Public Talks Focus on Civic Space at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Galway has grown and changed dramatically in the past fifteen years, with housing estates, apartment blocks and high buildings eating up space that was once green, public or simply derelict. Who is all this development for and how does the average citizen feel about it? Writer in Residence at NUI Galway, Mary O'Malley believes Galway is at the tipping point and has decided to offer a series of four public talks which she hopes will act as springboards for discussion. "The issue of civic space, from public allotments and parks, to hospitals and railway stations, has become increasingly urgent as such space is privatised, gobbled up or concreted over. Who decides what is happening to our city? What are the effects of the erosion of the civic, both in spirit and space? Who cares? It seems appropriate that the University, the largest civic space in the city, should host this discussion" she said. Artist Aideen Barry will start the programme with a talk on public art while Miles Kennedy will give a presentation on the Poetics of Space. Valerie Ledwith, a human geographer with special interest in the geography of social and demographic change, will discuss the link between housing and social stratification and the implications of such planning. The well known film maker and mountaineer Dermot Somers will discuss wilderness and the city, and after a short presentation the issues arising will be open to the floor. Other speakers to feature throughout the programme include: Irish playwright Marina Carr; Poets Sinéad Morrissey and Maurice Riordan; and writer Peter Sirr. The sessions will be chaired by the Writer in Residence, Mary O'Malley and Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies Professor Kevin Barry. Professor Barry commented in advance of the programme: "This project on civic space is especially important because it is interactive and open to all. Mary O Malley s planned sequence of events will enable new groups of people in the city to understand each other, and will make space for new kinds of thinking about what a city can become and how Galway may change for the better". All readings, discussions and workshops are free and open to the public, particularly those with an interest in community work, planning and the future shape of Galway city. The programme will begin with a writing workshop on Wednesday, 1 October at 7pm in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. For further information please call 091-495610
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