Afternoon Workshop, University of Reading, Edith Morley Room 127, 29th November 1:00pm – 6:00pm

There will be three presentations

Professor Marie Breen-Smyth     

1968-1978: The Context of the Decade: Hegemony, Silence and Spaces of Exception.

Professor Marie Breen-Smyth is a writer, victims’ advocate and Professor Emerita, University of Surrey, She founded the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Contemporary Political Violence (CSRV) in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University. Her publications include The Ashgate Research Companion on Political Violence (2012); Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (with Jackson,  Jarvis and Gunning 2010: Routledge) and the first book on the topic, Critical Terrorism Studies (with Jackson and Gunning Routledge: 2009). Her other books include Truth and Justice after Violent Conflict: Managing Violent Pasts (Routledge, 2007)

Damian Gorman   

 Devices of Detachment: a Verse-Film (35 mins BBC2, 1992) Screening and Discussion.

Damian Gorman is a poet, activist, and writer/director of many documentary programmes for the BBC and Channel Four. He has worked as a consultant and facilitator on City University London’s Olive Tree Programme involving Israeli and Palestinian students. He has also worked on behalf of the WEA, An Crann, the Creative Writers Network (as a mentor), Ards Council, Derry City Council, Down District Council, Fermanagh District Council, Corrymeela reconciliation centre, the ‘TELL’ mental health group and many other bodies in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. He has been playwright-in-residence with the Centre for Excellence in the Creative and Performing Arts at Queen’s University Belfast, and writer-in-residence at Belfast’s new Metropolitan Arts Centre (The Mac).

Conor Carville       

Arts Council Tours and the Archive: Poems, Bombs, Hotels, Networks.

Conor Carville is Associate Professor of English at Reading University. His book on Irish cultural theory The Ends of Ireland: Criticism, History, Subjectivity, was published by Manchester University Press in 2012.  Samuel Beckett and the Visual is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in March 2018. He has recently been carrying out research in the Northern Irish poetry archives at Emory University and the Arts Council Northern Ireland Archives, as part of his British Academy funded Room to Rhyme project. His book of poems Harm’s Way was published by Dedalus Press.

Other invited participants to the workshop include:

  • Siobhan Campbell (Open University) Siobhan is a poet and critic, originally from Ireland, where interests in post-conflict and cross-community work developed into her current outreach in creative writing with military veterans. She is the author of five works of poetry and co-editor of the forthcoming book of essays on the work of Eavan Boland. Her poetry explores the moral obligations of the artist who writes about or from a contested or violent society. She is currently developing new creative writing pedagogies for non-traditional environments or in recovering cultures.
  • Cherilyn Elston (University of Reading) is a Lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies. Her research focuses on contemporary Colombia, in particular the cultural politics of memory in recent peace processes. She is the author of Women’s Writing in Colombia – An Alternative History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Between 2016 and 2017 she worked for the British NGO Justice for Colombia, who have facilitated experience-sharing between the Colombian and Northern Irish peace processes.
  • George Legg (Kings College, London) George’s interdisciplinary research explores the conjoined cultural, spatial, national and political aesthetics of contemporary capitalism. This interest is reflected in his recent article on the New Town of Craigavon for the Irish Review, as well as in that journal’s special issue Biopolitical Ireland (No. 53, Autumn 2016), which he co-edited with Dr. Niamh Campbell. George’s monograph, Northern Ireland and the politics of boredom: conflict, capital and culture, is forthcoming from Manchester University Press. This book examines the capitalist critiques that underpin representations of sectarian conflict in poetry, photography, performance, oral-testimony and punk.
  • Professor Steven Matthews ( University of Reading) Steven is a poet and critic whose  primary research interests are in modernism and its aftermaths, and in modern and contemporary British, Irish, and American poetries. He also publishes on Samuel Beckett, Thirties writing, and post-colonial poetry. His publications include T.S. Eliot and the Early Modern Literature, Oxford University Press (2013). Skying (poems), Waterloo Press, 2012, Irish Poetry: Politics, History, Negotiation (Palgrave Macmillan 1997), Yeats as Precursor (Palgrave Macmillan 2001) and Les Murray (MUP 2002). He is co-editor of Rewriting the Thirties (Longman 1997) and series editor of Contexts (Arnold). A new book of poems, On Magnestism, is forthcoming.
  • Professor Peter Robinson (poet and critic, University of Reading) Peter Robinson’s many volumes of poetry include a Collected Poems (2017), The Look of Goodbye (2008) and Like the Living End (2013). Other publications include a collection of aphorisms, Spirits of the Stair (2009), four volumes of literary criticism and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2013). His work is the subject of The Salt Companion to Peter Robinson, ed. Adam Piette and Katy Price (2007), and a new collection of essays on his writings edited by Tom Phillips is in preparation. The literary editor for Two Rivers Press, he is Professor of English and American Literature.

The three presentations and film are intended to provoke open discussion on the following areas: the impact of literary and artistic culture on political crisis; the relationship between art and state funding during crisis; the extent to which crisis can be represented; the role of art in conflict resolution and reconciliation; the role of literary and artistic culture in the maintenance of a narrowing public sphere; opportunities and directions for further research.

Register your place

The event is free and open to anyone interested. A sandwich lunch, plus tea and coffee, will be provided. If you would like to attend, please email the organiser, Conor Carville (

As places are limited, we urge you to get in touch soon (definitely by Wednesday 22nd November) – places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.