Report from my time as Doolin’s Multimedia Writer in Residence, by Dave Lordan

To book Dave Lordan as multimedia writer-in-residence for your community contact dlordan@hotmail.com or 0870921117. All photos and posters below by Dave Lordan.

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My residency in Doolin came about as a result of a chat I had with Donal Minihane, the director of the Doolin Writers Weekend and manager of Doolin Hotel, where the festival takes place. Donal was interested in building up the connections between North Clare and Ireland’s fast-evolving contemporary literary culture. I’d mentioned it was a dream of mine to live and work in the west of Ireland, where I am from, but that there were not enough working opportunities to make this a realistic possibility. In the meantime I was trying to spend more and more of my time in the west and to build up connections which in future would enable me to return on a full-time basis. Donal then very kindly invited me to be the 1st Doolin writer-in-residence. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

Donal and I worked together on designing the residency. It was important to both of us that the local community benefited from the presence of a professional writer in the area. Like a growing number of writers of my generation, I am developing an interest and gaining experience in multimedia creativity, in collaborative writing practices, in writing for performance and broadcast, and in inclusive community education. So I have very many beneficial skills I can offer local communities in return for hosting me as their writer-in-residence.

While in Doolin I contributed freely to the local community and economy in the following ways:

Through our combined social media effort these videos, photographs, and articles reached upwards of 25000 people, a globally spread audience with an already expressed interest in the cultural, natural, and hospitality attractions of the West of Ireland. A lot of cross-platform, well-deserved positive publicity for Doolin then, which I hope attracts many visitors to the area.

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In return I received accommodation and board, as well as hospitality well beyond the call-of-duty from all in the hotel and from everyone I met in the local area during my three week stay. What was of greatest benefit was the free time to ramble and ponder in an area of such striking and diverse natural beauty, where I could roam for hours on end, in-between the hours spent writing. This combination of time to ramble, time to write, and time to engage with and support the local community seems to me to be the perfect combination for a successful residency, with benefits for everyone concerned.

I hope that others will follow me as Doolin writer-in-residence in the model established by my trial residency. I also hope that I will be invited to partake in similar residencies in other beautiful, hospitable, and culturally rich parts of rural Ireland who would benefit from my community teaching experience and my ability to spread the good news about a place in all directions and in many media.

I had two aims during my residency. Firstly, I wanted to update my multi-media skills so that I could begin making competent and effective short video content, posters, memes, digital photo-art. I brought an iPad mini with me for this purpose and through trial and error and a lot of experiment and starting-all-over, I managed to teach myself these things. The iPad is an incredible device which is revolutionising creativity – both in terms of how and what people themselves create, and in terms of how we engage with and consume creative content made by others.

Part of our national claim on Apple Inc back-taxes should be an insistence that Apple provide a free latest model iPad or iPad mini to everyone in the country. We need as a matter of urgency to futureproof our education system by putting multi-media literacy at the centre of it, alongside textual and numerical literacy. Before long,  anyone who cannot competently use multimedia devices TO CREATE THEIR OWN MULTIMEDIA CONTENT will be in the same unenviable, doomed-to-the-scrapheap position of the inumerate and illiterate.

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Unsurprisingly, our young people are way ahead of our education system with regards to multimedia. We hear so much from moralists and luddites about how multi-media engagement is bad for young people, but this is only one side of the story. For many young people multimedia devices are an enhancement and an encouragement to creativity. Over the past few years I have met hundreds between the ages of 8 and 18 who have spontaneously taught themselves how to make music, create blogs and vlogs, edit and enhance photo and video content, generate animations, graphics, stop-motion etc etc etc. This spontaneous, multimedia, self-education is a global phenomenon that can only get bigger – much bigger – in the coming period.

My second aim during my time at the residency was to make a start on writing a textbook aimed at teachers and youth educators in general, all about facilitating multimedia creativity in young people. It has long been obvious to me that that integrating multimedia creativity into the creative writing classroom is more inclusive and more encouraging of participation, by far, then just teaching text-only forms such as page-poetry and the short story. These traditional and hallowed forms come from a different era and, as time goes by (and technology changes both the form and the reception of human creativity), they are  becoming more and more alien to and excluding of young people.

Without ditching the best of what the past of literature has left us, we should be teaching the multimedia creativity of the present and the future, not that of a bygone era, just as we teach the most up-to-date and relevant science. Vested interests in publishing and among literary conservatives can be expected to predictably disagree with such an emphasis on the now and the new – but we must make our choices as educators on what is best for those whom we teach, not what is best for old and outmoded institutions and establishments. To do otherwise is plainly a betrayal of the young. We need a new secondary school subject called MULTIMEDIA CREATIVITY, and we need it yesterday.

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Many teachers agree with me on all of this but are in need of training and guidance, as well as encouragement, when it comes to multimedia engagement and pedagogy. It has become obvious to me in my teacher-training role over the last few years that there is a huge training gap among English teachers in particular when it comes to contemporary creativity. As well as lacking knowledge in multimedia, most teachers are not in touch with contemporary developments in the creative writing field and are therefore teaching 19th century approaches to 21st Century teenagers, a complete waste of everyone’s time and a pedagogy of nostalgia that would be unacceptable in any other subject.

