New IRC opportunities for early/mid-career – Laureate Awards

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Laureate Awards Programme: CALL NOW OPEN

A consensus has emerged in recent years that Ireland’s research and innovation framework contains a significant gap, namely opportunities for exceptional researchers to conduct frontier basic research across all disciplines beyond postdoctoral level. Innovation2020 affirms the existence of the critical gap in the Irish landscape and recommends the establishment of a frontier research funding programme, to be administered by the Irish Research Council.

Funding to launch the first iteration of the programme was made available by the Minister for Education and Skills under the 2017 budget. For the first iteration of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme, the Council is inviting applications at the early and mid-career level (Starting and Consolidator). Funding will be awarded on the basis solely of excellence, assessed through a rigorous and independent international peer-review process. Laureates will enhance their track record and international competitiveness. As well as the benefits for the laureate and their team, it is anticipated that the award will enhance the potential for subsequent ERC success as a further career milestone; indeed it will be a requirement of all laureates that they make a follow-on application to the ERC.

The aims and objectives of the Irish Research Council Laureate Awards programme are as follows:

  • To enhance frontier basic research in Irish research-performing organisations, across all disciplines.
  • To support exceptional researchers to develop their track record, appropriate to their discipline and career stage.
  • To build the international competitiveness of awardees and Ireland as a whole.
  • To leverage greater success for the Irish research system in European Research Council awards.
  • To retain excellent researchers in the Irish system and to catalyse opportunities for talented researchers currently working outside Ireland, to relocate to Ireland.

Deadline: 29 June, 2017

Further details: http://www.research.ie/scheme/laureate-awards-programme

 

Seminar Series: Trinity Centre for Early Modern History

The Trinity Centre for Early Modern History promotes understanding of the culture, society, economy, religion, politics and warfare of early modern Europe. The Centre organises seminars, conferences and public lectures on the early modern history of Ireland, Britain and Continental Europe, as well as on relations between European and non-European states and cultures.

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Below is the programme of Seminars held every Monday at 5pm in the Trinity Long Room Hub:

  • 23 January 2017 | Brian Brewer (TCD) | Quixotic Economics: Early Modern Economic Theory and Political Economy in Cervantes’s Don Quixote.
  • 30 January 2017 | Robert Appelbaum (Uppsala University) | Early Modern Terrorism: an Introduction.
  • 6 February 2017 | William O’Reilly (University of Cambridge) | The emperor who wanted to be king. HRE Charles VI in Spain and Germany, 1685-1740.
  • 13 February 2017 | Joel Halcomb (University of East Anglia) | The Dublin Convention of 1658 and the Fall of the Protectorate.
  • 20 February 2017 | Aileen Douglas (TCD) | Round Hand Character: script, commerce, and nation, 1690-1750.
  • 6 March 2017 | Alexander Wilkinson (University College Dublin) | Book History and the Digital Humanities.
  • 13 March 2017 | Malcolm Gaskill (University of East Anglia) | Witchcraft, Emotion and Social Change in Seventeenth-Century New England.
  • 20 March 2017 | Michael Braddick (Sheffield University) | The sufferings of John Lilburne (1615-1657): martyrology and the freeborn Englishman.
  • 27 March 2017 | Sophie Hingst, (TCD) | One phenomenon. Three perspectives. English colonial strategies in Ireland revisited, ca. 1607- 1680.

For further details of the Trinity Centre for Early Modern History, please www.tcd.ie/history/research/centres/early-modern/

The Centre also helpfully archives many of their talks, available on the website

Digital Humanities Tool: Personæ

The aim of these visualisations is to use the XML files from the New Variorum Shakespeare edition of The Comedy of Errors to create a resource for exploring patterns of speeches by and mentions of characters in Shakespeare’s work. Visualising the frequency, extent, and position of dialogue relating to a particular character presents users with a simple and immediate measure of that character’s prominence within the play. The tool enables users to select and visualise individual characters’ involvement, producing a novel means of exploring large-scale structural, narrative, or character-focused patterns within the text.

