Where my River Flows – @LaganNavigator Storymaking Festival Call for #Lagan stories.

Do you have a story, memory or link with the River Lagan or the Lagan Navigation?

The Lagan Navigation Trust (LNT) is inviting people and community groups who are interested in the rich heritage of river, canal, land and water, to get involved in it’s first Storymaking Festival.

The project “Where My River Flows” brings the past, present and future of this national treasure to life through the sharing of stories of those connected to it. Tapestry and creative writing workshops are two ways to get involved in this project which takes the Navigation, and all that it touches, as its inspiration.

The Festival started in September 2017, with facilitated workshops available until the end of October. Each workshop will provide the group with the skills necessary to produce a tapestry panel or create individual or collective stories/poems. Submissions will go forward for shortlisting to be included in the Festival, the Festival eBook and the Festival Video.

Submit your written pieces:

  • Submit a story (500 words max) or poem (30 lines max) in the relevant age category (under 11 years old, Under 16 years old and 17 +) via the online form (see also t&cs) on LNT’s website HERE 
  • Attend an open workshop at Navigation House on Saturday 30th September or 29th October (Spaces are limited, so early booking is essential)
  • Picking up a ”Where My River Flows” postcard from; Lisburn Visitor Information Centre, Ormeau Library or Lurgan Library, affix a stamp and post your story or poem back to The Lagan Navigation Trust, Navigation House, 148 Hillsborough Rd, Lisburn, BT27 5QY. Or simply fill in your contact details along with your story or poem and return to the Storytelling Festival post box provided at each of these three venues.

Storytelling Event

The Festival will close with a celebratory event, as part of National Storytelling Week, with awards being given for selected stories in each age category. The event will be held on Friday 2nd February 2018 at the Island Hall, Lagan Valley Civic Centre, Lisburn.

Some Inspiration

(1) Jo Bell, former Canal Laureate, reads her poem ‘Lighter’ created for the Lagan Navigation’s Anniversary (2013)

 

Leaflet

 

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Book now: ‘Knowing the Dance’ 9 Sept, @Down_arts Centre, Downpatrick #performance #masterclass

KnowingtheDancePosterDAC‘Knowing the Dance’ Premiere, Sat, 9 September, 7-8.30pm, £5. To book contact DAC 028 4461 0747 

Inspired by WB Yeats’ famous question ‘How can we know the dancer from the dance?’, this performance of a thought-provoking sequence of dance~poems is created and performed by poet Olive Broderick and dancer Paula Guzzanti, joined by musician Martin Devek.

Introduced by Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the performance is a showcase of how dance and poetry can inhabit a shared creative space while honouring the individual practices of poet and choreographer. The performance will be followed by a Q&A session.

‘Knowing the Dance’ Masterclass, Sat, 9 September, 3.15-6.15pm, FREE

Those with a poetry practice are invited to join Sarah Warsop to work on finding ‘the dance’  in their work using the breath and movement. For this three hour workshop, you are invited to bring a poem of your own which you would like to work on. Sarah Warsop is a contemporary jewellery designer and choreographer who has extensive experience of creating a middle place in which diverse artforms can connect. This exploration of a middle place where the dance/movement of the poems reside is based on a masterclass held earlier in 2017 at Down Arts Centre

The workshop is free but participants need to register in advance. Capacity: 12. A bite to eat will be available afterwards for those who are staying on to attend the peformance.

 

To book contact DAC 028 4461 0747 

Artists’ websites

www.PaulaGuzzanti.com

www.MartinDevek.com

www.lettersfromladyn.wordpress.com

http://sarahwarsop.com/

‘Knowing the Dance’ is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, through the ACES Scheme, and Down Arts Centre

Note: If you are unable to attend the performance on the 9th September, there will are two performances coming up at the Brian Friel Theatre, Queen’s University, Belfast.

