularly on the island of Ireland where competing interpretations of ‘self-determination’ were claimed – partly by a revolutionary generation of republicans seeking separation from the United Kingdom, and partly by a conservative grouping of settler colonial unionists who stressed their loyalty to the crown. Key to the ‘settlement’ of this conundrum was partition, which was the legitimation of physical force within a territory given by the colonial British state in what one contemporary observer called ‘guesswork self-determination’. This paper will locate the construction of ‘Ulster’ from 1920 to 1939 within a frame of legitimizing state violence, including the pogroms that initiated the state, the measures of repression and discrimination which were epitomized by the Special Powers Act of 1922, and the colonial Boundary Commission which sat from 1924 to 1925. As Fearghal Mac Bhloscaidh writes, ‘the Unionist leadership received the unconditional support of an imperial state that applied the principle of self-determination against the vanquished’, and violence was foundational to the formation and consolidation of the six counties. This paper will trace how representations which were fostered and claimed by the unionist state in this year – in exhibitions, commissioned paintings, the construction of Parliament Buildings at Stormont – were intended to visually codify a six-county ‘Ulster’ as a long-existing fact of life on the island. It will examine how the representations of the state were heavily inflected with geographical referents and stereotyped images of the six counties as a straightforwardly loyal territory, in so doing eliding the violence of the state’s establishment and maintenance.

Dr Stephen O’Neill is an Irish Research Council Enterprise Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. His research project examines the literary and cultural history of Ireland from 1920 to 1955, focusing on the impact of the state on culture and, in particular, representations of partition in Ireland. With IMMA, he is working on critical and practical approaches to representing and commemorating the foundation of states in the early-to mid-twentieth century. His monograph Irish Culture and Partition 1920—55 is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press.


Stephen Pogany

Competing Narratives of Self-Determination in Transylvania after World War One: The Life and Art of János Thorma

The Transylvanian-Hungarian artist, János Thorma, who spent much of his life in what is now the Romanian town of Baia Mare, is best remembered for two monumental oil paintings:‘Aradi vértanuk’ (‘The martyrs of Arad’) and ‘Talpra magyar’ (‘Arise, Hungarians!’). The paintings depict key moments in Hungary’s struggle for independence from the Habsburg Empire. Thorma continued to work on ‘Talpra magyar’ until just months before his death in 1937. Drawing on manuscripts held in the Romanian National Archives, this paper reviews Thorma’s life and art to illuminate the moral complexities and practical difficulties that have beset self-determination struggles in places as diverse as Hungary/Romania, India/Pakistan, Bosnia, Palestine, Nigeria and Iraq. In both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries such struggles have rarely consisted of a conflict between an imperial power and an oppressed people. Self-determination for one nation has often entailed the denial of self-determination for another, especially in territories like Transylvania that contain multiple ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. Yet, despite the strikingly heterogenous character of Transylvania and of historic Hungary, Thorma’s most famous paintings deal exclusively with the heroism and self-sacrifice of Hungarians who rose up against Habsburg rule. The political and cultural aspirations of sizeable populations of Slovaks, Serbs, Romanians, Ruthenes and others, living in historic Hungary, were ignored by Thorma and brushed aside by Lajos Kossuth and other leaders of Hungary’s independence movement. Following World War I and the transfer of Transylvania from Hungary to Romania, in accordance with the Wilsonian principle of self-determination, the majority ethnic Romanian population in the territory finally realised their cultural and political ambitions. However, for Thorma and other Transylvanian-Hungarians, who now constituted a potentially vulnerable national minority within an increasingly nationalistic Romania, their new status was a constant source of anxiety and concern. In May 1927, Thorma wrote to a fellow painter, István Réti, expressing his reluctance to organise an exhibition in Budapest of paintings by artists associated with an artists’ colony in Baia Mare. The colony had been founded in 1896 by Hungarian artists, including Thorma, at a time when Baia Mare and Transylvania were an integral part of Hungary. Thorma feared that any artists who participated in such an exhibition could be labelled as ‘irredentists’ by the Romanian authorities and that they could face severe sanctions. This paper forms part of a larger research project entitled: Transylvania: An Alternative History of Europe. The aim of the project, which will result in a substantial monograph and several articles and book chapters, is to explore major themes of 19th and 20th century European history from the perspective of Transylvania. For example, Transylvania was wracked by recurrent nationalist conflicts in the 19th century, which Austria-Hungary conspicuously failed to manage. Along with much of continental Europe, extreme right-wing political movements and ideologies gained ground in Transylvania in the inter-war era, while the Holocaust impacted heavily on the region’s substantial Jewish population in World War II. Transylvania faced enforced sovietization after the War and de-communisation following the collapse of the totalitarian regime headed by the Ceaus´escus. Like other parts of Central and Eastern Europe, Transylvania has undergone an accelerated and imperfect process of marketisation and democratisation.