Value of the Tool

This tool is intended to facilitate character-based analysis and reveal structural patterns at the scale of the play. It is primarily exploratory, and is designed to allow users to customise the visualisation according to their particular interests or to follow a more speculative and disinterested reading of the play’s character-based features.

This deliberate aim emerged from the heuristic development process described below, and a desire to produce an extensible exploratory tool for dramatic texts. From an initial focus on using digital tools to visualise the tangling and disentangling of character names and identities in The Comedy of Errors, our interest broadened into exploring the potential for using character data to visualise larger structural and narrative patterns.

We were also motivated by the use of network analysis and visualisation for Shakespearean scholarship, including work by Grandjean, Moretti, and Stiller, et al. These analyses are similarly character-based and have yielded many interesting insights. But in the reduction of the textual data to nodes and edges (characters and their interactions), network analysis has obscured the temporal. By preserving characters’ locations within the space of the text, this tool enables analysis of the dramatic time and structural duration of the play.

Moreover, a major part of the tool’s value is its extensibility. It may be used to create character visualisations for any play which is XML-encoded according to quite minimal specifications, and offer the opportunity to undertake comparative analysis of structural, narrative, and character-based patterns in different plays.

As a point of contrast, we have generated a second visualisation for The Winter’s Tale from the code initially developed for The Comedy of Errors.

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Personæ can be found here

Review: Reason in Madness, Draíocht Theatre

Reason in Madness: A Devised Reworking

Draíocht Theatre, Blanchardstown, Dublin, 29-30 November 2016.

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Directed by Aisling Byrne. Design: Ciaran O’Melia; Dramaturgy: Oonagh Murphy; Sound Design: Susie Birmingham; Costume: Kate Bauer.

Cast: Mark Smith as Lear; Jane Ryan as Goneril; Ella-Jane Moore as Reagan; Michelle Brennan as Cordelia; Wesley Fairbrother as Kent; Maurice Coll as Gloucester; John Egan as Edmund; Paul O’Neill as Edgar; Kate Bauer as psychologist; Sean McPartland as the Fool; Bert Coster as Cornwall; and Conor Begley as Oswald.

Reviewed by Stephen O’Neill

 

It has sometimes been claimed that Irish theatre can’t quite do Shakespeare or that it has an attenuated relationship to Shakespeare for a variety of reasons that are cultural, historical and ideological. The absence of Shakespeare from the Abbey’s 2017 programme is likely to reactivate such claims. And even 2015’s DruidShakespeare, which gave the lie to such arguments, nonetheless ended up being ghosted by them, as critics located the production in the context of how previous Irish productions had faired with Shakespearean verse and themes, and determined that Druid had Gaelicised or Hibernicised Shakespeare’s English history plays. However, such broad and ultimately improbable claims about the national theatre scene risk overlooking more local theatre and community based productions of Shakespeare. Reason in Madness: A Devised Reworking of Lear gives the lie to the notion that Irish theatre productions must be filtered through questions of cultural nationalism. In this production by Run of the Mill Theatre, a 16 strong ensemble cast of artists with disabilities, bring us into Lear’s kingdom, but not as we know it.

 

The pre-scene features the cast on stage, awaiting the arrival of Lear: “The King is on his way”, the announcer explains, followed by the customary instruction to the audience to turn off mobile phones. The cast themselves hold phones, a visual cue to the dominance of technology and social media in this production, with tweet updates from @CourtGossip, or images of a bounded and blinded Gloucester displayed on a screen above stage. The use of social media, along with pop music, is not gimmicky but serves the story world and amplifies its themes. Under Aisling Byrne’s direction, the major concerns of Shakespeare’s play – the family, mortality, the vulnerability of the human being, the fragmentation of a political order – take on a more particular resonance in the context of a performance by actors with intellectual disabilities.

