NUI Galway student Scoops Top Award at Irish Blog Awards

NUI Galway student Scoops Top Award at Irish Blog Awards-image

Monday, 15 October 2012

NUI Galway student, Mona Wise scooped the boards at the first ever Blog Awards Ireland event held in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare on Saturday night. In addition to winning ‘Best Blog Award’ for ‘wisewords.ie’ a blog on food, family and lifestyle, Ms Wise also won awards for the best blog by a journalist, best photography blog and best food and drink blog. Designed to recognise the passion and enthusiasm that blogging brings to the Irish media landscape the inaugural Blog Awards Ireland received over 1400 nominations for blogs in 30 categories including lifestyle, food/drink, personal, photography and health/wellbeing. Over 250 blogger and blog owners from all over Ireland people attended Saturday’s awards ceremony with many more attending ‘virtually’ on twitter. Speaking after the awards ceremony, a delighted Mona said, “I’m absolutely speechless and humbled to have been awarded the top prize, especially against the so many wonderful blogs which have been shortlisted. It’s a fantastic recognition of my efforts as a blogger and I’d like to thank the many people who read and interact with my blog for their support and inspiration.” Mona, who is completing her final year of a creative writing BA Connect Degree in NUI Galway, began writing her blog just over 18 months ago. It has attracted a growing following and brought her to the notice of The Sunday Times who offered her a weekly column in May 2012. Together with her husband Ron, she has recently published her first book, The Chef and I- A nourishing narrative. Part memoir part cookbook it depicts their life together and the many wonderful meals they have shared as a family. ENDS

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Children’s Referendum Discussion at NUI Galway

Children’s Referendum Discussion at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Vital information on the proposed changes to the constitution, in advance of the forthcoming Children’s Referendum, will be presented at a public event at NUI Galway on Monday, 22 October. Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will deliver the keynote address. The seminar is expected to provide a stimulating dialogue about the implications of a YES vote in the Children’s Referendum, ahead of the 10 November vote. The seminar will be held in the Engineering Building in NUI Galway from 3pm - 4.30 pm and is jointly hosted by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and the School of Law of NUI Galway, in conjunction with the YES for Children Campaign. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD will provide a keynote address. The session will also feature an expert panel consisting of Fergal Landy from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Ciara Smyth from the School of Law at NUI Galway. The panel discussion will also offer members of the public an opportunity to hear a youth perspective on the proposed constitutional amendments and the audience will be invited to participate in a questions and answers session following the discussion. The Children’s Referendum has been welcomed by Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway as an “historical and internationally significant step”. Professor Dolan was co-author of a report on the proposed referendum earlier this year which pointed out that “incorporating a stronger commitment to children’s rights in the constitution would help to build a stronger culture of children’s rights in Irish society”. Professor Dolan will facilitate next week's event. This event is free of charge and all members of the public are invited to attend. Parking is available on the NUI Galway park and ride facility. For further information please visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie, or contact Danielle Kennan at: danielle.kennan@nuigalway.ie or +353 (0)91 495731. -ends-

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NUI Galway Launch Novel Initiative for Medical Students

NUI Galway Launch Novel Initiative for Medical Students-image

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Medical Education to Embrace the Creative Arts The NUI Galway Medical Orchestra was last night (Monday, 15 October) officially launched as a Special Study Module at the Clinical Science Institute on the grounds of University Hospital Galway. The Medical Orchestra at NUI Galway has been in existence for over a year and it has already established itself as a very positive initiative with a number of high profile public performances. The orchestra is open to students across the Schools of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery and Health Sciences and students may select the orchestra to attain academic credit or simply participate for their personal satisfaction, enjoyment and development. Speaking at the launch, Professor Fidelma Dunne, Head of School of Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “This is once again a great initiative for NUI Galway which supports our holistic approach towards medical education and our contribution to the wider community. I am very confident that this will be a very popular SSM and look forward to the musical outputs and enjoyment over time.” Musical Director for the medical orchestra is well known musician, composerand arranger,Carl Hession. Orchestra producer,Mary Mc Partlan, said: “The Medical Orchestra brings very new and important dimensions and opportunities for the students at NUI Galway to engage with the creative arts, including access to academic modules where they can experience the creative arts process at a deeper level and obtain credits in first and second year programmes. The School of Medicine at NUI Galway has broken new ground by offering formal academic credit to medical students who choose to join the Orchestra as a Special Study Module (SSM).” The special study module, which will be optional for students of the Schools of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery and Health Sciences, will also include a "From the Heart" guest speaker, usually a consultant medical practitioner, giving a half hour reflection based on their own personal experience on the impact of creativity and the importance of music in their work and life. Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway and Director of the Special Study Module programme, commented: “We are delighted to recognise the importance of the creative arts in the professional maturation of student doctors by granting academic credit to their involvement in the very successful Medical Orchestra. I am very hopeful that prospective medical students will regard this initiative as yet another valid reason why they should choose to study at NUI Galway, where due attention is given to the holistic development of students’ potential. We live in an era where ever greater value is appropriately being placed on the demonstration of professional skills and attitudes amongst healthcare workers, including teamwork, time management, integrity and communication skills, all of which can be acquired in an Orchestra setting.” The medical orchestra will give two concerts - on Saturday, November 24 at Sligo General Hospital and Sunday, November 25 at Mayo General Hospital which will take place in the GMIT St Frances’s Hall, in the grounds of the hospital in Castlebar and also Hume Hall on the grounds of IT in Sligo. Called the Maureen Woods Memorial Concerts, the primary aim is to perform for the staff and patients of both hospitals and invite guest musicians from each academy to join the NUI Galway medical orchestra. ENDS

