Catch up on the thrilling past sessions of A Festival of Dangerous Ideas ahead of week six

As A Festival of Dangerous Ideas makes a leap into week 6, let’s look back on the exhilarating past sessions along with what’s in store going forward.

Screenshot from week 5 of A Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Cork Gay Project’s A Festival of Dangerous Ideas surges into its halfway point with an impressive range of past sessions and many more surprises to come. 

A Festival of Dangerous Ideas will be kicking off its sixth session out of twelve with a moving commemoration for World AIDS Day 2020 and HIV awareness. After delivering five weeks filled with stunning discussions and jaw-dropping performances, this event continues to be relevant by imagining bold new directions for the queer community. 

Here are the dangerous and thrilling ideas being delivered by the Festival:

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 frame my life, reframe my life, in a way that makes the queer the hero of the story.” – Gay Project Education officer Rita Wild

Festival of Dangerous Ideas introduction session screenshot of four speakers

What an absolutely stellar launch this was! Ruth McCarthy, Kate Brennan Harding, and Dr Cormac O’Brien were phenomenal panellists and gave a thrilling introduction to the Festival. Plus drag artist Avoca Reaction’s performance in the Break for Art section was, as always, a captivating moment. 

Reading materials suggested for after the session include Michael Warner Beyond Gay Marriage and Michael Warner and Lauren Berlant Sex in Public.

Week 2 – Patriarchy and its Discontents

“The whole idea of telling your own story, from what I can tell, that came from trans women of colour in New York, Janet Mock famously said it is crucial that those whose stories need to be told tell their own stories, that’s something we were hearing a lot about over the last decade or so, of your own voice, your own story and only you can tell your own story” – Dr Cormac O’Brien 


Hot on the heels of a phenomenal debut, A Festival of Dangerous Ideas made its return with Dr Cormac O’Brien, Kate Brennan Harding, and Dr Emma Hurley. They dove into the complexities of queer identities, gender order, performativity, and so much more. Queer jazz vocalist and songwriter Jaime Nancie made an incredible appearance for the Break for Art portion.

Week 3 – Queer Masculinities, Good Gays vs Bad Queers 

“So that if we want to own who we are, 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


Returning from a successful session 2, Dr Cormac O’Brien spoke on Queer masculinities: good gays vs bad queers and Dr Emma Hurley talked about Leaving normal: How the zeitgeist of the late 1800s and early 1900s shaped how psychological constructed identities and pathologies (How to create a queer).

This was the last session with Dr Cormac O’Brien but he will join the Festival again for a special seminar in the new year. So look forward to an interesting discussion about his new book Masculinities in Theatre and Drama in Ireland, or Acting the Man.

Alongside this jaw-dropping discussion, the Break For Art Session featured queer Galway based poet Sarah Clancy. She is well known for her extraordinary collection The Truth & Other Stories, grappling with the impact of the recession in Ireland, along with her activist work.

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

Dr Emma Hurley makes a fantastic return in week 4 to talk about the impact of the negative pathologisation of LGBTQ+ people through psychology and how that now impacts on LGBTQ+ individuals and our communities. She’s joined by Dr Páuric Kerrigan, who led a discussion on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and how they shape us, and how we shape them.

The Break for Art featured the hugely entertaining co-founder of Spicebag, Stefan Fae. He also delivers an intriguing talk about queer arts and rebelling against the mainstream.

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

The festival welcomed the fabulous comedian Gemma Hutton to the Break for Art portion. Fresh from Outburst Arts, she brought a piece from her exciting new show I/Mother, which deals with the “awkward tension between being a radical queer activist and getting the child to nursery on time in a Seat Alhambra.”

Alongside this incredible Break for Art portion, Dr Páuric Kerrigan made his anticipated return to speak on the topic of kinship and certification. With this intriguing premise, he engaged in a thought-provoking discussion around who gets to certify people and for what.

Week 6 – Sex, Guilt, and  Shame in the Queer Community 

Week six will tackle the dangerous ideas around sex, guilt, and shame within the LGBTQ+ community on Thursday, December 3. HIV activist Dr Thomas Strong joins queer psychologist, Dr Emma Hurley, for this riveting conversation. 

Legendary drag artist Phil T Gorgeous will be dazzling audience members for this week’s Break for Art portion. He has become a well-known name among the Irish queer community due to his hilarious and incredible performances.

What an incredible six weeks these have been and another exciting half coming in the future. If you want to join in on A Festival of Dangerous Ideas, tickets can be found at this link. All 12 sessions are free.

The recordings for the past sessions and transcripts can be found at festival of dangerous

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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