Moving On 2:

Transition International gathering tackle issues critical to the future evolution of Irish society

Michael McDowell, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Blake Morrison, winner of the Ackerley Prize were part of an international gathering who addressed issues critical to the future evolution of Irish society. The gathering was part of Moving On 2, the second annual Irish research seminar in contemporary social, educational and cultural issues, which took place (4th & 5th April) in St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra. The theme of this year's seminar was Irish Society in Transition.

According to Dr Nicholas Allen, School of Languages, DIT and member of the seminars organising committee, 'Ireland has experienced dramatic change over the last decade, which is set to continue in the face of new global realities post the Celtic Tiger. The possibilities of continuing transformation inform this seminar, which will serve to position Ireland within new and dynamic global contexts.'

Programme highlights included presentations on the law, education, immigration, literature, and the media. Minister McDowell addressed the gathering on issues relating to 'Irish culture and the law.' Commenting on Minister McDowell's presentation Dr Nicholas Allen said, 'The law is a crucial component of Irish culture that we often perceive in a negative light from tribunals to litigation. But the possibility remains that the law is, and can be, a positive force for negotiation between divergent strands of society as Ireland moves into the new century. Minister McDowell's lecture is, therefore, a crucial contribution to ongoing debates over identity, immigration, culture and society'.

Additional programme highlights included presentations by Blake Morrison writer, autobiographer and poet who discussed 'Things my mother never told me', a memoir of his Irish mother, while John Kelly, Oxford scholar and editor of The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats, spoke on 'The Irish Revival of 1903.'

This major public initiative was organised by three international educational partners - the School of Languages, Dublin Institute of Technology, the Keough Centre, University of Notre Dame and St Patrick's College, Dublin City University.

Last year's conference was a resounding success attracting over one hundred and fifty delegates from around the world, drawn from academia, the arts, business and society including Declan Kiberd, author of Inventing Ireland and Irish Classics, and former Taoiseach, Garrett Fitzgerald.

What was it?

Moving On 2 is the second annual Irish research seminar in contemporary social, educational and cultural issues. Building on the success of last year's meeting, the theme this year is 'transition'. Ireland has experienced major change in the last decade, and the possibilities of continuing transformation inform this seminar, which will position Ireland within new and dynamic global contexts.

Moving On 2 presents seven speakers of international reputation to consider the future of Ireland in transition. Organised by Dr. Nicholas Allen, DIT, and Dr Mary Shine Thompson, St. Patrick's College, the seminar will address issues of education, immigration, literature, the media and memory. Speakers include

  • Michael McDowell - 'Irish culture and the law' Michael McDowell is Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform since 2002, and served as Dail Deputy for Dublin South-East 1987-1989 and 1992-1997. He practised as barrister since 1974, as Senior Counsel since 1987 and was Attorney General 1999-2002. He is currently President of the Progressive Democrats.
  • Blake Morrison - 'Things my mother never told me' Blake Morrison, is a poet, autobiographer, journalist, critic, fiction and children's writer. He won the Ackerley prize and the Esquire/Volvo/Waterstone's Non-Fiction Book Award for 'And When Did You Last See Your Father?' (1993) . As If (1997) is an account of the trial of the boys convicted of killing the toddler James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993. His poetry includes Dark Glasses (1984), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, and The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper. Things My Mother Never Told Me, a memoir of his mother, was published in 2002..
  • John Kelly - The Irish Revival of 1903 John Kelly, Professor at St John's College, Oxford, is editor of The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats, of James Joyce's Dubliners, and Yeats's Autobiographies, and author of articles on modern literature and Anglo-Irish literature. His interests include Yeats, Joyce, Eliot, modernism, Irish and Anglo-Irish literature.
  • Kathleen Biddick - 'Discipline, punish, colony' Kathleen Biddick is professor at University of Note Dame, Indiana. Herinterests include medieval social and economic history, especially archaeology, quantitative methods, and history of gender. Among her publications are The Other Economy: Pastoral Husbandry on a Medieval Esta te, The Shock of Medievalism (1998) and Archaeological Approaches to Medieval Europe (Ed). She is currently a visiting Fulbright Fellow researching the digitalisation of nineteenth century schoolbooks at Media Lab Europe, Dublin.
  • Jane Ohlmeyer- 'Transitions'Jane Ohlmeyer has lectured in history at the University of Aberdeen. Sheis author of Civil War and Restoration in the Three Stuart Kingdoms (1993), and co-editor of Ireland from Independence to Occupation, 1641- 1660 (1995). She is the incoming Professor of Modern History at Trinity College Dublin.
  • Caroline Walsh - ''Transitions'Caroline Walsh is literary editor of The Irish Times and editor of three collections of short stories, Modern Irish Short Stores from The Irish Times,V irgins and Hyacinths and Arrows in Flight, and author of The Homes of Irish Writers
  • David Wheatley - 'Transitions' David Wheatley is a poet, critic and lecturer at the University of Hull. Publications include poetry collections Misery Hill (2000) and Thirst (1997); Stream and gliding sun: a Wicklow anthology (1998), I am the crocus: poems by children from County Wicklow (1998). He has edited Metre and writes regularly for Poetry Review, the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books.

Moving On 2 is a joint project of excellence between three international educational leaders:

  • The School of Languages, the Dublin Institute of Technology. The largest third level language provider in Ireland, with research strengths in intercultural and linguistic studies.
  • The Keough-Notre Dame Centre, the University of Notre Dame. Located in the historic Newman House, it is an international centre of excellence in Irish Studies, hosting speakers including Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Tom Paulin and Edna O'Brien.
  • St Patrick's College, Dublin City University. Its research focus is primari ly on primary education, the humanities and their intersection.

This seminar is organised by Dr Nicholas Allen and Dr Mary Shine Thompson. Dr Allen is lecturer in English and research co-ordinator of the School of Languages, DIT. He is author of George Russell (Æ) and The New Ireland, 1905-30 and co-editor of the forthcoming The Cities of Belfast (both Four Courts Press, 2003). Dr Shine Thompson's research interests include the textualisation of Irish chil dhood and the work of Austin Clarke.

For further information, contact nicholas.allen@dit.ie

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