 

Theatre can importantly shift normative structures of viewing and representation, disrupting audience and indeed wider cultural assumptions about how value is assigned to particular bodies and identities, and how, by extension, it is denied to others, or doled out in a limited way. The work of Run of the Mill Theatre, founded in 2014 by Aisling Byrne and the participants of the drama and theatre training programmes within St. John of God Community Services, realises the capacity of theatrical performance to alter ways of seeing and release a dispersal of representational value. Blue Apple Theatre, established in the UK in 2005, have being doing similar work with actors with learning difficulties. Lawrie Morris, who played Claudius in the Blue Apple’s 2012 Hamlet, captures what the production means to him: “I think people out there in the world need to see that people are capable of doing Shakespeare, even with a learning disability like we’ve got”. In America, similar initiatives are to be found. Project A.B.L.E (Artists Breaking Limits and Expectations), founded by Kate Yohe, features a group of actors with Down Syndrome and other developmental needs in Twelfth Night at Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre. Run of the Mill’s Reason in Madness importantly contributes to increased representational visibility and opportunity; the Arts Council’s support of such work, valued internationally, is welcome. There is no sentimentality to this production; instead, the cast produce something that makes meaning on its own terms. Striking is the sense of a collective, of a directorial hand operating with a lightness of touch, of actors helping each other onto and off the stage, and having lots of fun in doing so. But there are also stand out performances: Mark Smith as Lear is all kingly deportment, then disintegration as Goneril and Regan vie for power; Ella-Jane Moore as Reagan revels in mock royal waves as she takes to the throne; Jane Ryan’s Goneril is busy tweeting about court intrigue; John Egan plays Edmund with a maniacal, pantomime laugh.

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For a small theatre company, this is an ambitious production. Run of the Mill make good use of Draiocht’s large stage, filling it with the ensemble cast, with hooded figures that haunt Lear, or by creating a distinct performance space stage right, where a psychologist, played by Kate Bauer (who also gives subtle onstage assistance to the performers) tests Lear’s memory loss. The Director’s note offers the audience one way to interpret such extra-diegetic elements, plot additions and the wider implication of Reason in Madness. Byrne notes “that the rate of developing early onset dementia stands at an estimated 75% greater risk for adults with Down Syndrome was a sobering reminder of the pertinence of a story where the gift of growing older can come with a price; and one that seems so steep and unfair for individuals who have already fought long to have their voices heard in society”. However, on a Wednesday evening in a packed Draiocht Theatre, the play’s sense of endings – of plot, of life, of political power – become a celebration of life and of community. As an audience member, you cannot but be aware of the family, friends who are there to support and cheer on the actors.

 

Reason in Madness is a cacophonous, energetic and reassembled Lear. The spoken word converges with dance, with now iconic pop tracks (from Icona Pop’s “I Love It” for the opening love test to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to capture Goneril and Regan’s relationship with Edmund), with social media and news images. Shakespeare’s tragedy is defamiliarised, in ways that recall Elaine Feinstein’s Lear’s Daughters (1987), another production that emerged out of theatre workshops, and which pared back the main plot to reveal a dark nursery rhyme about the symbolic power of fathers. Byrne and the ensemble cast are very much in touch with current trends in Shakespeare performance studies, where the energy of a Shakespeare play in production is understood as residing in post-textual, adapted and remediated responses. Experienced as fragments, from alternate perspectives, or with and through other media, the Shakespeare play reforms in our minds as a dazzlingly new theatrical experience. The programme note makes reference to the production’s repackaging as a “gift” to Shakespeare in this, the year of the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. Reason in Madness rewards all of its participants, actors and audience alike, because the Shakespeare it produces is not a site of privilege or some inherited entity that, in an Irish context, is to be revered or feared. Rather, it’s the catalyst for a dynamic theatrical experience.