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Researchers and Industry Convene for Glycosience Event at NUI Galway

Researchers and Industry Convene for Glycosience Event at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Over 150 delegates are expected at the 5th Annual GlycoScience Ireland meeting, hosted by NUI Galway, on Friday, 19 October. With important clinical and industrial applications, glycoscience is the study of the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body, and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. Participants from research organisations, biopharmaceutical companies and areas including medical diagnostics and functional foods are expected to attend. The next generation of glycotechnologies will be discussed during the conference, and the potential of the field to impact the Irish biosciences industry will be explored. Through various events and initiatives, GlycoScience Ireland brings together academic, industrial and clinical researchers to advance fundamental research and to develop novel technologies relevant to industry. “Ireland has been a trailblazer in this exciting field of science”, explains NUI Galway’s Professor Lokesh Joshi, leader of Glycoscience Ireland. “We can achieve medical and technological breakthroughs”, he explains, “by understanding the complex sugars at work in the body. Rapid diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, or the creation of new more effective and targeted drugs – these are just some of the hopes this area offers. There is also potential to develop, for example, the next generation of functional foods.” Among the keynote speakers are Professor Richard D. Cummings who is the William Patterson Timmie endowed Professor and Chair of the department of Biochemistry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Professor Cummings is a well-recognized leader in glycoscience and has pioneered analytical technologies in this field. Professor Cummings will highlight the opportunities in developing novel technologies in glycomics to gain better understanding of diseases and health. Also speaking is Dr Kirk Leister, Head of New Technologies at Bristol Myers Squib. Dr Leister has over 25 years of experience in developing protein therapeutics against cancer and inflammation. In his current role, he is responsible for identifying the best technologies and products that are suitable for Bristol Myers Squid. Dr Jens Bleiel, CEO of Food for Health Ireland, will also address the audience, discussing the role of functional food in future and the importance of carbohydrates and glycoscience in this area. “With the global competition in biotechnology and biopharmaceutical research continually shifting, Ireland needs to harness the synergy of existing skills and strengthen it with new talent in order to gain a competitive edge and to remain in the leadership position in this emerging next frontier in life sciences, chemistry and information science”, claims Professor Joshi. Professor Joshi has spearheaded Ireland’s standing in the gyclosience field since he became principal investigator with the Science Foundation Ireland funded Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) at NUI Galway in 2008. Professor Joshi also leads the international project GlycoHIT, which is trying to unravel the puzzle of carbohydrate biomarkers in cancer. The GlycoHIT project is involved in the development of innovative technologies that will enable fast and accurate analysis of glycosylation (process attaching sugars to proteins and lipids) in blood samples from cancer patients. -ends-

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Social Workers and the Children’s Referendum

Social Workers and the Children’s Referendum-image

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A seminar for social workers, concentrating on the forthcoming Children’s Rights Referendum, will be held at NUI Galway at 6pm tomorrow Thursday, 18 October, 2012. Fergal Landy of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will discuss with social workers the theme of rights based practice and the constitutional referendum. According to Fergal Landy: “The children’s rights referendum, along with other planned reforms, is a welcome first step in developing a safer system of child protection and family support, capable of improving outcomes for all children, young people and their families.” The event is organised by the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, which offers a Masters in Social Work. For further information please contact Declan Coogan at 091 495373 or declanp.coogan@nuigalway.ie A further event on the forthcoming Children’s Referendum, aimed at the general public, will take place on Monday, 22 October from 3-4.30 pm. Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will deliver the keynote address at Monday's event. -ends-

