14 November 2007

Cultural Liaison Officer and Entertainments Manager: Colin Younger

Colin Younger’s interest in Ireland and Irish Studies began as a student at De La Salle College, Manchester where he became an accomplished folk musician along with gaining his Bachelors’ degree in Education. During this time he was a member of a number of bands and learned how to entertain, book venues, deal with PA systems and all the ephemeratara that is associated with musical events.

He has worked for NEICN in the capacity of Cultural Liaison Officer and Entertainments Manager on a voluntary basis since its inception. Colin deals with the business and financial side of the network along with the booking of entertainers and artists for our cultural events. He also ensures that cinema screenings are organised, publicised and enjoyed by both NEICN members and the wider public in the region.

In 2007 Colin was instrumental in organising the hugely successful NEICN St Patrick’s Day Charity Ball to raise money for local hospices. With his team of volunteers and students, in particular Robert Finnigan, Colin will be responsible for the smooth running of this year’s conference and cultural event.

13 November 2007

NEICN's Ireland: War and Peace

The conference presented a wide range of approaches to Irish culture from academics and non-academics alike. Performances, roundtables, collaborative projects, and other non-traditional presentations were included in addition to conference papers.

Combining an academic conference with a celebration of Irish culture, the event included a book launch of the new NEICN publication, Essays on Modern Irish Literature edited by John Strachan and Alison O’Malley Younger and also poetry readings by Bernard O’Donoghue, exhibition dancing and a conference banquet and ceilidh.

12 November 2007

Co-founders and co-directors of NEICN:- John Strachan

John Strachan is Professor in Romantic Literature at Sunderland. He has published widely on the comic literature of the late Georgian period and is co-editor of Parodies of the Romantic Age (5 volumes, 1999), general editor of British Satire 1785-1840 (5 volumes, 2003), and editor of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine: Selected Criticism, 1820-25 (2006). He is also a specialist in the poetry of Leigh Hunt, John Keats and the 'Cockney School' and has edited Hunt's Poetical Works (2 volumes, 2003; the first scholarly edition for 80 years). His Routledge Complete Critical Guide to the Poems of John Keats appeared in 2004. With Professor Richard Terry, he is co-author of Poetry (2000). A long-term project Advertising and Satirical Culture will be published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. Dr Strachan is the Associate Editor for Romanticism for the seventh edition of The Oxford Companion to English Literature (to be published in 2010). He has a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2006-2007 to complete his book The Devil’s Baits: The Literature of Sport 1780-1840.

Professor Strachan has a long-term interest in Irish literature. His Oxford D.Phil. was on the work of Charles Robert Maturin and he is the general editor of The Satires of Thomas Moore (2003). With Dr Alison Younger, he co-founded the annual Sunderland Irish Literature conferences and he is a founding member of NEICN. He is currently involved in a research project entitled Shopping with James Joyce: The Cultural History of Advertising in Nineteenth-Century Ireland with Dr Younger, Professor Stephen Regan (University of Durham) and Dr John Nash, (University of Durham). John enjoys clay pigeon shooting, playing the five-string banjo and spreading world peace.

Co-founders and co-directors of NEICN:- Alison O'Malley- Younger

Dr Alison O'Malley- Younger

BA, MA, PhD (Sunderland), joined the University in 2005, after having worked as a visiting lecturer at Sunderland and the Open University. She has published in the fields of Contemporary Irish Drama, Contemporary Critical Theory, and Women's Writing in Ireland . She has recently completed a monograph entitled Brian Friel's Liminal Drama (Mellen), and a selection of essays entitled, Representing Ireland: Past Present and Future (University of Sunderland Press), and has recently completed a book for Edinburgh University Press entitled Drama: Text and Performance for the Elements of Literature series.

She is currently co-editing a selection of essays entitled Essays in Modern Irish Literature with Professor John Strachan and working on a selection of articles on the contemporary Irish playwright, Brian Friel and the nineteenth century playwright Dion Boucicault. She is also involved in a research project entitled Shopping with James Joyce: The Cultural History of Advertising in Nineteenth-Century Ireland with Professor John Strachan (University of Sunderland), Professor Stephen Regan (University of Durham) and Dr John Nash, (University of Durham).

Her research is reflected in her teaching and she currently runs modules on Irish literature at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels: these are, ‘The State of Play: Contemporary Irish Drama’; ‘The Living Stream: Contemporary Irish Poetry’, and ‘Strange Country: Irish Literature from 1790 – 1831’. She has also been centrally involved in the coordination and organisation of the five international Irish Studies conference hosted at the University of Sunderland, and is a member of Member of BAIS (British Association for Irish Studies); Member of IASIL (International Association for the study of Irish Literatures); NISN – Nordic Irish Studies Network; ACIS – American Conference for Irish Studies.

Volunteer Coordinator: Robert Finnigan

Robert first developed his re-awakened passion for Irish literature, while attending Alison O’Malley- Younger’s Irish Drama module as an undergraduate, where he challenged the notion Alison was making regarding a mythical figure- (hopefully Alison was impressed). Since then Robert has been involved with NEICN and Irish Studies at the University of Sunderland in many ways, along with Alison O’Malley- Younger and especially Colin Younger, in helping promote and encourage research into the various characteristics of Irish culture and society.

Robert’s main areas of interests lye in the realms of Irish mythology, folklore and legends, particularly tales of heroic battles, creatures of old and the myths of origin. He also possess a passion for Irish drama, in both English and Gaelic, while enjoying poetry by Irish authors, especially the works of Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, W. B. Yeats, Charlotte Brooke and Seamus Heaney; it is drama and theatre that Robert finds his spirit lies.

Recently, Robert has begun to explore his taste for gothic literature, literature that emphasises mystery and horror, texts filled with ghost-haunted rooms, underground passages, and secret stairways, monsters of a time long forgotten and death. Although, it is particularly Irish gothic writers such as Sheridan Le Fanu, Charles Maturin, Maria Edgeworth and Bram Stoker that have become the focus his research. Ultimately it is the Irish Vampire in particular that appears to have captured his imagination.

The North East Irish Culture Network

The North East Irish Cultural Network (NEICN) is an academic association based at the Universities of Sunderland and Durham. It seeks to promote and encourage the study and teaching of all aspects of the society, culture and literature of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Diaspora. NEICN organises seminars, symposia and conferences for scholars, Ph.D. students, teachers and other interested parties as well as hosting cultural events such as dance performances, poetry readings and musical evenings for the benefit of the community. NEICN also encourages discussion among members on topics of Irish interest, and promote and enhance the interest in Irish studies within the North of England and beyond.