Stephen Pogany has taught courses including comparative human rights and international law at the universities of Hull, Exeter, City University, London, Warwick, Central European University, Budapest and at the University of Connecticut. He is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Law, University of Warwick and now live in Budapest Hungary, the city of his birth. His books include Human Rights in Eastern Europe (1995); Righting Wrongs in Eastern Europe (1998); The Roma 3Café: Human Rights and the Plight of the Roma People (2004) and Modern Times: The Biography of a Hungarian-Jewish Family (2021). In addition to writing journal articles and chapters for edited books, he writes shorter pieces for various publications, including Social Europe, which are aimed at a more general audience: https://socialeurope.eu/author/istvan-pogany. In his spare time, he attends demonstrations and other gatherings aimed, however forlornly, at redemocratising Hungary.


Stephen Sexton

Stephen Sexton’s first book, If All the World and Love Were Young was the winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2019 and the Shine / Strong Award for Best First Collection. He was awarded the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2020. He was the winner of the National Poetry Competition in 2016 and the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award in 2018. Cheryl’s Destinies was published in 2021, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection.


Varvara Keidan Shavrova 

Lithuanian artistic and cultural struggle for self-determination as a symbol made relevant by Putin’s war in Ukraine  

As part of my practice, I work on research that reflects my personal and family connections with both Lithuania and Ukraine over the past 100 years, with specific focus on Lithuanian artists and their struggle for independence; first from Imperial Russia, and then from the Soviet Union. This research draws on my family history and the lived experience of migration and flight – from Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia – with the aim of drawing parallels between artistic representations of self-determination and anti-colonialism, within the creative and artistic cultures of each state. Lithuania suffered prolonged periods of subjugation absorbed into larger neighbouring states: firstly Poland, then Imperial Russia, and more recently into the Soviet Union during the Second World War in 1940 where it remained for the following 50 years.

My paternal great grandparents were Ashkenazi Jews living in the 1900s in Keidan, one of the oldest cities in Lithuania, located north of Kaunas. Following the 1905 revolution in Russia the first pogroms prompted many of the Lithuanian-Jewish population to emigrate, with members of my family migrating to Odessa in Ukraine, to Moscow and to New York. My grandparents and great uncles and aunts who settled in Ukraine then had to flee again to the Russian part of the Soviet Union at the onset of WWII, in fear of both Nazi and Soviet persecutions.

This historic struggle for self-determination has once again re-surfaced following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war driven by Russia’s unlawful territorial claims and colonialist regressions that aim to annexe large parts of another sovereign state. The Baltic States, including Lithuania, have already received threats of possible invasion from Putin’s cronies. The artists and cultural workers in Lithuania and Ukraine are, naturally, alarmed and are working on projects that reflect their determination to retain their independence and resist Russian aggression.

Such projects I myself align with, both as a woman and as a female artist, and through research by practice I study how self-determination, anti-colonial struggle and the fight for independence inform and are informed by artistic movements in Lithuania and Ukraine, both historically and in the present crisis. Through committed self-expression informed by an understanding of the political mechanisms of persecution and domination, my aim is to realise a critical commentary to join with others seeking ways towards a more just world.

Varvara Keidan Shavrova is a visual artist, curator, educator and researcher. Born in the USSR, she lives and works between London, Dublin and Berlin. She studied at the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, received an MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London, and has been awarded prestigious AHRC London Arts & Humanities Partnership Studentship for her practice-based PhD at the Royal College of Art. She has exhibited internationally, including: Across Chinese Cities: Beijing at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014), The Opera at Gallery of Photography Ireland (2012) and at Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Tenerife (2011), Untouched at Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City (2008) and at The City Museum, Galway Arts Festival (2009), Borders at Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2007—08) and Between Borders at Galway Arts Festival (2015), Unruly Encounters at Dilston Grove Southwark Park Galleries and Haptic Codes at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London (2022).