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NUI Galway Announces the Establishment of the Whitaker Institute

NUI Galway Announces the Establishment of the Whitaker Institute-image

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The eminent economist and former Secretary of the Department of Finance, Dr T.K. Whitaker, was warmly received at NUI Galway today as the University announced the establishment of the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change. Dr Whitaker played an instrumental role in devising the economic plan, which set Ireland on the road to regeneration in the early 1960s. Drawing inspiration from his unparalleled service to Ireland, the newly formed Whitaker Institute serves as the country’s largest research body focused on contemporary and relevant business, social and policy issues. Over 200 members make up the faculty with expertise spanning across the College of Business, Public Policy and Law and the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies. Subsuming the University’s Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC), the Whitaker Institute builds on a decade of research-excellence and policy-focused contributions supported by over €11 million in competitive national and international research funding. The Whitaker Institute applies a multi-perspective research approach to business and social issues, with an impact-led focus at the core of its endeavours. One of its key values is the promotion of a sustainable and inclusive society, influenced by the broad dissemination of rigorous and relevant research. Furthermore, the Whitaker Institute seeks to continue the tradition at NUI Galway of critically pursuing knowledge discovery that stimulates academic debates and opens public conversation to advance the greater good. Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Whitaker Institute, expressed the great honour he shared with Institute members at the endorsement of Dr Whitaker. “The Whitaker Institute brings together our talented research communities in business and social sciences that are committed to research excellence and to sharing their knowledge and expertise with wider communities nationally and internationally,” he stated. “It is a great honour for our research community to name the Institute after Dr Whitaker as his achievements, influence and contributions to this nation are in keeping with what we are seeking to achieve as Ireland rebuilds its economy and reimages its society.” Dr Whitaker is regarded as a pivotal figure in the economic and social development of modern Ireland. During his long and illustrious career, he was Secretary of the Department of Finance, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and founder of the Economic and Social Research Institute. He was also a member of Seanad Éireann from 1977 to 1982 and Chancellor of the National University of Ireland from 1976 to 1996. The Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, inspired by the legacy of this pioneering statesperson, aims to adopt a similarly innovative approach to the challenges currently facing society, both in Ireland and internationally. Welcoming the establishment of the Whitaker Institute, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Dr T.K. Whitaker’s strategy for Ireland’s expansion in the 1960s transformed Irish society at the time. Today, we face similar social and economic challenges. Much like the figure after which it is named, the Whitaker Institute will lead academic research into innovation and change. We believe that the knowledge and insights which will emerge from the Institute have the potential to change Irish society and in so doing honour the achievements of Dr Whitaker.” The Whitaker Institute was officially signed into being this morning, and there are plans for an official public launch in 2013. For more information, visit www.nuigalway.ie/whitakerinstitute -ends- Institiúid Whitaker bunaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh Déardaoin, 18 Deireadh Fómhair 2012: Cuireadh fáilte chroíúil roimh an eacnamaí aitheanta agus iar-Rúnaí na Roinne Airgeadais an Dr T.K. Whitaker in OÉ Gaillimh inniu nuair a d’fhógair an Ollscoil bunú Institiúid Whitaker don Nuálaíocht agus don Athrú Sóisialta.    Bhí ról tábhachtach ag an Dr Whitaker i gcur le chéile plean eacnamaíoch a thug an tír seo slán as an ngéarchéim ina raibh sí i dtús na 1960idí Spreagtha ag a sheirbhís den scoth d’Éirinn, is é Institiúid nuabhunaithe Whitaker an comhlacht is mó taighde sa tír atá dírithe ar cheisteanna comhaimseartha cuí gnó, sóisialta agus polasaí. Tá breis is 200 comhalta sa dámh agus tá tobar an tsaineolais aici ó Choláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí agus ó Choláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh. Tiocfaidh an tIonad um Nuálaíocht agus um Athrú Struchtúrtha (CISC) faoi cheannas Institiúid Whitaker agus úsáidfidh an Institiúid an feabhas taighde a rinneadh san Ionad sin le deich mbliana anuas mar aon leis an obair dírithe ar bheartas a fuair maoiniú taighde náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta os cionn €11 milliún. Cur chuige taighde ilpheirspictíoch atá ag Institiúid Whitaker maidir le ceisteanna gnó agus sóisialta, agus beidh béim ar thionchar mar chroílár a saothair Ceann de phríomhluachanna na hInstitiúide sochaí inmharthana agus chuimsitheach a chur chun cinn, de thoradh ar thaighde cuí domhain a scaipeadh go forleathan. Sa bhreis air sin, tá sé mar aidhm ag Institiúid Whitaker cur leis an traidisiún in OÉ Gaillimh trí fhionnachtain eolais a lorg chun díospóireachtaí acadúla a spreagadh agus comhráite poiblí a thosú ar son leasa na sochaí. Léirigh an Dr James Cunningham, Stiúrthóir Institiúid Whitaker, an onóir a bhraith sé i measc chomhaltaí na hInstitiúide agus iad ag tacú leis an Dr Whitaker. “Tugann Institiúid Whitaker le chéile tallann na bpobal taighde i ngnó agus in eolaíochtaí sóisialta, tallann atá tugtha d’fheabhas taighde agus d’eolas agus saineolas a roinnt leis an bpobal náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta,” a deir sé. Is mór an onóir don phobal taighde an Institiúid a ainmniú i ndiaidh an Dr Whitaker, mar go bhfuil a chuid éachtaí, a thionchar agus a chuid oibre ar son na tíre seo ag teacht leis an méid atáimid ag iarraidh a bhaint amach le hathbheochan a dhéanamh ar gheilleagar na tíre agus an tsochaí a fheabhsú.” Feictear an Dr Whitaker mar dhuine mór le rá i bhforbairt eacnamaíoch agus shóisialta na hÉireann sa lá atá inniu ann.  Bhí gairm fhada cháiliúil aige - bhí sé ina Rúnaí ar an Roinn Airgeadais, ina Ghobharnóir ar Bhanc Ceannais na hÉireann, agus ba é a bhunaigh an Institiúid Taighde Eacnamaíochta agus Sóisialta (ESRI). Bhí sé ina chomhalta de Sheanad Éireann chomh maith ó 1977 go 1982 agus ina Sheansailéir ar Ollscoil na hÉireann ó 1976 go 1996. Tá sé mar aidhm le hInstitiúid Whitaker don Nuálaíocht agus don Athrú Sóisialta, spreagtha ag oidhreacht an cheannródaí féin, cur chuige nuálach den chineál céanna a ghlacadh chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar na dúshláin atá os ár gcomhair faoi láthair, anseo in Éirinn agus thar lear. Ag fáiltiú roimh bhunú Institiúid Whitaker, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Rinne straitéis an Dr T.K. Whitaker d’fhorleathnú na hÉireann sna 1960idí athrú ó bhun ar shochaí na hÉireann ag an am. Sa lá atá inniu ann, tá orainn aghaidh a thabhairt ar dhúshláin shóisialta agus eacnamaíochta den chineál céanna. Cosúil le Whitaker féin, beidh Institiúid Whitaker chun cinn sa taighde acadúil ar nuálaíocht agus ar athrú. Creidimid go bhféadfadh an t-eolas agus an léargas a thiocfaidh ón Institiúid sochaí na hÉireann a athrú agus is iontach an onóir a bheadh ansin d’éachtaí an Dr Whitaker.” Bunaíodh Institiúid Whitaker go hoifigiúil ar maidin, agus tá sé i gceist í a sheoladh go poiblí in 2013. Tá tuilleadh eolais le fáil ag www.nuigalway.ie/whitakerinstitute -críoch-

