The North Is Next: Highlighting the fight for equal marriage and reproductive rights in Northern Ireland

GCN has teamed up with Dublin Fringe Festival and Outburst Queer Arts Festival to create an unmissable event and zine.

The poster for The North Is Next event featuring an animated heart and a clenched fist. The event will highlight the fight for equal marriage and reproductive rights in Northern Ireland

In advance of a potent and timely collaboration highlighting Northern Ireland’s drive for reproductive and queer rights, Managing Editor of GCN and co-creator of The North Is Next, Lisa Connell, relays the necessity for solidarity and the transformative power of art:

It’s 2019. The 1.8 million people who live in Northern Ireland still don’t have marriage equality or access to abortion services. Their human rights have been encroached on for decades. As part of the 2019 Fringe festival, GCN, Dublin Fringe and Outburst Arts have joined forces to commission a zine, and curate and present a very special event on Saturday September 7 at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin – The North Is Next.

Part time capsule, part activist artwork, The North Is Next invited creators and thinkers from all over the island to illuminate a global blind-spot. It’s a creative call-out to foster collective consciousness raising to highlight and support the work of grassroots organisations just over the border.

The North Is Next is also a very special live event with performance, discussion and the launch of a bespoke zine publication produced especially for the occasion. In the shadow of Brexit and on the cusp of potentially immense change with a looming October 21 deadline for a power-sharing agreement in Stormont, we recognise the strength in, and need for, solidarity as we face the reality that the fight is far from over on either side of the border.

We have submissions from journalist and author Una Mullally, playwright Stacey Gregg, poet Dawn Watson, playwright and activist Shannon Sickels, academic and activist Goretti Horgan and photographer and activist Emma Campbell. The zine is illustrated by the wonderful Soak, designed by GCN’s Dave Darcy (One Strong Arm) and printed in collaboration with OR Studio.

As you’ll have seen from our poster image, we took much inspiration from the artist Dalia Shevin’s quote, “You heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep loving. Keep fighting.”

Here follows a taster of what to expect from the zine and the event:

The North is Next by Shannon Sickels

A 2017 ILGA poll named The North as the worst place in the UK for LGBT people. 

‘Where is The North?’, many people in England asked during the Brexit vote, not knowing where The North was on a map. ‘Who is the DUP?’

The north is nebulous.

I am told by friends that live in the land where the tarmac changes colour, the road signs change their units of measurement, and accents change timbre, that The North, though Neighbouring, though Next Door, was ‘none of our concern’.

To get tickets for The North Is Next, visit the Dublin Fringe Festival website here.

This story was originally published in GCN’s September Issue 357.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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