Gay Project

Gay Project in Cork announces A Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Gay Project in Cork announces A Festival of Dangerous Ideas

The 12 week Queer Studies Program will see a new topic explored in coversation with an expert each week and all are welcome.

Our fabulous friends in Cork at the Gay Project have an exciting and dynamic new programme to share with us all, A Festival of Dangerous Ideas: Queer Hedge School. This unique programme looks at culture and identity via an LGBTQ+ lens.

There will be 12 sessions, each covering a different topic and hosted like a conversation, via Zoom. Each session will have time for questions and a ‘Break for Art’. This is a little festival within a festival, 12 mini-performance by Queer Artists. Participants can ask questions of our experts in the chat. and there is plenty of time if we need it.

Each session will be Live Captioned and a transcript will be available after the event. Each session will be recorded and these videos will be made available online after the sessions.

Before it’s launch next week on October 29, we caught up with Gay Project’s Education officer, Rita Wild to find out what we can all expect for the next twelve weeks.

GCN: Rita, tell us about A Festival of Dangerous Ideas: Queer Hedge School?

Rita: I get really excited about ideas because ideas actually change things. It’s ideas that change the world. And ideas are dangerous because they can completely overturn the status quo. And, you know, we think about how ideas have changed throughout human history and the differences that they have made, to how we see ourselves and how we see the world and what we can be and what we can do. The problem with ideas often is they are sort of corralled off in society and culture. And they don’t really exist in the mainstream and easy access easily accessible ways. 

GCN: What can people expect from the programme?

Rita: For our first session, we have Ruth McCarthy from Outburst Arts, a special recording of a conversation we had exploring the ideas of the programme. We’ll also have Dr Cormac O’Brien who is going to look at the whole idea of identity. And he’s particularly going to look at masculine and masculine bodies and the word masculinity. What is masculinity? How do we build a queer masculinity  So, all that kind of good stuff!

We’re just gonna have such craic apart from anything else. I must say that I have two beautiful assistants. So the session will be hosted by myself, with two beautiful assistants*, Thomas Kumvana Heising and Michael O’Donnell. Michael is our community worker on the project. And Thomas is a volunteer with the project, but also a highly skilled techie and a scholar. So these are both two beautiful young gay men. So I have two beautiful assistants. Just kind of completely reversed on that idea, a nice middle-aged lesbian with her two beautiful young boys, lovely!

*Rita clarified that Michael and Thomas both gave their consent to be referred to as beautiful assistants! 

GCN: What else would you like us to know about Gay Project Festival of Dangerous Ideas?

Rita: The quality of scholars in Queer Studies that we have working on on the island of Ireland, across the range of disciplines, anthropologists, geographers, literature, history, media and culture. What can I tell you, there is a queer perspective on everything!  And one of the things that really excites me about Queer Studies, and this idea is that it’s illuminating. So when we think about how the world got made, how the world got constructed. The world is made of ideas, what ideas, whose ideas? Those are the ideas that frame how we think about the world, we change the idea, we change the frame, and if you change the frame, you change everything. So these ideas allow us to reframe our lives with us at the centre, with us as the heroes of our own story. 

So instead of us being talked about by professionals by doctors and by sociologists, and by social workers and by religious people who talk about us. Here, we’re going to talk about ourselves.

We’re gonna talk about how we got shaped, and how we may reshape ourselves doesn’t include carrying all that nonsense that’s been laid on us by a patriarchal, heteronormative culture. 

Some of the other Scholars sharing their insight and expertise are: Professor Kath Brown, Dr. Páraic Kerrigan, Dr Emma Hurley, Dr Thomas Strong and Dr Tina O Toole