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NUI Galway Honour Leaving Certificate Excellence

NUI Galway Honour Leaving Certificate Excellence-image

Friday, 19 October 2012

NUI Galway recently celebrated the success of a select group of first-year students with a special ceremony on Thursday, 18 October, in recognition of the high points they achieved in the recent Leaving Certificate Examination. As part of the University's annual Excellence Scholarships, 65 students received €2,000 each, along with a specially designed NUI Galway scroll. Each year the Excellence Scholarships are given to new entrants at NUI Galway who reached a minimum of 560 points in their Leaving Certificate examination, except in Medicine. For Medical students 10 Scholarships were awarded certificates, based on the combined results in the Leaving Certificate and the new Admissions Test (H-PAT Ireland). The Excellence Scholarships are designed to recognise and reward Leaving Cert success for the highest-achieving students, and encourage their ongoing commitment to academic excellence during their time at NUI Galway. The awards may be held with any other scholarships or grants, including the University's Postgraduate Scholarships, Mature Student Scholarships, Sports Scholarship Scheme and schemes specific to individual colleges for those who excel in their University exams. Speaking at the award ceremony, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, who presented the cheques to each individual winner, said: “I am delighted to present the scholarships to these 65 outstanding individuals in recognition of their academic talent. NUI Galway constantly strives to support and promote academic excellence across all disciplines. The purpose of these Awards is to encourage each student to develop his/her academic potential to the fullest, by setting a realistic threshold of excellence and rewarding every student who attains that level. It is also a chance to give due credit to their parents and teachers for their important contribution to such success.” This year Excellence Scholarships were awarded to students from 44 individual schools throughout Ireland. The winners represented 15 counties including Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Waterford. -ENDS-

