No Small Talk Campaign “Changing the Script”
Irish Secretariat, 40 Linenhall Street
24th March: 6.45pm – 8.30pm (doors 6.30pm)
Words matter. How we think about ourselves, our world and our place in that world is shaped by everyday language — how we use it and how it is used by others.
Since the word Brexit entered the lexicon, it has caused subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the ways in which we talk to each other at every level. These divisive changes have been accelerated by trends on social media and in international relations. The language of politics has become more confrontational and hostile. Is it possible for individual citizens to reverse this process before it goes too far? Can we redirect our language and thinking towards compromise and cooperation? And do writers and artists have a role to play in that process?
Brian Lambkin is author of Opposite Religions Still? Interpreting Northern Ireland After the Conflict (Avebury, 1996), joint-author with Patrick Fitzgerald of Migration in Irish History, 1607–2007 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), and author of Calming Conflict: Northern Ireland, Metaphor, and Migration (UHF & MCMS, 2019). He was Principal of Lagan College, Belfast (1993–97), and founding Director of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (1998–2018). He was also a member of the Board of the Integrated Education Fund (1999–2009), Chairman of the Association of European Migration Institutions (2002–2011), and is currently a member of the Board of Healing Through Remembering.
Catriona Crowe is former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She was Manager of the Census Online Project, which placed the Irish 1901 and 1911 censuses online free to access. She is editor of Dublin 1911, published by the Royal Irish Academy in late 2011. She presented the RTE documentaries, Ireland before the Rising, shown in February 2016, and Life After the Rising, shown in January 2019. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.
Iggy McGovern was born in 1948 in Coleraine. Since 1979 he has resided in Dublin, where he lectured in Physics at Trinity College until retirement in 2013. He has published two collections of poetry with Dedalus Press, The King of Suburbia (2005) and Safe House (2010). He edited the anthology 20|12: Twenty Irish Poets Respond to Science in Twelve Lines (Dedalus/Quaternia 2012). Awards include The Hennessy Award for Poetry and The Glen Dimplex New Writers Award for Poetry. His most recent publication is A Mystic Dream of 4, a poetic biography of William Rowan Hamilton (Quaternia 2013).
Rosemary Jenkinson was born in Belfast and is a playwright, short story writer and essayist. She was writer-in-residence at the Lyric Theatre and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Major Artist. Her latest play is Dream, Sleep, Connect and her latest short story collection is Lifestyle Choice 10mg, published by Doire Press.
Chair: Sophia Hillan, Assistant Director of QUB’s Institute of Irish Studies 1993-2003, is author of several studies of Michael McLaverty’s work including The Silken Twine, of May, Lou and Cass: Jane Austen’s Nieces in Ireland (biography); The Friday Tree and The Way We Danced (novels) and The Cocktail Hour (short stories).
This event is curated by No Small Talk, a group of writers that has come together out of concern for the level of division and increasing hostility that has crept into the rhetoric around Brexit. We want to generate links between writers and artists in both Ireland and Britain to challenge this debasing of language and the perversions of truth which are now regular features of public discourse. The aim is to restore positive links and connections between us all. (Celia de Fréine, Martina Devlin, Catherine Dunne, Margo Gorman, Sophia Hillan, Liz McSkeane, Lia Mills)
MISSION STATEMENT: The aim of this group is to initiate and facilitate a conversation among writers and artists of Ireland & Great Britain in order to strengthen the existing links between us. We will explore the role and intersections of the various languages spoken on these islands and we will challenge the current public discourse that creates division and conflict.”