The truth is that secondary school English teachers are unequipped and unqualified to teach creative writing in any way relevant to the present or future of the field. None of which is helped by the Department of Education’s absurd decision to introduce Creative Writing (such an outdated subject concept!) as an optional Junior Cert subject without any consultation with creative writing teachers, and without any additional training or support for teachers. Morons, is all I can think of to call the departmental bureaucrats who proceed in such a shoddy way.

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My forthcoming textbook – online only, full of original multimedia content – is intended to make a much needed contribution to this crucial but institutionally neglected area of multimedia creativity. Thanks to the good start I got on it in Doolin, I am hoping to have it ready by September 2016.

The trial residency, based on community engagement and up-to-the-minute creative practice, was of definable benefit both to the local host community, and to me as the grateful recipient of the residency. It’s a model of independent residency I can wholeheartedly recommend to both potential residency hosts and writers with the necessary skills and interests indicated above. Both I and Donal Minihane are available to advise host towns/areas/businesses etc on how to go about establishing an independent residency, so go ahead and mail or call if you have anything to ask.

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Dave Lordan 0870921117 dlordan@hotmail.com

The Universal Moderate by Kevin Higgins

  

after Buffy Sainte-Marie

 

This poem is dedicated to all candidates of the “centre-left” and “centre-right” in the Irish General Election and to all supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

Over wishy-washy tea in the office canteen,

or when you’re condemned to sit beside him

at the after party of a funeral,

the unsub speaks his principles

like he’s eight foot one;

but is back down to his usual

one foot eight when

the vote on anything’s taken.

 

Though he says so himself,

it took monumental bravery

for a man of his measurements

to come loudly out in favour of

homosexual marriage the day after

it was legalised everywhere.​

 

He’s taking at face value what the Director of the CIA

told Congress yesterday. He’s arguing in favour

of the First World War. On balance, he’s for

his country and China continuing to mutually

pleasure each other; of selling more

helicopters to Saudi Arabia. He’s too busy

giving King Leopold of Belgium’s efforts

to civilise the Congo another second chance

to indulge your wild theories.

 

Be it the proposal to limit the right of landowners

to gun down vagrants wandering

onto their property; the suggested legislation

to make mandatory the rescue by their employers

of children wedged up chimneys;

or the phasing out of compulsory

female circumcision; he’s in favour of everything

when the circumstances permit

and all bar Sir Rhodes Boyson’s corpse concur.

 

He’s the Universal Moderate,

forever holding up the bit between

those who want to slaughter six million

and those who “unrealistically refuse to consider”

killing even one.

 

KEVIN HIGGINS is The Bogmans Cannon Satirist-in-Residence

 

The Lovers Library part 2 – Mystic Love. Alt.Valentines playlist chosen by Dave Lordan

On the afternoon of Saturday 13th Feb I am teaching a workshop in writing a love poem – and all sorts of lovers are welcome to attend. The workshop is only 25 euro and you will leave it with an original, unique, and priceless piece of love-writing for your lover(s) to cherish forever and a day. Below is the second (first here) of 3 Lovers Library playlists, showcasing some of the diverse literary lovers inspiring the workshop. Sign up here for the workshop in The Big Smoke Writing Factory.

Hildegarde von Bingen – Vision 4 – Love. 12th Century visionary and polymath Hildegard Von Bingen composed some of the most beautiful music-for-voices ever written. She also wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, and poems…and she did it all for love – Divine Love.

Lydia Koniordou recites “Gongyla” a poem by Sappho. Koniordou is considered one of the world’s leading classical performers and this stirring rendition of Gongyla leaves us in no doubt why. All roads lead back to Sappho when it comes to the love lyric – song or poem – and it was she who first fused the erotic and the religious in the adored figure of an ideal lover.

The New Life (La vita nuova), by Dante Alighieri, Audiobook: Full Audiobook of the record Dante made of his mystical love for the young Beatrice. a landmark text the history of literary love.

Christina Rossetti- Monna Innominata, Sonnet 4 . Somewhat overshadowed by the achievements of her more prolific brother, Rosetti is in my view a more sophisticiated poet. This famous sonnet is a classic description of the fusion into mystical oneness with the lover which marks the experience of true love.

Robert Bly Reads Ibn Hazm. Prepare to be blown away by 1000 year old love poems from the ancient muslim world, read by poetry hero Robert Bly

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: ANTI- RACIST DAY OF ACTION COALITION

Soundmigration

The following is a press release for the anti-racist mobilisation against racist organising in Ireland. Plse use the share buttons below.

The event page is here.

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On Saturday 6 February a small group of individuals will attempt to launch a dangerous and reactionary movement in Ireland. We are calling upon members of the public to gather outside the GPO from 13.30 in response to this development. We are asking people to join us in sending a peaceful, broad-based and unified message against fascism, organised racism, and the rise of anti-migrant sentiment. Our mobilisation on Saturdayis to voice our opposition to the launch of Pegida Ireland. This far-right anti-Islam group is part of a broader European campaign of hatred against migrants and ethnic and religious minorities.  In response, a European Day of Action has been called, consisting of a range of counter-demonstrations taking place across Europe against these racists and fascists.

 

Pegida is…

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