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Autumn Conferrings at NUI Galway

Autumn Conferrings at NUI Galway-image

Friday, 19 October 2012

Almost 4,000 students will graduate from NUI Galway during the Autumn Conferring Ceremonies which take place from 19-26 October. NUI Galway will also confer five Honorary Masters Degrees during the ceremonies on Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha, Tom McSweeney and Jim Murren. Seán Beattie - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa:  Originally from Derry, Seán taught at second-level school in Derry before becoming a Guidance Counsellor in Carndonagh Community School, Donegal.  A member of Donegal Historical Society and the Ulster Local History Trust,   he has published several books on Donegal local history and contributed articles to journals and newspapers. Helen Meehan - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: From Donegal, Helen is a retired primary school teacher.  She is recognised as an expert in folklore, genealogy and local history in County Donegal.  A published author, she is currently President of the Donegal Historical Society and a contributor to local TV and radio news. Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha - Honorary Masters of Arts honoris causa: Sean-nós singer from Aird Thiar in Carna. He has won Corn Uí Riada three times.  He has numerous recordings completed. He also has a wide knowledge of folklore and the traditions of Iorras Aithneach. He has toured Scotland and North Africa. He was the University singer in residence in the Irish Studies Centre in 2002. Tom McSweeney - Honorary Masters of Science honoris causa: Former RTÉ regional correspondent for Cork, in 1998 was RTÉ’s first Marine Correspondent, reporting on fishing and industries, leisure marine industry and coastal nature of Ireland on TV news, contributions to Nationwide and particularly the radio programme, Seascapes, for over 1000 programmes. Tom won Maritime Person of the Year in 2008.  An experienced sailor, he completed the Round Ireland Race twice, and sailed the Atlantic from Florida to the UK.  Tom retired from RTÉ in 2010, and runs Seascapes Maritime Media and is Special Correspondent with The Marine Times. Jim Murren- Honorary Masters in Commerce honoris causa: Former Regional Manager for Industrial Development Authority (IDA) western region and Committee member of Galway Science and Technology Forum, Mayo County Development Board, Galway City Community Forum, Galway County Development Board and Galway 2040. Commenting on the conferring of this year's graduands, Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history. This week we are proud to honour Seán Beattie, Helen Meehan, Tom MacSweeney, Jim Murren and Josie Sheáin Jeaic Mac Donncha.  Each of these honorees share a passion for our region and its development. Whether by chronicling local history in Donegal, pioneering the development of the marine sector, championing the industrial potential of the West, or by nurturing the song tradition of the Gaeltacht each of these worthy individuals has enriched the life of our region.  NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise their exceptional talents and achievements.” The annual Autumn Conferring Ceremonies will begin with the Adult and Continuing Education ceremonies, where awards will be conferred on over 900 students who completed their certificate, diploma and degree courses at many locations across the country. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway to welcome Amiri Baraka

NUI Galway to welcome Amiri Baraka-image

Friday, 19 October 2012

Award-winning American poet, writer and political activist to read at NUI Galway Amiri Baraka, the award-winning American poet, writer and political activist, will visit NUI Galway this week. On Thursday 25 October, the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, in association with the Arts in Action ‘Jazz Day Out’ at NUI Galway, will host a reading by Amiri Baraka. The writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and jazz criticism, Amiri Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. He moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1957 and founded Totem Press, which first published works by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and others.  He moved to Harlem in 1965 where he founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. His reputation as a playwright was established with the production of Dutchman at Cherry Lane Theatre in New York in 1964. The controversial play subsequently won an Obie Award for Best Off-Broadway Play and was made into a film. The author of several volumes of poetry, an autobiography, and numerous essays on culture, music and politics, Baraka also founded the jazz/poetry ensemble Blue Ark. In 1994, Amiri Baraka retired as Professor of Africana Studies at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, and in 2002 was named Poet Laureate of New Jersey and Newark Public Schools. In the fall of 2002, Baraka came under fire from the New Jersey office of the Anti-Defamation League, the New Jersey Assembly and others after a reading of his controversial poem ‘Somebody Blew Up America’ about the 9/11 attacks. According to Professor Sean Ryder, Chair of English and Acting Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway: “Amiri Baraka has been a cultural catalyst in the US for over 50 years, impacting upon and inspiring writers, students and the wider public. We are thrilled that he is coming to our campus, and our students of English are enthused about meeting in person an author they study and admire.” Amiri Baraka’s numerous literary honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and many others. His book Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Musicwas selected as a winner of the 31st annual American Book Awards for 2010. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 5pm in the O’Flaherty Theatre in the Arts/Science Building. -ends-

