Arts

The Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival returns with a mix of live and online events

The Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival is set to return with a mix of live and online events showcasing the power of the arts to help highlight injustice. David Roy finds out more...

Dublin's Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality promotes the arts as a tool for highlighting human rights issues

THE 2021 Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival will showcase the 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.

Running for 10 days between Friday October 15 and Sunday October 24, the festival aims to share, celebrate and promote the arts for human rights by bringing together artists, activists, citizens, families, communities and all those interested in using the arts to promote equality for all.

The Festival is being presented by Dublin's Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality and human rights organisation Front Line Defenders, in partnership with Amnesty International, Fighting Words, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, National Women's Council of Ireland, Trócaire and Poetry Ireland.

The theme of this year's festival is 'Hope, Courage and Resilience: The Story Continues', celebrating human rights and linking the arts to civil society, active citizenship and politics.

The programme will include Irish and international artists and guest speakers, with both online and in-person events in line with current Covid-19 guidelines. It promises film screenings, theatre, music, dance, visual and digital art, poetry, literature, historical memory, discussions and arts-based workshops.

Site specific shows featuring theatre, poetry, literature, song, music and dance will be presented alongside digital/film projections on the building walls of Dublin's Rathfarnham Castle, and there will also be a creative pop-up installation in the Castle grounds.

Live performances of theatre, dance and music will be presented on the rooftop garden of the Chester Beatty Library, an exhibition of visual artworks and film art pieces will be presented at dlr Mill Theatre Gallery Space in Dundrum, and a discussion on human rights, poetry and the environment will be held at the NUI Galway Human Rights Centre.

Key events 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 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 (Tuesday October 19, 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 21, 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 prevents human rights defenders from being fully visible in their work.

"Last year, the festival was conducted entirely online due to Covid-19 and we attracted over 10,000 audience members," explains the festival's artistic director, Mary Moynihan.

"This year we are delighted that the festival will contain both online and in-person events in line with current Covid-19 guidelines, and will facilitate the opportunity to share, celebrate, remember, explore, provoke and promote the arts for human rights.

"The festival is an opportunity to bring together artists, activists, citizens, families, communities and all those interested in using the arts to celebrate and promote human rights and equality for all.

"We want to use the arts to create conversations on what matters in our lives today. There will be theatre performances, film screenings, documentaries, music, dance, visual and digital art, poetry, literature, historical memory, discussions and arts-based workshops, featuring Irish and international artists and guest speakers celebrating and promoting dignity and respect for all people equally.

"The festival will bear witness and remember the past, explore the present and celebrate the future linked to equality and rights for all, highlighting the role artists can play in a new society.

"We hope everyone will join us in this celebration of the arts and human rights."

:: See smashingtimes.ie for latest festival information

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