Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival

Posted on 9 Sep 2019

Connecting Citizens to the Arts, Human Rights, Climate Justice and Gender Equality - Thursday 19 to Sunday 29 September 2019

Smashing Times and Front Line Defenders are delighted to invite you to the Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival to showcase and highlight the extraordinary work of human rights defenders in Ireland and around the world, past and present, and the role of the arts and artists in promoting human rights today. The Dublin Arts and Human Rights festival will link the arts to civil society, active citizenship and politics through a series of performances, film screenings, music, dance and arts-based workshops, featuring guest speakers and panel discussions celebrating and promoting dignity and respect for all people equally.
The festival runs for eleven days from the 19 to 29 September at a range of venues including the Samuel Beckett Theatre, Science Gallery Dublin, dlr Mill Theatre Dundrum, Buswells Hotel and EU House.

The festival is curated by Mary Moynihan, Artistic Director, Smashing Times and Michelle Foley, Front Line Defenders. Arts Festival curator Mary Moynihan says ‘Smashing Times are delighted to partner with Front Line Defenders to host the inaugural Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival from the 19 to the 29 September 2019. Hosting the festival has been a long-held dream and we look forward to engaging with artists, activists and citizens of all ages as we celebrate the extraordinary work of human rights defenders, past and present, in Ireland and around the world and the role of the arts and artists in promoting human rights today’.
Highlights from Thursday 19 September 2019
Events include Escape Routes and Freedom Trails – European Solidarity between Nations (19 September 7.30pm, Samuel Beckett Theatre). This event offers theatre, film, music and panel discussions celebrating and remembering extraordinary stories of Irish and European men and women involved in the Resistance and in ‘escape lines’ – secret World War II networks set up to assist Allied soldiers and citizens leave Nazi occupied territory during WWII. Today, the escape lines are remembered in Europe and beyond as ‘Freedom Trails’. The event remembers the escape lines and freedom trails as well as modern day experiences of human rights defenders working on civilian rescue operations in Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, etc) today.
Hear about courageous Belgium woman and human rights defender Andrée de Jongh, who set up the Comet Line that saved over 800 Allied service men. Listen and watch the stories of courageous Irish men and women active during WWII including Katherine Anne McCarthy, Mary Cummins, Catherine Crean, Margaret Kelly and Samuel Beckett. Artists and speakers for this unique event include Mary Moynihan, writer, theatre and film-maker, Artistic Director of Smashing Times and Curator of the Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival; John Morgan, Dublin lawyer and co-founder of the Basque Pyrenees Freedom Trails’ Association (BPFTA) and one of the key people to raise awareness of the involvement of Irish men and women in the Resistance, SOE, and Escape Lines, during WWII; Eneko Aizpurua, award-winning writer, Basque Country, awarded the Tene Mujika Literature Grant 2019 for the book Bidasoan Gora, due for publication in 2020; and Trinity graduate Seán Binder, from Cork, an Aid Worker who spent over 100 days in a Greek jail arising from his work volunteering with refugees. Seán is a rescue diver and trained maritime search and rescuer. He volunteered as a coordinator of civilian rescue operations, both on land and at sea, in Greece, in 2018. Despite continued cooperation with the authorities, Seán was arrested for his humanitarian work and spent 106 days in pre-trial detention. The case remains ongoing and he faces 25 years imprisonment.
A musical highlight of the evening is a performance of Don’t See Any Lines by singer/songwriter Hilary Bow featuring Hilary Bow and Liam Ó MaonlaÍ on vocals. The single Don’t See Any Lines was released on World Refugee Day (20 June 2019) by Cork Singer/Songwriter Hilary Bow. The lyrics are inspired by Hilary’s friendship with Kurdish refugees and by working with people who had arrive in Ireland seeking refuge. The song is used as a call to end the direct provision service in Ireland and implement a more humane system for people arriving here. Join us for an exciting evening that explores stories of solidarity from WWII and how European citizens can come together to promote democracy, equality and peace today.
During the afternoon of 19 September, from 3-5pm, the festival is delighted to welcome Frédérique Lecomte to Ireland from Belgium. Frédérique is Director of the Belgian company Theater & Reconciliation and she will present a full-length workshop and talk about her extraordinary work and unique Method for Theatrical Practice in Conflict Zones that she had developed using creative processes to promote conflict resolution and reconciliation in the Congo.
Highlights from Friday 20 September 2019
The festival is delighted to present the Olivier award-winning play Silent by Pat Kinevane at the Samuel Beckett Theatre, on 20 September, 7.30pm. Silent is the touching and challenging story of homeless McGoldrig, who once had splendid things. But he has lost it all – including his mind. He now dives into the wonderful wounds of his past through the romantic world of Rudolph Valentino. This stunning production is written and performed by Pat Kinevane and directed by Jim Culleton, Fishamble.
‘Passionate one-man show… Mr Kinevane interprets Valentino’s highly theatrical screen presence to stunning effect… carefully wrought production… [he] doesn’t just demand the audience’s attention, he commands it.’ Ben Brantley, The New York Times
On 20 September 2019, an invited audience of 200 young people will enjoy a performance of the acclaimed award-winning Testimonies by Paul Kennedy performed by Killian Filan and the international premier of a new short film The Big No by writer Féilim James. In this film, a young man tells the story of his psychological unravelling and subsequent mental health crisis. As he battles against panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, he is forced to face the ‘why’ of his problems head on, learning some essential truths about himself and the world.
Highlights from Saturday and Sunday 28 and 29 September 2019
Songs and music have played a powerful role in human rights movement around the world, giving a universal voice, crossing barriers and promoting unity and equality. On 28 September at Science Gallery Dublin, participants can attend a song writing Workshop hosted by Fighting Words where they will be invited to look at the history of these songs, drawing on human rights themes to create their own songs relevant for today's generation. While no previous song-writing experience is required participants are free to bring along any instruments or lyrical ideas they might have! This workshop is open to young people ages thirteen to seventeen.
Following a screening of Thompson Reuters Foundations’ short film ‘Stonewall 50: Where next for LGBT+ lives?’, hear too from human rights defenders in Dublin to share their experiences fighting for the realisation of LGBTI+ rights on 29 September at Science Gallery Dublin. These human rights defenders will include Eric Sambisa of the NYASA Rainbow Alliance (NRA), Malawi – winner of the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk for Africa. Eric is the first Malawian to come out openly as gay on national television. Also speaking is Dandara Oliveira, a trans-rights defender working to combat violence and violations against lesbian, bi-sexual and transsexual women who are surviving the consequences of corporate megaprojects in the Trans amazon and Xingu regions of Brazil.
The festival, curated by Smashing Times and Front Line Defenders, raises awareness of the arts, human rights, and the importance of protecting those courageous activists who defend these rights. We engage with the arts and facilitate discussion and dialogue through the work of professional artists and activists from Ireland and around the world working in all mediums, with the aim of celebrating the arts and creatively promoting and protecting human rights, equality and social justice.

Click here to access Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival Full Programme and to make bookings