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A Digital Journey Through Irish Theatre History

A Digital Journey Through Irish Theatre History-image

Monday, 22 October 2012

Abbey/NUI Galway launch ground-breaking digital archive partnership  A Digital Journey through Irish Theatre History, the Abbey/NUI Galway digital archive partnership, was launched today, Monday, 22 October 2012 by President Michael D. Higgins in the Abbey Theatre. It is the largest digital theatre project ever undertaken, and heralds a new era of scholarship for Irish theatre internationally. The Abbey archive, which contains over 1.8 million items, is one of the world’s most significant archival collections. It has a wealth of extraordinary and unique material providing a fascinating insight into Irish theatre, history, culture and society. The archival material ranges from show posters, programmes, photographs, minute books to lighting plans, set and costume designs, sound cues, prompt scripts and audio files. Celebrating the launch, Fiach MacConghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said:  “It’s been a long cherished ambition of the Abbey Theatre to preserve our archive. The digitised archive will help scholars and historians to write the history of the Abbey in greater detail. The Abbey archive is a major resource for Irish theatre and will help us celebrate the unheralded artists, actors, writers who have worked at the Abbey over the years. It will also inspire the next generation of theatre makers. We are excited to partner with NUI Galway and to have arts and science disciplines come together in this way.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said:  “As East meets West, and the creative arts and scholarship combine, this project will see the most advanced digital technology brought to bear on one of the country’s most historic theatre archives. This digitisation project is based on an awareness of the importance of the Abbey Theatre for the social, cultural and economic history of this country – not to mention its ongoing significance for Ireland and the international community as one of the key national theatres in the world. “The benefits to our students and researchers of having direct access to this rich national collection will be immense. There is also great interest in the digital archive abroad and it will draw researchers of international repute to Ireland.” The earliest item in the Abbey archive actually precedes the founding of the Abbey Theatre.  It is an 1894 poster of the first production of The Land of Heart’s Desire by W.B. Yeats, which was performed at the Avenue Theatre in London and is reflective of Yeats’ ambition to present Irish theatre outside Ireland.  Other archival gems reveal that Éamon De Valera trod the Abbey stage as Dr. Kelly in an amateur production of A Christmas Hamper in 1905.   Even our own Irish James Bond had a presence on the Abbey stage when in 1964 Donal McCann played Seamus Bond with Angela Newman as Puísín in the Christmas pantomime Aisling as Tír na nÓg. Part of the Abbey Archive was damaged as a result of the devastating effects of the fire of 1951 and some archival artefacts are in a fragile condition due to age.  The digitised archive will change our understanding of Irish drama. The history of Irish drama is largely understood to be the history of Irish plays – of the written script. As a full multimedia archive, the digital archive will provide researchers with access to the complete range of materials associated with theatre performance: not just the scripts but also the visual materials (costume, set, and lighting designs), sound materials (music scores, sound effects), and the supporting materials (adverts, press releases, reviews). This digitisation project which began in September, will take place over a three to four -year period.  The digitisation process, which is currently taking place on the NUI Galway campus, will bring together multidisciplinary teams of the University’s researchers, students and archivists to realise this exciting project. The digitisation project is unique in that it highlights two of the most important features of contemporary Ireland: the richness of its cultural traditions and its capacity for technological innovation.  