Moore Institute Workshops 2011-12

The Moore Institute in conjunction with the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies have agreed to fund the following workshops.

Moore Institute Workshops 2011-12

Core Theme: Creativity At The Edge

Workshop Title: The role of the arts and creativity in sustaining rural and Gaeltacht communities; beyond economic critiques.

PI: Dr. Marie Mahon,

School: Geography & Archaeology

Proposed dates: (tbc) May 2012

Description of Workshop:

The interlinking of Arts and Sustainability has come strongly to the fore since the advent of the economic downturn. The aim of this workshop is to broaden contemporary discussions about the role of the arts and creativity in sustaining and revitalising rural and Gaeltacht communities, with a particular emphasis on County Galway. In line with emerging international research, it contends that the arts and creative initiatives offer considerable untapped potential, especially from a policy and development perspective. Whilst much focus remains upon the economic potential of the arts, growing attention is being placed on the cultural development role of the arts with the emphasis on social outcomes for rural and Gaeltacht communities. Additionally, the intrinsic value of the arts and creativity in their own right for these communities is more readily recognized. The contention is that, in order for the value of these aspects of the arts to become established and incorporated more strategically into public policy and planning approaches to development, further research is required towards developing methodological tools for gathering and interpreting empirical data.

A dominant focus on the role of the arts in development tends to be on the economic contribution. The most popular of these is the creative industries concept. This incorporates the idea of innovative enterprises or industries based on the arts and creativity, promoting job creation and contributing to local productivity and local economies. The significance of this sector has been recognised through the recent publication by the Western Development Commission of an audit of creative industries in the west region (conducted by Dr. Pat Collins, CISC). The importance of other social dimensions of the arts in sustaining communities has arguably received less attention. These relate to social inclusion, health, well-being and quality of life concerns. The role of the arts in fostering a sense of local identity and cohesion is increasingly important within rural and Gaeltacht communities in an era of rapid population and societal change and globalising tendencies. The protection and promotion of local traditions of music and song, local skills and cultural events are part of this resource. Similarly, the emergence of new activities and initiatives ensure a vibrancy and diversity of artistic and cultural life. The significance of the arts in strengthening community capacity and empowerment, and in promoting civic engagement, is also considerable.


Workshop Title: In the middle: the challenges of mediation in violent conflicts.

PI: Niall O Dochartaigh

School: Political Science and Sociology

Proposed Dates (tentative) 25th May

Description of Workshop:


The role of mediators and intermediaries in situations of violent conflict is still not fully understood, partly because of the intense secrecy that often surrounds the role. This workshop will bring together key individuals who acted as intermediaries and academics who write about peace negotiations to identify common issues and challenges to those who act as intermediaries and as mediators. It is concerned not only with those characterised as neutral outsiders but also those who are referred to in the literature as ‘insider mediators’, who derive their authority and their capacity to broker compromise solutions precisely from the fact that they are strongly associated with one party.
Intermediaries work at the intersection between opposing parties, and face challenges and dilemmas that are inherent to this liminal position. How do intermediaries manage their separate relations with parties that are violently opposed? To what extent can mediated negotiations be insulated from the simultaneous efforts of parties to inflict political and military damage on their opponents? What kinds of creativity are required of effective intermediaries and how do they establish trust, credibility and authority? To what extent can and should intermediaries exert pressure on parties, and to what extent can they shape the communication between parties?

Workshop Title: Eco-poetry now! Reading, writing and teaching poetry in an age of environmental crises

PI: Tina-Karen Pusse,

School: Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Discipline of German)

Proposed Dates (tentative): Friday 13th January 2012

Description of workshop:

To offer an introduction to the rapidly emerging field of ecocriticism, the Moore Institute, members of the University of Limerick and the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures/NUI Galway will hold an interdisciplinary one-day workshop entitled “Eco-poetry and -poetics. Reading writing and teaching poetry in an age of environmental crises.” on Friday, 13 January, 2011 at the Moore Institute Seminar Room, NUI Galway. This workshop shall strengthen the ties between the universities of Limerick and Galway. Its lectures will investigate the ways in which poetry, when reflecting on human-nature relationships, offers a variety of alternatives to the exploitive, utalitarian modes of interaction that lie at the roots of our ecological crises. In the context of ecocritical scholarship we will look at the ways in which poetry speaks for, as, or on behalf of nature, asking readers and teachers of poetry to reflect on their own interactions and as a result, we will look for new ways of interacting with poetry. As part of a growing network of ecocritical studies Sanghita Sen (Presidency College Calcutta) Helen Whelan (UL) Margaret Mills Harper (UL), Gearóid Dinver (NUIG) and Tina-Karen Pusse (NUIG) will discuss poetry – Irish, English, Benghali, German – its concern with nature, its ethical, political and social concerns which speak in and to our age of changes and crises. The lectures will alow plenty of opportunities for discussions and interaction. An afternoon panel will be dedicated to graduate student's research in the field of ecocriticism and poetry. A workshop on creative writing with Fred Johnston (Western Writers center) will give aspiring poets and students the chance to get creative or reflect on their own writing. There will also be an event of life poetry, Seanós and folk songs in the evening. For further information, please contact: tina-karen.pusse@nuigalway.ie Registration to the workshop is free.


Workshop Title: Gender, Identities and Discourses: Art, Archives and Public Sphere: Memories in the West of Ireland.

