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Fri, 27 Oct

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London

State O'Chassis: Irish Poetry, Film, Storytelling & Music

At this special Halloween event, there will be a preview of Corie McGowan’s newest film work, State O’Chassis. There will be poetry readings by Cherry Smyth, storytelling & music by Deirbhile Ní Bhranáin and a talk by Maev McDaid, an Alliance For Choice activist of 20 years and expert on Irish Diasp

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State O'Chassis: Irish Poetry, Film, Storytelling & Music
State O'Chassis: Irish Poetry, Film, Storytelling & Music

Time & Location

27 Oct 2023, 19:00 – 21:00

London, Sojourner Truth Community Centre, 161 Sumner Rd, London SE15 6JL, UK

About the Event

State O'Chassis: Irish Poetry, Film, Storytelling & Music

Friday 27th October 2023

The Feminist Library

Sojourner Truth Community Centre, 161 Sumner Rd, London SE15 6JL

7:00-9:00 pm

Free! or suggested donation of £5!

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Please join us on Friday the 27th of October at The Feminist Library for a night of film, poetry readings, music and storytelling from Ireland.

At this special Halloween event, there will be a preview of Corie McGowan’s newest film work, State O’Chassis. There will be poetry readings by Cherry Smyth, storytelling & music by Deirbhile Ní Bhranáin and a talk by Maev McDaid, an Alliance For Choice activist of 20 years and expert on Irish Diaspora.

Particularly at The Feminist Library, we will be acknowledging the invisible journeys of people who have had to travel across the Irish Sea to receive abortions and a memorial to those we have lost due to unsafe conditions. Sharing knowledge from a decolonial feminist perspective and overcoming trauma and violence due to colonial oppression in the context of Ireland. Thinking of this idea of home as a swirling turmoil of chaos with a conflicted past, we grieve generations of the past and lost futures. Folding back to the tragedy of the famine, displacement, and Irish Diaspora in Britain. Looking towards song and poetry as a method of resistance, articulation, and a political driving force in times of despair.

Access info: the venue is step-free with an accessible toilet, a BSL interpreter is to be arranged, and there will be alcohol served at the event.

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Corie McGowan (b.1994, Ireland-she/they) is a London-based multidisciplinary artist; originally from the North of Ireland. McGowan graduated with a Masters from the Royal College of Art in Contemporary Art Practice in 2019. Their expanded practice utilises future materials such as 3D technology to make custom-fitted silicon wearables. Combining silicon with performance and moving image; as a tool to rewrite narratives often shaped by anxieties and experiences as a working-class person who grew up in the North of Ireland.

State O'Chassis, is a multidisciplinary visual arts piece speculating new worlds and discourses within the context of the North of Ireland. Through a decolonial feminist analysis, the project strives to retrace fragments of a troubled and lost oral history by learning from oral song traditions as a method of research, thinking about songs to summon chaos, and revolting against colonial occupation by articulating a vision via the potency of Caoineadh (Keening). Within the project, the investigation into ecology and soil ritualizes the raw, unhinged performance of Caoineadh and the corruption of the soil via extractivist practices that led to its exhaustion during the famine.

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Cherry Smyth is an Irish writer, living in London. Lagan Press published her first two poetry collections, When the Lights Go Up, (2001) and One Wanted Thing, (2006). The Irish Times wrote of the latter: ‘Here is clarity and realism, couched in language that is accessible and inventive. The title poem carries all Smyth’s hallmarks: precision, linguistic inventiveness, and joy.’ Her third collection Test, Orange, (2012), was published by Pindrop Press, and her debut novel, Hold Still, Holland Park Press, appeared in (2013).

Smyth published Famished, a book-length poem with Pindrop Press, 2019. Famished explores the Irish Famine and how imperialism helped cause one of the 19th century's largest refugee crises. Famished is also touring as a performance with vocalist Lauren Kinsella and composer Ed Bennett. Smyth’s collaboration draws on the power of collective lament, using an electronic score and expanded singing. Inspired by the current migrant crisis, which evokes the ‘coffin ships’ that crossed the Atlantic, Famished details the impact of the Famine on women particularly and how famine followed the Union Jack. As Smyth says, ‘If the Famine happened now, we’d be in the boats.’

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Maev McDaid is a researcher and expert on the Irish diaspora in Britain. She holds an ESRC-funded PhD from the University of Sheffield (2021) and is an advisory member to the long-established NGO, Irish in Britain. Maev works extensively across England, Ireland, and Europe on developing oral histories of diasporic cultures and is on the advisory board of Fréa, an organisation giving support to Irish survivors of institutional abuse. She also has specialist training in working with migrant communities and people with early-onset dementia. For over 15 years Maev’s work has been based on collecting stories and examining the experience of Irish in Britain through social, political, and sociological lenses and she recently completed further training with the Oral History Society of Great Britain. As well as this Maev has been an activist for reproductive rights organisation Alliance for Choice for over two decades - lending practical support and developing political education sessions for activist groups dedicated to reproductive justice.

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Deirbhile Ní Bhranáin is a writer, researcher and organiser currently based in North London. Deirbhile's favourite activity is spending time with their friends.

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Poster designed by Aoife Cawley

Kindly funded by the Arts Council England

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