Billy Shorthall

Read all about it; art in politics in Civic Publications 

The UK National Archives released British Government State papers from 1996 and 1997 in December, 2020. One memo recorded a disagreement at a 1996 Anglo-Irish meeting, the British side objected to a general informational booklet about Ireland, Facts about Ireland, published by the Department of Foreign Affairs for both general distribution and use across its diplomatic network. They were aggrieved over a lack of consultation about an entry on Northern Ireland, the Irish side retorted that they found it odd that they were raising concerns now about a booklet in existence for twenty years. In fact, the booklet was first published thirty-three years earlier in 1963 and as a soft power or diplomatic tool its genesis dated to the 1920s when the emerging Irish Free State first used publications to manage its image for political and economic advantage on the world stage.  There was a range of these early books that are termed here, civic publications. They were generally mass produced for a wide distribution, had a hand-made luxurious aesthetic, contained didactic government propaganda, and had little prospect of making a profit. The instigator of these books was Bulmer Hobson and they reached their acme with the publication of Saorstat Eireann Irish Free State Official Handbook of 1932. To achieve mass appeal and distribution, they were usually attractively illustrated with commissioned artworks from Irish artists. These images were used to re-inforce the textual content. This paper will focus on the Official Handbook and place it in context of both its predecessors during the 1920s and successors until the 1950s. It will discuss the political and artistic reception of these various State publications.

Dr William Shortall is an art historian and is currently the Ryan Gallagher Kennedy Research Fellow on the Cuala Press Project, Schooner Foundation, Trinity College Dublin. A recent visiting fellow in the Keough-Naughton Institute, Notre Dame University, his research is focused on the intersection between art and politics in post-Independent Ireland. His most recent project involved an online recreation of the 1922 World Congress of the Irish Race in Paris and associated art exhibition which is available at www.seeingireland.ie


Logan Sisley

John Lavery’s Self-Determination in the Picturing of Modern Irish History  

This paper will explore the motivations for John Lavery’s paintings of Irish political subjects, notably his 1921 Treaty portrait group, and speculate on his desire for self-determination as an artist, free from the constraints imposed by commissions. It builds on research undertaken for two recent exhibitions, The Art of Negotiation: John Lavery’s Anglo-lrish Treaty Portraits, Embassy of Ireland, London, October 2021, and Studio & State: The Laverys and the Anglo-lrish Treaty, co-curated with Dr Edith Andrees, which continues at Collins Barracks throughout 2022.  This paper will examine Lavery’s motivations to paint ‘Pictures of Modern Irish History’ as they were called by Art O’Brien, which were generally not commissioned but instigated by the artist. Encouraged by Hazel Lavery, from around 1916 he painted leaders from various political backgrounds, beginning with portraits of the nationalist leader Jonn Redmond and the unionist leader Edward Carson. The artist sought to ‘bind up the contending forces in the bonds of holy paint’. Many of these works were given the Ulster Museum, Belfast, in 1929 and to Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, in 1935. It will be argued that in making and gifting these groups of pictures, the artist was claiming his own self-determination. In doing so he was conscious of his own legacy as an artist, for which he wanted to maintain credibility.  Lavery was commercially successful, and he relied on the income from his painting to maintain his economic and social status. However, in his lifetime he was at times criticised for flattering his sitters at the expense of artistic integrity. Shortly after Lavery’s death, Edward Knoblock wrote that the artist ‘… at times proved too much of a courtier to the detriment of his creative quality.’ Lavery himself expressed shame at ‘having spent my life trying to please sitters and make friends instead of telling the truth and making enemies.’ The lrish political portraits act can be seen as a counterpoint to this. Lavery pursued the sitters, who agreed with various degrees of enthusiasm, and he kept the works until they could be placed in public collections on the island of Ireland. Some of the paintings gifted by the artist to Dublin, such as The Blessing of the Colours, in turn became iconic images of the Free State, enhancing the London-based artist’s reputation in Ireland, and entwining the artist’s legacy with that of the emergent nation.

Logan Sisley was born in Aotearoa, New Zealand, where he studied art history at the University of Otago, Dunedin, and at the University of Auckland. He moved to Scotland in 2000 and worked for the National Library of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the Edinburgh College of Art. From 2007 he was Exhibitions Curator at the Hugh Lane Gallery, where his is now Acting Head of Collections. He curated The Art of Negotiation: John Lavery’s Anglo-Irish Treaty Portraits at the Embassy of Ireland, London, in October-November 2021 and is co-curator with Edith Andrees of Studio & State: The Laverys and the Anglo Irish Treaty at Collins Barracks, National Museum of Ireland.