 

Dr Stephen O’Neill is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Maynooth University Department of English. He is the author of Shakespeare and YouTube (Bloomsbury, 2014), Staging Ireland: Representations in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama (Four Courts, 2007) and several essays on Shakespeare and popular culture. With Janet Clare, he co-edited Shakespeare and the Irish Writer (UCD Press, 2011). Twitter: @mediaShakes

Talk: The Renaissance of Not Doing Things, Prof. Stephen Guy-Bray

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School of English, Drama and Film, UCD present

Prof. Stephen Guy-Bray (University of British Columbia, Canada)

“The Renaissance of Not Doing Things”

 

We typically describe the English Renaissance as a time of frantic activity, both in England and, increasingly, on a global scale. The other side of all this activity is a fascination with inactivity. Many writers of this period express a desire not to do anything.This desire often finds expression as the wish to become a plant or a work of art. I’m interested in how our sense of the Renaissance changes if we see Narcissus as the paradigmatic figure

Prof. Stephen Guy-Bray is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He specializes in Renaissance poetry and queer theory, and is the author of three monographs and numerous essays and journal articles.

 

This talk takes place at 4.30pm, Thursday 24th November in J208, Newman building, UCD

All Welcome!

Book launch: Angelica’s Book and the World of Reading in Late Renaissance Italy

Nov. 18, 4.30pm
Marsh’s Library, Dublin
9781474270335
Through the lens of a history of material culture mediated by an object, Angelica’s Book and the World of Reading in Late Renaissance Italy investigates aspects of women’s lives, culture, ideas and the history of the book in early modern Italy.
Inside a badly damaged copy of Straparola’s 16th-century work, Piacevoli Notti, acquired in a Florentine antique shop in 2010, an inscription is found, attributing ownership to a certain Angelica Baldachini. The discovery sets in motion a series of inquiries, deploying knowledge about calligraphy, orthography, linguistics, dialectology and the socio-psychology of writing, to reveal the person behind the name. Focusing as much on the possible owner as upon the thing owned, Angelica’s Book examines the genesis of the Piacevoli Notti and its many editions, including the one in question. The intertwined stories of the book and its owner are set against the backdrop of a Renaissance world, still imperfectly understood, in which literature and reading were subject to regimes of control; and the new information throws aspects of this world into further relief, especially in regard to women’s involvement with reading, books and knowledge. The inquiry yields unexpected insights concerning the logic of accidental discovery, the nature of evidence, and the mission of the humanities in a time of global crisis.
Angelica’s Book and the World of Reading in Late Renaissance Italy is a thought-provoking read for any scholar of early modern Europe and its culture. – See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/angelicas-book-and-the-world-of-reading-in-late-renaissance-italy-9781474270335/#sthash.VM91HA7S.dpuf
Presenting:  Mark Sweetnam (School of English, TCD); Catherine Lawless (Women’s Studies, TCD); the author, and others.

Theatre: Reason in Madness – A Devised Reworking of King Lear

Run of the Mill Theatre in collaboration with Arts Participation & Pathways Day Programme / St John of God’s Community Service

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TUE 29 – WED 30 NOV 2016 8PM
Draíocht theatre, Blanchardstown
€14 / €12 conc

O matter and impertinency mixed! Reason in madness!
Lear is not having a good week. A storm is brewing and he’s running with the wolves. He’s old, he’s cold and his daughters aren’t talking to him. You can’t rule the world, if you can’t remember where your shoes are. It seems in this kingdom when you’re old and grey, suddenly, you’re in the way.
Run of the Mill Theatre collaborate with the participants of Pathways Programme, St. John of Gods Liffey Region to present a unique exploration and reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear, created and performed by an ensemble of theatre makers with intellectual disabilities. Exploring themes of aging, vulnerability, mental health, power and responsibility, Reason in Madness is a colourful, evocative and unique take on one of Shakespeare’s most challenging pieces.

Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Suitable for ages 10+

Info & booking: www.draiocht.ie

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