NUI Galway is ideally positioned to capitalise on those strengths, as it brings both international expertise in Irish theatre and digital humanities to the project. The Moore Institute for the Humanities and Social Studies at NUI Galway is home to several major digital humanities projects, including the EU-funded TEXTE initiative; while its Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is the world’s largest research institute dedicated to internet technology-based research. Researchers at both of these institutes, together with archivists and librarians from the James Hardiman Library, will work together to ensure the very latest technology is used to illuminate the past. The digital Abbey archive will be a major addition to the existing collection of literary and cultural archives at NUI Galway. The Archive Collection at the University’s James Hardiman Library comprises over 350 collections, dating from 1485 to the present. Theatre collections include the papers of Thomas Kilroy and the Shields Family Collection, featuring the Abbey actor Arthur Shields and there is a particular focus on the archives of companies such as the Druid Theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe and the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast. A new Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research facility will open at the heart of the campus in 2013, providing the perfect home for this significant collection. Students of the new undergraduate degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, as well as a new PhD programme in Irish Drama will encourage a new wave of young researchers from Ireland and abroad to come to Galway to learn about Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory and the many other great writers associated with the Abbey. The University has also introduced two new fully-funded PhD fellowships dedicated to research in Irish Theatre to give an immediate boost to the research team working on the Archive project. To view the Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway digital archive partnership website click here. -ENDS-   Seolann Amharclann na Mainistreach/OÉ Gaillimh comhpháirtíocht cheannródaíoch i gcartlann dhigiteach  Sheol an tUachtarán, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, A Digital Journey through Irish Theatre History, comhpháirtíocht i gcartlann dhigiteach idir Amharclann na Mainistreach/OÉ Gaillimh, inniu, Dé Luain, an 22 Deireadh Fómhair 2012 in Amharclann na Mainistreach. Is é seo an tionscadal digiteach amharclannaíochta is mó a rinneadh riamh agus léiríonn sé ré nua scoláireachta d’amharclannaíocht na hÉireann ar fud an domhain. Tá breis is 1.8 milliún mír i gcartlann na Mainistreach agus tá sí ar cheann de na bailiúcháin chartlainne is tábhachtaí ar domhan. Tá ábhar uathúil agus thar a bheith suimiúil inti a thugann léargas spéisiúil ar amharclannaíocht, stair, cultúr agus sochaí na hÉireann. Tá idir phóstaeir thaispeántais, chláir, ghrianghraif, mhiontuairiscí, phleananna soilsithe, dhearaí stáitse agus culaithe, leideanna fuaime, scripteanna leide agus chomhaid fuaime sa chartlann. Dúirt Fiach Mac Conghail, Stiúrthóir Amharclann na Mainistreach, agus an seoladh á cheiliúradh aige: “Bhí sé mar aidhm mhór le fada ag Amharclann na Mainistreach ár gcartlann a chaomhnú. Beidh an chartlann dhigitithe ina áis mhór ag scoláirí agus ag staraithe chun cuntas níos mionsonraithe a scríobh ar stair na Mainistreach. Is mór an acmhainn í cartlann na Mainistreach d’amharclannaíocht na hÉireann agus cuideoidh sí linn ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar na healaíontóirí, na haisteoirí agus na scríbhneoirí sin nach bhfuair an oiread sin aitheantais agus a bhí ag obair sa Mhainistir in imeacht na mblianta. Tabharfaidh sí spreagadh freisin don chéad glúin amharclannóirí eile. Is cúis mhór áthais dúinn é a bheith i gcomhar le hOllscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh agus disciplíní na n-ealaíon agus na heolaíochta a bheith á snaidhmeadh le chéile ar an dóigh seo.” Dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán, OÉ Gaillimh:  “Sa chomhpháirtíocht seo idir an tOirthear agus an tIarthar, idir na healaíona cruthaitheacha agus an scoláireacht, cuirfidh Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh teicneolaíocht dhigiteach is nua-aimseartha i bhfeidhm sa tionscadal seo atá ar cheann de na cartlanna amharclannaíochta is stairiúla sa tír. Tá an tionscadal digitithe seo bunaithe ar an tuiscint go bhfuil tábhacht le hAmharclann na Mainistreach ó thaobh stair shóisialta, chultúir agus eacnamaíoch na tíre – gan trácht ar a stádas sa tír seo agus sa domhan mór mar cheann de na hamharclanna náisiúnta is tábhachtaí ar domhan.” “Bainfidh ár mic léinn agus ár dtaighdeoirí leas as rochtain dhíreach a bheith acu ar an mbailiúchán saibhir náisiúnta seo. Tá an-suim léirithe sa chartlann dhigiteach thar lear agus meallfaidh sé taighdeoirí mór le rá ar fud an domhain go hÉirinn.” Tá an rud is sine i gcartlann na Mainistreach níos sine ná an Amharclann féin.  