KnowingtheDancePosterDAC

Live in the #Layers – @TopFloorArt #AugCraft17 #Saintfield #KnowingtheDance

Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.
                                      Gustave Flaubert
Yet I turn, I turn, / exulting somewhat, / with my will intact to go / wherever I need to go / and every stone on the road / precious to me.
                             (‘The Layers’ extract, Stanley Kunitz)

LayersandReflectionsprogrammesmall

Tomorrow August Craft Month begins – it’s the annual celebration of craft and applied art across Northern Ireland and an amazing opportunity to see, meet and/or work with the finest designer-makers living and working here.

I had a bird’s eye view of all happenings when working on the digital comms side of Craft NI (the originators and the coordinators of the month) and I continue to be staggered not only by the creativity and imagination of the designs but also by the powers of mastery over materials that we call ‘handmade‘.  ‘Angels’ hands‘ was my name for it because I still find it hard to believe a human being actually made what has been made with bare hands. If you happen to be near pretty much anywhere in NI this month check out the August Craft Month programme.

Layers and Reflections @TopFloorArt

A bit of excitment this year for me as there is a bit of a reflection of my work in the ‘Layers’ exhibition that opens at Top Floor Art on Thursday (3 Aug, 7-9pm and on through the month). No making on my part, I add quickly. ‘Live in the Layers’ takes words from Stanley Kunitz inspiring poem ‘The Layers’ (below). The idea of the piece is from my investigations of the moving parts of poems, through the Knowing the Dance project.  Like the child who takes the transistor radio apart to find out how the noise is made, I’ve been digging into the layers of composition that give poems their resonant qualities.

The making part is wonderful and is the result of a conversation with Top Floor Art’s artists and proprietors textile artist Emma Whitehead and fine artist Stephen McClean who is also a sawdoctor. I had the idea of free floating letters of the phrase, like a mobile (not the telephone kind), moving, catching on each other, throwing shadows on the page. Stephen suggested carving the letters from distressed steel using saws – a sort of meeting of his two worlds.  Emma Whitehead ran interference so that the thing actually made sense as a whole piece.  I’ll have photos shortly but couldn’t wait to share the details.

BandBPaperWorkshopIf you are near Saintfield on Thursday eve (3 Aug, 7-9pm), do call in for the preview and the exhibition – including a range of makers of all craft practices and levels of engagement, a solo show by Ruth Walker (Glass), the fabric mountain and the Butterfly Cloud. Get all the details of what’s on at Top Floor Art HERE  

*Images courtesy of Top Floor Art

The Layers

By Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

Stanley Kunitz, “The Layers” from The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz. Copyright © 1978 by Stanley Kunitz.

 

Mound of Down Minotaur – #lettersfromladyn

The mound, we could say, exists in its mounding. This is to think of it not as a finished object, standing on foundations and set over and against its surroundings, but as a locus of growth and regeneration where materials welling up from the earth mix and mingle with the fluxes of the weather in the ongoing production of life. The mound has not turned its back on us, as we might suppose, hiding secrets within its dark, enclosed interior that we can discover only by tunnelling in. On the contrary, it is open to the world. As the ever-emergent outcome of the interplay of cosmic forces and vital materials, the mound is not bulit but grows.

extract from chapter ‘Round mound and earth sky’ from ‘Making‘ by Tim Ingold

MoundofDownPerduranceFor various reasons, I am not doing my usual round of the Mound of Down today, despite the weather being glorious here. Instead, I am considering it as an anthropological proposition. I might have overstated the case when I said that Tim Ingold had covered all of my favourite things in his ‘Life of Lines’ volume in an earlier post.

It seems that my current fascination with anthropology á la Prof Ingold continues with an earlier book – Making‘. I had been slow to read this because of the title (it doesn’t mention lines or being alive) but, in fact it is the backdrop to the ‘Knowing from the Inside‘ work. But more importantly there is a significant part of a chapter on…MOUNDS.

Of course, the Mound of Down is not specifically mentioned – but it is, to be fair, a poster child for perdurance – and of not coughing up much in the way of archaelogically sound information about what the hell it was/is actually all about.

