A Festival of Dangerous Ideas sticks the landing with a finale of incredible panelists, new faces as well as some welcome returns, dazzling displays of creativity, and rousing talks.
Over the span of 12 sessions, Gay Project crafted an electrifying experience with their Queer Hedge School. Each week, audience members and panelists were invited to tackle hugely relevant ideas around the queer community’s past, present and future.
Gay Project’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas never shied away from wrangling with bold topics, covering everything from steampunk to queering bodies. For their grand finale, they are taking audience members to the big queer future and beyond. Talk about a showstopper of an ending!
Since a Festival of Dangerous Ideas has reached its fabulous finale, let’s take a look back on the previous sessions:
Week 1 – The History of the Homosexual
“What really excites me about these ideas and what it’s done in my own life is that it’s allowed me to reframe my life in a way that makes the queer the hero of the story.” – Gay Project Education officer Rita Wild
In a stellar opening, panelists took a dive into the core premise behind the Festival before opening discussions into an examination of identities, particularly around masculinity.
Panelists: Artistic Director of Outburst Arts Ruth McCarthy, Media Producer and Presenter Kate Brennan Harding, University College Dublin Dr. Cormac O’Brien
Break for Art artist: Drag Artist, Actor and Producer, Avoca Reaction
Week 2 – Patriarchy and its Discontents
“When we’re struggling to find our place in society, there’s always a thing of advocating for ourselves, and I think that’s very important to do.” – Thomas Kumvana Heising
This week delivered a phenomenal insight into the complexities of queer identities, gender order, performativity, and so much more.
Panelists: Dr. Cormac O’Brien, Kate Brennan Harding, Psychologist and Researcher Dr Emma Hurley
Break for Art artist: Queer Jazz Vocalist and Songwriter, Jaime Nancie
Week 3 – Queer Masculinities, Good Gays vs Bad Queers
“If we want to take ownership of who we are, our own identities and how we identify, we need to understand how our identities were constructed from the outside, to begin with.” – Dr Emma Hurley
This one was a jaw-dropping conversation all about good gays vs bad queers, and ‘creating a queer’ in relation to how the zeitgeist of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s shaped psychological constructed identities and pathologies.
Panelists: Dr. Cormac O’Brien, Kate Brennan Harding, Dr Emma Hurley
Break for art artist: Performance Poet and Activist, Sarah Clancy
Week 4 – In Groups and Out Groups and Queers and Social Media: Inclusion and Exclusion
“There is an alternate reality that we inhabit. It challenges the mainstream and that is an extremely valuable gift.” – Stefan Fae
In week 4, the Queer Hedge School spoke on the impact of negative pathologisation of LGBTQ+ people through psychology, alongside a riveting discussion about social media.
Panelists: Dr Emma Hurley, Dr Cormac O’Brien, Lecturer, School of Information and Communications in University College Dublin, Páraic Kerrigan
Break for art artist: Theatre and Performance Artist, Stefan Fae
Week 5 – Queer Kinships
“I know queer is always evolving and changing and means many different things to different people, but for me it was a summary of how my sexuality and gender felt, queer was the perfect word but I didn’t have it growing up.” – Gemma Hutton
Week 5 delivered one of the most intriguing premises as it investigated ideas around certification and kinship within and outside the LGBTQ+ community.
Panelists: University of Limerick Researcher, Ellen Reid, Lecturer in Social Work, University College Cork, Fiachra Ó Suilleabháin, Páraic Kerrigan
Break for art artist: Comedian and Queer Activist Gemma Hutton
Week 6 – Sex and Shame
“There’s all these messages about what we can or cannot do, so that’s then internalised as shame.” – Dr Emma Hurley
In week six, esteemed speakers tackled the dangerous ideas and current views around sex, guilt, and shame within the LGBTQ+ community.
Panelist: Lecturer, Maynooth University, and HIV activist Thomas Strong, Dr Emma Hurley
Break for art artist: Drag King Phil T Gorgeous
Week 7 – Queer Bodies
“Queering bodies to me is about recognising and celebrating disruptive bodies – bodies that blur boundaries, or that don’t ‘fit’ (literally or metaphorically) into neat little boxes.” – Dr Francis White, in conversation with GCN
Following on from the half way point, a Festival of Dangerous Ideas shared insights into representations around trans masc bodies and fat trans embodiment. It explored questions such as ‘how can fat activism be useful to trans people?’ and ‘how are fat bodies queer?’
Panelists: Senior Lecturer, University of Westminster Dr Francis Ray White
Break for art artist: Drag Queen Anziety
Week 8 – Steampunk and Fandoms
“Steampunk is about revising and reinventing Victorian literature culture and, for me and a lot of other awesome folks, bringing marginalised voices to the fore.” – Dr Lisa Hager, in conversation with GCN
Doing some prep for Thursday evening's installment of Festival of Dangerous Ideas with @GayProjectIRL! Will be talking about Harry Potter, Morrissey, and questions about separating the art from the artist… Sign up here: https://t.co/Rdr0LohLMN
— E. Reid-Buckley (@ereidbuckley) December 14, 2020
Packed with dazzling costumes, retrofuturistic realness and a complex look into the relationships between art and fandoms, a Festival of Dangerous Ideas week 8 can only be described as an unmissable experience.
Panelists: Fiachra Ó Suilleabháin, Associate Professor of English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha Dr Lisa Hager, Ellen Reid, time-traveling tea aficionado, obsessed with tea, fashion, and the proper uses for headgear – Madame Askew, and The Grand Arbiter
Break for art artist: Comedian Leo Lardie, Jaime Nancie
Week 9 – Liveability
“Space makes you as much as you make space.” – Dr Kath Browne
This fascinating instalment of the Fest provided a look at what it means to live a meaningful queer life, along with all things related to LGBTQ+ news.
Panelists: Professor, University College Dublin Kath Browne
Break for art artist: Storyteller Richard O’Leary
Week 10 – Queer Politics
“Friendships are the building blocks of community. If we are going to survive and flourish, we need to enable that to happen.” – Tonie Walsh
Week 10 delivered a riveting discussion about going beyond opposition as it examined the emergence of the far-right and its ever changing tactics.
Panelists: Dr Kath Browne
Break for art artist: DJ and Curator of Irish Queer Archive Tonie Walsh
Week 11 – Queer Future
“There’s a history in Ireland, particularly around gay men, that hasn’t been told yet.” – Jack O’Rourke
Building on the sublime foundations set out across the previous sessions, this week tackled how the LGBTQ+ community can carry on the conversation and continue to learn, as well as grow. Past speakers returned to expand on their works, on top of an exceptional Break for Art portion.
Panelists: Dr Cormac O’Brien, Dr Emma Hurley, Dr Páraic Kerrigan
Break for art artist: Musician Jack O’Rourke
Week 12 – The Fabulous Finale
We are very excited to welcome @McMahonPhilly to Break for Art with @KateBHdj at Queer Hedge School this week. We are also joined, to Rouse the Rabble about Big Queer Futures, by @kathbrowne, @strongthomas @ereidbuckley @lmhager @dr_francisray pic.twitter.com/I9WyRCFrDL
— Gay Project ?️? (@GayProjectIRL) February 3, 2021
The Queer Hedge school comes to a close with an uplifting exploration into LGBTQ+ futures and possibilities through the spirit of hope.
Panelists: Dr Kath Browne, Dr Francis Ray White, Ellen Reid, Dr Lisa Hager, Thomas Strong
Break for Art artist: Artist and ThisIsPopBaby founder Philly McMahon
The recordings for the past sessions and transcripts can be found at festival of dangerous ideas.ie.
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