Chairperson: Ailbhe Smyth
The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, remarked after the recent election, ‘This was a democratic revolution at the ballot box.’ Across the Arab world people have taken to the streets to effect change. In the face of such profound social and political flux what is the role of the artist/writer? How strong is the impulse to engage with the here and now and can and should art influence/ shape unfolding events? Or does ‘good’ art need distance and consequently demand a more retrospective approach?
Examining the issues and discussing the challenges are Hisham Matar — the multi award-winning Libyan/ American novelist (In the Country of Men; Anatomy of a Disappearance); Fadia Faqir — Jordanian/British writer (My Name is Salma) and defender of human rights in the Arab world; Fiach Mac Conghail — whose mission as Artistic Director of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre has been to see it back ‘at the forefront of social and political change in Ireland’; and Rita Duffy — one of Northern Ireland’s most
groundbreaking and politically inspired visual artists.