We hope you are all keeping safe and well this February. This month’s newsletter is themed Arts and Social Justice and ties in with the International Day of Social Justice on 20 February 2021. The newsletter includes work from feature artist Leanne McDonagh, as well as news from the network, the latest grants and opportunities, and more!
Created as part of Art Connects: At Home with Smashing Times, our online series of curated arts content, newsletters, and events.
‘Every day, we write the future. Together, we sign it. Together we declare it. We share it. For this truth marches on. Inside each of us.’ - Amanda Gorman
‘Do not look the other way; do not hesitate. Recognize that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.’ – Nelson Mandela
‘When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.’ - Audre Lorde
‘Every social justice movement that I know of has come out of people sitting in small groups, telling their life stories, and discovering that other people have shared similar experiences.’ - Gloria Steinem
'If Beale Street Could Talk' (1974) by James Baldwin
In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old woman, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin's story mixes the sweet and the sad. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the psyche.
'My Own Words' by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The New York Times bestselling book from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A comprehensive look inside her brilliantly analytical, entertainingly wry mind, revealing the fascinating life of one of our generation's most influential voices in both law and public opinion.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Director/writer: Ryan Coogler
Based on true events, ‘Fruitvale Station’ follows the story of Oscar Grant, a young black man killed by a BART police officer in 2009 at Fruitvale station in Oakland, California. Taking place over the course of Oscar’s last day, which was New Year’s Eve, the movie shows Oscar dealing with his girlfriend, trying to get his job back, and going to his mother’s birthday party. It’s a snapshot of a life cut off for no good reason, drawing attention to police brutality in a very realistic, truthful way.
It’s Our Time (2020)
Directed by Susanne Erler. Written by Susanne Erler and Aline Abboud.
This documentary looks at youth activism across Europe. In Germany, the Stiftung pressure group fight for the environment. In Poland, LGBT activists fight for equal rights against entrenched homophobia. In France, anti-racist protestors make themselves heard.
Leanne McDonagh is an artist and teacher, she is also a Traveller woman who grew up on a halting site, with first-hand experience of the prejudices and misconceptions that society has about Travellers.
As an artist she feels she has a unique opportunity to represent and record her community from within and as an educator she aims to use her experiences both positive and negative for the benefit of present and prospective students from the Travelling community.
Since her debut in 2015 she has hung numerous exhibitions across the provinces and has received several awards and bursaries to aid her in her practice. She is currently working on a public sculpture funded by the % for Art scheme and has recently illustrated the short story book, titled, ‘Why The Moon Travels,’ written by a fellow Traveller, Oein De Bhairduin which is the first of its kind in Ireland. She has also participated in RTE Illuminations, an art project commissioned during the Pandemic in 2020.
Accommodate vs. Assimilate 2017, is a body of work that Leanne created in response to the Carrickmines tragedy. Leanne said, “Traveller accommodation had long been something that was swept under the carpet by those who have the power and ability to make changes for the better. Carrickmines and the aftermath that followed was the straw that broke that camel’s back for me, and I created this body of work to try and create awareness around the wider issue of accommodation within the community.”
Kinship 2020 is a body of work that Leanne is currently working on. Leanne said, “I believe that Kinship is seen as one of the most important things among the community. Our family bonds, connections, and our relationships to each other are what has held our community together through all the years of discrimination and marginalization and this is something that I want to capture through my work.”
Nature & Nurture
Smashing Times News
The Arts and Social Justice
Social justice is to do with equality and human rights. The world has experienced a significant rise in wealth inequality in the distribution of income among people. According to the United Nations report,
“Income-related inequalities, notably in the ownership of capital and other assets, in access to a variety of services and benefits, and in the personal security that money can buy, are growing. There is also greater inequality in the distribution of opportunities for remunerated employment, with worsening unemployment and underemployment in various parts of the world affecting a disproportionate number of people at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. . . The popular contention that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer appears to be largely based on fact, particularly within the present global context. Moreover, extreme or absolute poverty, experienced by those whose income is barely sufficient for survival, remains widespread. Indigence levels have risen in the most affluent countries, in countries once part of the Soviet bloc and in various parts of Africa, but have remained stable in Latin America and have declined in Asia. Extreme poverty and the suffering it entails affect a large proportion of humankind, and major efforts by Governments and international organizations to reduce or eradicate poverty have thus far failed to produce the desired results.’’