Póstaer ó 1894 atá ann den chéad léiriú de The Land of Heart’s Desire le W.B. Yeats a cuireadh ar stáitse san Avenue Theatre i Londain agus léiríonn sé mian Yeats’ amharclannaíocht na hÉireann a chur ar stáitse thar lear.    I measc na míreanna luachmhara eile sa chartlann léirítear go raibh Éamon De Valera ar stáitse san Amharclann mar Dr. Kelly i léiriú amaitéarach de A Christmas Hamper i 1905.    Bhí James Bond na hÉireann ar stáitse fiú san Amharclann i 1964, nuair a bhí an pháirt Seamus Bond ag Donal McCann agus Angela Newman mar Phuisín i ngeamaireacht na Nollag Aisling as Tír na nÓg. Scriosadh cuid de Chartlann na Mainistreach de bharr tine i 1951 agus tá cuid den ábhar is sine sa chartlann an-leochaileach.  Tá an tionscadal digitithe uathúil mar go gcuireann sé béim ar phéire de na gnéithe is tábhachtaí in Éirinn sa lá atá inniu ann: saibhreas na dtraidisiún cultúrtha agus an cumas do nuálaíocht theicniúil.  Tá OÉ Gaillimh ullmhaithe go maith le cur leis na láidreachtaí sin mar go bhfuil saineolas idirnáisiúnta againn in amharclannaíocht na hÉireann agus sna daonnachtaí digiteacha. Is in Institiúid de Móra do na Daonnachtaí agus don Léann Sóisialta in OÉ Gaillimh atá go leor de na tionscadail digitithe is mó sna daonnachtaí, cosúil le tionscnamh TEXTE atá maoinithe ag AE; agus is í an Institiúid Taighde um Fhiontraíocht Dhigiteach (DERI) an institiúid taighde is mó ar domhan atá tiomanta do thaighde bunaithe ar theicneolaíocht idirlín. Oibreoidh taighdeoirí ón dá institiúid le cartlannaithe agus leabharlannaithe ó Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin chun a chinntiú go n-úsáidfear an teicneolaíocht is nua-aimseartha chun an t-am atá caite a léiriú arís. Athróidh an Chartlann dhigitithe ár dtuiscint ar dhrámaíocht na hÉireann go deo. Feictear go forleathan stair na drámaíochta in Éirinn mar stair na ndrámaí - stair na scripteanna scríofa. Mar chartlann iomlán ilmheáin, tabharfaidh an chartlann dhigiteach rochtain do thaighdeoirí ar an réimse iomlán ábhar a bhaineann le léiriú amharclannaíochta: ní scripteanna amháin a bheidh i gceist, ach ina theannta sin beidh físábhar (culaith, stáitse, agus dearaí soilse), ábhar fuaime (scór ceoil, maisíochtaí fuaime), agus an t-ábhar tacaíochta (fógraí, preasráitis, léirmheasanna). Mairfidh an tionscadal digitithe seo a thosaigh i Meán Fómhair idir trí agus ceithre bliana.  Tabharfaidh an próiseas digitithe atá ar champas OÉ Gaillimh faoi láthair le chéile foirne ildisciplíneacha de thaighdeoirí, mic léinn agus cartlannaithe na hOllscoile chun an tionscadal iontach seo a chur i gcrích. Cuirfidh cartlann dhigiteach na Mainistreach go mór le cartlanna liteartha eile OÉ Gaillimh. Sa Chartlann i Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin san Ollscoil tá breis is 350 bailiúchán ó 1485 go dtí an lá atá inniu. Sna bailiúcháin tá páipéir de chuid Thomas Kilroy agus Teaghlach Shields,  agus tá aisteoir na Mainistreach Arthur Shields luaite anseo. Tá béim ar leith ar chartlann na gcompántas ar nós Amharclann Druid, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe agus amharclann Lyric Players i mBéal Feirste. Osclóidh áis Taighde sna Dána, sna Daonnachtaí agus sna hEolaíochtaí Sóisialta i lár an champais in 2013, agus is ann a choinneofar an bailiúchán tábhachtach seo. Idir an chéim nua i nDrámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhiú in OÉ Gaillimh agus an clár nua PhD i nDrámaíocht na hÉireann spreagfar glúin nua taighdeoirí óga in Éirinn agus i bhfad i gcéin le teacht go Gaillimh agus foghlaim faoi Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory agus na scríbhneoirí móra eile a bhí bainteach le hAmharclann na Mainistreach. Tá tús curtha freisin ag an Ollscoil le dhá chomhaltacht nua PhD atá maoinithe go hiomlán le taighde a dhéanamh ar Amharclannaíocht na hÉireann chun tacú láithreach leis an bhfoireann taighde atá ag obair ar thionscadal na Cartlainne. CRÍOCH  

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