And, of course, it is always work-in-progress. Yes, like it’s brackets – the Down Cathedral and Inch Abbey – it is a little bit fixed in place by our attempts at preservation. But, unlike both edifices, it is a growing thing. How strange it would be if we found that the Cathedral had an extra layer of bricks that nobody could account for in the time between they were and weren’t there. But it would be much stranger if we came back to the Mound – even after a short absence – and found that it was absolutely the same as we left it.

I wrote the below a couple of months ago. I think it will have been May because of mention of burning gorse.  Speedwell (veronica) appeared in the burnt places quite quickly. I also notice – this is in general – that the Mound of Down tends to spit people out. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had about how it should be a big tourist attraction in the town but I always get the sense that the Mound is not over welcoming –  siphoning walkers off by a new gate this season.

It is, I am sure, labyrinthine in its history. It has to be, whether abandoned stronghold or other lost earthworks, because it has centuries of all things of this local world tamping it down, shaping it, mounding it. I’m always surprised – perhaps I’ve said this before – that it’s never assoicated with those that are rumoured to live in mounds.

Mound of Down Minotaur

Everything moves in circles here.

Ariadne keeps count of the turns
with different coloured threads.

Growing by burned gorse
blue veronica. Orange tips

and their black-lace ladies fly
above unconcerned. Who knows

what moves below the surface
of these ancient earthworks.

People come here once, then
don’t come back. Mean to,

ought to, but somehow
don’t make the journey.

Except Theseus who wants
it to be a tourist destination.

He needs it clear of menace –
means to get to the bottom of it.

He beats back the overgrown paths,
but they are moats and lead back

to their openings:
first a small descent,

then spit him out,
and he must start again.

Hint of the Sea in the Breeze at Steamboat Quay – @NIScreen #DigitalArchive

HintoftheSeaCover

Delighted to share this piece in celebration of Northern Ireland’s beautiful coast and NI Screen’s inspiring digital archive. It was a privilege to be involved.

There are two short films:

(1) ‘Hint of the Sea in the Breeze at Steamboat Quay – short film incorporating footage from the archive and spoken piece.

Link to short film

(2) Short interview with me about how the written piece was inspired by the archive and the relevance of Steamboat Quay to the piece.

Link to interview

(3) There was two short films created. Find the wonderful ‘Coast to Coast’ piece created with words by poet Ross Thompson – short film HERE & Interview HERE.

Hint of the Sea in the Breeze at Steamboat Quay Credits

The list of credits are below but I wanted to say a word of apprecation to Francis Jones of the Archive for organising this, to Dáithí McGibbon for the music – I think the very final part is just inspired – and to Simon and Lorna of TACA for getting under the material to create such resonant short films.

Produced, Directed and Edited by TACA

Words by Olive Broderick

Music composed by Dáithí McGibbon

Audio recording courtesy of Peter Carson, NMNI.

Filmed at the Ulster Folk & Transport Musuem.

Created as part of the BFI’s Britain on Film project 

Time to Change – #NIMHAFF2017

NIMHAF
‘Hold them cheap. May ne’er hung there’ wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins in one of his terrible sonnets. If April is poetry awareness month, mental health belongs to May.

On now (16-29 May), the Northern Ireland Mental Health, Arts and Film Festival – is specifically there to celebrate mental health but also to foster sustaining creative connections between the arts and the world of mental/health.

On the talking about it front, I want to flag up that there are spoken word/poetry and word-based events on the programme.

I am hoping to be able to be part of a ‘A Phoenix Longing’ – a showcase of poetry from an anthology in the process of becoming that is taking place at the Arts and Disability Forum on Saturday 27 May, 11am-1pm. (I have a little difficulty with the timing so have my fingers crossed). I’ll be there in spirit in any case because the compilers have very kindly used the title of my poem as the event title, and indeed the title of the anthology. My phoenix longed for company and it would be great if you were available to attend.

Saturday, 27 May, is a day for poetry on the festival programme and there is a workshop with Poetry NI, and then a reading, in the afternoon at Eastside Visitor Art Centre.

There’s a Red Pill Showcase on this Saturday (20 May) that’s  on the theme- and some great films on the programme also! And, of course, it’s wider than words..

   No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
(Windhover (final stanza) – Gerald Manley Hopkins)