Dublin, 2 April 2019
On 30 April, just after the anniversary of the forced removal of Maser’s repeal the 8th mural at Project Arts Centre, a host of human rights and arts organisations will come together to celebrate free artistic expression and call for an end to censorship in all of its forms. A number of speakers including Una Mullally, Lian Bell and Cian O’Brien will discuss the main obstacles to artists’ freedom of expression today and what can be done to overcome them.
The anchor for the day-long event will be Una Mullally, who herself felt the impact of the censorship of the repeal mural when a discussion of her anthology Repeal the 8th was cancelled by Dublin City Council.
Project Arts Centre Artistic Director, Cian O’Brien, said today:
“From my perspective, little has changed since the censorship issues last year. The situation in Ireland is very complicated; where official bodies are using their power to decide what art is political, how it’s political, and when it’s acceptable. This has serious ramifications for artists, venues, festivals and for society in general.”
Mullally will be joined for the discussion by Lian Bell, campaign director of Waking the Feminists, historian Donal Fallon, broadcaster Evelyn O’Rourke, arts campaigner Angela Dorgan, NCAD professor Declan Long, poet and barrister John O’Donnell SC, and Project Arts Centre’s Cian O’Brien. The speakers will focus on conditions leading to censorship today, including legal issues, tied funding, barriers to participation, and self-censorship. Speakers will also highlight the importance to society of freedom of expression, particularly artistic freedom of expression.
The event will take place from 11am to 4pm over two panels with an intermission discussion featuring exiled Turkish theatre group Be Aware. There will be built-in space for audience input to the discussions.
The Best Banned in the Land event is part of the Dublin: One City One Book festival. It is the result of collaboration between the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Irish Writers Centre, Poetry Ireland, the Writers’ Guild and Project Arts Centre. It is kindly sponsored by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.
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Lian was Campaign Director of #WakingTheFeminists, leading a game-changing grass-roots campaign for women working in Irish theatre. She won numerous awards for her work on that campaign. She works as a freelance set designer and cultural project manager in Dublin, and is on the board of Rua Red arts centre in Tallaght.
Donal Fallon is a historian and author based in Dublin. He is editor of the popular Dublin history blog and book series Come Here To Me and teaches with the Lifelong Learning Department of University College Dublin. He is currently writing a history of print censorship in Ireland.
Evelyn is a broadcaster with RTÉ’s Today Sean O’Rourke radio programme and co-presenter of the Irish book awards for RTE. She is also an acclaimed author. Her book “Dear Ross” is a memoir about her battle with breast cancer while pregnant with her second son, Ross.
Angela Dorgan is the managing director and founder of First Music Contact, a free information and advice resource for musicians and the independent music sector in Ireland. She is also the Chair of the Steering Group of the National Campaign for the Arts, a volunteer-led, grassroots movement that makes the case for the arts in Ireland.
Declan Long is programme director of the MA Art in the Contemporary World, at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. He is a regular contributor to Artforum and Frieze and has served as a member of judging panel for the Turner Prize. He recently published the book Ghost-Haunted Land: Contemporary Art and Post-Troubles Northern Ireland (Manchester University Press, 2017).
Una is an Irish Times journalist and activist. She has published the history book In The Name of Love, documenting the movement for same-sex marriage in Ireland and a best-selling anthology, Repeal the 8th. In 2018 her event The Question of the Eighth, centred on her anthology and scheduled to be part of the International Literature Festival Dublin, was cancelled at the request of Dublin City Council, who manage and fund the festival.
Cian O’Brien is artistic director of Project Arts Centre, Ireland’s leading centre for the development and presentation of contemporary art, dedicated to protecting and nurturing the next generation of Irish artists across all forms of the performing and visual arts.
Be Aware Theatre
Be Aware is a production house founded to create innovative performing and audio-visual art works. Memet Ali Alabora and Pinar Ogun of the group will speak about their experiences of being exiled from Turkey because of their work.
John O’Donnell SC
John is a poet and barrister. He has published three collections of poetry and has been awarded the Hennessy Award for Poetry, the Ireland Funds Prize, and the SeaCat National Poetry Prize. He lives and works in Dublin.