 Social Justice in an Open World: The Role of the United Nations, https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/ifsd/SocialJustice.pdf
Community Relations Resource Fair Online, Wednesday 24 February 2021
Smashing Times are delighted to speak at the Community Relations Resource Fair marking the 2021 Centenary. The Decade of Centenaries: 1912-1922, included a series of significant events in Ireland that changed the physical, cultural, political and economic landscape today, North and South. The Government of Ireland Act 1920 led to Northern Ireland as a separate legal entity on 3 May 1921, and in approaching the 100th anniversary, we have the opportunity to reflect on this period of time, acknowledging different perspectives and complexities of a contested history that may influence how people view and may respond to this anniversary. The Resource Fair offers a variety of approaches and opportunities for respectful listening and engaging in constructive dialogue about the impact of Partition. Smashing Times will speak about Women’s Voices: Then and Now digital art exhibition, which takes inspiration from women’s stories from the 1916 to 1923 period in Irish history, highlighting stories of change experienced by pioneering women in Ireland.
Register for the Resource fair here.
View the Women’s Voices: Then and Now digital art exhibition here.
Our Civic Heritage
Our Civic Heritage seeks to promote European common values and civic education and engagement in Europe. It addresses three types of target groups: members of the public that are interested in civic participation activities, educators that teach civic participation and cultural heritage, and policy makers and those working in the cultural heritage and civic sector whether in a public or private capacity. The Covid-19 pandemic is already changing the way people are engaging with each other and how they are supporting their local communities and national initiatives. Activities related to civic engagement have become stronger than ever during this pandemic, getting people closer together during a time of extreme physical isolation. From informal local and small initiatives such as helping vulnerable neighbours during the pandemic, to large scale national programmes of volunteering to support health service or food production, all citizens have a role to play.
PAUSE: Practices and Approaches for Upskilling Educators, is aimed at exchanging experience and good practices for improving the skills and competences of educators working with vulnerable adults.
Within a consortium of eight organisations from eight EU countries and extended networks of stakeholders at national and European level, the project will develop a comprehensive database of practices and initiatives that provide successful mechanisms for improving the teaching skills of adult educators related to promoting interculturalism, dealing with cultural and linguistic diversity, promoting tolerance and equality in the class room , fighting stereotypes, racism and discrimination, promoting inclusion and participation, paying attention to specific learning needs.
Smashing Times are delighted to implement the Creative Connections programme in Northern Ireland, supported by the Northern Ireland Executive’s T:BUC Strategy through the Central Good Relations Fund. Creative Connections is a cultural, arts-based project using creative processes of theatre and storytelling workshops, group and panel discussions, and online digital presentations to promote positive community relations between people and traditions in Northern Ireland. The aim is to work creatively with a range of groups to promote discussion and debate on issues facing local communities today and to promote shared visions for the future. Smashing times are reaching out to new groups from all traditions who wish to be involved in the programme to share their visions for a more inclusive society and a shared future for all. If you would like to take part in a workshop, please contact Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the Creative Connections project, Smashing Times are hosting an Online Panel Discussion for Imagine! Belfast Festival, Arts and Human Rights – Creative Voices for Diverse Narratives. A range of panel members will come together to explore the power of the arts in social and political contexts for promoting cultural expression, diversity, tolerance, human rights and equality for all. The panel discussion will be accompanied by creative contributions from diverse communities and is presented as part of the Creative Connections Arts for Peace symposium.
