Thursday, 17 September 2015

British Association for Irish Studies 2015 conference

On 4-5 September 2015, British Association for Irish Studies held its annual conference.  I was very pleased to be able to participate on the Saturday, and also to have the opportunity to give a paper at the event.  It was lovely to meet up with other academics working in the Irish Studies field. The conference theme was "Ireland: Agents of Social Transformation", a motif that lend itself well to further examination and enquiry in a range of different areas of Irish Studies. The conference programme was rich and quite varied, and I was spoilt for choice.  Professor Patrick Lonergan gave the first Saturday keynote lecture, entitled "Performing Transformation: Irish Theatre and Crisis". His examination of contemporary Irish theatre and the challenges it faces was astute and compelling.  

Later that afternoon I gave my own paper, '“Four Lost Souls”: Crisis and Crime in Neville Thompson’s Writing.' Neville Thompson is one of the many interesting contemporary Irish crime writers I have had the pleasure of reading and researching.  The short story I examined in my paper, "The Children of Gear" was particularly fascinating to work on, because it brought together my long-standing interest in the short story format with Irish crime fiction.  Thompson's short story takes its inspiration from the Irish myth "The Children of Lir" and recasts the myth in a contemporary deprived urban Irish setting, in order to examine the ideas of 'family' and 'crisis'.  The story can be found in the anthology Requiems For The Departed (2010), edited by Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone.

I had good responses to my paper.  A lengthy fascinating question-and-answer session followed for both myself and the other speaker on my panel, Dr. Katherine O’Keefe, who gave a great paper on “Doyle and Dev: Refiguring the image of the Irish Family in Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper”.  You can read the abstract for my paper, and all the other papers given at the conference, by following this link:
I had a great time at BAIS and hope to go again next time!  I will be publishing my paper in an extended format soon.