PI: Mary Clancy, Lecturer

School: Political Science and Sociology

Proposed dates: (Tentative) March 9th

Description of Workshop

The main aim of the workshop is to examine questions of art, archives and public memories as represented and relevant in west of Ireland contexts. Participants will include academics, students, artists, local researchers and producers of radio and film. Workshop participants will work with existing materials in relation to women, gender and the west of Ireland, such as photographs, diaries, letters, newspaper reports, private papers and film. Through further collaborative effort, the workshop aims to generate new interpretations and reflections and will present new ideas through the media of radio, exhibition, illustrated texts and film documentary. It will demonstrate how to approach archival resources and historical evidence in a way that is creative, productive and public. A combination of the critical and the creative will reconfigure the contexts in which public memories and identities are shaped. The approach, therefore, will strengthen the field of gender-related research and will augment the visibility of the West of Ireland as a creative research location.


Workshop Title: Writing on the Edges of Empire: MA Graduate Workshop

PI: Dr Muireann O’Cinneide

School: School of Humanities (English)

Proposed date: Wednesday 30th November 2011

Description of Workshop

An MA Research Methods workshop will take place in the Moore Institute on Wednesday 30th November with students from the NUIG MA in Culture and Colonialism and the UL MA in English. The workshop will strengthen the ties between NUIG and the University of Limerick, both at graduate and research level, since it is also in connection with the Gender ARC, as well as the associated research cluster “InterSects: Women and Nation 1880-1920” The workshop will consist of panels in which speakers from NUIG, UL and UCD reflect on their research, highlighting research processes as much as content; a discussion of IRCHSS funding and Ph.D. possibilities to which current Ph.D. candidates will contribute; and a group workshop for the MA students. The aim of the workshop is to deepen graduate students’ understanding of the nature and possibilities of academic research and to help students formulate ideas for their dissertations. An important aspect of the workshop will be the particular challenges which archival, textual and contextual research present to researchers working on marginalised, non-conventional and/or geographically distant source material, as well as the challenges posed by interdisciplinary research models. Participants will include Professor Margaret Harper (UL); Dr Tina O’Toole (UL), Dr Anne Mulhall (UCD), Professor Sean Ryder (NUIG), Dr Muireann O’Cinneide (NUIG) and Professor Tadhg Foley (NUIG, Emeritus).


Workshop Title: Dá mbínnse thall sa Spáinn/ Were I beyond in Spain.” From Carna to A Coruña:

Translations and Performances of Irish Language and Galician Songs.

PI: Dr Lorna Shaughnessy

School: Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Proposed Dates (tentative): March 30-31st 2012

Description of Workshop

According to the Romans, the most western point of land in North Western Spain represented Finisterre (Fisterra), the end of the known world. The region of Galicia shares many cultural and historical features with Ireland. In March 2012, academics, translators, poets and musicians from NUI, Galway and the Amergin Centre for Irish Studies, will come together to celebrate our shared cultural experiences and investigate the diversity of cultural production in Galicia and Ireland.


Workshop Title: “Beyond the Island: Transnational approaches to research in teh humanities”

PI: Dr Niall Whelehan

School: School of Humanities

Proposed Dates: April 20-21st 2012

Description of Workshop

This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars of History, Political Science, Law and English to discuss the merits and limitations of transnational and global studies. In recent years, scholars have increasingly recognized the limitations of the nation-state as a framework of analyses and as a result transnational and global approaches have moved to the top of research agendas across many countries. At the same time, explorations in this area have been largely overlooked in Irish universities. This conference will debate the merits of transnational vistas for understanding the important themes of diaspora, nationalism, political violence, and human rights in the Irish past and present, and will compare how transnational approaches move beyond or differ from established fields such as the Atlantic world, imperial studies, world history, comparative studies, and so on. The conference papers cover a broad geographical scope and stretch across a long chronology, from late-medieval to contemporary history. Guest speakers will include, among others, Kevin Kenny (Boston College), Kiran Patel (Maastricht), Timothy Meagher (CUA, Washington), Carl Levy (Goldsmiths, London) and Irene Bueno (Leiden).


Workshop Title: Wise Practices, Imagination and the Toleration of Diversity

PI: Dr Ricca Edmondson

School: Political Science and Sociology

Proposed Dates (tentative) June 15-17th, 2012

Description of Workshop

The idea of wisdom is currently attracting renewed attention as a source of innovative ideas and practices for social organisation. This workshop addresses two deficits in the associated debates, accentuating contributions derived from observed ‘wise’ practices in the West of Ireland. Wisdom is generally regarded as a form of reasoning which responds to pressing life-problems without clear solutions in either expert or everyday knowledge. This workshop explores a) how such forms of reasoning can operate under conditions of social and intellectual diversity; b) the role of imagination in envisaging novel solutions.

Since Socrates’ time, commentators on wisdom have commended slowness to rush to judgement, even in dilemmas which initially seem clear. Contemporary work on wisdom foregrounds tolerance and a capacity to understand how others see the world differently from oneself, while remaining committed to one’s own core values. However, closer studies of what people really mean when they believe they are being tolerant show strong tendencies to expect others to converge with their own ideas under more apposite temporal or social circumstances.

Papers at the workshop respond to this observation and to evidence collected in Galway and Connemara, analysing selected local practices as effecting forms of social wisdom which illustrate more genuine forms of tolerance. It also draws on empirical and theoretical research into confronting cultural diversity both in Galway City and in Canada. Finally, we focus on the role in both wisdom and tolerance of uses of the imagination in comprehending other (world-)views, explored in historical travel literature and the sociology of tourism, and to the roles in ‘wise’ discourse of Irish proverbs, triads and epigrams.