Panel members include: Mary Moynihan, writer, director, theatre and film-maker and Artistic Director, Smashing Times Noelle McAlinden, Visual Artist, Creative Advisor and Mental Health Campaigner, Curator and Cultural Broker Richard Edgar, Author and Historian Dave Randall, Musician and Writer Dr Stephen Herron, Researcher, Academic, Cultural Anthropologist, and Community Relations Facilitator
Arts and Human Rights – Creative Voices for Diverse Narratives Panel Discussion Where: Online via Zoom When: Monday 22 March 2021, 7-8.30pm Booking: via Imagine Belfast Festival website from 18 February 2021
European Observatory of Memory’s third annual meeting 'Taking Stock of European Memory Policies'
In December 2020, Smashing Times were invited to speak at the European Observatory of Memory’s third annual meeting ‘Taking Stock of European Memory Policies’, about Smashing Times’ EU 1979: A People’s Parliament. EU 1979: A People’s Parliament – Democracy, Human Rights and Women’s Political Participation is a European art-based project using creative processes of film, a feminist framework, and online digital resources to remember the 1979 European elections through a celebration of stories of 67 powerful women MEPs elected at that time. Out of the 410 MEP’s elected in the 1979 EU elections, 67 were women.
Read more about the event here.
View the EU 1979: A People’s Parliament Virtual Exhibition here.
Art, Fascism, Democracy Webinar
Smashing Times were delighted to speak at the Art, Fascism, Democracy project webinar on Wednesday 10 February. This webinar was part of the Europe for Citizens programme. Mary was joined by international partners from Italy and Spain, and shared stories of some of the artists and activists who stood up against fascism during and after the Spanish Civil War, in order to promote freedom, equality and justice for all. One such artist was Kathe Kollwitz, whose early artworks captured the existence of the working classes around her, which highlighted the inequalities of society in Prussia. In the 1920s in Germany, Kollwitz used her work to promote pacificism and ultimately lead to her work being labelled as degenerate by the Nazis.
For more on Art, Fascism and Democracy, click here.
News From the Network
ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants’ Abilities to Start Their Own Business
The project, ALMA: Access to Language Methods for Increasing Migrants’ Abilities to Start Their Own Business, is a European cooperation project aimed at stimulating migrants to begin a new business, to inspire and provide them with practical guidelines in order to start and run a successful company within a new cultural and linguistic context. The project will develop innovative language and intercultural learning methods and instruments to help migrants to get prepared for starting a business and also provide educators, volunteers and professionals working with migrants with innovative learning and information materials.
The project aims:
To inspire migrants and improve their skills to set up their own business.
To improve migrants’ language and communication skills in the field of entrepreneurship.
To guide migrants in building business skills considering intercultural aspects.
To provide opportunities for professional development for (volunteer) adult educators working with migrants.
This project is being developed with Smashing Times’ European partner, IFES COOP. More information available here.
Migrant women may need special integration services: they can be in more vulnerable situations as their problems are aggravated by particular issues, and their situation is worsened by discrimination against women in general. The LaMaIT project, supported by Erasmus+, aims to contribute to the development of freely available, innovative development practises in the field of labour market integration of migrant women. The direct target group of this project are educators: people helping migrant women in their integration process on a wide scale. To help them to provide high quality services, LaMaIT creates national databases of services available for migrant women in the partner countries involved, and develop and test a Labour Market Integration Toolkit. The labour market integration toolkit will help to offer more effective integration services through the improvement of knowledge on how to better support the labour market integration of migrant women based on their needs and experience and knowledge transfer on EU level.
The LaMaIT project has been developed by Smashing Times’ European partner, FISPE. More information can be found here.
From 2020 to 2022, DAH Theatre, Serbia, is partnering in the Creative Europe supported Project FATE - Future Academy on Tour in Europe, which focuses on equal opportunities for migrants and refugee artists/creative professionals. Creative professionals with a migrant and refugee background have limited opportunities to find work in their professional field in new countries. The project aims to create a connection between new migrants, refugees and EU citizens through artistic training, inclusion and enhancing employment opportunities in the arts sectors. The goal is to generate interest in the employability of talented/professional creative migrants and refugees and to ensure that these “new players”, have equal job market opportunities in the cultural sector, alongside native European artists and creative professionals.
The partners organisations involved are ZID Theater, The Netherlands; The Social and Community Theatre Centre of the University of Turin SCT, Italy; Atalaya – TNT, Spain; Studio 7, Germany; and Dah Theater, Serbia.