2021 Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival

This October sees the showcasing of the 2021 Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival by Smashing Times and Front Line Defenders, alongside Amnesty International, Fighting Words, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Trócaire, and Poetry Ireland.

Taking place both online and in-person, the ten-day festival promises to “highlight the extraordinary work of human rights defenders in Ireland and around the world, past and present, and the role of the arts and artists in promoting human rights today.”

The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Hope, Courage, Resilience: The Story Continues’ - expressed by “celebrating human rights and linking the arts to civil society, active citizenship and politics through a series of interdisciplinary performances, film screenings, documentaries, theatre, music, dance, visual and digital art, poetry, literature, historical memory, discussions and arts-based workshops”.

Sites to feature include Rathfarnham Castle (where there shall be theatre, poetry, literature, song, music and dance alongside digital/film projections onto the Castle walls), the Chester Beatty Library (whose rooftop garden shall witness theatre, dance and music), the NUI Galway Human Rights Centre (which shall host a discussion on human rights, poetry and the environment) and the dlr Mill Theatre Gallery Space in Dundrum (where there will be an exhibition of visual artworks and film art pieces)

The full programme is yet to be released, however some key events (as highlighted in this Irish News piece by David Roy) include:

 State of the Art: Nation State as Both Violator and Protector of Human Rights - Visual Art Exhibition (October 15-24).

Presented in the dlr Mill Theatre, this exhibition showcases artworks created by artists from across Ireland who have worked together on the State of The Art: Nation State as Both Violator and Protector of Human Rights project. Artwork is by Dr Sinead McCann, Hina Khan, Amna Walayat, Noelle McAlinden.

The Art of W/Rights: A Literary Carnival of Arts and Rights (October 23-24)

A series of new artworks will be presented in Rathfarnham Castle Park to create a 'gathering space' to celebrate stories of care and compassion and to act as a catalyst to generate creative conversations on visions of a better world.

Artworks will include large-scale projections on the walls of Rathfarnham Castle, as well as performances on the grounds. There will be an open call (deadline is Friday 10th at 5pm) asking members of the public to share who has inspired them – a person from the past or present who has inspired or shaped them in some way and who has promoted equality, compassion and rights in their life and the lives of others.

A selection of 100 of these stories and poems will be displayed as a 'digital book' online via the Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality gallery and digital arts platform.

Forgotten Voices: Stories of Hope, Courage and Resilience from the Holocaust and WWII

Writer Feilim James has created a new piece of theatre based on research into forgotten voices from the Holocaust and WWII, with visual artist and theatre-maker Aine O'Hara creating a virtual background.

The Social Life of Misinformation: A Challenge (October 19th, 2pm)

In the face of a global misinformation crisis, many journalists and scientists have taken to fact-checking as a solution. Provide the correct counter-information, the theory goes, and those who follow QAnon or far-right extremists and who spread false information about elections, refugee populations or Covid will start spreading the correct information instead.

Hosted online by Front Line Defenders, this roundtable discussion will address the impact misinformation has on social media and in relation to the work of human rights defenders.

Disability and Defence of Human Rights (October 21st, 1.30pm)

Human rights defenders across the globe can include those with disabilities, and they constitute vital voices in the defence of human rights and promotion of inclusivity, equity, and justice.

Hosted online by Front Line Defenders, speakers on this panel will share their experiences, explore how the dominant culture of 'ableism' creates challenges, and how assumptions about disability prevent human rights defenders from being fully visible in their work.

You can read an interview with the festival’s artistic director, Mary Moynihan, here.

For more information on the festival and on The Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, visit https://smashingtimes.ie/. Front Line Defenders can be found at https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/.








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