Hannah Smyth

Rise and Repeal: Feminist Heritage and Abortion Politics in Ireland

This paper addresses the cultural manifestation of key moments and figures in the Irish revolutionary period in the campaign to legalise abortion in the Republic of Ireland. It explores commemoration and the significance of events like the Easter Rising and partial female suffrage in claiming or refusing legitimacy for reproductive rights 100 years on. In 2018, the referendum to repeal constitutional restriction on abortion in the Republic of Ireland, the eight amendment, passed by a landslide vote. The campaigning had inspired a panoply of activism and national self-reflection, also converging with a state-led ‘Decade of Centenaries.’ As part of this programme, and particularly during the centenary of the 1916 Rising, women were officially recognised in the commemorations in a way they had not been in any previous anniversaries, sparking renewed debate about the progress of gender equality. Tensions between historical and contemporary gender equality issues manifested in the strategies and ephemera of a growing ‘Repeal’ campaign, and its counterpart ‘Save the 8th’, which saw both pro-and anti-choice groups appeal to the historical fibre of Irish society and the affective capital of commemoration in claiming legitimacy. Using both digital and analogue campaign materials, this paper looks at how feminist heritage and a discourse of self-determination were mobilized in abortion rights activism and counter-activism, invoking the images and texts of suffragism and militant nationalism. A number of examples include the remixing of the banner image of Bean na h’Éireann, the republican feminist journal of Inghinidhe na h’Éireann, in the 2016 ‘Rise and Repeal’ March for Choice that was spearheaded by the Abortion Rights Campaign, as well as the suffragist-inspired ‘Vote for Women’ calls-to-action in the lead-up to the referendum in 2018. These are placed in the context of a renewed historical consciousness and ‘participatory historical culture’ precipitated by this ongoing decade of remembrance that has seen a wave of prestige digitisation projects and an emphasis on public access and use of archives and source material. This type of ‘remix culture’ that manifested in the later stages of the campaigning chimes with a body of literature examining the art, spectacle, and performativity of the Repeal campaign. This paper will thus argue that through such uses of the past, pro-choice activists sought to (re-)make the links between feminism and nationalism that were fractured in the Free State that was established in 1922.

Dr Hannah Smyth is a Lecturer in Archives and Records Management and Digital Humanities in the Dept. Information Studies, University College London, where she completed her PhD in 2021. During her doctoral studies she was part of the research and training consortium ‘Critical Heritage and the Future of Europe’ (CHEurope), funded by the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme. Her research has focused on the politics of digitisation during the Irish Decade of Centenaries and feminist commemoration of the 1916 Rising on Twitter. Since completing her thesis she has held a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, University of Luxembourg, and has published in Éire-Ireland and the Journal of Digital History.


Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor is an artist and member of IMMA’s Visitor Engagement Team. He combines his work as part of the Visitor Engagement Team with making paintings and drawings. He is the co-host of IMMA’s podcast, IMMA Past Futures. In recent years, Stephen managed the IMMA Membership & Patron programme, bringing audiences closer to IMMA’s exhibition programme and the wider artworld.


John Wilkins

Self-Determination; How We Theorise Ourselves

After the end of chattel slavery in the United States in 1865, W.E.B. Du Bois becomes the first black intellectual to theorise a positive black identity in The Souls of Black Folk (1903). At once, Du Bois proposed three modes by which black people might view ourselves and our experiences in the black Diaspora. Du Bois’s first premise is a positive essential blackness, ‘The New Negro’; the second premise is that of ‘double-consciousness’, and f inally Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk chronicles the systematic and historical means by which laws and culture reproduce binary racism, white supremacy over black. Du Bois’s conceptualisations of black identity reverberates throughout the Diaspora and forward in time to the present. In the 1930s, as The Continent began to struggle against colonisation, African and Caribbean intellectuals like Leopold Senghor, Leon Damas, and Aime Ceasar adapt and magnify Du Bois’s ‘New Negro Movement’ to theorise Negritude, an essentialist stance that black beauty; black culture, and black history are positive concepts. Moreover, in the 1960s as African and Caribbean fight back and freedom from colonisation succeeds, the Negritude Movement revitalises the Civil Rights Movement in the United States by inspiring the ‘Black Power Movement’. Uncomfortable with essentialist theorisations of blackness, black intellectuals in 1980s Birmingham, England, revisit Du Bois’s ‘double-consciousness’ to trouble the idea that blackness is essential. For Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy, blackness is a political and historical construction that people in the Diaspora align themselves with by understanding the negative sociological and psychological effects of ‘double-consciousness.’ Importantly, race is external to social conditioning. Currently, building on the work of the black intellectuals that came before them, Saidiya Hartman and Kimberle Crenshaw theorise that race and racism must be seen through the lens of history and the law.

Dr John Wilkins identifies as U.S.-Black and Gay. He was born in North Carolina and grew up in Connecticut. Wilkins earned his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster Pennsylvania; and he earned his MA in English Literature from the L’Université de Montréal, Canada. His thesis dealt with ‘Goddess Imagery in the Novels of Toni Morrison’.  Wilkins has recently earned his doctorate from Trinity College Dublin’s School of English where he interrogated representations of ‘Black Gay Male Identity in the African Diaspora’. Wilkins has taught on undergraduate and graduate course modules such as ‘The American Genre’,  ‘Modernism’, ‘Post-Colonialism’, and ‘Romanticism’ in Trinity College’s School of English; he has lectured in Trinity College’s Sociology Department on the subject of ‘Black African Voices in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade’; lectured in UCD’s School of Social Justice on the subject of ‘Black Male Identity’; lectured in UCD’s Sociology Department on the subject of ‘Black Activism and Movements in the Black Atlantic’; Wilkins was a Moderator on Trinity College Dublin’s ‘Black Identity in the Americas’ Conference ; presented at ‘Sibéil’s Feminist and Gender Network Studies Conference on ‘Black Gay Male Identity in the African Diaspora’; and also the African Scholars Association Ireland (AFSAI)  Conference on the subject of ‘The Black Body and White Memory’. His research interests are the intersections of gender, race, and National identity.  His most recent article, ‘Give Me Back My N’Gresse!’, connects the Black Lives Matter Movement, Orientalism, and Visual Culture to decry the Shelbourne N’gresse Statues as an inappropriate sign of Irish National Identity. Wilkins is an Irish Research Council Enterprise Postdoctoral Fellow with Trinity College Dublin and IMMA.


Jessica Zychowicz

From The Woman Question to The Ukraine Question: A View of Revolution and War in the Twenty-First Century

Drawing upon fifteen years of firsthand research on revolution, art, and gender equality activism in Ukraine, this talk presents a contemporary history to explore selfdetermination in the context of de-colonization, feminism(s), and freedom of expression. Through extensive firsthand participation in the region as a contributing scholar to educational and artistic events, exhibits, and self-organized NGOs, the author will discuss both co-creation of new methodologies between scholar-curator-activist approaches to contestations around aesthetic regimes in post-Soviet revolutionary spaces. Case studies presented include artistic collectives and individual artists who have worked within and/ or been displaced from eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions since the beginning of Russia’s war on Ukraine in 2014, which also marks the end/beginning of the Revolution of Dignity on Kyiv’s Maidan. A more experimental notion of “the public sphere” is ongoing and now includes violent processes of transformation as military conflict once relegated to the East has merged with the continuous revolutionary processes across all of Ukraine. Where activists were working in gender and feminist context 2005—2014, between the two recent revolutions, they have opened new horizons for imagination and language concerning human rights. Now, amid three processes taking place simultaneously and having turned more violent since February 24, 2022: decolonization/ war/ ongoing revolution in Ukraine, we are challenged globally to understand, foster, and strengthen more resilient terms for Self-Determination as an antidote to war and a stronger revolution: civic inclusion, new mediums/platforms for communication across difference, and new methods for more inclusive educational practices and public institutions.

Dr Jessica Zychowicz is Director of the Fulbright Programs in Ukraine & IIE: Institute of International Education, Kyiv Office. She recently published her monograph, Superfluous Women: Art, Feminism, and Revolution in Twenty-First Century Ukraine (University of Toronto Press 2020). The book has been reviewed in multiple languages and countries; it won the Honorable Mention for the Omelijan Pritsak Prize for Ukrainian Studies at ASEEES and the MLA Honorable Mention for the Scaglione Prize in Slavic Studies. The book will soon be published in Poland by the Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie in partnership with Karakter Press Kraków, and in Ukraine by Krytyka Press. Dr. Zychowicz was a Research Fellow at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs (2015—2016); a Visiting Scholar at Uppsala University in Sweden; the 2018—2021 Stasiuk Fellow of the University of Alberta in the Contemporary Ukraine Studies Program (CUSP); and a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She is a Board Member of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), an Advisory Board member of H-Net H-Ukraine, and co-editor of the Forum for Race and Postcolonialism. She has given numerous public talks and authored many articles. She earned her doctorate at the University of Michigan and a degree in English literature from U.C. Berkeley. For more information: https://www.jes-zychowicz.com.


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